Bodiless and floating through space, I heard a booming voice:
“Are you having temperature fluctuations?”
“Yes,” came a melodic, singsong reply.
Who was speaking, I wondered. There was no one out here. Only planets and stars.
“Do you see flashing lights? Hear a constant buzzing?”
Was I even out here?
“Yes. Yes, exactly!” replied the singsong voice. “And I have trouble breathing.”
“You have humans.”
A short pause, like a quiet desert at sunrise. “I was afraid of that.”
“Why did you wait so long to come to me?”
“I thought I could deal with it on my own,” the melodic voice replied. “I tried famine, flood, drought, plague….”
“That won’t work,” the booming voice said. “They’ve spread everywhere. Filled your lungs with toxins, contaminated your blood. Without drastic measures, you won’t last twenty-four hours.”
A racing beat that pounded like an earthquake. “What kind of measures?”
If I’d been able to feel my stomach, it would have dropped like a stone.
There was a sharp intake of breath that roared like a hurricane. “Not again. It took me years to get over the last one.”
“I’m afraid so. But we’ve had advancements since eradicating dinosaurs. The procedure will only take seven minutes. Recovery time will be a few months.”
“Seven minutes?” said the melodic voice, with a tremble that echoed like thunder. “Will it be painful?
“Yes. Very. But you will be rid of humans forever.”
Another pause, like the dead of night. “…I’ll do it.”
I felt a violent jerk and suddenly shot backward through space, past streaks of stars, galaxies and planets, zoomed for a crash-landing on earth and sat bolt upright in bed.
“What the hell was that?”
Outside my window, a black shadow eclipsed the rising sun, turning the world a cold grey.
And a booming voice echoed in my head.
The countdown had begun.