Authors: B. E. Wilson
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Alien Invasion, #First Contact, #Military, #Space Marine, #Post-Apocalyptic
Copyright © 2015 B. E. Wilson
405 Riverview Drive, Suite 304
Chatham, ON N7M 0N3
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, information storage, or retrieval without permission in writing from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
It was my first train ride, my first time away from family, and the first time since the aliens invaded that I had actually felt scared. I had to ride on top of the train—my folks couldn’t afford to buy me a ticket that would allow me the protection and warmth of a railway car.
It was cold and miserable. The rain felt like tiny needles of ice penetrating my skin. Being poor, I didn’t have the warmth of a coat to protect me, which was a luxury in these times. I had to make do with nothing but a ragged, old gray t-shirt. I pulled the neckline up to cover my nose; at least by hiding half my face, I could pretend that I was warm. I swear, even my own breath on my chest felt cold as it touched my skin.
It was getting dark, but I could see the glow of the train station ahead. It looked like a blurry and stained snow globe off in the distance. The scene became clearer as flashes of lightning illuminated the stormy sky.
The train was starting to decelerate. The jolt of the brake causing me to lose my balance, I tried to grab onto something, but it was just a wet slick surface. I accidently made contact with the man in front of me as I fought to grab onto something, anything, to keep my balance. But he just pushed me away like I didn’t matter and over the side I went. Before I knew it I was face down in the frigid mud, my breath taken away from me as I crashed into that soggy excuse for earth.
I had to pull my own sorry ass up out of the mud. The station was just a few hundred yards away, but it seemed like miles. Wallowing through the mud, I could feel my jeans rubbing against the scrapes on my knees as I went. Must have been a few rocks in that mud, and I think I found every one of them.
So this is North Dakota
, I thought.
I could have sworn it looked like heaven in those pictures I’d seen. Now, not so much. What have I gotten myself into?
Finally I made my way up onto the platform. The tiny, old wooden planks covering the ground looked ragged and unkempt as fresh new mud caked together with the remnants of old captured dust. The back wall was covered in green paint and torn camouflage netting. The guys who didn’t have to sludge through the mud were all huddled around the drum fires, leaving no room for unwelcome or weaker foes. All of the smaller and weaker guys were huddling against the back wall. A tiny conductor’s office was tucked in the corner of the station, windows scattered with rotten planks of wood pockmarked with what I presumed to be bullet holes.
I slithered my way through the maze of other young men blocking my path to the small opening in front of the office door, I leaned down to peak through the tiny window behind the rusty iron bars. The uniformed man behind them was sitting at a desk with his feet propped up, deep into slumber, his cheeks puffing outward as his exhaling made his lips flutter.
“Excuse me, sir,” I nervously said, barely a whisper coming out from between my chattering teeth.
He didn’t respond, but only shifted his weight in the chair, crossing his arms across his chest.
Louder and clearer, I cried for his attention again. “Excuse me sir!”
He shot up out of the chair like it had just caught on fire, the veins in his forehead bulging out and his face flooding with a bright red blood crimson.
“Fucking sir? You called me ‘sir,’ you fucking maggot?”
Guess he wasn’t ready to wake up yet. What the hell have I just done?
He ripped open the office door. It made a thunderous boom as it smashed into the back wall, startling the rest of the men on the platform, all of them now focusing their eyes on me. Wasn’t how I imagined I’d keep a low profile. I was now the center of everyone’s attention.
His heavy finger was now poking me in the chest. I looked down and saw that one of his fingers would make two of mine. A thudding sound resonated each time his finger stabbed my sternum, the pain spreading across my entire chest and aching as far down as the soles of my feet.
“I’m a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, you sorry little son-of-a-bitch!”
Holy shit, all I said was excuse me
, I thought.
He grabbed me by the nape of the neck, twisting me to face the others. I could feel his meat hook of a hand squeezing me like he was trying to choke the life out of me. I couldn’t help but grimace; the pain was almost unbearable. His rough and leathery weathered hands felt like sandpaper against my cold aching skin.
“Just like this little pantywaist, if any one of you sorry motherfuckers approach this office, I’ll wear your asses out. Now you!” he screamed in my ear, “drop and give me twenty!”
I froze. I didn’t know what he wanted. I hunkered down, covering my head out of fear that he’d hit me.
“Push-up position now!” he yelled over and over until I complied.
I hadn’t done a push-up since ninth grade. I was scared I’d look weaker then I already did in front of the others.
“Count them off, pussy lips!”
I was okay with the first fifteen, but for that last five, my arms shook and my face became flush. I could feel my chest heaving from being so out of shape. As I finished the last one, I felt his boot hit me squarely between the shoulder blades, shoving me and my face into that muddy, rotten wood floor.
As he held me down, he warned them again, “Anyone else want to speak? If you do, this will be you! I suggest you ladies keep to yourselves! No talking on my platform! You’re lucky I’m letting you even breathe on my platform!”
As I lay there, embarrassed to no end, I heard the door slam behind me. I took my time getting up, hoping nobody would still be looking at me, but that wasn’t to be the case. They were all staring at me with looks of disgust.
“Nice job dickhead,” one guy said.
“Way to go douchebag, get us all in trouble why don’t ya?” another spoke up.
I had never felt so alone in my life. Searching, I found a little section against the back wall that no one had claimed yet, and for good reason. Small bullet holes allowed the wind to howl through. It felt like razor blades dragging against my skin. But I wasn’t going to move. At least no one was going to bother me here.
Even though the cold and the wind were dismal, I found brief respite in my own thoughts. I reminisced about the past, about how all of this had come to be.
I remembered running through the cornfields on my family’s farm in Indiana, chasing my brothers through the never-ending maze of yellow-gold. My little sisters giggling as I chased them, their laughter giving way to their hiding places. Big Sunday dinners with aunts, uncles, and cousins coming from all over. School dances and my first kiss, hiding out behind the barn with Emily Johnson as she let me get to second base.
The memories briefly brought a smile to my face, but my thoughts soon betrayed me. I started thinking of my brothers, both marines, who died in the Battle of Tennessee, or so we were told. My dad said they were only on the ground fifteen minutes before they were reported dead or missing. After that, my beautiful mother turned into a shell of her former self, frail and weak, grief stricken. She pined for their return. My father became haggard, half the man he used to be. I felt the most sorry for my sisters. They were so young when our lives changed that they never understood. They were robbed of their childhoods.
I remembered sitting in 9
grade English class when it happened (Year: 2037). The teacher received a phone call and quickly turned on the classroom TV. I remembered the look on her face as she ran toward it, fidgeting, trying to press the button to turn it on. When that TV came on, the whole class sat straight up.
There they were: visitors, aliens, our actual first contact. Massive spaceships floating over Washington, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, and many more. They even showed up in major cities in other countries around the world. They were just hovering there, long black ships blackening out entire cities with their shadows. The news channel we watched mainly focused on the ship over Washington, I remember it vividly, staring at it, looking for windows. The nose of the craft had a circular shape, but with sharp edges, triangular towers spiked out in odd places on top of the craft, and more smaller and jagged towers poking out of them. The bottom was rounded and smooth like the bottom of a glass bowl.
The teacher turned the volume up so we could hear the reporter.
“Something is happening. I wish all of you could hear this. The noise level is increasing—it’s almost deafening,” she said.
We continued watching as she grabbed her ears and fell to the ground. The cameraman must have fallen too, since his camera angle pointed up into the sky, allowing us to watch the spaceship as it transformed. No doors or hatches opened, but the back half of the ship grew outward for miles, coming to a long point like a stingray’s tail.
Thirty minutes later, the reporter was finally able to speak again as the spaceship started to rise, gaining altitude.
“We’ve been directed to the White House, as the president is now out on the front lawn.”
The next scene terrified everyone in the classroom. There he was waving upwards, smiling for the cameras, welcoming our new visitors, only to be squashed like an ant by a shoe. It happened so quickly, nobody realized where it came from or how it happened. One minute he was there, and the next he was gone; instead, a black square box with rounded edges was cratered into the earth where the president had been standing.
The TV went dark for a few seconds after that. Nobody said a word, until screams rang out when the windows in the classroom shattered. The explosion in Washington, D.C., rocked a little school in Princeton, Indiana, as if it had been next door. I assumed the black box was some sort of bomb.
Looking up, I watched as a shards of glass slashed my teacher’s neck, her hands flailing about as she reached for her neck, dropping to her knees before collapsing forward onto her stomach. She bled out right in front of us.
It was complete chaos, kids screaming and running for the doors. Some got trampled and some of those that fell down couldn’t get back up, didn’t make it out of school that day. I remember that run home, I was still in shape then and ran five miles like it was nothing. My dad was screaming, “They blew up Washington!” He was beyond frantic.
That day changed our lives forever. We gathered everything we could carry and made a run for it, heading north and winding up in a camp outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Men would work in the fields and the factories while the women took care of the camp and the schooling. My father got assigned to a factory making bombs, something he knew nothing about. He constantly tried to talk to the officials running the camp, telling them that he was a farmer, that he would be better suited to working in the fields. But they wouldn’t listen.
Dad told me that half the population had been lost, but we were still in the fight. I think he preached this to us every day, right up until the time when my brothers were drafted. After that, he still preached to us every so often, but when the reports came that they had been killed or were missing in action, he preached no more.
That’s what brought me here today. Instead of getting drafted, I enlisted. I’m reporting for boot camp. I’m going to be a United States Marine.