Note: This was a piece of flash fiction I wrote from a prompt I did with my friend Leslee. We chose entries randomly from a dictionary - this one was "encounter group". My resulting story didn't have much to do with that phrase!
The ground was moist, my feet blistered and bleeding -- the water stung. I don't know when I stopped running. I don't know how far the ship was behind me. The memory is slipping away.
In the inky darkness I could here the rhythmic song of frogs. I must have been near a marsh. I stumbled towards the low chirping sounds. It was a sign of something alive, natural.
My hands began to shake. I was back on Earth, but how could I have been away? Where were the others? Had they escaped? Did I escape?
My foot dropped into the marsh, I fell face forward into the stagnate weedy water. Acrid bitter water filled my parched mouth, my tongue finally lubricated. I felt the urge to scream, but the cool night water wrpped around me -- was I naked but for the water? I couldn't remember. The urge to breathe welled up -- but I was too tired. Somehow it felt that the water below was endless, and I began falling.
Something grazed my back -- a frog? It spread out, touched my spine. It spider walked to the base of my skull. The water, I realized it held me in paralysis.
The thing on my back twiched. It was no frog. Fear welled up again. Then it struck. I felt the thing push its way inside my skull. I felt pain press against the inside of my head. The thing actually grunted a low chirp in its effort. By then I was completely numb to any pain there was, my brain detached from the event.
The thing thrust again and again and again, trying to deposit the egg. I thought briefly of my childhood. It was a lifetime ago, so far away. Then I wondered why I didn't need to breathe. The water no longer tasted acrid. There was a sweetness and within it was laced a hint of a pleasant, unidentifiable flavor.
Finally the thing retracted itself, the egg safely in place. It hopped off my back. I floated there face down for several minutes, unable to see or move -- just taste and hear.
The egg hatched and my mind split in a thousand pieces. I was everywhere and nowhere. I began my life here as well as many other planets.
I feel privileged to be back.