Oh, the humanity.
That was the first thought to enter Anaximander’s mind the second he stepped off of his front porch. In such a stable society, living with his grandmother in his comfortable family home, he never imagined that his neighborhood would become a battleground.
He’d lived with his family for twenty odd years now. It wasn’t normal to walk outside and see strangely-shaped aircrafts whizzing through the sky overhead, or to see soldiers on the ground stomping down the street with their weapons held high and their huge armored vehicles following them at a slow pace. It was only a matter of time before it came to this; some people expected an alien invasion, and now, it was daunting on their doorsteps. The conspiracy theories and media hype about aliens didn’t seem so ridiculous now.
Anaximander suddenly felt rushed. Just before he turned to enter his home again—in order to retrieve his grandmother and get to safety—a hand clamped onto his shoulder.
One of the aliens stood very close to him, its grip on him tightening, its eyes resting on him menacingly from behind its round helmet. The alien raised its odd looking pistol, pressing the barrel of it into Anaximander’s stomach.
Frantic, Anaximander spun around and dove; he landed inside of his home and kicked the door closed behind him. He scrambled through the hallway and stumbled into his grandmother’s room.
His grandmother sat peacefully in her rocking chair as she always did, and she didn’t look frightened. Anaximander tried to usher her out the door, tried to make her move, but she refused to. She simply shook her head, giving him a sweet smile and gesturing for the door.
She wanted him to escape without her.
Anaximander stared sadly at the old woman. His grandmother had many health problems, and she couldn’t move very well. But how could he live with himself if he ran off without her? Could he really do such a thing?
When he heard the front door burst open from the other room, he gave his grandmother a last pleading look, and she motioned for him to go.
Anaximander darted across the hall and pushed his bedroom window open. He climbed outside, his feet meeting the hard surface of dirt, and he ran into the distance aimlessly, hoping to escape the invasion in one piece. Apart from his neighborhood, there weren’t many houses around. It was mostly empty land. The wind hit his skinny body as he ran, and ran, and ran… his muscles aching, his heart hammering…
Tears obscured his vision as he continued to sprint. For the longest time, he and his grandmother shared a peaceful life together. And now, because of the aliens, their home was gone and his grandmother was as good as dead.
This was nothing like the stories or conspiracy theories. No, this was far worse.
Words couldn’t describe the level of despair, hatred, and helplessness pulsing through Anaximander’s veins. How dare they take his home. How dare they take his family.
Another neighborhood came into view, and despite his legs growing more and more painful, he kept up his pace until finally reaching one of the back yards of the new neighborhood. Anaximander hoped that he had time to warn the people in this neighborhood of the danger, but after he clasped his hands onto the corner of the house and squinted at the street, he was able to see that the enemy had already taken this neighborhood for their own. The aliens marched up and down the road, and any of the citizens who dared to resist them was shot on the spot like an animal. Anaximander would never forget the sounds of their screams, their sobs, their last words as they begged for their lives…
Sickened, Anaximander turned and pressed his back against the wall, his trembling hands covering his mouth as he tried not to vomit. People were being murdered just around the corner, and there was nothing he could do about it.
The ground tremored under him.
Bombs fell on a location unknown. Far enough not to harm him, but close enough for him to feel.
How could they do this? Why would they slaughter everyone upon first contact?
Anaximander stood against the wall for what felt like years, but was probably only minutes. After a while, the sounds from the street died down, and he poked his head out.
Most of the aliens had vanished from the area after killing everyone in their wake. Nothing moved, nobody stirred, and a silence fell.
In the seconds following this quietness, however, Anaximander caught sight of a very sudden movement from around the opposite corner of the house. He jumped so hard he almost toppled backwards. It wasn’t an alien; it was one of his own, a little girl, who couldn’t have been more than five years old.
The small child dashed out from behind the corner and approached him. She wrapped her tiny arms around his leg, and Anaximander knelt down, holding the girl close and vowing to keep her safe.
He examined her; the little girl had a huge pair of luminous black eyes, which shone in the most innocent way he had ever seen. She looked positively terrified, and rightfully so. This little girl was the only person to have survived the massacre of her neighborhood, as he was his. Anaximander wouldn’t let anything happen to the child. He’d protect her with his life.
He took her hand and walked off, away from the neighborhoods, away from all of the buildings in view.
They needed to get away from civilization, away from the targeted areas of the aliens. Their only hope was to find a secluded place to hide until the danger would pass.
There was no telling how long they walked across the vacant landscape. The little girl tried to stifle her cries as they walked, and Anaximander didn’t mind. He wanted to cry too, but right now, they needed to focus on getting to safety. There would be time to mourn later.
After hours of tireless wandering, Anaximander and the child finally found a small creek surrounded by a few trees. There weren’t many trees in the world, but what few there were were quite beautiful, with thick blue leaves, and with red berries on the ends of the branches… and the gentle running of water could soothe anyone’s mind, even after what they had experienced.
Anaximander sat beside the creek and filled his hands with water. He held it up to the little girl’s face and allowed her to take a long sip, then gathered another handful of water and guzzled it himself.
Every inch of his body hurt, and he assumed the little girl felt the same way. Their stomachs were empty and their thoughts going a thousand miles an hour, but it didn’t matter. At least they were okay, and far enough away from the murdering aliens for the time being.
Anaximander curled into a lying position underneath a tree, the little girl cuddling up to him and vanishing in his embrace. As the day faded into night, the air became chilly, and they both clung onto one another for warmth. Neither of them would get much sleep.
He slipped in and out of consciousness for a while, startling himself awake with even the slightest of noises, many of which he imagined. His mind filled with lucid dreams of the invasion, the space ships, the guns, the screaming, the sobbing, the face of his grandmother that he’d never see again…
After about five hours of waking up and falling asleep repeatedly, Anaximander finally gave up. When his eyes drifted open, his heart tried to leap into his throat.
Two of the aliens stood over him and the little girl.
Anaximander froze, clutching the child in his arms and glaring furiously up at the two murderers.
“Wow… you’re right.” One of the aliens said in a language that Anaximander didn’t understand. “These things are freakin’ hideous. Look at them. They don’t even look like they have bones, and their skin is so…. ugh… slimy looking.”
“Mhmm.” The second alien agreed with a head nod. “They don’t even fight back, either. This is gonna be the easiest war we’ve ever fought, you know that? Damn things just let us walk all over them.”
The second alien was close enough that Anaximander was able to see the color of its pinkish flesh beneath its round helmet. It had smaller eyes than his people did, two beady blue eyes that glistened with a peculiar passion, a lust for bloodshed.
Anaximander placed one of his slender green hands on the little girl’s head. He wasn’t sure how to protect her, but he would die trying.
“War?” The first alien laughed. “This is too easy to be a war. This is pest control. Humanity wins this round. Sorry, creatures. This planet ain’t yours anymore.”
The nearest alien placed its gun up to Anaximander’s forehead.
The girl began to cry into his chest.
Nobody wanted to believe that humanity would resort to this, that their planet becoming uninhabitable due to their own abusing of it would lead to their forcibly taking over the neighboring planets. But here they were, stealing Anaximander’s home and slaughtering everyone that he held dear.
The man’s finger grazed the trigger.
Anaximander appeared angrier than ever before.
He would die portraying his utter disgust of the human race to the fullest.