We Blame The Aliens (J. M. Lyons)

We can’t afford a funeral. We can’t even afford to rent a hearse or however one is supposed to retrieve a body from the morgue so we borrow Glenn’s pickup and back the bed up to the door to make the process as painless as possible. Carrying my cousin is harder than I imagine. They kept her body on ice, so it’s like hauling a giant popsicle wrapped in a tarp. Hands burning, turning numb. We slide Glenn’s tools out of the way and lay her down slowly so she doesn’t break. 

My cousin’s baby daddy lied to his daughter and said that aliens came and took mommy away. It’s a terrible lie, one that will break apart like parchment paper when she gets older but for now it’ll do. He’s been strung out for days now, chain-smoking on the front stoops when we arrive. Miah’s still asleep, he says. You couldn’t help? I ask, to which he shakes his head, holds his hands to the sky, steers the blame to something else as he always does. 

We bury her out behind the shed. In winter, the earth is hard to break. It takes us three hours to get six feet down. Glenn brings some flowers and baby daddy helps me put her body in the ground. 

And then we see Miah behind us. She’s in pajamas, rubbing the crust away from her reddened eyes. We’re lucky it’s dark besides the moonlight layering gray against us. She looks at us and the dirt on our hands and asks us what we’re doing. We freeze, silent besides the breaths fanning the air. We could tell her mommy didn’t sober up like she said she would. We could say so many things to steer her towards the truth but we blame the aliens again, tell her they’ve come again to pick up something they left behind. 

We stay for another hour, searching the pinpricked stars for something the truth that may never appear. 


J.M. Lyons is a writer. He has no previous publications.


image: Andrea Damic lives in Sydney, Australia.  Words in @50wordstories@FridayFlashFict@paragraphplanet@100WordsFTWand Microfiction Monday Magazine.Photographs in @rejectionlit@FusionArtPS and several others pending print publication in @DoorIsAJarMag. Follow Andrea on TW @DamicAndrea. One day she hopes to finish and publish her novel.