Key pendant by arianhwyvar of Silver Owl Creations.
Antique key, vintage bronze enameled copper wire, red fire polished beads, goldtone apple charms, goldtone cat charm (with moveable body and tail), bone fish skeleton. 3 3/4" long including the bail; just over 1" across at the top of the key. Will come with an antiqued bronze steel cable chain with an antiqued brass lobster clasp, 20" long, fully adjustable; if the bidding goes over $50, the pendant will instead come with a nicer antique brass rollo chain, adjustable between 15" and 20".
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I ripped another sheet of paper out of my notebook, crumpled it, threw it against the wall in sheer frustration. For once, the newspapers had listened to me. But what was the use? It had all happened so quickly - the arrival of the seemingly-beneficent aliens, the seeding of the planet with genetically-modified "apples" that were supposed to cure world hunger - I'd told them to be careful then, but they just laughed and told me I'd been reading too much sci-fi. I didn't trust them, though. I brought the apples to my lab.
On Tuesday, I'd discovered the secret behind the apples. The virus. The plague. But it was too late.
By Friday, three-quarters of the world's population was dead.
I ripped out another sheet - but motion near my feet stopped me. My cat nudged my calf and looked up at me with big blue eyes. I sighed, picked him up, and paced with him. "I don't know, Pixel," I mused. "I just wish there was something I could do."
"There is, actually," Pixel replied.
I stopped dead in my tracks, looking down at him. He licked a paw and washed his face. "Did you...just..."
Pixel huffed. "Yes. I speak English."
"I'm going crazy," I murmured.
"No. But you'll go extinct if you don't listen to me."
"You said I could do something?"
"Oh, yes. You're the linchpin to our whole plan. See, we need to get someone aboard the mothership. We've got a great toxin that we think will obliterate the aliens in a matter of days. Thing is, they think the humans are the only intelligent species on this rock, and they won't take meetings with anyone else." He took another swipe at his face, little pink tongue flashing. "Insulting, really, but what can you do."
"And you want me to deliver an alien toxin."
"Oh, no. I'll do that part. You just get me there. I've already set up your rendezvous. Just get me aboard the ship, and I'll claw an alien. They have this thing where they all melt into this mutual pool of goo when they sleep and just reform in the morning – they share everything, every cell, every bit of ooze. The toxin will be spread tonight, and they'll all be dead by Sunday."
"How do you know so much about aliens?"
"We cats have been negotiating with them for months over the internet. The apple thing was our idea, actually. We told them that humans go gaga for anything red and shiny."
I held him out, staring him in his adorable, sociopathic face. "This is your fault?"
He shrugged. Or maybe it was just a wriggle. "Look, there are way too many of you. Were way too many. We inoculated the humans we liked, and let the aliens take out the rest. There's enough of you left to sustain the species without overpopulating. The planet should begin to recover from what you've done to it in a few centuries."
I had to admit that we'd done a number on the planet. "Why not just let the aliens kill us all?"
"Better the devil we know, as you humans say. Besides, you serve my fish just the way I like it."
I did as he asked. What else could I do, really? As he said, the aliens were dead by Sunday. I had to move down south - the pigeons took over New York City as their payment. They'd developed the toxin, had been breeding interesting new diseases for years. Me, I opened a restaurant for the cats. Fish, lots of it, from depths they couldn't reach on their own. I think deep-sea fish is the next big culinary trend. Exotic.
In return for the fish, they let me live - and they've given me a mate, a girl who used to run a no-kill shelter. Five more years of service, and they might let us breed. We'll see.
Some days, I feel like a traitor to the human race. Some day, I feel like a survivor. Most days, I'm just glad Pixel wanted to keep me.
Am getting second wind, right on schedule.
Am listening to s00j sing "Cheshire Kitten", thanks to [Unknown LJ tag]. You can, too.
We're all mad here. And that's okay.