Lionel the landlord is surprised when he discovers that a new tenant possesses an unearthly secret.
A few weeks ago, I admitted a new tenant into the studio apartment beneath my house. The previous occupant, a small-time drug dealer, had transformed my basement into a hydroponics facility. They never used the product, which explains why I never smelled any smoke, but they did supply to every county surrounding Davidson main. After what I can only assume was an anonymous tip from a jilted customer, the Metro Police bust through the door and forcibly removed my tenant from the premises. The studio apartment only took a few days to clean up, but it would be several more days before I finally acquired a new occupant.
This particular young woman was a bit unconventional, so to speak. She had called me only a few days ago, interested in the vacant apartment. Her voice was very light and airy, almost as if she were floating on the breeze like a wisp of spider silk. She sounded as if she hadn't a care in the world. At the time, this was very appealing as I had little to no tolerance for the overlapping, residual drama that my tenants could potentially unfurl upon me. She seemed to be drama-free. She was perfect.
Upon meeting her for the first time, I was nearly enthralled by her unique visage. She was very tall and lithe, almost to the point of being gaunt. Yet, she was undeniably beautiful in her own way. I had always preferred the look of stockier women, but I couldn't help but find her extremely attractive. Her face was rounded and dashed with freckles, her hair was cut short and possessed an otherworldly, coppery hue, and her eyes were the color of sheer-cut emerald, clouded and infused with milk. Her skin was extremely pale, and reflected the light of the afternoon sun in such a way that I could not look directly at her as she stepped from her vehicle. It was as if she were a Greek goddess, descended from Mount Olympus and come to reveal herself to the mortal landlord.
"Good afteroon! Are you Lionel?" She had asked.
"I - I am, yes." I replied, stammering a bit as my brain attempted to register. "You must be -"
"Lee Hewers." She interrupted, holding out a delicate hand as an offering of peace. I quickly shook it to avoid staring at her any longer.
Over the course of the next few weeks, a series of strange events began to unfold. A few days after she had moved in, I began to notice a soft, pulsating thrumming noise coming from the interior of the apartment below. When I had asked her about it, she merely passed it off as her snoring. A couple of days after that, the entire house shook upon its foundations. At first, I thought it was the result of an earthquake - never taking into account how strange an earthquake in this particular region would be. Once I had discovered that none of my neighbors felt the tremors, I met Miss Hewers on the doorstep. I asked her if she had felt it, and she responded in an apology! She claimed that she had caused the shake, but assured me that no damage was done and that it shouldn't happen again.
"It shouldn't happen again?" I asked.
"That's correct, sir! I know what I did wrong, and I'll be sure to fix it before I try anything else."
I didn't consider Miss Hewers to be a danger, nor a nuisance by any standard. I rather enjoyed seeing her move down the driveway, wearing a small t-shirt, panties and flip-flops, on her way to get the mail. I decided not to press the issue. A week passed and no other interruptions were noted. Nothing unusual cropped up; no unidentifiable smells or unpleasant noises would penetrate the floors of my home to invade my senses. Then, last night rolled around.
BANG BANG BANG!
I could hear her standing on my front porch, just beyond the front door. She was obviously in distress, but she wasn't panicking. I rushed to open the door and before I could invite her inside, she was already past me.
"We need to leave, Lionel." She said, still visibly shaken by some unknown offender.
"I beg your pardon, Miss Hewers, but I--"
"No, they are coming now. We don't have time to stand here and chat."
"Well, where are we going?"
"Down to the apartment."
"Well, I'll need to get dressed." I said, realizing that I was only wearing a robe, aside from my checkered boxers and loose-fitting socks.
"There's no time for that. We're leaving now..."
She grabbed my arm to move me aside and stomped on the hardwood floor of my living room. A series of hisses and clicks permeated the interior of the house, resulting in the floor folding down and away. I stood in awe as the wood staggered down and slid beneath itself, revealing a spherical object that appeared to be made of glass. It looked like a gigantic fish bowl, turned upside down. Miss Hewers tugged on my arm and we jumped down into the studio apartment below. As I fell, I briefly caught the silhouette of a man in a bowler hat through the window, standing beneath the street light.
"Preenorias saktu-thetsish, um nova nova..." She began to mumble quite audibly, touching the glassy surface of the huge sphere.
In a daze, I looked around and noticed that every article of furnishing had been removed from the apartment. The walls were bare, the bed and accommodations were missing - even the carpet had been uprooted. A series of flashing ran across the smooth surface of the sphere. Hidden jets of steam issued forth across the bare, cemented floor and a large panel shifted across the front of the sphere, revealing a thin doorway. Miss Hewers looked back to me with both a look of urgency and dire concern; she managed a smile.
"Step in." She said.
As I made my way towards the doorway, I looked up and noticed that my roof was missing. The cool night air dipped into the recesses of my gutted house and touched my face. The stars were especially vibrant, even through the light pollution issued forth from the surrounding suburb. Apparently, I had paused to admire the sight, because at that moment I felt a feminine hand press between my shoulder blades and push. I stumbled into the sphere's dark innards, landing on something soft. A delicate figure jumped on top of me, muttered an alien whisper, and everything stopped.
I woke up a few minutes ago. I dared not to exit the room, though I thought I could make out a round doorway along the gray-scaled wall. A constant rumble had issued forth from some unseen exterior source and it hadn't ceased in the slightest. I felt the weight of myself as clearly as ever, but it also felt as if I was in perpetual motion. I had no idea where I was, and what's more, I don't know why I was there.
"You don't need to be afraid, Lionel." A voice from the top of the chamber. Maybe a loudspeaker?
"Where am I?" I asked, trying to remain calm and civil. I remembered being in the studio apartment beneath my house. I remembered Miss Lee Hewers, the attractive young lady who took up residence there. I remembered the man in the bowler hat.
"You are aboard the -- well, your ears cannot understand its name. I am coming to see you."
"Oh," I replied. "Okay."
What else could I have said? I looked down and noticed that my robe, boxers and socks were gone. I was completely naked. I started to panic a little, compelling myself to stand. The floor seemed as black and shiny as onyx stone, but a soft, warm carpet enveloped my toes when I put my bare feet down. Looking around, I finally noticed the clear panel in the upper reaches of the chamber. It was a window, and beyond it were countless stars; unfamiliar celestial bodies, foreign constellations, and all were bathed in the darkest of night.
"It is a spacecraft, yes." Miss Hewers said from where the round doorway had been.
My hands immediately shot down to cover my undesirables. Before I could speak, I noticed that she too was completely naked. He eyes shone a milky green, and a warm smile melted away any form of insecurity that I had managed to cling onto.
"We're -- in space." I confirmed.
"We are. You have to understand," She said, stepping forward. "If I left you back there, they would have killed you." The pale light of a distant star-cluster pierced through the window above, and broke across her flawless form. The light scattered over her copper hair, glistening as if wet, and her alabaster skin seemed to omit a soft glow.
"Who would have killed me?" I asked, finally feeling the urge to comply with her standard by unclasping my hands and letting them fall lazily to the side.
"Again, your ears would not be able to process their name. They are brilliant, yet they have always been wicked. When we first started to observe them upon their home planet, it was apparent that they would destroy themselves, like so many others do."
She took a few more steps closer, the muscles beneath her skin stretching taut with each movement. She moved with the fluid grace of a panther, and carried an air of strength about her all in the same way.
"But they didn't destroy themselves," She went on, stopping just as she was close enough to reach out and touch. "Somehow they were able to leave their own planet. It had been dried up and exhausted. They developed a parasitic policy towards other lifeforms across the galaxy. Just as they had destroyed every species of flora and fauna on their own planet, they have also destroyed other worlds."
"They are on Earth?" I asked, attempting to comprehend.
"They have been there for over two and a half million years. They were the precursor to your gods; the Prometheus who stole the fire from Zeus and gave it to your ancestors. They taught you to use stone tools, and you figured out the rest on your own. They have been grooming you to be like them." She explained, a hint of sadness in her eyes.
"To be like them?"
"Yes. If you are like them, you will never have a reason to rise against them. You will never have a reason to rebel. Your entire social structure is based upon their own: with a sovereign few whom rule over the many. It is a form of assimilation that takes thousands of years to develop, but the results are incomparable to anything else. They are a patient and cunning species."
I found myself stepping towards her, unable to find a reason for it. I reached out and took both of her hands into my own, holding them tightly as if I were attempting to preserve what little warmth was left in the Universe.
"Why are you helping me, but you will not help my species?" I asked, not in anger but in a sense of remorse.
"We have found it to be," She said, pausing a moment to look away. "disastrous. To show another species, another people, everything they need to know; to teach them about that which is right and wrong, to liberate them from any and all hardships that might fall upon them -- this is to doom them. We learned that as we attempted to do more than just observe the species whom now hold dominion over your planet. I saved you because I directly influenced your fate. I brought you into this war without your knowledge nor consent."
I looked down from her eyes and across her perfectly formed breasts. They were perfectly proportioned, placed just at the appropriate height upon her chest, and rounded into a firm composition. She did not seem to mind, at all.
"If you're not human, then why do you look like this?" I asked, noticing a bit too late that I sounded rather tactless.
"You would be revolted by my true form." She answered.
"Ah. Where are we going, then?" I countered, feeling a lot more at-ease with the entire situation.
"To your new home, Lionel. The same place we've taken the others."
"We have had to rescue and relocate you humans on an individual basis for many, many years. We've discovered a planet very similar to your former home, and your kind seems to enjoy it there. Don't worry, we're still in the same galaxy."
Oh, I thought to myself. Well, at least it won't be too far away, after all.