Every Civilization Needs by Lora Gray

He’s had many names, he tells me as we huddle in the cargo hold. “Anansi. Loki. Bamapana.” Smiling with the easy companionship of stowaways, he hands me a ration. “Now eat, my dear. Eat.” 

And because it’s been five days since we left Earth and I’m starving, I do.

It’s only when I wake, dying, my throat and belly burning, that I understand. He’s wearing my eyes. My nose. My mouth.

“It’s nothing personal,” he says. “You just have an honest face.” The cargo doors open. A Martian landscape. A blood red sunrise. “And every civilization needs its trickster god.” 

Lora Gray is a non-binary speculative fiction writer and poet from Northeast Ohio. Their work has been published in Uncanny,Flash Fiction Online, PseudoPod and Asimov’s among other places. You can find them online at lora-gray.com and on Twitter @LoraJGray

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