And we dug (digging being a huge component of the job, sometimes even the job itself). There were trenches and units all over the site (that’s were we work, a site) and as we continued to dig, as we dug, as we kept up digging, suddenly, shattering the rhythmic clanks and scrapings and pounds and scratches of the metal on dirt, of metal on rock , of metal on metal, a dull *THUD*, palpable, and a scream, human.
There! Right at the bottom at the end of a unit, exposed from the impact of the shovel, remarkably precise, debris collapsing around it like the dust of fallout, deeper than apparently possible, evidently impossible.
A near-perfect sphere.
Warty, fleshlike. Gigantic, and unambiguously, almost unapologetically staring up at us like a goddamn dare.
A giant fleshball of mysterious.
It began to pulsate, subtly. A Thing most certainly alive.
We edged around it, wondered briefly if it could be worked around, somehow, as if by the sheer will of communal defiance we could banish it from the here and now, repressing its discovery back under the surface of our minds as if it were something doctors’ tests would later confirm as benign the whole time anyway.
But of course we couldn’t do that, just ignore it, this fleshy alien intruder, and especially not after it began to extend something, something – began to extend this something out and up and toward and into the musky late afternoon air, sunlight throwing its various lumps and divots into terrible relief.
An appendage, jointed in two, folding out like the arm of a satellite, jerking and sputtering like a jalopy in its death throes.
An arm! No, wait! A Leg!
Toes? Toad’s? Toad’s toes!
The Daring Fleshball.
An honest-to-goodness goddamn fucking live toad now only buried head first, so a little less like toad than ostrich. After still more self-conscious hesitation, I finally reached down pulled it forever away from its hibernation home. It was just small enough to almost fit in my hand, where it rested a little then defecated uncontrollably. It tried to blink, but failed.
You should have seen it! Its expression, the utter stupefaction etched on the poor bastard’s ectothermic face, his eyes squinting at completely different angles, his mouth slightly agape, a tiny forearm grasping at the nothing of the empty space in front of it.
Jesus. I can’t imagine that, how it must have felt, to be torn so violently away from its great subterranean slumber just under the comfortable safety of the frost line. And with winter coming; it must have knew.
But I can venture a good, solid guess on what its last thoughts must have been.
What the fuck?