's 2019 Horror Write-off:

Guy fixing a robot (on another planet)

Submitted by Mefista

Across the lake, the needle-like towers pierced the alien sky, lights reflecting in eachother's metal surfaces. Pinkish clouds above moved lazily, too heavy for current wind.

The man looked away, calmed down, his hand resting on the small robot's hull, other wrapped around a complex contraption he took out of his pocket a second ago. Surely, the weather was getting worse, but it wasn't that big of a problem yet, so...

...out of the corner of his eye, he saw the flicker. Panicked, he turned back sharply, expecting to see - what? Gigalightning? In this weather? - but the towers stood still, not bothered by anything, and no alarm ripped the sour-smelling air.

"I won't look away this time", - he said to himself, letting go of the broken robot and turning to face the town completely. "I won't look away, cause I need to know what is flickering in there. And, if it would be in the corner of my eye yet again, I am seeing the doctor".

But it wasn't it. Seconds later, - he was afraid to even blink, - he saw the sky light up briefly, becoming blue and yellow, - like it was during earthen evenings, - after this.

He had no clue what that meant, but was almost sure it was a kind of simple natural phenomena. That's it, untill he looked at the towers.

Around them, the sky was still pink. And it wasn't even, either, like a glow, or a cloud, or anything else. The man squinted, trying to make sense of irregular shapes, when it hit him: tree crown.

The pinkish sky formed tree crowns around the towers. No matter how he blinked, they wont go away, and, when he moved, the angle changed as if he was looking at the actual, earthen tree.

Chills ran down his spine, and he dug his fingers into the gun dangling from his utility belt. Why gun? What was he trying to shoot? He didn't know, only knew that the gun made him feel safe.

But what his fingers found, wasn't it. Long, flat, irregular shape - he didn't dare to look down to make sense of it, - something that kept rattling against his leg as he ran, ran back to the city, to make sure nothing else wasn't familiar anymore. The sky-crowns grew bigger as he got close. He could swear he saw a tower move, despite it being solid, unbendable metal. The wind that it moved with was spicy and sharp, weird smell that filled the man with longing.

A sudden, scary thought made him with panic, and he froze in his track, then, a second later, he turned and ran even faster - away, the further, the better. "It's not safe," - he thought to himself. "I am sure I am hallucinating, and I could harm myself. Better make it back to the digger-bot and wait till the patrol starts searching for me in the evening. Stay in place. Don't move. Lay down if you're feeling sick. Any kind of unknown gas could be in this vaguely breathable air, making me see that stuff...better follow the safety protocol."

His knee hit the metal with a soft "thud", and he thanked the thick protective layer of his uniform for making it painless. Wrapping his arms around the broken bot, he closed his eyes and tried to calm down, breathing deeply and agressively ignoring the loud rustling he could hear from the towers.

Suddenly, he felt like someone was watching him, and his eyes snapped open in panic, no longer staring at metal and instead, focusing on the yellow sand in front of him. He looked left, then right, and...

It was a squirrell. Just a squirrell.

He breathed out. Seemed like the panic fit subsided, and he stumbled to his feet, letting go of the mass of temporally-useless metal he still hoped to fix later, and turned.

The legendary wood-city of Wynh laid in front of him, monumental irontrees getting their tops lost in the clouds above, and, checking his deep, leather pockets to make sure nothing fell out during the fit, he started to walk towards it, hoping that at least bloody elves could do something with that malefic sword of his.