Here is my #fridayflash debut with a stunning photograph by Amy Goodwyn.
I don’t know what makes them different, what makes them Them and us Us. But I know that they are different, most of Us do. With one look, just one, I can tell. Maybe it’s the spark in our eyes that we have and they don’t? They walk the same, talk the same, but they’re as far from human as I am from whatever they are.
Nothing like in the movies. There wasn’t any huge spaceship or bright lights or weird signs burnt in corn fields. They just came, out of nowhere, and they stayed, whether we wanted them to or not. No one died, no one was murdered. The population just grew.
People noticed in little towns at first: a thousand became two thousand. And in the big cities, the traffic jams and rush hours became so intense, people just stopped going to work, thinking the government would do something if the economy went down again. But no, the President and his people, did absolutely nothing. But the ones who came from space did. They took our place, they took our jobs, they took our lives. And then, people, real people from Earth, got pissed off. And things started to move, to happen for Us.
Me and Cam drive back from one of those secret meetings that only real people can attend. We’re pumped, jacked up about how we’ve been duped, how NASA brings weapons to kill aliens on space shuttles ‘just in case’ but never tells the population. How we’ll win this invisible war.
Then, we see her.
She stands by the road, waiting for a ride, almost innocent. Tall and lean, she looks like any twenty year old girl I’ve ever known, but she isn’t. One of Them. She smiles when we stop, first at me then her eyes shift to Cam behind the wheel. It takes a second, just an instant, and we know what we’ll do. Our own rebellion, mine and Cam’s. Together.
She gets in the back, thanks us for our kindness, and we drive off. She talks about how where she’s from, everyone is always helping each other. We say nothing, we can’t exchange a word with her. Her voice, distorted, unnatural. Unnatural, that’s it. Not Us, Them.
I’ve never thought about Heaven and Hell until they came. If we’re good and do as we’re told, we go to Heaven. If we’re bad and evil, we go to Hell. Do they get buried or smoked into ashes? Do they even have souls?
When Cam drives through the entrance to the underground parking garage, she suddenly stops talking. Her voice freezes in her throat, her breath catches in the air. She knows what we’re going to do.
She doesn’t move, doesn’t flee. She accepts it. How very inhuman of her.
I know Cam has a gun in the glove compartment, someone gave it to him for what we’re about to do. It’s charged and ready for to go. But where do you kill someone who isn’t like you?
Cam drives deeper underground until no one’s around. We’re all alone, the three of us. The radio’s gone static, the noise unbearable. I switch it off, annoyed, fingers sweaty.
Cam parks the car in the darkest corner. I look in the rear view mirror and watch her. She stares back at me with her glassy eyes, follows me out of the car and waits, docile. Cam points the gun to the wall, so she moves closer to the wall. And then, it happens.
My heart gives a twinge, my breathing is too fast, my eyes go from the girl to Cam. He feels the same, I can see it by the way he studies the concrete at his feet.
Do it, he says with his eyes, giving me the gun with the barrel pointed down. Coward.
I think that maybe holding the cold steel, the ever powerful object, would make me feel better, feel human. It doesn’t. It’s heavy, and my hands shake under the weight.
I’ve never done it before—I never thought I would. Take a life, decide the fate of someone other than myself, take away something that isn’t mine. And yet, this girl deserves it. She took something that wasn’t hers, she invaded an entire planet. My hometown, not hers.
I look through the sight of the gun, even though she’s standing a few feet away from me. This is too raw, too real. I point further down the wall, making her turn around, and she faces it, waiting for the final blow.
I know we have to do it, not just for ourselves, but for mankind. We have to do it as a gesture, as a protest, as a way of getting ourselves heard.
Dread, the end of it all. An urge to stay alive, the instinct of being, to dream, to take another breath. To fight, to stand, to believe. Do they feel? I don’t think so.
“Heather? I don’t think we should…”
I shoot her, hoping to end the nightmare. The body falls, Cam cries, and I smile.