1 year earlier
Gaylin Elopee slipped through the empty streets painlessly his pack that he carried to work everyday slung over his back. He walked as fast as he could in the cold winter air which happened to not be very fast. He passed a group of Martian aliens talking on the corner never for a minute taking their eyes off of him. He kept his eyes on the ground as he passed by them hoping more than anything that for just one day they wouldn’t stop him. But it was too much to hope for he had barely walked five steps past them when he heard a voice shout out from behind him.
“Hey you!” Gaylin froze where he was and turned ever so slowly as the Martian came up behind him. It had been nearly six years since the Martians had taken over Imaginess and Gaylin didn’t think he would ever get used to the strange alien creatures walking around his town.
The Martian caught up with him and stopped beside him “What’s in the pack?” He asked in a demanding voice.
“This is my work pack I keep the stuff that I need for work in it.”
“Just food for my family.”
“Open it up.”
Gaylin reluctantly took the pack off his shoulder and opened it up to show the alien. The alien pushed aside his uniform and fruits and vegetables as well as a loaf of bread made with polka leaves. The Martian wrinkled his nose at the foreign foods. “Don’t you people have any decent food around here to eat?”
“I’m sorry sir,” Gaylin apologized as sincerely as he could manage. “It’s not our fault if you don’t like our food.” The Martian dropped the bag then and grabbed Gaylin hard by the collar. “Let’s get one thing straight you piece of garbage: Everything is your fault.” Gaylin nodded terrified and tried to swallow but the aliens hold on his neck was so tight he could barely breathe. The Martian let him go his friends were standing back on the sidewalk chuckling quietly delighting in the victim’s misery.
The alien stared him hard in the face. “Maybe tomorrow you’ll bring me something a little more interesting.” Gaylin nodded again praying that it won’t be too much longer before he let him go. Finally the Martian let him go and kicked his bag toward Gaylin, sending fruits and vegetables in every direction as he walked back toward his friends.
Gaylin hurriedly gathered up the scattered food cramming it back into the bag not even bothering to check whether it was clean or bruised. He silently thanked Kohath that the alien hadn’t gone past the bread to where he had buried a small cake that he had gotten from his mother-in-law in exchange for gathering some firewood for her. He had been looking forward to that cake all day. He had got it as a surprise for his wife and daughter, who was turning a year that day. Gaylin hurried the rest of the way home without getting stopped again and slipped into the small one-room-house that he shared with his wife and daughter.
As he entered the room he was met by the same smell he had met everyday for the past 3 years: Vegetable soup. His daughter, Leena, hobbled over to greet him as he removed his coat and shoes and placed his bag down by the door. Then he scooped and spun her around. “Hello Beautiful! I brought something special home for you today.” Just then his wife, Kayla, came around the corner from where she had been cooking and came to greet him. “You spoil the child Lin,”
“It’s her birthday Kay, I had to do something.”
“Well what did you get her?”
“Well two things actually. One I made and one I earned.” He placed Leena down then and grabbed his pack he pulled the cake out and smiled proudly like he’d just pulled out a block of pure gold.
“Gaylin where on earth did you get that?
“Your mother made it for me in exchange for cutting her enough firewood for the winter.”
“What else did you get?” Gaylin put down his bag then and picked up his right shoe, turned it upside down and caught the necklace that fell out.
“I hid it in my shoe so they wouldn’t confiscate it.”
“It’s beautiful darling.” She said as she placed the necklace around her daughter’s neck and kissed her on the forehead. The baby giggled and put it in her mouth like a teething toy. Gaylin smiled as his wife went back to finish the soup.
... ... ...
They had just barley finished dinner and were preparing to start on the cake when there was a knock on the door. Startled Kayla jumped for the door as Gaylin snatched a syringe off the counter and thrust it into Leena’s arm then took her half asleep and thrust her in the small box that had served as her bed for the last year. He shot a quick prayer to Kohath that his daughter would be protected and went to the door with his wife.
By this time the five soldiers had made their way inside and three of them were going through their cabinets and taking anything that looked halfway edible or of any value. One of the guards kicked the syringe that Gaylin had dropped and picked it up. “What’s this?” He asked skeptically.
“My medication.” Kayla stepped in quickly. “It’s the last one I have and I probably won’t last more then a couple months.”
“What’s wrong with you?” Kayla hesitated a second too long and the man grabbed her and pressed her against the wall. “I asked you a question.”
“She’s got Quaple.” Gaylin announced from behind them. “The only reason she’s hesitating is because she doesn’t want you to think she’s blaming you.” The alien looked back at her with narrow eyes. She stared at him fearfully and dropped to the floor as he let her go.
The alien walked silently over to the bed and watched as two other aliens pulled books and boxes off of the small shelf against the wall.
The alien sat down roughly on the bed it was old and gave slightly under the sudden weight. He reached down next to the bed and lifted Leena out of the box and held the sleeping baby close to his chest. “Listen you two scumbags.” He said looking up at the two suddenly horrified parents. “It’s about time you people realized that we are in control of this planet and that everything you own is ours, including your lives.” He stood up and grabbed his sword still holding the baby to him. “The sooner you realize that you owe us your very lives the easier your life will be.” He clutched the sword in his hand and gently brushed the edge of it against the child’s cheek. Blood seeped from the wound and he looked back up and the parents terrified faces. “You’re lucky we let you live let alone have a house to live in, beds to sleep in and clothes on your backs.” He dropped the child on the bed and motioned for the others to follow him as they went to find another family to terrorize.
No sooner was the door closed then Kayla ran to the side of the bed and pulled her sleeping daughter to her tears streaming down her face. Thankful that she hadn’t woken up.
Her husband brought a cloth to her and she gently wiped the blood from her face. The cut was ugly and deep and it ran the entire length of her face from her right eye to her chin. Gaylin was kneeling beside her now and pulled her to him as she wept into his shoulder. “Gaylin we have to get off this planet.”