Their corpses spasmed under our autopsy lights, as they had while dying. You know the pathetic quaking of ants doused in bug spray. Their bodies held still only with the lights off. We examined them under radio waves. Optic fiber nerves sent signals throughout their bodies, carrying the dim light of electrical impulses. We’d committed mass murder while stumbling upon their civilization beneath the sea. Imagine a submersible’s search light, bright as the sun they never knew existed. Every nerve triggered in our gasless neurotoxin, every pain a person could ever feel at once.
We just meant to say hello.
– Matthew Sanborn Smith
Matthew Sanborn Smith’s fiction has appeared at Tor.com, Nature, Chizine, StarShipSofa and Greatest Uncommon Denominator. He podcasts at bewarethehairymango.com.