Posted by : Kai | April 18, 2014
Yesterday, we covered O for Oranges. Now the continuation….
The aliens brought something with them. It wasn’t an invasion, not exactly, but at 10, I didn’t really understand. What I know is I got sick that day. Very sick.
I had a fevered few days of puking and screaming about the old crazy lady in the house. Looking back, even as I recovered, I had fever flashes of her hand reaching for my throat. I remember the beatings that my dad gave me – hitting me for screaming too loud, or waking in the night from another nightmare.
And when I finally got well, James, my 12 year old brother was gone. Dad didn’t say anything. Mum whispered stories about how he’d ran off, how he was gone when they got up the next morning. But I could swear I saw blood on his hand one day when he hit me, there was a splash of it, rust speckled and dusky on my bed.
I slept through, and fevered through the first panic. While I was screaming about hands coming out of the night for me – the old zombie woman taking me – the world was waking up to aliens. And killing them. And settling into an uneasy truce with them. They were returning those that had been taken from us – alien abductions from another alien species, they claimed. They were like nothing we’d seen and after dropping our people, left again. The world was in uproar.
It still is, 15 years on.
That wasn’t the main problem though. I’d slept through that uncertain time. Too many of them were killed.
My father got one. He delightedly displayed it’s corpse, skinned and rendered to cartilage and crystalline bone, in our living room. My mother did that, when he dragged it home under one arm and me by my ankle. James was holding my head so that it didn’t bump on the floor, crying and snivelling behind my father. Mom said he had a shiner already, and that I was cut and bruised. He cared more about his corpse than me.
I think that was his main problem.
Three days after I got sick, they did. Mom went first, and succumbed fast. Breathing issues that turned into bloody froth at the nose and corners of the mouth. She drowned in it, as my dad left the house, looking for his cure. He’d been coughing and saw the foam and the writing on the wall.
I didn’t get sick, but I’d stayed away from the ‘corpse’. It’s hands were the hands of my nightmares. The hands that reached for me as I slept. As I screamed. As he slapped me.
Momma was gone by the time the doctor got around to visiting us. Our neighbours were gone. They’d stopped by to look in on momma, and had left me there, telling me to wait for my father.
Of course, they forgot about me when there was a different panic. A pandemic sweeping the country. Stemming from alien contact, alien bodies. Alien blood. And, later, the survivors they brought home. A pandemic that took almost everyone. A waking nightmare of corpses and death. My childhood was wiped out in a stroke. And it all went back to those oranges. That massive dose of spores I inhaled, along with everything else in the carpet. It was those of us luckily on antibiotics that survived. And of my family that left only me.
My father? Long gone, and long dead too. His body was returned to the house, and that’s when they found me and the rest of my family. My sisters, and baby brother. Gone. They eventually came and got me, but not before I was alone in the house with those corpses, the ones James had taken me to peek at. The ones we’d gone looking for. I’d trade anything to have not seen those oranges, to have survived.
This story concludes in Memento Mori
Let me know if you want to see more!