Author’s Note: Excuse the long title. I’m mimicking a Fall Out Boy-style of title.
I wrote this during midterm-exams, and it’s actually a Based On A True Story-material, but I figured it might be offending so I tried to cover some of it up.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Cheers. x
It all started when I was in school.
And sitting for my midyear test, no less.
It was unbelievably hot, like any other day, and the fact that my new uniform still itched definitely did not help my situation. My eyes were focused on the clock, watching the second-hand ticking by slowly, counting the seconds until the bell rang and the first day of my exams would be officially over. Exams were a student’s nightmare. The past few weeks had been exceptionally agonizing without a single speck of entertainment lest I wanted never ending naggings from my parents.
I sighed and stretched my arms, which emitted cracking sounds of pleasure. I tilted my chair far back, and heard the crashing sound the very same moment the front legs of my chair touched the ground.
It wasn’t like those ‘911’ or Icelandic volcano eruption crash, but the sound was startling enough to grab everyone’s attention, even those who had their heads buried in their arms.
“Lilith,” I whispered to my friend beside me. “Did you hear that?”
She nodded, eyes not meeting mine, a frown on her face. I let out a long breath. Curiosity made me want to jump out of the window right now to the source of the sound, which, I was pretty sure, was coming from the school front porch. The teacher in my class got up and walked sluggishly to the door, starting a conversation with the teacher next door who also had her head stuck out.
Oh, my God. This was getting frustrating.
I doodled on the back of my test paper until I couldn’t stand it anymore. “Hey, Teach! What’s going on out there?”
She didn’t even look at me.
Everyone’s head snapped towards me at once, but I couldn’t be bothered. Restlessness seeped into my every pore and I knew I had to get there right now.
Suddenly, the discipline teacher’s voice came over the PA system. “All students please remain in your seats even after the bell rings. We have a matter at hand and we appreciate your co-operation. Thank you.”
A matter at hand? Did she think this was a freaking mall or something? Hell no, no one was going to make me stay in my freaking seat.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with the same notion. I heard trampling noises from the classes next door, and even from the other buildings, and I recognized my cue to escape. I jumped up from my chair, test paper abandoned, and dashed out of the door, leading a few other rebellious streaks like me towards the school porch.
This was worse than a fire alarm practice. This was real, not some stupid practice meant to get our asses off our chairs and under the freaking hot sun where teachers took pleasure in our roasting.
I was one of the few to reach the front porch first, along with a few other seniors and teachers, and what I saw before me made my eyes go wide.
How do I even begin to describe the… thing? It wasn’t a UFO, not really, because we couldn’t be sure if it was flying when it crashed here. It was an eerily gray, huge, metallic flat disk the size of a mini-submarine, with no markings or pictures on it to indicate if it was harmless or lethal shit.
What the hell is that?” I thought I heard someone from the crowd exclaim. Almost everyone in the school was here by now, but no one seemed brave enough to approach the disk.
The principal appeared after that, and boy, was she furious.
“Everyone –get back to your classrooms! Now!” She shrieked over the commotion the students were making. She looked livid enough to breathe fire that everyone started to retreat ever so reluctantly, muttering non-stop. I was determined not to move, but I saw Steph and Dana moving up front so I followed suit.
Trust the principal to shoo us all away when something interesting finally happens.
My test paper was almost invalid by the way I ran out so suddenly just now, but I begged my teacher, and, moved by my determination –or irritated by my pleadings- she accepted my paper. Now there was only one problem left in my mind –the disk.
Half-heartedly, I was kind of hoping the discipline teacher would call me back to the porch as I was a fricken prefect, you see, but no, no announcement ordering us to head for the porch. I was boiling. What were they trying to do, keeping us here like prisoners? The teacher remained in our class, and her cell rang every five seconds.
Time flew by. Five minutes… Ten minutes… Twenty… Forty-five… An hour had passed by and we were still trapped in this stupid classroom. If they didn’t want us to see the disk, at least let us freaking go home! I knew my dad would be majorly pissed off if I came out late.
I turned to tell my teacher this, when I heard the sound.
No, it wasn’t another crash. God knows how I’d have to deal with another crash. This was more like a faint zapping sound, as if electric currents were running loose from wires. I looked around but realised I was the only one who had heard it. I didn’t even know if it was only a figment of my imagination, or just my paranoia. Maybe I needed a hearing test or something.
But, there, I heard it again, and it seemed to be coming from the class next door. Frowning, I crept to the farthest end of the classroom and peeped through the tiny hole in the wall only Lilith and I knew to, well, you know, peek at the other class when we were bored. I expected a chaotic class of sorts, like my class, but what I saw made my eyebrows shoot up.
All of them, and I mean every single one of the students plus the teacher in class were frozen. Not with ice, but rigid, with their eyes staring straight at something at the doorway. Except there was absolutely nothing at the doorway.
It crept me out.
I was about to rush to the other class when I heard faint chatter coming from outside the verandah along the classroom. I froze, straining my ears to hear better, my eyes darting outside, but I could see no one and nothing.
I knew immediately when they reached our classroom.
The chatter outside died away, and the door swiveled open slowly even though no wind was present. I was expecting two bodies with ugly heads standing at our door, but nothing.
“DUCK!” I shouted instantaneously to anyone and everyone in the class, hoping they would get my message in time.
I ducked under my table –knocking my forehead against the desk in the process –and squeezed my eyes shut. Sure enough, there was the expected zap! and everything stopped at once.
The only sound I could hear was my own breathing, coming in short gasps. I was too afraid to move, afraid they would see me if I moved a muscle at all. I counted to ten, then to twenty, then to thirty, until I realised I couldn’t keep on deceiving myself like this anymore.
I opened my eyes and slowly rose from my hiding place. No one or nothing zapped at me, so that was a relief. The relief vanished as fast as it appeared when I looked around me. I had to bite the inside of my cheek to stifle a cry of fear.
Everyone had the same blank look the other kids sported in the next class. That frozen, wide-eyed, gaping expression that creepily reminded me of the time when Hermione was petrified in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie.
What appalled me the most was the possibility that there were no survivors. Was I the only one in this class who didn’t fall prey under the alien zappy thingy?
Alien. The word just spewed out from my brain uncontrollably. As much as I wanted to deny it, I knew the truth. The facts and proofs were all laid out for us to see. Weird, UFO thingy? Check. That invisibility shit without an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter? Check. Scary, out-of-the-world guns that had the same ability as Medusa to turn people into statues? Check.
Sweet mother of Jesus. We were having an alien invasion.
“Hello?” I whispered, worried that those aliens would turn around and zap me too. I had to ask. My tiny brain just couldn’t accept the fact that I was all alone in this school, dealing with a bunch of fucking aliens. My blueprint life wasn’t planned out like this. It couldn’t be.
My eyes darted around, ears strained, looking for a sign of life. I knew Lilith was frozen next to me, Isabel and Nicola just as rigid as her behind me, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at either one of them. I was afraid I would give in to my nausea then.
“Psst! Maddy!” Oh God, thank you, thank you, thank you. I spun towards the source of the sound and found Naomi crouched under her seat, whispering my name. I let out a cry of relief and dashed towards her, tears of joy almost leaking from my eye sockets.
But I found out that Naomi wasn’t the only survivor besides me, thank God. Apparently, many had heeded my order to duck. Well, not many, but many enough. There was Steph, Allison, Addy, Yvonne and Erika. All of them had managed to duck in time, which made me grateful that I had a loud albeit boisterous voice.
Allison, being Allison, started to whine annoyingly now that she’d found someone to whine at.
“What on freaking Earth just happened? Did you see that? Did you? They just…froze!” I didn’t have time to deal with her childish behavior so I gave her the you-better-shut-up-or-I’ll-kill-you look. “Shut up of they’ll come back for you!” I hissed under my breath.
Unfortunately, that didn’t stop her. Naturally. “’They’? Who the hell are ‘they’?” I rolled my eyes and resisted slapping my hand over her mouth to shut her up. I didn’t know if they could or had heard us; I didn’t know if they were even gone yet; I didn’t know if there were millions more roaming the school; I didn’t know a single damn thing that could help is in this situation.
“Listen, here’s what I’m gonna do…” I started, glad that I was actually stranded with these people. Steph and Yvonne had the brains; Addy and Erika had the cool and Naomi the agility. I won’t even start on Allison.
“I need to find out if there are any more people in this building. And the other buildings too, to be honest, but I need to make sure the coast is clear before I wander away from this spot,” Everyone except Allison nodded, too shocked for words. She looked as if she was ready to butt in so I quickly added. “You guys are free to decide if you want to follow me or stay here. Of course, I can’t guarantee anybody’s safety…”
“I’m staying here!” Allison exclaimed.
I gritted my teeth. “Naturally.”
“Someone needs to stay guard at out base anyway. Consider that job taken.” She smiled sickeningly at me.
Base? Guard? Did she think this was some kind of action-packed real-life video game or something?
Instead, I accessed the classroom and figured it would be safe enough and said, “Fine. C’mon, let’s go.” I was relieved to find Steph, Yvonne, Addy, Naomi and Erika trailing behind. Apparently, no one wanted to be in the same room as Allison for too long, either. If this situation persists, Allison and her false bravery might come crawling toward us any minute now. I crossed my fingers and willed myself to move faster.
Sadly, the first class –which I had peeped into earlier- was already hopeless. Thoughts of Libby and Abbie in there were… too difficult to bear. I crept along the wall, hoping we were out of sight. The whole floor was empty, at least it was, to me. If there were any more invisible things… well, we weren’t dead yet, were we? I took that as a comforting fact.
The third and fourth and fifth classes were gone too, but at the last class, we found two terrified girls huddled under the teacher’s table. It took us a long time for us to convince them that we weren’t aliens. Honestly, have they not seen our damn faces in this school before? Did we have green-coloured skin? Three eyes? No nose? Why they would even think of us as aliens was a mystery to me.
“What now?” Yvonne croaked as a total of eight of us emerged from the last classroom, still terribly shaken. I looked at the stairs leading to the ground floor that was located right in front of us. Every cell in my body urged me to search for more people, but the more rational part of my brain told me to do so if I wanted a suicide invitation.
But I didn’t have a time to think, because just then, Erika hissed, “Get back! Get into the classroom!” Adrenaline pumping again, we darted into the nearest classroom and hid under the tables, trying very hard to ignore the fact that frozen legs were dangling beside us.
There was nothing at first, and I started to glare at Erika, wandering if her paranoia had gotten the best of her, but then there were footsteps echoing in the verandah, and I cringed. Shit. Did he/she/they hear us? I held my breath, not even daring to bat an eyelid.
The footsteps stopped for a second, then started again, this time, heading inside the classroom.
“What happened here?” My heart almost leapt out of my ribcage, but then I realised who the voice belonged to. It was Mr Robert, our Geography teacher and the one teacher I absolutely despised the most in this entire school. I didn’t know whether to feel happy or sad, but decided on the former because, well, at least he wasn’t an alien.
I almost leapt up from my hiding place to seek the comfort of the presence of a grown-up, but the other girl, the one we found from the last classroom –her name was Becky or something like that- beat me to it. “Mr Robert!” She exclaimed exuberantly, and what happened next altered my psychological perspective forever.
Becky was zapped immediately, and in Mr Robert’s hand was a gun –a vaporizer gun, I reckoned- the size of a water gun, but sported a rusted metallic hue that made it look deadly instead of fun. He started coming for us next. Well, shit.
I tried to retreat further back into the classroom without being noticed, but no such luck. My teacher’s eyes found me and he held up his vaporizer. That was the time I realised that, instead of the presence of black pupils, Mr Robert’s eyes were milky white, eyeballs turned inside out. I almost when screamed, when a raspy voice over the PA system –wait, they even took over the goddamn PA system?- interrupted, shouting something incoherent, that was obviously foreign. I mean, alien.
Mr Robert froze in mid-air, his gun hovering a few inches over me. I held my breath until he backed away, his eyes unseeing. He was gone by the time I managed to catch my breath.
Judging by the way Mr Robert –or rather, the alien- had left so abruptly after the announcement, I figured they were being regrouped or something. At least I learned something new from all of these: the fact that aliens could possess human bodies. Or maybe Mr Robert was an alien in disguise after all. You know, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
I told my friends about that –except that part that our teacher could very well be a native alien in the first place- and suggested we go for a search now that the aliens might be having a merry get-together or something. No one seemed to object and I wondered where this status of mine as the leader of out motley crew had come from.
Still cautious, we tip-toed down the stairs and almost shrieked in fright when a cat passed by. At least, Dana wasn’t here, because I knew she would have definitely screamed out loud, alien invasion or not. It ‘miaow’ed at us rather unkindly, and I wondered if animals could be possessed, too.
We checked the Form One, Two, Four, Five and Six blocks and found a total of five survivors. It seemed like they had fared worse than us. When we reached them, they were hysterical, thinking we were going to kill them or something. We had to prove ourselves human by actually singing the school song and clarifying who the new American Idol of Season Nine was. After tossing us suspicious glares when I failed to come up with his full name the first time around –“Okay, okay! It’s Leon James DeWyze, happy?”- they finally believed us.
The rest of the students were incredibly impassive, devastated that they had lost a friend or sibling. I wanted to strangle their necks with my bare hands and shout in their faces that They. Are. Not. Dead. And they needed to get a fucking grip on themselves if they really wanted to save themselves and their friends.
It took a huge effort to coax them out of the ‘safe’ confines of their classroom, but I succeeded in the end, especially when I told them there were aliens here and they would round the school buildings more often than our school teachers ever did. As soon as the words left my mouth, I made a mental note to check on Allison to see if she was alright.
“Here’s my plan. For now.” I said to all of them when I was pretty sure we were safe. “Steph, I trust you to lead them on a search for weapons. At the gardening store or the lab or whatever material you can find that is able to cause damage. Severe damage. Oh, and save me a knife or two, will you?” I instructed before heading for the staircase to Allison.
I didn’t know why I even bothered. She was the one who was too stubborn to follow my lead, why the hell should I even care?
Because she’s your friend, a voice echoed in my mind. No matter how irritating or annoying she was, she had been my classmate for three years now, and I couldn’t just let anything bad happen to her, could I?
There you go again, Maddy. Being all heroic and stuff.
My hairs stood on its ends as I inched nearer towards my classroom. A sickening feeling in my gut told me something wasn’t right.
Everything was too still and quiet.
Knowing Allison, she should be blabbing away with that uncontrollable mouth of hers, regardless if anyone was there to listen to her at all.
There was no sign of Allison’s redhead in the room, only those frozen figures that, somehow, looked even more intimidating than before. I was about to turn around and leave, thinking that maybe Allison had come after us after all and might even be loitering at the corridor outside, when my eyes caught sight of the whiteboard.
It was still intact, sure, but it seemed as if someone had used a sharp object to scratch words into the board. And the three words on it was enough to make my breath catch in my throat.
Bye bye, Allison.
From that particularly distasteful three-word farewell sentence, I deduced several facts: one, Allison was captured by the aliens. Two, somehow, those aliens knew English. Three, they were playing us. My feet didn’t feel like moving at all, in fact, all I wanted to do right then was collapse on the floor and sleep and wish this was all just a crazy nightmare from memorizing all those periodic tables and history facts, but I also knew I had to get to Steph and the rest before they, too, got kidnapped.
However, I was about to realize that I was just as vulnerable as Allison and the rest. A pair of strong, buffy hands caught me from behind and the smell of chloroform was forced into my nose, making me cough and splutter helplessly. It all happened so suddenly that I wasn’t given the space and time to react.
And then, there was only blackness.
“Oh, my God, Maddy! For God’s sake, please wake up!”
If there was anything that could wake a hibernating bear, it was Allison’s shrill and incessant whining.
My eyes snapped open instantaneously. Warm, orange light shone down on me and I figured it was close to evening. Evening? Why wasn’t I at home, enjoying dinner yet? What was Allison doing here, wherever I was?
For a blissful moment, I was granted a false illusion that I had experienced a nightmare about frozen people and aliens and arguing over Lee DeWyze. With a frown, my pupils focused themselves and I found myself still in school, and every single thing rushed back into memory like an overflowing dam.
“Whoa. How- how long did I black out?”
“They brought you here about three hours ago, I think, I don’t have a single clue what time it is now, and we’re supposed to wait,” Allison pouted indignantly.
I raised my right hand to rub away the blurriness that was still lingering in my eyes, but found out that I couldn’t move my hands at all. I looked down and let out an exasperated groan when I saw huge, fat ropes stretching taut against my entire bodice. With the realization came pain, and I had to take short, shallow breaths to avoid suffocating myself.
“Where the hell are you and what am I tied to?” I whispered.
“You’re tied to the tree at the teachers’ carpark and I’m right behind you, at the other side of the trunk.”
I had failed to pinpoint my exact location from the ceaseless processing still going on in my brain, but now that Allison’s said it, I noticed she was right. Judging from my vantage point, I was bound to the gigantic Flame of the Forest located at the west side of the parking lot. Where there were initially rows and rows of teachers’ cars parked in the middle of the lot, there was only an emptied space left. At first, my brain processed the obvious, that the teachers had, by some impossible miracle, all gone home, but then my eyes darted to the edge of the carpark and my heart sunk when I saw a ten feet high pile of dented cars. There goes Mr Firemon’s BMW and the principal’s Mercedes.
“You said we were supposed to wait. For what?” My heart was picking up pace even though I couldn’t see a single alien in sight.
I heard Allison sigh. “I don’t know. They’re in invisible mode and they said that they’re searching for something. Here. In the parking lot.”
Invisible mode. Just great. And what the hell are they searching for in the decrepit carpark? Diamonds? I snorted. Not likely.
I was kind of hoping these aliens would –typically- brandish a flag or whatever and say something about “We’re here to take over your planet Earth! Mwahahaha!” like they usually do in sci-fi movies, but if they wanted to act uncool and play hide-and-seek in my school parking lot, fine by me. All they’re gonna get is a really, really mad Maddy.
And so we waited, with only the occasional ‘crack’ of a twig or the rustling of dry leaves on the ground to indicate any sign of activity at all.
I thought I was about to doze off in exhaustion and boredom until I saw silhouettes heading for the parking lot. At first, I thought it was more aliens, but then with a nauseating jolt in my stomach, I realised it was Steph, Yvonne, Naomi, Addy and the rest of the survivors, hands tied to their backs, being led by –Erika.
Erika! I couldn’t believe it. She’d betrayed us all!
As soon as the group reached the lot, a tall woman materialized in front of them. My heart leapt again when I realised the woman was my English teacher, Mrs Zaria.
“Are these the only ones left?” She asked coldly, her voice familiar yet strange at the same time.
“Yes, Foreela,” Erika said obediently and handed my friends over to Foreela with a shove. Seriously, “Foreela”? That has to be the most uncreative and horrid name ever in human and alien history.
“Vaporize them.” Two men appeared –oh look, those are the school bus drivers- holding guns not unlike Mr Robert’s.
“Wait!” I shouted before I could control myself. I heard Allison sigh behind me. “You- you can’t do that. You have to let them go.”
“And why is that, human?” She said the word human like an environmentalist would say global warming. I looked away. I couldn’t talk back to Mrs Zaria’s (body) for God’s sake!
“What the hell do you want from us?” I answered her question with another one, my eyes never leaving the concrete ground below.
“You didn’t answer my question, human.”
“Let them go, then.”
The female alien snarled. “Be quiet, you insolent human! Or I’ll have someone vaporize you!”
I had had enough of the word ‘vaporize’ for the day, but I shut up all the same. Allison surprised me by rebuking, “You can’t vaporize Maddy.”
“What?” Foreela hissed.
“I said, you can’t vaporize her. You need her.”
I was stunned. Apparently, so was Foreela. She glared at Allison nastily. “Lord Chempgn, am I allowed to silence the other human?”
An old, thin man appeared next to her and I realised it was Pak Yah, our school gardener. Under different circumstances, I would’ve found this very funny, but now, I didn’t even know if the word ‘ humour’ belonged in my vocabulary anymore.
“Yes, you can, my dear.”
And with that, a silver glossy tape slid over Allison’s mouth, leaving her mumbling. How the hell did they do that?
“So it’s true, then,” I said in my calmest voice. “You do need me.” For what?
Pak Yah/ Lord Chempgn chuckled. “My dear, we don’t need you. We just need an alive and breathing human. For now.”
I stole a glance at my friends, who were still held firmly in Foreela’s grip. None of them were looking at us but I had a feeling that they were hanging onto every word we said.
Again, Chempgn chuckled. “I absolutely adore your hard-headed stubbornness, that’s why. So when we kill you, it’ll be far more enjoyable than killing a silent one.” His gaze darted to my friends.
Bullshit. Allison was just as annoying. Not that I wanted her to die, but still, I didn’t want to die either!
As if reading my mind, her added, “Of course, it was a tough choice between you and your, ah, expressive friend here.” I could almost imagine Allison’s terrified eyes at his words. “But we were worried her ugly mouth would coerce one of my guards into killing her too quickly, now that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?” He said gleefully, a sick smile on his face.
“My Lord, we do not have much time,” Foreela interrupted, her eyes darting to the setting sun.
“But, of course,” Chempgn clapped his hands once. “Now, Maddy Hitzman, listen carefully when I ask you this question, where is the Granite Slab?”
I stared at him. “The WHAT?”
“The Granite Slab, stupid girl. We don’t have much time.”
What the hell was this guy talking about? Is slab even a real word? Did I look like a carpenter or something?
“I don’t freaking know what you’re talking about!” I yelled earnestly, but Chempgn wasn’t impressed.
“Kill her,” he said lazily to one of his minions.
Shit. “Wait! Maybe I do know something…” The words came out before I could stop myself. It was typical of me to have these outbursts when my brain started to churn like the inside of a cement mixer. I could almost hear Steph’s voice in my mind, There you go again, Maddy. One of these days, that mouth of yours is going to get you in deep shit.
And boy, was she right.
I racked my brains for a lame excuse. “Um. But you gotta let me down first.”
Chempgn sneered at me, but he complied.
My hands were still tied when I was brought down by two of his men. My eyes darted between me and my friends, estimating the distance between us, but Chempgn wasn’t having any of it. I was cornered right up a tree trunk with two vaporizers pointed at me so suddenly I thought I’d dropped my intestines.
“Now. You have five seconds to tell me where.”
“You- you gotta tell me what the hell that is. Or what it’s used for.” When Chempgn looked ready to deliver a blow in my gut, I quickly added, “So that… I might recall what, um, the Lady told me before,” I lied quickly. Wow, Maddy Hitzman. Where had that come from?
Chempgn cocked his eyebrows. “Which Lady do you speak of?”
“Uh. Lady, um, Lady Gaga,’ Wow wow wow. I hoped aliens don’t listen to music or something.
“Where’s this… Gaga from?” He spat at Foreela and she shook her head. “Never heard of her. But she could be one of those newbies from Gallanae.”
Chempgn seemed satisfied with Foreela’s answer. “Very well. The Granite Slab is, clearly, made of granite, and should weigh much, much less than our planet.” Well, duh. I rolled my eyes. It’s a slab, not a Sun. “It is white in colour, and has the ability to disguise as modern-day furniture or objects. Quite tricky. It holds the power of the entire galaxy, and one single shard of it is enough to blow your puny little planet into pathetic bits.” He grinned condescendingly.
Wow, this is starting to sound like Transformers. But instead of super-wicked robots, we get creepy alien dudes. My life is unfair.
“So you see, it doesn’t belong to you humans,” he growled.
My initial response was to rebut back with an indignant ‘Neither does it belong to you’ but my eyes had wandered over to the new, white one-table-three-stools furniture set on the school porch. No one knew when it was placed there or where it had came from. Everyone has thought the principal had paid for it, but no one really knew the true story, right?
Plus, Erika was the principal’s daughter. Betrayal goes both ways, right?
I had an idea.
“I am going. To the porch.” I enunciated slowly and moved just as sluggishly, in case they thought I was trying to run away or something.
Chempgn nodded at one of his henchmen to accompany me there. Just as I had thought. This man thought I wasn’t worth taking away two servants.
We walked slowly towards the porch, a gun held against my back.
I stepped on my shoelaces and exclaimed in an awfully fake falsetto voice. “Oh, my shoelaces!” I expected a nudge of the gun barrel on my back, but apparently, aliens were oblivious to pretense and false acting. Well, there’s my advantage.
As I bent down to tie my shoelaces, I considered which part of his body I could assault. Well, the groin was obviously every woman’s first choice, but this was my teacher’s body. Imagine kicking your Math teacher in the groin. He’d probably use the Pythagoras’s Theorem to kill me afterwards.
So, with semi-inhumane speed, I spun around and kicked hard at the alien’s shin. I wasn’t the crème of the crop in my Taekwondo class, but I certainly knew a thing or two.
Before he had time to react, I stood up and delivered a blow to his jaw. He stumbled and fell down abruptly, his gun clattering onto the floor. I quickly grabbed for it just as Chempgn noticed the commotion on the school porch.
“Stop!” I shrieked, and pointed the gun at the Granite Slab. “This is the Granite Slab. Come any closer and I’ll make sure you never see it again.”
Realisation dawned on Chempgn’s face, and I knew I was right. It was the Granite Slab, alright. But instead of looking horrified, Chempgn’s face broke into a smirk. Something was fishy here.
“Go on, do it.” He challenged.
I grimaced and pulled the trigger.
I examined the gun and found the words ‘low battery’ staring back at me.
Holy shit. How convenient.
“I never allow Dongus to use full throttle,” he nodded at the alien I’s attacked. “He was too stupid to even realize it.” Chempgn was generous enough to offer an explanation, before he shouted, 300-style, “CHARGE!”
Oh shit oh shit oh shit.
All of his aliens appeared at the same time, and the look of horror on my face indicated there were close to forty aliens here.
I allowed myself to emit a timid scream, then scanned around the porch to find something lethal. Of course, there was always the possibility than they would go after the slab and forget about me, but I highly doubted that.
Schoolbags. All arranged on the benches. They were the only weapons I could come up with right now.
For once, I thanked the school for producing students who were forced to carry schoolbags that practically weighed tones to school. I hurled at them in their faces, and that did stop them. They were in human bodies, after all.
But I knew it wasn’t an endless supply, and sooner or later, the aliens would be charging again.
“Maddy!” I heard Naomi’s shout a second before I saw her. She was free. A blade in Steph’s hand told me my friends were free, and were battling against incoming aliens whilst Yvonne tried to get Allison down.
“Catch!” Naomi yelled and tossed a vaporizer gun in my direction, before delivering a couple of huge blows at an alien who was wearing the office secretary’s body. Naomi was the best combat fighter in school, so I wasn’t unduly worried.
It was catching the gun that was the hard part. There were so many aliens surrounding me it was hard to focus my attention on two things at once. Sadly, Naomi’s aim wasn’t accurate and the gun got stuck wedged in between the huge, fat wires taped to the wall adjoin the ceiling.
“Shit shit shit!” The aliens were approaching like insane zombies in Zombieland now, and my hands were aching from all the throwing and hurtling. I was desperate enough to dig my pockets’ contents and send them skimming into the crowd too. Unfortunately, a notebook, a pen, a nail clipper, a watch and two packets of facial tissues did little against the cannibalistic aliens. I had no choice but to go after the gun.
I leapt swiftly onto the bench nearest to the gun and started to reach for it. As typical as any movie of the thriller genre, I couldn’t reach it. I stood on tiptoes and stretched my arm, my hand, my fingers, until I was pretty sure my limbs had elongated a few inches.
The aliens were starting to grapple at the lower part of my body, and between stamping on their fingers and reaching for the gun, I was pretty much out of breath and brain-addled.
I knew the only way to possibly reach for it was to jump, but if I did, I would come raining down on a crowd of feisty aliens, and the thought wasn’t compelling at all. But what other choices did I have?
“Oh God, please please please let me get that gun…” I prayed through clenched teeth.
I jumped and stretched my arm until I thought it would pop out of my socket
My hand closed around a metallic object and I pulled the gun out from the wires. It came out fairly easy.
I didn’t have time to whoop in ecstasy after that, because dropping onto the crowd of forty aliens who wanted to strangle you was probably the worst experience, next to watching the New Moon movie three times continuously.
But the gun had boosted my confidence, and I began to shoot randomly, feverishly. One. Two. Three. One by one, aliens vanished, until everyone realised what I was doing and started to back away.
These aliens think they’re great and stuff, but in the end, they’re just a bunch of cowards.
This time, I pointed the vaporizer gun at the Slab once again. Everyone turned silent.
“Chempgn!” I shouted to the crowd. “Where the hell are you?”
After a moment’s hesitation, he stepped forward from the very back of the alien crowd, and if I wasn’t mistaken, I could read defeat and fear in his eyes.
Score. I had won.
“I want you to listen to me carefully.” I paused. “I want everyone on this goddamn porch to listen to me carefully. You,” I pointed at Chempgn. “I want you and your troops to get your asses off my planet, and don’t even think of paying us a second visit. It won’t be appreciated at all. Secondly, I want you to set things back to the way it were before you showed up. I know you have the ability to warp time and everything, so fucking do it.”
“And I have to listen to you because…?”
I was outraged. I pointed the gun at the bench nearest to the Granite Slab and pulled the trigger. The bench disappeared with a pop sound. I heard Chempgn yelp.
“The next time, I won’t miss,” glad to see the horrified expressions of the aliens at how close their precious stone was to disappearing.
“Oh, and by the way, take Erika and her mother along with you. They wouldn’t like to know what we’re planning to do to them after all this.” Erika flicked a glare at my way and I returned with one of my best glowers. “If anything goes awry at all, I swear with every cell in my body that I will destroy that Slab, vaporizer or not.”
I could almost see the wheels turning in Chempgn’s head. There was no way out of it. I knew he would be back, it was inevitable, but I hoped I’d be long gone by then.
“Very well,” Chempgn was trying hard to sound dignified, but he was close to breaking. He glared at me malevolently, and I saw a red tint flicker over his pupils before it all blacked out.
It was like waking up in a dream. I was back to the exact moment when my eyes were focused on the ticking clock, waiting for the teacher to announce our time was up and start collecting our papers. My heart seemed to beat erratically against my ribcage, and I felt almost out of breath. Lilith tossed me a weird look and mouthed, What’s wrong? But I merely shook my head and tried to calm myself.
“You have three more minutes,” the teacher droned and I cast a quick glance at Naomi’s direction. She widened her eyes and mouthed, I remember. I let out a gush of breath. I hadn’t been dreaming, after all. I looked around and noticed Erika’s absence the same moment the teacher’s phone started to ring.
“Hello?” She paused and frowned. “What do you mean the principal is missing?” She almost screeched into her phone, and everyone’s head swirled around immediately, except for me, a slow smile spreading across my face.
Maybe the nightmare wasn’t a nightmare after all.
I stretched my arms and got up from my seat when our papers were finally collected. Funny, I still felt the remnants of the exhaustion lingering in my bones and I felt close to collapsing in fatigue. I made a beeline immediately for Naomi, Steph, Yvonne and Addy, but before I could reach them, a cold, hard voice called my name and I stopped dead in my tracks.
I turned out apprehensively to find Mr Robert standing at the classroom door. For a moment, I was stunned, petrified, the only thought in my head was Those aliens are coming to get me now!
But I couldn’t possibly ignore a teacher in front of all these people so I walked tentatively towards Mr Robert, fingers crossed behind my back. I could almost feel Naomi and the rest holding their breaths, and I knew they were thinking the same thoughts as me.
“Yes, Mr Robert?” I almost stammered.
“I want your assignment on my table before you leave. Do you honestly think I’m going to forget that you’re the only one left who hasn’t handed in your homework?”
For once, his voice didn’t sound irritating to me at all. In fact, I felt relieved beyond belief. I even cracked a smile. “Alright, sir. I brought it today, you can count on me, sir.”
He raised his eyebrows. Apparently, my sudden affability struck him as weird. Well, I wouldn’t disagree with him.
I was about to skip back into class on a happier note when he pulled my hand rather unexpectedly. His hand closed tight around my wrist and I could hear him whisper in my ear:
“It’s not over yet, Maddison Hitzman. It’s never over.”