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The farmer had an hour before the dust storm hit, and he was furiously tending to his garden, trying to get in the most work done as possible. He pulled up weed after weed from the red, dusty ground, and smashed them against a nearby rock before their spikey, green tentacles could latch onto his hand. The weeds wriggled through his garden, dodging the farmer’s mad attempts at catching them. Instead, they wrapped around the wilting brown stalks of his corn, trying sucking them dry of nutrients.
The corn was the culmination of a year’s worth of saving – Earth plants sold the best here. He hoped the dust storm wouldn’t wipe them out, because he had had no money to buy other crops. A weed wriggled conspicuously on a nearby cornstalk, and the farmer wrenched it off and crushed it against the rock, adding its mangled body to the large pile.
The weeds were the oddest life form the farmer had encountered on this planet. They seemed to grow wherever other forms of life existed – no scouting party or satellite photo had seen them, but the minute humans began growing food, the weeds popped up. They slowly grew to about a foot tall, and then they began to move, using their thick tentacles to propel them and to wrap around plants.
Billowing red clouds of dust appeared on the horizon, the first hint of the coming storm. The land here was comprised of entirely sandstone cliffs, desert, and a few spots of red dirt that was actually very nutritious for plants. In any case, a heavy gust of wind could bring up quite a lot of sand.
The farmer ducked and covered his eyes with his hand as the wind picked up, little pellets of sand digging into his arms and face. His old straw hat blew off his head and caught itself on a jagged rock. His tattered clothes – old deerskin brought up from earth that were actually very expensive –flapped around him, and he abandoned his work for the moment.
He dashed for the cliffs were he made his home in one of the numerous caves, scrambling up a rope ladder to almost the very top, and pulled himself into his cave. He didn’t have many possessions except those he had brought with him on the colony ship. Several blankets made up his bed, but he only ever slept on top of them. Warm weather was the one thing the farmer had in excess. He had the wicker rocking chair his wife had brought, and she had sat in it all day reading until she fell sway to one of the new illnesses the planet harbored. He had a small trunk he used as a table, a leather jacket from his grandfather, and a pile of clothes identical to the ones on his body. That was all.
He hung one of the blankets over the doorway and fastened it down, to keep out sand, and then lay down on the remaining ones to wait out the storm. The wind howled outside, and the blanket strained against its fastening. A small pile of sand crept in under the bottom of the blanket. And the farmer took a nap.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The sandstorm blew past the weed complex, but fortunately the very tips of his longest tentacle, where his eyes were, was tall enough that he could hold it over the sandstorm. The last vestiges of wind gone, the weed began to crawl across the desert, pulling himself and pushing himself with all thirty seven of his tentacles. The weed was very proud of that number.
A large slab of sandstone rock appeared in the distance, exactly the place where those invasive primates liked to live. The weed didn’t like the primates, they looked ugly on his very beautiful desert, and they had the unfortunate habit of killing his kin.
The primates were the oddest creature the weed had found on this planet. They hadn’t been there for thousands of years, and then suddenly they appeared everywhere. They seemed to sprout up wherever life was, and then they would contain it and kill it. At least they never seemed to grow more than five feet tall.
The weed wrapped one tentacle around the sandstone rock, and used his others to poke into the caves to test for primates. There were many caves, more than the weed had tentacles, and it took the weed a long while. But finally, he pocked a tentacle into a cave at the very top of the rock, and pulled out a primate.
He smashed the primate against a nearby rock before its pudgy pink tentacles could get a grip on one of the weeds spines.