I've been kicking around ideas for this potential novel for a while, close to a year now actually. Comments? Suggestions?
The world was in chaos. The war was raging in the Middle East. Korea was testing nuclear weapons. The Red Sox didn’t make it to the World Series.
We were so wrapped up in our own problems that we didn’t realize the problem building around us. As our heads lie buried in the sand a cloaked space station continued to inch closer and closer to our world. We finally dug ourselves out of our own petty problems when they landed on Earth.
Suddenly our differences were forgotten. A cease fire was called and we all began preparing to defend ourselves against a common enemy. Well, at least we assumed they were the enemy.
“Brain eaters,” some accused. Others believed the mother ship had finally come. They were all morons. Too many sci-fi horror movies and Twilight Zone episodes had prepared us for mass panic. “Don’t forget,” they warned, “To Serve Man is a cookbook.”
When they first landed they contacted the United Nations and gave them the infamous “we come in peace” line. Nobody bought it. Fighting of course began and we lost, in only a matter of weeks.
In the end even if we had successfully nuked them we would have just been destroying ourselves. They had embedded themselves into every area of the globe from the very beginning. There was nothing we could do to stop them. We were unprepared. We didn’t believe an attack like this could happen, at least not at the time. They were obviously much more advance then us.
Most believed it would be better to live under them then to not live at all. Of course I say most because they were and still are factions against them.
I was afraid of what this meant for my world, which was selfish because I was at the center of my world. Would I continue working and attending college? Would my family be safe? Would we have to leave our home? Would we be exterminated?
We started to get answers pretty quickly after we lost power. We were told to continue conducting our normal daily business. They did not wish to ruin our economy or way of life. So for about three months we lived our lives almost the same as before the landing.
Then selection began.
It was just another boring day. I was sitting in statistics class watching the clock more than the teacher’s hieroglyphics covering the board when the announcement was made.
“All women please report to the gymnasium,” an unfamiliar voice announced over the PA. I didn’t even know we had an intercom system.
The halls were buzzing with rumors as we made our way downstairs and out the double doors. We all filed into the gym like sheep. It seemed that the final consensus was that there must be a selection happening here. Here.
We had all heard about the selection. It had started about a month before. The soldiers, their soldiers, were picking out girls. Some found it romantic. Most just found it barbaric. The majority of the men had already finished choosing their girl. I honestly didn’t think they would ever come to a small school like this one.
I took a seat on the bleachers and looked around at the other girls. Some were crying and already begging the guards posted at the exits to let them go. Others were visibly nervous and talking loudly to one another. They speculated on who would be chosen, what the criterion to be chosen was, and so on. They reminded me of excited hens clucking endlessly. Maybe they were trying to be annoying, so they wouldn’t be chosen.
I was calm. No human man had ever shown me much interest, so what would an extraterrestrial want with me? I had nothing to worry about, so I sat there quietly and mentally played the odds of who would be chosen and who would be rejected.
We were instructed to be quiet as a procession of soldiers walked in. They were almost all identically dressed. The men were wearing navy blue pants with two thin white stripes down the sides and matching jackets. They actually reminded me of U.S. Navel officers.
People have speculated on why they appear to be human in form. Many believe they have the ability to shape shift. Others believe that like a chameleon they adapt to their environment. We really didn’t know much about them.
There was one man unlike the others. He seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place him. He wore black leather pants and an army green colored muscle shirt. His large silver belt buckle and black army boots completed the rebel rocker look. He stood tall with his arms crossed in front of him as he scanned over the crowd of girls in front of him.
Whispers began to fly back and forth between the hens. He was their leader’s son. I knew I had recognized him. He had been shown many girls, but none had appealed to him. Whoever he did pick would become a princess and someday a queen. Of course they were assuming that the men of their race were monogamous. We didn’t know if they were or not.
The girls began the longest walk of their lives. Row by row they got up to parade in front of the men. The son was first in line of course, followed by about twenty other men waiting to choose from his rejects.
By the time my row had its turn to strut in front of the men there were only ten left. I watched the girls who were chosen. They were all pretty, skinny and scared. Are we really sure these men aren’t human, my mind asked sarcastically.
When I finally got to the man in the leather pants I stopped like all of the others before me. I turned to face him and locked my eyes with his. They were hazel like mine, but with the army colored short on they became the most mesmerizing shade of green. I couldn’t stop staring. He leaned back to say something to the man behind him in their language. I couldn’t understand his words, or body language. The other men had simply reached out and grabbed the woman they wanted. He hadn’t done that so I turned to continue the degrading walk.
“Miss,” said the man he had spoken to, “Come this way.”
Great, I thought, I had to stare into his eyes. That’s probably considered a threat or something. Now I’m probably going to be arrested or executed or both.
Instead the man led me out the door and to an empty military style SUV. I was ushered into the backseat and he drove me to the airport in silence. I was too afraid to ask any questions.
We flew to New York on a private plane. When we arrived another SUV was there to pick me up and drive me out to a compound. They brought me into a large room where I sat, paced and hyperventilated for three days. I was brought meals three times a day and clean clothing once a day. Well, clean underclothes anyways. The clothes I was wearing disappeared after the first day and I was left with only humiliating underwear. I felt ridiculous, even though the only person to see me undressed was the woman who brought me my meals.
The room itself was pretty barren, especially for its size. There was a king size bed on the back wall, a desk on the left wall and an easy chair in the opposite corner. There were two doors on the right side of the room. One was a full bathroom. The other was a closet full of men’s clothing. It was obviously a soldier’s room.
“I wasn’t picked,” I repeated to myself for three unbearably long days.
It was the end of the third day when he came strolling through the door. It was right around dinnertime, so I assumed it was the women with my evening meal. Instead it was the son; I still didn’t know his name at the time.
I quickly jumped out of the easy chair and into the bed where I pulled the covers up to my chin. He gave me a quick glance, but said nothing. He silently took off his leather jacket and threw it on the chair I had previously occupied. Then he disappeared into the bathroom.
I stared at the closed door. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just sat there and stared dumbly.
When the door opened and the women rolled the cart of food in I just stared at her as well. She knew he was there. She carried in one chair and then another. As usual she didn’t say a word to me. She just turned and left. She left me alone, with him.
He came out of the bathroom and took a seat at the cart. He began eating without giving me a second glance.
I watched him eat while clutching the sheets tightly, my knuckles white. My mind ran over the possibilities of what would happen next. I had never been that afraid. The uncertainty of the last few days was finally getting to me and all I wanted to do was scream. I wanted to beg for my freedom like the other girls. Instead, I sat frozen in fear and to be honest morbid curiosity.
When he was through eating he moved to sit next to the bed in the easy chair. He was so close I could feel the heat radiating from his body. He on the other hand seemed oblivious to me. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. He sat there silently playing with some electronic device.
I jumped when the women again entered the room. She removed the chairs and cart in silence as always. She acted like nothing was different. I wanted to smack her or just push her out of the way as I made a break for it, out into the hallway and out of this windowless prison.
She closed the door and he turned the gadget he had been so fascinated with off. Then he stood up and stripped off his clothes. He deposited them on the chair and looked at me intently.
I didn’t dare move, but I have to admit I did look. I suddenly didn’t feel as frightened.
He moved towards the bed and gently pulled the sheets down. Then he took my hand and pulled me out of the bed. I stood there before him and I felt my face heat up. The blush traveled from my face down my entire body under his thick gaze.
He cupped my face and forced me to look into those beautiful hazel eyes. I had never felt so alive. My entire body was in hyper drive and as his lips met mine I thought I would explode right then.
The next morning I was awoken by gentle kisses and hands roaming my body. There are definitely worst ways to wake up.
Life continued this way for months. The days were long and predictable, while the nights were too short and always excitingly new.
I still didn’t know his name. He hadn’t spoken a single word to me. I wasn’t even sure if he understood English. I hadn’t talked to anyone since I was brought to the compound. The silence of the room was deafening while he was gone.
One morning after he left I paced back and forth in front of the door he had gone out of. He never used a key and I never heard him lock it from the other side. Likewise, the woman didn’t seem to use a key to enter. I had never tried opening it.
I took a deep breath and then another. I sat down in the chair for a while and chewed on my nail. Then I walked up to the door, grabbed the handle and pulled my hand away like I had been burned.
This is insane, I chastised myself, just open it.
I turned the knob and gently pulled it towards me. It didn’t open. Then I realized I had to push, not pull.
I stuck my head out and met the eyes of a soldier guarding the door from across the hall. I quickly ducked back inside.
He didn’t move to stop me from leaving, so maybe it was okay for me to walk around. After several minutes of pacing and considering my options I was determined to step out into the hallway and take the risk.
First, however I had to find some clothes. There was no way I was wearing just my underwear while walking around the compound. I searched through the closet and pulled out a large long sleeve shirt. It only reached a little below mid thigh, but it was better than nothing. I added a belt to give it a little style. I looked at myself in then bathroom mirror. I looked silly, but at least I was covered.
I squared my shoulders and pushed the door open. I stepped out into the hallway and stared at the guard. I pretended to be brave and with my eyes I dared him to try and stop me. He didn’t.
I turned my head to the right. It was the way I came in. I turned my head to the left, the unknown. What the hell, I thought.
I took off down the hall well aware of the guard’s footsteps following closely behind. There were rooms upon rooms and three stories for me to explore.
I found one room I was interested in: the kitchen. The food we ate here was edible, but it had no real flavor. It was mostly just plain chicken and mashed potatoes, or a steak and green beans.
I cautiously pushed open the swinging door and took in the room. It was a chef’s heaven. Everything was state of the art right down to the cupboards. I had to admit I was a little jealous that all this time I was stuck up in his bedroom, while the servants were getting the opportunity to work in here.
I silently slipped inside the room. No one seemed to notice, or care. I looked through the cupboards and the refrigerator. I was content soaking it all in. The guard was still close by my side, but he didn’t interfere.
Then I found the pantry. It had everything: Spices, glazes, sweeteners, canned vegetables, rice, pasta, and even chocolate. I hadn’t eaten chocolate in months. I quickly grabbed all of the ingredients I would need and carried them out into the main room.
I had to rely on my memory for the recipe, but I was pretty sure I was making out of this world, sinfully delicious chocolate chip cookies with extra chips. When the first batch came out of the warm oven I took a bite and nearly melted. These beings definitely underrated the power of chocolate.
After finishing the cookies I began on dinner. I made a mouth-watering three cheese ziti casserole with fresh tomato sauce and basil. As I was putting the finishing touches on the meal and packing it onto the meal cart the swinging doors swung open.
I was afraid at first, but he didn’t seem angry. He nodded at the guard who consequently bowed slightly and left. I continued packing the food onto the cart, while he took a seat on a nearby stool and watched. When I was through the woman who usually delivered the food to our room took hold of the cart and headed out the door with it.
I watched him intently as he tasted the casserole. As usual he didn’t show any emotion and we ate in silence. When dinner was through I pulled out the chocolate chip cookies from underneath the cart. He took a bite and I caught the flash of satisfaction in his eyes. It was a look I had only seen after dinner.
I finally had something to do during the day.
About six months after I had been chosen I began to really feel homesick. It’s not that I didn’t miss my family, but the holidays made it more pronounced. Thanksgiving Day was just another day. I stayed in bed all day and refused to eat. He tried to coax me out of bed, but I stubbornly refused.
When Christmas came I refused to cook for an entire week. Finally, he started to understand. On Christmas Eve he brought home a small Christmas tree. It reminded me of the pathetic Charlie Brown tree, but it was sweet. I ran down stairs and popped four bags of popcorn. We spent three hours decorating the tree.
That night I finally said my first words to him.
“Thank you,” I whispered into his shoulder.
“You’re welcome,” he answered.
I pulled back surprised. He spoke. All of these months I had so many questions and now I couldn’t say a word. So, instead I nuzzled back into his embrace and fell asleep.
The next morning I watched him intently as he ate his breakfast. He acted as though nothing had happened the night before. Everything happened that night.
“Why haven’t you ever talked to me before?” I finally asked.
“Why didn’t you ever talk to me?” he countered.
I was dumbfounded, but I didn’t have an answer for him. Why hadn’t I tried to talk to him before?
A few minutes later he rose from his seat to retrieve his jacket from the closet. He was leaving for the day, but where did he go?
“Where are you going?” I asked boldly.
“I have to meet with my father and then work on a policy project we are working on to present to the United Nations,” he answered.
I simply nodded and watched him leave.
“Okay, so I have a list,” I announced when he walked into the room that night.
“A list of what?” he asked confused. He dropped his jacket on the chair and pulled out the electronic gizmo he was so fond of.
I sat cross legged on the bed and flattened out the sheet of paper in front of me. I spent all day writing down questions, but there were fewer than I thought there would be.
“First of all,” I began seriously, “what is that gadget your obsessed with?”
He looked up and blinked.
My eyes narrowed slightly. There was no way he didn’t know the meaning of gadget. Guys are terrible liars, no matter their species. Playing dumb and innocent never works fellas.
“That gadget,” I said pointing at the electronic device still in his hand, beeping sheepishly.
“It’s a highly advanced graphic stimulator with a built in transmog…”
“It’s a game boy?!” I gasped.
He shifted in the chair and nodded his head.
“Unbelievable! No wait typical,” I said. “Okay, moving on. Is my family alright?”
“Care to elaborate?”
He closed the game boy and leaned forward.
“You’re very sarcastic.”
“I think I have the right.”
He smirked and leaned back in his chair.
“What does that mean?”
“They’re living their lives just as before.”
“I’m not there!”
“So how can they be ‘living their lives just as before’?”
He didn’t reply. He just sat there in his chair and stared. His hazel eyes were dull.
I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to scream. For the first time I wanted to hit him. Instead all I could imagine was a large clock sitting between us, ticking away endlessly, deafeningly, mocking me and my sheet of questions. Did answers really matter? Would they be truthful? Could he lie about the big things, the significant things? Would he lie? Did my questions matter? Did my life matter anymore?
I suddenly realized that the man I was sitting across from was a stranger. The man I made dinner for nearly every night was foreign to me. I knew where to touch him, how hard to press and how fast to move, but I hadn’t even met his parents. They lived here, in this prison somewhere, but he had never introduced me.
I wasn’t shackled in the corner, but I wasn’t allowed outside of the compound walls. He degraded me by making me prance around in underwear all day, never allowing me my own clothes and forcing me to wear his shirts to play house in the kitchen. Is that what he wanted, a whore barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen?
That’s not me. I’m not the girlfriend. I’m not wife material. I was never meant to be anyone’s mother. I’m not a whore. I’m not his or anyone else’s.
“I hate you,” I stated very clearly.
He didn’t flinch. He continued to stare at me until the women came in with the cart.
It wasn’t an invitation, but an order.
I didn’t reply. I sat in silence and watched him eat.
Fuck you, I thought, fuck you.
After dinner was cleared away he joined me on the bed, clearly looking for his after dinner screw. I always found ‘chew and screw’ crude, but now I was beginning to understand the deeper meaning. Is this how all women trapped in relationships with men they loathed felt? Lie on your back. Focus on the ceiling. Don’t move. Don’t make a sound.
I wanted to cry afterwards, but I couldn’t. Not here, never in front of him.
I stayed in bed until he left the room the next morning. I had missed breakfast, but I figured I could get something in the kitchen. Forcing myself out of bed was harder than most mornings. I felt weak and exhausted.
I ran the water in the shower until it was blistering hot and I submerged myself under its warmth. I scrubbed. I soaped. I rinsed and repeated. Over and over and over. Finally I collapsed on the floor of the tub. I couldn’t cry. I knew I should, but I couldn’t muster up a single drop of water that was my own.
I’m not sure how long I sat there under the hot water. I might have fallen asleep or passed out. It didn’t seem like a long time to me.
Suddenly he was there. He must have opened the door and pulled back the curtain, but I don’t remember. “Fuck” was all he said as he shut off the water and pulled me out of the tub. He wrapped be in a coarse towel that moved against my skin like sand paper and made me groan.
He led me out to the bedroom and forced me into the bed. I had to lie on top of the blankets because the thought of being under them made me wince. Then he was yelling into his game boy in his language, one I heard every day in the kitchen, but was still no closer to understanding. It seemed ridiculously unfair in that moment that he spoke a mysterious language, a code of sorts, and all I spoke was common English.
The women came in immediately, followed by three other women I had never seen before. They assessed me. Stared at my naked body and judged. He sat on the chair saying things in that language and staring.
They rubbed a mysterious oily substance all over my body. It made my skin cool, but there were places they had to wrap in thin gauze like material, another one of their secret alien materials no doubt.
When they judged me well enough they scampered out of the room. He continued sitting and staring. Then the women came back with the cart. That damn cart with its wobbly wheel. You’re a superior race, but you haven’t figured out how to prevent wobbly wheels?
He fed me. I didn’t feel much like eating, but I didn’t want to starve to death either. I still had some survival instinct left. Unfortunately the food didn’t stay down long. Fortunately it landed all over his beloved army boots and a smidge of it tainted his precious game boy.
I think I fell asleep when my stomach was completely empty again.
“So are you disappointed?” I asked him early the next morning. I was sitting across from him, at a safe distance, trying to force down dry toast.
He didn’t reply, as usual, but I didn’t need a response to continue.
“You got the defective. After all that time searching for a girl, going through selection after selection, and you get stuck with me. What happens now? Are you allowed to pick another girl? You’re the damn prince of this regime so I’ll assume you do. Do you kill me? Do I get banished to the kitchen forever? Is there a dungeon?”
I stopped, but I didn’t take my eyes off of his.
“Nothing has changed,” he said and then went back to his eggs.
“Guess that means you only get one shot in the lottery,” I replied darkly. I didn’t wait for a response. I stood up, slowly padded over to the bed, and crawled up in the mass of blankets, safe from his cruelness in my little hovel.
Sex. It sucks. It doesn’t suck. It’s amazing and usually indescribable, but it sucks when you have to pretend it sucks.
After a few months of silence and loathing I started asking questions again, only less formally.
“Why do you look like me?”
He sighed his boredom and buried his hand in my hair as a distraction.
“Human I mean.”
“Would you rather me three feet tall and green?”
“It might have been easier to handle.”
“You want to have sex with a short, hairless, green guy?” he asked, slight amusement colored his voice. Tonight felt lighter than any night since Christmas and I was feeling brave, curious even.
“No,” I answered, unable to stifle a giggle. “I just mean…you don’t naturally look like this, right?”
“So why do you look like this?” I pressed.
“So it’s easier to handle,” he replied. His fingers stroked my hair softly and I could feel sleep coming on quickly, but I wasn’t giving in until I got my answer.
“Are you ugly?” I asked tactlessly. All tact went out the window (which didn’t really exist, in this room anyways) ages ago.
“No,” he replied, “just different. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and all that.”
“Do you shape shift?”
He smiled when I asked this. I couldn’t see his face because my head was on his chest, but I could feel the muscles move as his grin widened.
“Yeah,” he replied with a chuckle, “that woman who brings you chocolate chips in the kitchen is really me in disguise.”
“That’s not what I meant,” I said, trying to keep the humor out of my voice in an attempt to turn the conversation towards seriousville.
“No. I can’t become some else, a house plant, or the neighborhood dog.”
“So how do you do it?”
“Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar,” I replied sarcastically. “How do you look like us?”
“Genetics,” he finally replied.
“Explain,” I ordered. I was becoming frustrated and sick of the shooting bullets that he kept dodging so artfully.
“We mixed our genetic material with yours and created a synthesis that catalyzed the transformation,” he answered.
“You took a drug,” I clarified.
“More or less.”
I looked up and glared at him. The dodgy answers were really pissing me off, so I removed my hand from his body, a measure I never used before.
“Think of gene therapy or sex changes, only this was way less invasive than a slice and dice operation,” he explained rather quickly.
Satisfied I put my hand back to work and sighed lazily as he continued to stroke my hair.
“Where did you get that?” he asked. He hadn’t even thrown his jacket on the bedside chair before asking the question.
“I liberated it.”
Now he threw the jacket and began unlacing his shoes.
“Does nowhere have a library or maybe a name?”
“Dinner’s going to be late tonight,” I announced without looking up.
“Set something on fire again?”
“A little?” he asked clearly amused. Someone must have reported the minor incident to him. “You singed three eyebrows and caused a major explosion in an oven that knocked out the electrical on an entire floor.”
“State of the art wiring,” he responded. “I’ll be out of town for the next three days try not to burn down the compound.”
I hate being alone. I hate when he’s gone. It’s the only time I cry. I never used to mind the silence or a cold, empty bed, now I fear them. The thing I fear most is that this is all reported to him when he arrives back to the compound. The poor little human couldn’t get out of bed, eat, or even shower without her big strong…boyfriend? Mate? Lover? Owner? Husband?
- Current Location:bedroom
- Current Mood: guilty
- Current Music:Me and Mr. Jones