A soft rumbling from overhead shook Alex from his thoughts as he sat on the bench outside the main building of Crestview College. A small plane was slowly making its way across the blue sky leaving a trail of clouds in its wake. Alex stared dreamily at the passing craft; he felt himself wishing he could be up there in the clouds, away from all the problems that followed him around on the ground.
He was broken from his dreamy daze by a loud voice calling out to him.
"Alex, where the fuck have you been man?"
Alex rolled his eyes as he came out of his thoughts; it was his friend Bensky. As he looked down at his friend, he wasn't surprised to find Duke their other friend, tagging lazily along behind. Duke's eyes were red and irritated looking, as usual. They must have been lighting up in Bensky's old Toyota again, that explained why they weren't in class this morning.
"Where have you guys been," Alex called back, already knowing the answer.
Bensky smiled and Duke began to giggle like a maniac. Alex shook his head as they walked up to him.
"You guys can't keep missing class like this, you're going to get kicked out," he said with exasperation in his voice, this wasn't the first time he had given this speech, "do you even care?"
Bensky patted Alex on the shoulder hard.
"Alex, we're in college bud," he threw his hands out in a dramatic display, "there's tons of women, tons of booze, and most importantly tons of weed."
Duke continued his giggle fit as Bensky was talking.
"What do I need to care about other than all of that?"
"Oh I don't know," he grumbled, "maybe your future?"
"The future is unwritten my friend," Bensky explained, as his eyes took on a faraway look, "we'll never know what it holds for us, so we might as well enjoy the present while it's here because tomorrow it will be gone."
He fell silent, staring past Alex at nothing as though contemplating this thought. Then he belched loudly, and Alex rolled his eyes again.
"Wow," Alex groaned, "you should have taken philosophy instead of Business Administration."
"Yeah, but if I took that I wouldn't get to spend every day with you in class," Bensky laughed.
Alex didn't answer; he knew anything he said would never get through to either of them. Bensky and Duke had been friends with Alex since they were all young. The two had followed Alex through most of his life, almost like an entourage, constantly supporting him in all of his decisions in life.
They were a comical pair, Bensky being the short scrawny kid, but with tons of attitude and opinion, while Duke was taller, chubbier, and he never usually said very much, happy to live off of the decisions that Bensky made for him. They annoyed Alex to no end at times, but they were his best friends and he wouldn't trade them for anything.
"Anyways, we came to find you because we have someone for you to meet," Bensky said, quickly changing subjects.
"Yeah," Duke piped in, "and she's real hot too."
Alex sighed again, and rubbed his forehead in frustration. He had recently gone through a very intense and messy break up involving his first serious girlfriend, Amanda. They started dating in high school and she was fun, frisky and full of life. Then when they graduated, Amanda had been accepted to a very highly respected University for a doctorate program, while Alex was only able to get into the Crestview community college due to his low grades.
While Amanda had not been too worried about the distance Alex had felt a pang in the pit of his stomach from the beginning. He'd heard stories before of girls going off to University without their boyfriends, meeting some cute smart guy and instantly falling in love with him. Meanwhile, the boyfriend is left in the dust.
Not surprisingly that was what had happened. Amanda had called him one night and instantly Alex knew something was different. When she told him she had met someone else and that she thought they should break up, he had slammed the phone down and since had not spoken to her.
That was three weeks ago, and since Alex had told Bensky and Duke about the break up they had been working non-stop on finding Alex a rebound girl. Alex was just not ready for anything like that just yet, but they wouldn't hear of it.
"Guys," Alex groaned, "I told you before I'm not ready to meet anyone new right now."
"Dude," Bensky went on, ignoring Alex's plea, "she's really gorgeous and she's got some great assets."
He winked as he made a pantomime of a large pair of breasts with his hands.
"Yeah dude," Duke joined in, "assets.”
He slapped his ass laughing.
Alex had heard enough.
"Look," he barked, "I know you two mean well but I'm not ready to meet any girls yet, Amanda just broke up with me less than a month ago. I need you both to stop trying to meddle in my life; don't you have anything better to do?"
Bensky looked like he had been slapped and Duke just stayed silent looking at the ground. Alex instantly regretted saying that, but he was still pretty angry.
"I'm sorry but you guys are always trying to decide what's best for me and I know what I need right now," and with that Alex stalked off leaving his two friends staring at him.
"Alex," Bensky called out, but Alex ignored him, "come on man, where are you going?"
"I need some space," Alex yelled back, and disappeared behind the hedges lining the sidewalk.
A loud beeping noise was piercing into her brain and she cringed annoyance wishing for it to stop. She then heard a loud hiss as the isolated air escaped from the cryo-sleep chamber. Her eyes fluttered open, and she saw the door to the chamber sliding slowly open. She opened her eyes fully, feeling the drag of cryo-sleep weighing down on her. The only downside to the cryo-sleep chamber was that it inhibited any chance of REM sleep. She shook herself and got up out of the chamber, moving towards the front of the ship and the controls, feeling a bit dizzy.
There was a large blue and green planet in the viewing screen and it was getting even bigger as she watched it. She read the quick informational note that had listed at the bottom of the screen:
Planet Name: Earth
Alpha Species: Human
Population: 1, 000, 000, 021
The Domination had obviously sent scouts to this planet before with such detailed information listed about it. They often did this without actually inhabiting the planet like they had done with her own world; it was a way for them to gather information about the galaxy for their own nefarious plans. It must have been how they gathered the information about this ‘key’. She wasn’t sure what a human was, but there were apparently a lot of them. She hoped they were friendly, and also that they took kindly to alien species randomly landing on their planet. Her home galaxy had had a number of different alien species that would constantly visit and trade with each other.
She hurriedly tapped some keys on her console and the screen changed.
“Please select desired trajectory,” the console requested.
She typed for a few seconds and waited; the computer took a second to process the information and then a new screen came up again.
“Please select desired location,” the console requested again.
She typed in the coordinates that she had gotten from the stolen information. The computer processed again, and again a new screen came up; it was a map.
“Trajectory: Western Hemisphere.
Country: Canada. Continent: North America. Would you like to cloak?”
“Yes,” she said in a clear decisive but soft voice.
She didn’t want to take a chance of the local residents being hostile and attempting to shoot her down, this mission required stealth.
The console changed back to the view of the planet again; this time it was the only thing that she could see on the screen, and she could make out mountains, rivers and lakes as the shuttle sped closer to the earth’s surface.
Alex had decided to walk home; it gave him time to go over things in his head and deal with a lot of the negative thoughts floating around in there. The day had passed quickly and before he realized it the sun had sunk below the distant mountains that surrounded Crestview Valley, and the moon had started to invade the darkening sky.
He had relieved a lot of stress and was getting hungry; his dad would have been at work by now so he figured he would stop by a fast food joint quickly to grab a bite to eat.
His cell phone had been ringing non-stop; he never answered it but had looked to see who was calling. Twice Benksy had called and then Duke, his Dad had called once, probably to check on where he was.
It was September and the night air had a slight chill to it. Alex pulled his hood over his head and quickened his pace. He had a weird feeling, like he needed to get home quickly. Suddenly the outside was not the escape he had always sought, but a dark and dangerous place that was better left without him in it. He lived outside the small town in the country, and there were few houses along this road, mostly just farmland with tall corn and wheat rustling in the light breeze.
He was almost a ten minute walk from his house still, but he began to break into a slightly awkward jog. He felt as though he were being watched, but not from behind or beside him. The feeling came from above him, as though some alien in the sky was studying him with great curiosity. It was a very real and uncomfortable feeling; his jog broke into a full out run.
Alex believed he was now running for his life, something was after him and he knew it for sure. He wondered if he could outrun the strange presence. Something was definitely wrong and he had to get home; it was his only hope.
It was a ridiculous thought that made Alex stop dead in his tracks and start laughing. Except it was a nervous, almost maniacal, laugh, as though he were trying to reassure his mind that everything was okay.
His mind would have none of it, something was out there and it was after him. He turned to run again but caught his foot on some loose gravel and went tripping down face first into the ground. He grunted painfully as he hit the gravel hard, his hands stopping his face from smacking the sidewalk.
Alex groaned and turned over onto his back, pain shooting up his chest. As he opened his eyes and stared into the sky, Alex almost thought he saw something flying across the dark sky in a fiery rage. Although, as he closed his eyes in pain and opened them again quickly, the sky was empty once more.
Alex groaned as he pushed himself up, wincing in pain. He stared at the sky in curiosity. Maybe it had been a shooting star, or maybe it was nothing. Although, Alex was almost positive he had seen something now.
Suddenly the feeling was back, in the pit of his stomach, the nervous feeling of danger.
“You must have hit your head after that fall,” a female voice said.
Alex snapped his head down towards the voice. There was a tall dark haired attractive girl standing in front of him. She was about his age, in tight-fitting jeans and a low-cut tank top. A dense feeling of danger was spreading all over his body.
“Wh-what do you mean,” Alex stuttered uncontrollably.
She smiled a little, and Alex had the distinct uncomfortable feeling of being assessed by her dark deep hazel eyes.
“You got up, and have been staring up into the sky since I came to check on you.”
Her eyes seemed to dart around as if checking to see if anyone else had seen them together. There was something almost inhuman about the way her eyes moved so quickly, almost in a predatory way.
“No, I thought I saw something in the sky when I fell, like a shooting star, only closer," Alex explained, warily, "I was just looking to see if I could see it again.” The girl looked up into the sky; she made a slow exaggerated movement of it. She waved her long dark hair back as she did it, and her hand ran up and down the side of her stomach. Her hand began to lift her shirt up a little, exposing her goose bump laden flesh.
“Mmmm,” she groaned, “I don’t see anything.”
Alex shifted uncomfortably, as the feeling of danger spread throughout his entire body. His brain was screaming at him to run, get away, but he didn't understand why.
“Where…did you come from?” Alex asked nervously.
The girl shot him a wry smile.
“Why I live just back there silly,” she said gesturing to a dark house a few meters back.
The girl's eyes stared straight into his. They were so deep and hypnotic that Alex felt himself getting lost in them. His mind began to quiet.
“So," the strange girl purred, "what’s a handsome guy like you doing, walking alone on a night like this." She smiled again, and Alex almost thought he saw the curvature of oddly shaped teeth. But she closed her lips quickly and he couldn’t be sure. “Um well I, uh, I’m just headed home, actually,” Alex replied nervously.
The girl laughed loudly, and the sound of her laugh made him jump. It was a deep, guttural, and unnerving laugh. Alex instantly wished he hadnt heard it. “You silly boy, it’s such a lovely night you should be escorting a beautiful girl like myself back to my house. My parents have gone out for the night and I’m all alone there.”
She eyed him again.
“If you don’t, who will be there to protect me?”
The air was cooling off rapidly and Alex felt a chill running down his spine. Even with his heavy shirt the cold air seemed the reach his skin.
“Aren’t you cold being out here wearing that?” Alex asked, nervously, trying to change the subject so he could get on his way.
The girl was now staring to the right of him and her eyes took on a glazed look. She didn’t seem to be listening to him anymore, so it surprised him when she answered.
“I like the cold," she replied, "it's so invigorating. It just makes me feel, so…wild."
She shivered all over at the last word.
“Look I really should be going now, but it was nice to meet you…” Alex trailed off.
“Krissy," she said, "please, call me Krissy, Alex"
Alex suddenly snapped to attention at the mention of his name.
“What, how did you know my name?” Alex’s eyes narrowed.
Krissy moved her deep, dark eyes back to him.
“I know more about you than you think Alex,” she sneered.
She smiled again, but this time it was a twisted jeering smile. Alex could not be mistaken this time, two unnatural fangs curved down from either side of her mouth.
“What...what are you?” Alex began to back away.
“I'm definitely not human Alex," she said, "but what does that matter, because being human is so weak."
Krissy began to advance on Alex slowly and he spun around to escape.
Krissy was suddenly there standing in front of him. Alex stepped backwards awestruck and fell to the ground tripping on the soft gravel again.
“How the hell did you do that?” Alex cried out.
Krissy waved a finger at him clucking her tongue in disapproval.
“You humans, so ignorant of everything that is around you," she sneered, "my Masters could teach you a thing or two about life outside of your tiny existence."
Krissy moved towards him in slow exaggerated movements, toying with him like a cat. She opened her mouth wide exposing more wickedly curved teeth along the bottom of her mouth.
Alex looked around desperately for something, anything to stop her with. Near his feet there was a large tree branch. Alex looked back at Krissy as she was coming towards him. Her eyes had turned into something completely wild.
"I'm hungry Alex," she moaned, "I need just a small bite, nothing that will kill you, my masters wouldn’t like that, but they didn’t say they needed all of you. Please let me eat."
As she came close Alex wasted no time. He spun around bending over and grabbed the branch with both hands, and then with all his strength swung the branch around.
The attack caught Krissy off guard and the branch collided with her face, making a loud crunching noise as it broke in two. Krissy fell backwards holding her face in pain.
It was all Alex needed; he was up and on his feet running down the street as she screeched out into the dark night in pain.
Alex was running now, faster than he had ever run in his life. He felt his chest heaving in pain. His body could not handle this type of extreme pressure, but he pushed himself still. He was not going to die because he had chest pains.
Alex looked behind him as he ran. The sudden scan showed that Krissy was no longer behind him. Alex quickly looked back in front of him, but the street was empty. He wondered if this was a good sign, but continued to run anyways. He was heaving now, heavily rasping for breath with each intake. He tried to listen for footsteps running behind him, but he all he could hear was the sound of his sneakers hitting the pavement.
He suddenly couldn't run anymore. His body was too overwhelmed from the sudden burst in energy, and he stopped, bending over and coughing. He pushed himself up slowly and looked around. There was a complete silence closing in on him and the dark seemed to become darker. It was as if the stars were slowly sinking into the night. Alex was confused and scared. His brain was screaming for him to run still, and he could barely think. Fear ran white hot throughout his body, making him shiver uncontrollably.
There was a loud snap and it made Alex jump up in the air. He looked towards where the sound had come from. A large field of corn spread beyond his view.
Alex didn’t want to but he forced himself to peer hard into the corn. A pair of eyes shone yellow in the moonlight, like the eyes of a night-stalking predator. The corn began to rustle slowly, as if some creature were moving among the stalks. The rustle turned into a violent shake, and was accompanied by a loud and unnatural growl.
Then, a shadow jumped from the corn stalks, high in the air. Alex watched as it momentarily blotted out the moon from his sight with its great size, and then it landed behind him in the middle of the road.
The beast on the road looked up at him with its yellow eyes shining furiously, and it roared loudly, showering spittle across the black tar.
It had a long snout like a dog, with flaring black nostrils and rows of sharp glinting white teeth. The rest of its body resembled something of a bear mixed with a gorilla. It had a shaggy coat of jet black fur and its front limbs consisted of two large muscular looking arms that ended in large curled claws. Its shoulders were high and squared as its head hunched forward. The back legs were more consistent with something like a dog again where its hind quarter thighs were large. The legs ended in large black paws with shorter less curved claws.
The beast walked towards him slowly, leaning on its front claws. It growled menacingly, and a bit of drool hung down from its snout before hitting the ground.
Alex knew now he had no escape from this, he was going to die and he had no idea why. As the beast looked at him it cocked its head and the mouth opened.
"A....lex," it grunted.
Its voice was deep and guttural.
Alex knew then, that this was Krissy, although he wasn't sure exactly what she was or how she had become this way.
"Krissy?" he cried, "What are you, why are you doing this to me?"
"Hungry," the beast grunted again.
Alex had no form of defense from something this enormous; he thought he was done for. But just as he was losing hope a light came piercing down the road, a car. Alex suddenly felt a glimmer of hope as the car sped towards the beast, the driver was obviously not aware of the hulking animal in the center of the road.
Then as the car was almost upon the beast, it raised its hairy clawed fists and brought them down on the hood of the car, bringing it to a halting stop and causing the back end to bounce into the air and then come crashing back down on the road again.
The entire from end of the car was dented inwards. The driver suddenly appeared from the car screaming frantically and ran in the opposite direction.
The beast turned its sights back on Alex again, but he had taken this opportunity to escape, and he was running again. This time the beast did not wait, it roared, jumping into the air and landed in front of him. It pounded the pavement menacingly, bringing Alex to a stop.
The beast seemed to have no intention of communicating anymore; blind fury clouded its eyes. It was going to make its kill.
Alex held his arm in front of his face as the beast rose up on its hind legs and swung a large paw at him. But suddenly a blur of shadows was flying in front of him, and as Alex moved his arm from his face he saw a girl standing there, with a large sword holding the beast's claw back.
She looked back at him.
"Nos regu atalari!" she yelled.
Alex looked into her eyes. They were deep aqua blue, the colour of the ocean, and he suddenly felt calm and warmth spread over his body.
"Metta noran!" the girl cried out.
Alex was already too far gone, he saw the entire ocean in her eyes, surging, and swelling.
The beast took this opportunity to strike back and a second paw hit her. The bond between Alex and the strange girl was suddenly broken as she went flying across the road and into the smashed car. She hit the car and grunted in pain, but stood up again.
The beast roared in frustration at the girl, but she stood firm and held her sword in front of her, ready for the next attack. The beast came at her, arms raised, ready to pound her into the pavement, but the girl was lightning fast. She blocked each attack with her sword, and then quickly sliced across one of the beast's arms.
A roar of pain broke through the night, and the beast moved back, examining its wound. The cut looked deep, and was bleeding badly.
Suddenly a new sound accompanied the nigh; the sound of sirens. The man in the car must have called the police. Alex spun around and saw the unmistakable sign of police lights flashing in the distance.
As he looked around again he saw the girl too had been distracted by the lights and sounds, but the beast was not.
It leaped forward and swiped the girl in the head, slamming her face into the harsh metal of the car door. She slumped to the ground unconscious.
The beast roared in triumph and then turned to look at Alex, as though ready to finally finish him off.
But instead of advancing on him it gave him a hard, cold look, and then it was gone, whisked into the blackness of the night.
Alex walked forward a bit unsure of if this girl was really unconscious.
Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be breathing. The sirens came closer, and Alex suddenly realized he didn't want to be explaining how a car had been smashed to bits to the cops.
He grabbed the girl by the arm, and she didn't move so he hefted her over his shoulder and quickly made his way towards home. As he disappeared into the darkness as well the police finally showed up, surrounding the demolished car.