Bernard Farage was standing in front of Primrose Cottage. He remembered the first time he laid eyes on it. It had been the beginning of autumn, and the village of Gateway Hill had just started to transform itself into a picture-perfect orange-and-yellow garden. Right in the middle was the beautiful, three-little-pigs-worthy, cute, stone cottage with a thatched roof.
The garden beds were packed tight with plants. At first, he had been puzzled by the informal crowding of the large variety of flowers all around the garden, but then he realised that the mix of perennial flowers with foliage plants was what had turned that cottage into the village’s prettiest dwelling.
Except, this time, he was not getting the usual tingling of pleasure he got every time he opened that gate. Primrose’s sweet, pink-stone path to the wooden door, once so picturesque, was slowly becoming a road to the executioner.
He stood in front of the door, his heart racing and sweat starting to drip down his temples. For the first time, he regretted his sense of style. He had always been a big fan of three-piece pinstripe or chalk-stripe suits, and he always wore a fedora hat. This time his hat and suit were burning him, and he couldn’t stop sweating. He was about to turn back when the door opened.
Oh, for heaven’s sake, he thought while shrugging his shoulders.
He already had his back to the door and was not quite sure how to explain his presence, but he had been caught trying to leave and decided that he now had no other choice but to turn around. And so he did, wearing his best smile.
Standing at the door was a skinny gentleman in a brown suit; Farage only knew him as Bob. Bob was pale, with dark circles under his eyes. Farage had always wondered what his function was in the house.
With his slow voice, Bob asked, “Can I help you?”
“I would like to see Her Highness,” said Farage.
Without a word, Bob slowly opened the door wide, then stepped back and waited.
Farage reluctantly stepped inside the cottage. He slowly walked through the narrow, beige corridor with the royal’s Shih-Tzu showing him the way.
When he walked into the small living room, he took a moment to look around him. On the left wall was an old, red-brick fireplace with a large, rustic, oak beam above it, and above that were three handcrafted, blue-and-white wall plates. An elegant, seventeenth-century bureau was at the right of the fireplace. On the floor was a beautiful, eighteenth-century, red, Persian rug, and on the left of the room was a stunning, handmade, marquetry dining table made of burr-walnut, with matching chairs. He saw a set table for tea with a Victoria sponge cake, a few watercress sandwiches and an elegant china tea set, which almost matched the wall plates.
The royal was sitting in a mid-nineteenth-century upholstered armchair of gigantic proportions in Carolean style. It had American walnut veneer over a beech-wood frame.
Farage’s heart always raced when he laid eyes on the royal, with her smooth, olive skin, her long, dark hair, her penetrating, dark eyes, her high cheeks and her plumped and pouty mouth.
She has a face to launch a thousand ships, he thought.
He was also extremely attracted to her oversized bosom, her wide hips and her long legs, which she loved to cross and uncross in front of her. That day, she was wearing a high-necked, long-sleeved and backless see-through, black, dress with a short train. He thought she looked spectacular. He wouldn’t have expected a woman of her size to be wearing such a revealing outfit, but her confidence and the unapologetic way she was flaunting her generous curves was what made her the head-turner she was.
She approached him very slowly, wearing a small smile on her face. She was barefoot. When she reached him, she gently touched his right shoulder and walked around him, still affecting him. She couldn’t help a little smirk of contentment when she noticed his breathing accelerating. She loved how easily people became aroused around her. She eventually walked around him and came back full-circle, facing him.
“Why are you scared of me today? What is wrong, my dear Bernard?” she said while playing with the black lace around her right wrist.
“Your Highness,” he said in a trembling voice, “the vicar has refused your offer. He is demanding that we leave the village immediately, or he will be forced to call the authorities.”
She took a big breath, walked a few steps backward, and said, “Very well, show him how serious we are. Dispose of the boy.”
She was no longer smiling. Even her gait was no longer seductively swaying; it was straight and firm like a soldier’s. She turned back and sat on her antique armchair, both her arms resting on the chair’s arms.
“Darling, can you come in here?” she yelled, without taking her eyes off Farage.
A teenage boy, skinny, short, and Middle Eastern, appeared from the other end of the cottage, his short and wavy hair shining, and his dark eyes staring at Farage arrogantly.
“Go and get a poisonous fly for our friend Bernard. He is in desperate need of one.”
Without uttering a word, the boy walked out of the living room and started climbing the stairs opposite.
“I will take care of it personally,” said Farage.
“No, you won’t. Find a human who has not yet proven their loyalty to us to our satisfaction,” said the royal while getting up from her chair. She then slowly approached him and said, “After the deed, reward the human and inform our dear vicar that either the village is ours or you will personally organise the pied pipers to land on their doorsteps. Do I make myself clear?”
Farage nodded and suddenly heard footsteps. He turned around and saw the teenager standing behind him.
“Here you go,” said the adolescent.
He extended his arm and opened his palm. Farage noticed a small tattoo on his right wrist. It was round, with outlines of the silhouette of what seemed to be a face. It was the royal family’s emblem. The only people allowed to wear it were their most trusted and loyal local servants. Farage realised that he was facing one of them.
The royal family had been enslaving humans for centuries, and rumour had it that the descendants of those humans were immediately born into slavery. Since his arrival on Earth, he had yet to meet one of high rank, until this day.
The slaves ranked from the lower caste to the higher caste. The lower-caste slaves were those with no value other than for use in scientific experiments or human behaviour studies. They were just given the bare minimum to survive because their life expectancy was so short.
The caste just above the lower rank was considered necessary for manual labour and nothing more. They, too, were given the bare minimum but were allowed to live in their own homes, unlike the lower caste, who were confined.
The lower-middle caste, used for their intellectual prowess, were given better accommodations than the lower ranks, and also bonuses during religious holidays.
The higher-middle caste were also used for their intellectual prowess, but due to their intellect being far superior to any other caste’s, they were kept in relative luxury and given a chance to join the higher-caste rank.
The last caste was the higher caste. They were slaves only on paper. They had willingly offered themselves to the royal family, and no one was above them, besides the aliens themselves. They were extremely wealthy and had control over all other slaves and took their orders directly from the royal family and no one else.
Farage grabbed the transparent box holding three flies and brought it to eye level. They were miniature robot flies infused with poison. Their technicians had designed them especially for use on humans.
He bowed to the royal, who nodded, signifying the end of the meeting, and left. The royal then turned to the adolescent, still sitting on her chair with her arms resting comfortably, and said, “Watch his chosen one closely. If they refuse to execute the boy, or if anything goes wrong, I will expect you to finish the mission for them.”
The boy nodded affirmatively, then left the room, following the same route Farage had taken.
The next day, Farage was back in J. C. Maxwell Academy, the boarding school where he had been working for years. He was looking around the dining room. He had spotted Nigel Weatherford, son of Gateway Hill’s vicar, Norman Weatherford. He turned to a skinny, pale, blonde woman with brown eyes and wearing an animal-print dress. “Are you ready?” he asked her.
She nodded yes, then opened the palm of her hand. In it was the transparent box. She opened it, and an already moving robotic fly flew away. The poisonous fly had been the preferred method of killing for the group, to avoid the attention of the police and shed doubt on the victim’s family’s murder claim.
Despite her repugnance at killing a child, Candice Dujardin was determined to carry out her mission. She had already given up too much; an additional dead child wouldn’t change much. It went without a hitch. After the food stations had been opened and the students had made their choice, they sat down. As soon as they did, they noticed a fly circling the youngest students’ table. A few of them tried to chase it away by waving their hands, and it seemed to have disappeared. A few minutes later, the fly reappeared, landed on the young Weatherford, then flew out a nearby window.
Weatherford had just started to eat his salad when he turned red and grabbed his throat, struggling to breathe. The boy next to him grabbed him just as he was falling from the table bench. Other students got up and tried to help, carrying him and laying him on the floor while the other students ran to get help from the teachers. It was unnecessary. They had watched the scene and were quick to respond.
Weatherford was still clinging to his friend’s hand, his eyes filled with fear. He eventually pulled his other hand up and grabbed his friend’s shirt. Then he fell on the floor while his friend tried to get hold of him. As soon as he hit the ground, he lost consciousness.
Other staff members took the students away, and they all watched the paramedics come in and examine Weatherford. Dujardin was still supervising the hit; she watched a paramedic leaning over Weatherford. He raised his head, looked at the school staff facing him, and shook it negatively. Weatherford’s art teacher screamed and slowly slipped down to the floor and covered her mouth with her hands. Others came down to her level and tried to help her up, but she pushed them away. The paramedics transported the little boy’s corpse to the ambulance.
Standing at the back of the room, watching silently, was a young boy. His dark eyes met with Dujardin’s brown eyes. She raised her head in defiance, and he smiled. She is officially one of us now, he thought.
The next day, the vicar, with the assistance of the village mayor, allowed the group to take full control of Gateway Hill.