One: In Coming
They were always selfish creatures. They only cared about the survival and well-being of their lives. They didn’t look up at the sky and notice the Ship coming to their planet on New Year’s Day at midnight. Of course, we didn’t know it was midnight. For it was day time back at our planet. And none of us knew it was a day of celebration either. Though they always seemed to find a reason to celebrate, eat food and have sex.
When our ship landed, there was a loud crash. Smoke flew from the engines of the ship, causing a massive windstorm on planet earth. The door opened slowly and we covered our eyes in order to block the sunlight from blinding or burning us.
The Captain stood in front of us. His scabbed skin clearly visible from his iron suit and metal helmet. His black nails were visible in his fingerless gloves and he licked his pointed black tongue over his sharp teeth and he said, “Don’t worry. I’ve been to this planet before. Your body will adjust.”
I was confused by what he meant, but I never questioned. We were never allowed to question him. The Captain’s pitch-black eyes scanned his sea of people and his eyes landing on mine last. I bit my tongue until blood spread across my lips and I had to suck it in, in order not to get into trouble.
The Captain gave me a second chance. A second chance was rarely given and I appreciated it. I treasured this second chance and did not want to let him down again.
The Captain drummed on his gun and kept his eyes on me as he spoke. “Kill anyone in your path,” he growled. “And remember to use the English language. They will be thrown off guard by that and it will make it easier to kill.” Blood drizzled around his gums as he spoke and I looked away as slightly as I could so he wouldn’t notice. However, when I looked back, he was right in front of me.
He stepped close to me, standing on my toes. He gripped my chin tightly and I felt his sharp nails against my skin as he pulled me forward and as he spoke to me, I smelt the blood in his breath. “Never look away from your Captain.”
I nodded and kept my eyes on him. He shoved me back but thankfully, I didn’t stumble over my feet as he stepped off of them. He walked back to the front and his back faced us. The Captain chuckled, held up his gun and screamed. We charged past him and I was wondering why he waited, that was until he grabbed my arm with such strength that it almost became numb. He squeezed my arms tightly and his fingernails dug into my skin. My eyes burned but I did not dare to look away. I squared up with him and looked him dead in the eyes.
I was just as muscular as him and was able to take on the same amount of people. He wasn’t a challenge. Though his words on the other hand… I couldn’t fight.
“Don’t fail me Forty-Two,” he hissed.
I narrowed my pitch-black eyes on him and said, “I won’t.”
“Promise me. You do your job and you will be rewarded,” he said pulling me close.
I nodded and said, “I won’t fail you Captain.”
“Say you promise.”
“I promise,” I made sure to raise my voice so that it showed I was willing to do what it took for him to let me go.
He laughed and shoved me out the door. The sun burned my skin, but it only formed more scabs. My people had already begun shooting the Humans right and left. Adult and Tiny Humans held each other’s hands and ran away only to meet the ground with a bullet inside their fragile bodies.
I forced a laugh and ran for one of the humans. I held up a gun at the Adult female’s face and shot it without thinking. She shrieked and fell to the floor. The Tiny female next to her cried and I showed no mercy. I shot the child so she would be with her mother.
I jogged down the city streets and the screams of the Humans filled my eardrums. Then, I came across a group of Adult Male Humans. They didn’t look like formal Adults. They seemed to be smaller but they weren’t Tiny Humans either.
I was bumped by one of my people and he shot one of the Adult Male Humans without thinking. He looked over at me and said, “What are you doing Forty-Two? Help me kill em!” I did so and he ran off to kill the next group. How many people have we killed so far? We outnumbered the Humans from a thousand to one. They didn’t stand a chance.
The sky darkened and clouds formed in the sky. I wondered if it was going to rain. Rain was going to make everything worse if that was the case. I hated the rain. I hated getting wet and sticky. I hated clothes sticking to my skin and my scabbed skin getting wet and how it made it easy to peel off.
Then, I heard a strange noise in the distance and red and blue lights flashed. It was high pitched and it sounded as though someone was screaming. Screeching noises came nearer and my heart raced. What the hell was going on?
I entered an alleyway and saw moving machines with English words written on the side of the doors. Adult males came out of the cars and there were a few Adult females as well. They were dressed in the same outfits, like uniforms and had gold badges on them with letters written on their badge. I couldn’t quite make out what they said for I understood only a little bit of English.
An Adult male with dirty blond hair and facial hair pulled out a white cone looking thing and spoke into it, “Surrender your weapons or there will be war!” I recognized the word war but everything else was gibberish to me. There was already war. War was something that was unavoidable for my people. People craved it as though it were a drug.
I slowly backed into the alleyway, hiding in the shadows. I needed to get away. Thankfully, the Head trusted us to not put trackers inside us. It was time to run away. However, I heard extra footsteps. They were tiny footsteps and not as loud as Adult footsteps were. I spun around and held up my gun, aiming at the tiny Human.
The male tiny Human looked up at me with wild, curious eyes. There was no fear in his eyes. He was not timid at all by my presence, which was strange. Most Humans feared us. They ran or tried to kill someone. However, all he did, was stare at me. His head cocked to the side and his colored eyes narrowed in on me. His palms faced me and his body posture was open. Were all tiny Humans like this? More curious than the Adult Humans?
“Have you seen my mommy?” the tiny male Human asked in a high-pitched voice.
I wondered how old he was. How many years he had lived on this planet. I didn’t recognize the words he was saying. I should have paid more attention to the English lessons. However, one word I did recognize was mommy.
“Please. Where is my mommy and daddy?” the tiny male Human’s voice was pleading. His voice was shaky and I could tell he was about to cry.
I lowered my gun and he arched his colored eyebrow. He took a step closer but I immediately brought it back up. I held out my hand and he said, “What’s wrong?”
Tiny Humans were strange. Why were they so brave to approach people like us? They weren’t like the Adults who fought back.
“Forty-two! Quit playing with our prey! Shoot him!” someone from behind me shouted.
I looked over my shoulder and saw my fellow soldier, Eighteen, behind me. His eyes glared at me and said, “If you don’t shoot I will.” He held up his gun and I gasped, looking back at the tiny Human.
His colored eyes were now glossy and his body shook. “Please. Don’t kill me,” the tiny Human cried.
I frowned and jogged over to him. He backed up to the wall, his palms pressing against the cold stoned wall. His eyes watched me carefully as I placed the tip of the gun onto his forehead. The tiny Human whimpered and closed his eyes.
I sucked in my breath and was about to pull the trigger until I realized I had so many more questions to ask him. “Name?” I managed to say though it took all of my energy to mutter that English word.
“What?” the tiny Human said.
I didn’t understand him so I repeated the question, asking a second one as well. “Name. Age.”
“Why?” the tiny Human asked.
Eighteen shook his head and shouted, “Hurry up and shoot him already!”
“Please,” I said.
“Nathanial. Ten,” he said in a shaky voice.
Before I allowed him speak anymore, I shot him. I shot him. My gun became loose in my hands and I had to grip onto it tighter in order not to drop it. Eighteen growled in annoyance and said, “Why the hell would you ask him his name and age?” I shook my head and Eighteen jogged away.
I sighed in relief and was about to follow Eighteen, until I heard a gunfire and saw a round black bullet flying through the alleyway. My eyes grew wide and I dropped to the floor, barely missing the bullet. I fired my gun without thinking but didn’t hear it land.
Then when I looked up, I saw an Adult Male Human standing at the front of the alleyway. His colored eyes were wide and filled with anger. He gripped onto the weapon tight in his hands and shot at me again. I rolled to the side, avoiding the bullet and shot him back.
“Stop!” the word was foreign to me but I found myself saying it.
Not to my surprise, the Adult Male Human lowered his weapon. He blinked and then held up his gun to his eyes, aiming directly at me. He stepped forward and I held up my hand.
“Why should I?” the Adult Male Human asked.
“Stop. Please,” I managed to say.
“You shot that kid, didn’t you?”
I cocked my head to the side and looked at the direction to where the weapon was pointing at. It was pointing at the Tiny Male Human that rested lifeless on the stone ground. I looked back at the Adult Male Human and nodded. Why was I telling him this?
He glared at me, now furious. He stepped forward and I quickly held up my gun. “Drop your weapon!” the Adult Male demanded.
I flicked my eyes to my gun and shook my head, not understanding what he was saying. Then he said it a bit more clearly, “Drop your weapon.”
I did so and raised my hands in the air. I stood up and stepped away from the Adult Male. Maybe if I were forced to give up my weapon, the Captain wouldn’t kill me.
The Adult Male Human tilted his head to the side and said, “Why did you listen?”
He arched an eyebrow and stepped closer to me. I slightly lowered my weapon and eyed him as he neared me. “Why?” he pointed his gun at the tiny male Human and then back at me.
I tried to remember what the Head taught us. What the word work was in the English language. “Job?” I said hesitantly. Unsure if that was the correct word.
“Job?” he seemed to clarify.
I nodded. My lips quivered and I went back for my gun when I heard my people come near us. I looked worriedly at the Adult Male Human and I ran towards him. He held up his gun and said, “Don’t! I’ll shoot!”
I ignored his unknown command and pulled him into the alleyway and hid him in the shadows as my people ran past the alleyway. He stared at me in confusion and asked in a whispered tone, “Why?”
I shook my head and said, “Job. Don’t. Like.”
He nodded and we stood up once we thought the cost was clear. I nodded and was about to run from the Adult Male Human, until he said, “Where are you going?”
I nodded towards the exit of the alleyway where it was clear of my people and said, “Leaving.”
The Adult Male Human nodded and ran his fingers through the hair on top of his head. He glanced back and said, “Come with me.”
I only understood one word: come. He gestured to himself and I hesitantly walked forward. “Please. Come with me.” I only understood based on his hand motions and then I shook my head.
“Why?” he asked.
I pointed outside the alleyway and tried to remember the words. “My people. Can’t kill. Leader kill me.” The sentence was broken but I hoped he understood what I was trying to say.
He sighed and put his gun in the back of his strange looking pants. Then he held out his hand and said, “We’ll figure this out. Please come with me.”
I stepped closer towards him and looked down at his smooth skinned hand. The Captain never offered his hand to me. He never asked me anything. He demanded.
I cleared my throat and moved my hand slowly towards him. Then I said, “Bring gun.”
He nodded and said, “Of course I will.”
He then lead me down a back path where we avoided both of our people. I wondered why he was so willing to take me with him. He was supposed to kill me. I was killing his people. We were supposed to kill each other.
As we hid in a corner, I looked over at the Adult Male Human and said, “Why?”
“Why what?” the Adult Male Human asked.
He pursed his lips together seemingly in thought and said, “You’re different.”
“Different? Good? Bad?”
“Not sure yet,” he said.
I nodded and we continued to run. As we ran, I looked over at him, realizing I didn’t know his name. As we paused for a quick breath, I asked, “Name?”
He laughed and shook his head. Laughter seemed to be a universal language. I understood when a person was laughing but I never understood if it was a good or bad kind of laughter.
“Eric. What’s your name?” he asked.
“Forty-two,” I said.
He shook his head again and said, “That’s not a name.”
I glared at him, offended. I earned that name. I earned that name when I did my job correctly. The Captain gave it to me. I rightfully earned this name.
“That’s my name! Take it or leave it!” I shouted.
Eric raised his hands in the air and said, “I’m sorry.”
I gasped and took a step back. I had never heard anyone say that to me before. Why did he say it? My heart raced and I folded my nails towards the palm of my hands. Eric walked over to me and I held up my gun.
He raised his hands in front of him and said, “I’m sorry Forty-two. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“You did!” I said. My eyes began to burn and I looked away. I wasn’t supposed to cry. Neverthoughts never cried.
“Forty-Two, please forgive me,” he said calmly.
He moved his hands towards my gun and lowered it. I allowed him to but kept my pitch-black eyes on his colored ones. He focused on me but not in the way the Captain did. He waited for me to say something before he spoke. He waited for me to do something before he did anything. He waited.
I searched in my head for the right words to say. I should have paid more attention when the Captain taught us English. “I forgive you.”
He sighed and suddenly pulled me in close to him. I was about to scream and pull away, until he released me quickly and said, “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.”
My lips quivered and I looked away, my cheeks burning. He then lifted my chin up gently (though I was afraid he was going to hurt me like the Captain) and said, “It’s okay.”
I nodded and before we continued our run, I looked into his eyes and said, “Where are we going?”
“We’re going to a safe place.” He paused and then he said, “Do you trust me?”
Did I trust him? I trusted the Captain. Or rather, I was told to trust the Captain. He knew what was best for the Neverthoughts and he always did what seemed to be the right thing. I was trying to be like him. But no matter what I did, I always seemed to do something wrong. This was something the Captain would not have approved.
I nodded and allowed Eric to lead the way.