|An alien symbiote who just wants to be friends.|
Brady walked into Rajani's apartment. She had given him a spare key, and even though she seemed to have gone missing, he had a good idea of where she might be.
He pulled a box out from under the table, dug through a couple of blankets, and saw a slug-like creature curled up underneath.
"Rajani?" he asked.
"I'm a snail," she sobbed. "I'm a snail. I'm so vulnerable."
Brady lifted her out of the box and onto the sofa. She had apparently wrapped one of the blankets around her long, soft body.
"Where's your shell?" Brady asked.
"I broke it," Rajani said. "It fell off. Now I can't make a new one until I turn back."
Rajani rested her snout on top of the pillow. Whenever she was in her snail form, Brady was struck by how much she still looked like herself. Her long hair was flowing down the side of her face as she lay belly-down on the couch.
"Have I always been a snail?" she asked, through sniffles.
"The first time we talked to each other was in the forest, remember?" Brady said. "Besides myself, you were the only other snail person I had ever met."
"How did you find me?" Rajani asked.
"A guy in class saw a shirt I was wearing with a drawing of a snail on it. He said there were a lot of snails there."
"I bet that was my cousin." Rajani rolled over onto her back. Brady was always amazed how strong a snail-person's muscles could be. "I've seen him as a snail before. I thought I was imagining it, just like I was with you..."
Rajani sat up quickly.
"Do you think my parents know?"