Piotr and Helga drove home from the Purchase-Cheap in their beat up late 80s sedan.
“I know, I know. If only we could afford to adopt,” Helga sniffed.
No shooting stars interrupted the drive home or distracted from the stifled tears.
Piotr took a smoke break out back. He could barely see the stars. The lights from the city drown them out. He longed to see them.
He stomped the butt out and tossed it into the can. He turned to the door. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted motion.
“Hey!” he turned. “Who’s there?”
A canister pushed up through the soil. It had to have been buried there for years.
The canister dropped onto the grass.
Piotr picked up barbecue tongs and tapped the metallic looking thing. It flashed with an electric spark and whooshed open.
The dark shadows obscured the contents. Piotr tapped the container with the back of his hand. It wasn’t hot or cold.
He picked it up and carried it to the porch light. He nearly dropped it when he saw what was inside.
It was a baby.
He swung the door open and shouted, “Helga! Come quick!”
They named the child Jon and tried not to ask many questions. Even though he was clearly a baby, he would only eat solid food. He had no taste for formula.
Helga arranged a play date for Jon. She got an emergency call. The other kid’s mom said she was ok to babysit, so Helga left Jon with Kim.
Kim turned her eye for one second and heard her little May screech in terror. Kim panicked and ran to her baby. May only had one arm. She had blood on her shirt, but the skin was clean and uncut.
“Oh my god, what happened?!”
Until Kim screaemd, May had calmed slightly.
Kim picked both babies up and ran them to the hospital.
The doctors couldn’t figure out what happened.
Helga picked Jon up from Kim at the hospital. She held Jon gingerly on the way to the car and fastened him as tightly as she could without harming Jon.
Helga and Piotr tried their hand at barbecue that night.
“Piotr,” Helga said. “I’m worried.”
“What? I don’t think whatever ate May’s arm can get Jon here.”
The ankle biter was crawling through the grass. A neighbor dog came up.
The dog yelped. Helga and Piotr looked up. The dog had only three legs. And no tail.
“Most Americans won’t let their healthy dogs roam,” said Piotr. “And our neighbors let their three legged dog wander wherever—”
“That’s Scoundrel. He had four legs just this morning,” Helga gasped. “And a tail.”
Jon cackled with laughter.
That night, Piotr and Helga put the baby in the crib and walked back from him slowly.
“We didn’t see anything. There’s no reason to think it was him,” Helga said.
Piotr said nothing.
In the morning, Helga woke first. She peeked into Jon’s room. Jon hadn’t woken up yet.
Helga closed the door and sneaked to the kitchen to get a few things done before Jon woke up. Helga picked up a glass and turned the TV on.
“—ing News, Breaking News, we’re getting reports of violence in east end. It’s still too early to be sure, but we’re hearing a small child is somehow eating limbs—”
Helga dropped her glass.
In the years that followed, news of the alien child spread to every corner of the globe.
His hunger was without end.
When scientists discovered where he came from, they tried to call him the last son of that system’s star. It wasn’t very catchy.
Besides, he already had a name. “The Last American.”