I had run towards the last point where the red beacon lights had sparked, crossing over fallen buildings, burnt out cars, and bits of just about everything, only to come to a point where I was totally lost.
The lights hadn’t come back on the tracker since I started moving, so all I really had was a general direction to go by. I knew I was close. I had to be closer than I was. But where exactly? Well, that was the question.
I tried to keep my hopes up. That whoever they were, they were hiding out, or just covered by whatever was covering them. I didn’t want to think of the alternative, that something got them. That they were gone.
I stopped running. I was sure I was close. I turned in circles looking over the skyline to make sure that I wasn’t followed by the aliens. I was freaking out. There was only three hours of light left, maybe a bit more. After that, if I didn’t find them, it would be another night on their own. But, that also meant that I’d be out here by myself with that battalion of whatever’s they were.
“This sucks,” I said out loud. I reached into my backpack and took out a joint and a pack of matches, then lit it, and took a few drags.
It was getting colder. There was a breeze coming in.
I thought about Carlos back at the ship, and just prayed that those things didn’t go in his direction. I mean, why were they walking around? What were they doing? They looked completely different than the ones I killed when I stole the ship. What the hell did that mean? How many different types of aliens were out here?
I took a swig of water. There was an old 1970’s Volkswagen Bug turned over on the next hill. I let out a good laugh. The thing looked like it was still in decent condition, other than being on its side. I used to remember my father telling that they were made so well they’d probably drive right through the end of the world. Funny.
I walked over to it, checking it out. It really was okay. Not even the windows were cracked.
I took off my bag and placed the “Big Gun” beside it. Then I placed my weight firmly on the ground and pushed the thing with all that I had. It rocked a few times, then it came down on its tires with a good loud roar.
I reached into the car and pushed its horn. It rang out in all directions. I let out another laugh and beeped the horn a few more times. Then I wiped my hands against my pants and looked around again.
“Help! Is someone there?” came from behind me.
“Anyone! Help us! Can you hear us?” came in another voice.
I picked up the big gun and cautiously walked down the hill toward their voices. Where the fuck were they coming from, and what was blocking them? I passed a train entrance about two blocks back. I started to wonder.
“Where are you?” I screamed into the air, as I turned around a corner of debris.
“We’re down here!” a woman’s voice screamed.
I looked a few more feet ahead of me, and there in the ground was a gaping hole about four car lengths long. I walked over to the edge and looked down into a subway tunnel that was filled waist high in water, and there standing in it were seven people looking up at me.
“Don’t worry. I’m here to help.” I said to them. “I’m going to get you out of there.”
They were right on top of me. I kept as close to the shadows as I could, barely breathing so I wouldn’t make a single sound.
One of the aliens stood a few feet away. It kept turning its head in different directions while electronic chatter came from its helmet. I was sure that it was a radio connection of some kind that kept them in contact with one another. If not, then that was their language. A grouping of static filled squarks and pings. I was so close to it that I could make out moisture on its suit. Beads of water slowly streamed along its black skin suit. It was strange, and made me second guess whether or not it was an outfit, or part of them.
The ship overhead rumbled ever so quietly. However, whatever I could see of it through the clouds was massive. It was a massive obsidian ship, probably the size of an aircraft carrier, just floating in the sky above us.
At that exact moment, my tracker flashed to show four more red dots blinking north from us in the same location. I wanted to scream. Not now.
On cue, the helmet chatter changed. Questioning tones filled their broadcast, with undercurrents from several different troops chiming in. They had to be talking about the blips. They had to have similar tracking devices. They had to have been deciding what to do.
I raised my head again to look down at the two troops below me. They stood there awaiting new instructions. One of them kicked a stone in a very human manner, almost like he was bored with the delay. Then the talking changed again, and the troops started moving in the direction of the red blips.
I stayed motionless watching them. Several more met up with the two below and began walking together in a new formation.
I held my breath. The further away they got, the more freedom of movement I had. I listened to the sound of their footsteps. I looked at the tracker. Two of the four blips had vanished from the screen. But, two remained, one of which was fading in and out. Then without any explanation, they both vanished.
I looked down at them again. The ground troops stopped moving. Well, at least they were as confused about the red lights as I was.
But it gave me a stupid idea. I reached into my bag and pulled out my blocker, opening the back of it the same way that Carlos had. The last of their ground troops were now a good half mile away from me, with the tail end of their ship hovered above. I peered through the clouds to make out what I could only assume were their engines.
“Please let this work,” I thought to myself as I hit the green reset button on the back of the blocker.
The device blinked off, and as it did a new red dot, representing me, appeared on the tracker’s screen as the device re-set itself.
Again, right on cue, the ground troops stopped walking at the same time that my red blip disappeared.
“Okay, Motherfuckers. Figure something out,” I whispered while wiping the sweat off of my brow.
I positioned myself with the “Big Gun” pointed at their men for over fifteen minutes while their helmets chattered on about what they were going to do. I figured that I’d fire down at them until I was overwhelmed, and if it came to it, I’d just empty the big gun at their ships engines until the whole damn thing came down on top of all of us. I just prayed that none of the red blips came back on the screen for long enough to confuse them.
After a few more minutes I heard their helmet chatter change again as the entire battalion resumed their original course. Hopefully they thought it was a glitch. I don’t really care, just as long as it worked. Minutes passed, and they still continued west. Twenty minutes later, I finally pried my fingers off of the “Big Gun.”
I stayed in the same position for the next hour, not daring to move while silently watching their troops walk away into the distance before I picked up my things started running over the broken terrain again.
I had run as fast as I could to close the distance between myself and the fading red dots on the tracking device. Getting over the ground without shoes was really proving to be a real pain in the ass. Still, the rain had helped to smooth over the terrain by moving a lot of the loose debris. But it sucked, and my feet were getting cut up no matter how I looked at it.
So I stopped on the top of a hill, which was really a fallen building, to catch my breath, drink some water, and give my feet a rest. I pulled out the tracker. There weren’t any dots. It had been blank for the last fifteen minutes or so, which I considered a good thing.
It could have meant that wherever they were, they were blocked by something, and the longer they stayed there, the better their chances were of not being found by anything else.
However, it could also have meant that other aliens with blockers had found them and killed them. And that meant that I could just be heading towards them.
I drank some more water and looked up at the thick cloud cover. The storm that ran through for days before was amazing, and the sky still looked so angry. Thankfully though, there were spots where the cloud cover was beginning to break that let in a few stray rays of the afternoon sun.
I got to my feet. I was standing on a fallen brick wall that looked like a part of an old NYC public school. I pulled out the tracker again to see one of the red dots blinking on the screen.
“There you go. Everything’s just fine,” I said to myself, turning towards my right just as the clouds parted enough to reveal a huge floating black craft in the sky.
“Dear God!” I stammered, immediately falling to the ground for cover as the life form tracker went crazy with “bee boo” alert sounds.
I looked down the hill to see a battalion of men moving towards me. Each one was close to seven feet tall with long, slender, athletic bodies that were covered from head to toe in black suits. They each had helmets with red reflective face plates with two antenna’s on top, and each one held a large black rifle type of gun that pulsed with red lights.
I hugged myself closer to the fallen wall. The ship above was moving slowly, keeping pace with the troops below. I quickly scanned over the surrounding area. There was nowhere to run without being seen.
Their first two sentries were only a few yards below my position, steadily moving towards me, so I did the only thing that I could do. I pushed myself into the tiny space left by the former wall’s window. It was small, but there was just enough room for me to squeeze my pack and body beneath.
I moved the “Big Gun” in front of me and made sure that it was on. Then I held the thing as close to my chest as I could, feeling the slight electronic hum that its blue pulsing lights made.
If a single one of them saw me, I’d open up.
I held my breath and listened to their footsteps coming closer.
We stood on the old baseball diamond in Mc Carren park talking turns hitting bricks into the distance with a pipe. Neither of us spoke very much after watching those forty people die through the lifeform tracker earlier in the morning. There really wasn’t much left to say after that.
I kept an eye on the tracker for the rest of the day, checking it every ten minutes or so. I had too many questions that couldn’t be answered now. Who were they? How did they survive? Where were they coming from? Were there any more people out there?
Almost on cue, Carlos screamed and threw the pipe as far as he could, sending it crashing down on a fallen fence. Then he lit up a joint from his breast pocket and sat down looking completely exhausted.
“We’re doing this the wrong way…just sitting here like this. We need to re-think things, Carlos. We need to go farther out there and look for survivors, aliens, answers…I don’t know. There’s just no way that you and I are the only survivors of this,” I said to him.
Carlos stared at me. Even if he didn’t understand my words, he got my tone.
Right then, we both turned towards the life form tracker as it gave out its “bee boo boo” alert signal. I got up and looked at it.
There were seven red dots in the same area where the original forty had popped up. But, these were flashing in and out, like there was some kind of interference blocking their signals.
"Gente otra vez? Cuantos? Son aliengenos o humanos?" Carlos asked.
I showed him the screen. There were only three red dots showing now. Then a moment later, all seven were showing again, only to blink back out to a single one.
“This is fucking strange.”
By my estimates they were coming from somewhere near the Morgan Avenue stop on the L train, way out there in Bushwick again. I sat for a few minutes watching as the screen went blank again, only to pop back with five red dots.
I thought about it. It would take me between one and two hours to make it through the terrain if I hauled ass. However, if we were seeing these blips then it goes without saying that any aliens in the area with similar tech were probably seeing it as well.
Carlos and I both had our blockers on, so we were safe from detection excluding direct contact. The ships cloaking field also helped us out with that. But these people, If they were people, they didn’t have anything to help them. They were sitting ducks out there.
Carlos and I stood up at the same time.
“Shit. I’m going out there to see what’s up. If there’s anyone there, I’m going to bring them back here,” I said
"Que? Si vas a por ellos, voy yo contigo," Carlos demanded. "Porfavor espero que hay alguien que habla espanol."
“What? No. No. Carlos, you have to stay here with the ship. You stay, I’ll go.” I said, probably ten different ways to make sure that we understood each other. He didn’t like it, but he agreed.
I took a few minutes to quickly tape up my feet before packing up my bag. I took two of the laser pistols, seven blockers, and a length of sash that we had found in a hardware store.
Carlos ran over to me with a few more weapons. “No. It’s okay,” I said, taking the big gun off the table. “I’m taking the big gun.”
We shook hands, and a moment after that I began running towards the direction of the fading red lights.
I was feeling pretty cold as my eyes opened to thick grey clouds blanketed the sky. I tried to move, shifting my body, only to realize that I was completely submerged in water with my face only an inch away from having drowned.
The shock of my situation quickly came to me. I immediately tried to move, but my arms and legs were frozen. They had completely fallen asleep from being in the cold water overnight.
I tried to form thoughts as I slowly pulled myself along the shattered bricks. It was agony to move, but I only needed to drag myself a few feet, just enough to get me out of the water.
After a long and painful amount of time, I managed to pull myself out. I lied there shivering until the feeling returned to my arms and legs.
It was morning, and the thunderstorms had stopped. The sky was heavy, and everything on the ground was soaked. I looked down at the small pond that I had spent the night in. It’s amazing to imagine that so much rain could fall for that long of a time. Suddenly, I noticed that the alien life form blocker on my waist wasn’t blinking. I unclasped it from my waist and held it up as a long thin stream of pond water poured out.
“Shit,” I mumbled.
It was waterlogged and completely dead.
My mind started racing with the gravity of the situation, which basically was that I was completely visible to any other monster out there that had a tracker thingie.
“I’m fucked,” I said as I got to my feet and climbed up the jagged wall I had fallen down last night.
Several yards away, the ship sat untouched and perfectly fine. I took in a deep breath and smelled what I thought was coffee.
“Good. Thank God.”
A moment later I dropped to the ground taking cover from a gigantic blast of blue light that exploded behind the ship. The explosion echoed out for miles, and left a crater in the ground that was as big as five houses.
“Oh shit. Oh fuck. Oh shit,” I stammered, getting up and running in a mad dash towards the ship. “They found us,” I thought to myself. “They found us because I fucked up the blocker. I have to get to the munitions room on the ship.”
Right then, with half the distance between the ship and I covered, another round of shots fired off into the same direction as the first.
I hit the dirt flat on my stomach, staring into the distance at the towering mushroom clouds of dust and smoke. The cloud was enormous. There was no way I was going to get to the ship. I started crawling on my hands and knees, leaving a trail of masking tape behind me as it peeled off of my feet.
A moment later, I heard laughter coming from the other side of the ship.
“Are they fucking laughing at me?” I thought.
I looked up to see a shape coming out of the falling dust clouds. I squinted my eyes. It was Carlos, lazily smoking a spliff while holding a giant black alien gun that blinked with pulsing blue lights. “Carlos?” I screamed.
He turned his head to me with a smile. “Hey Ninja! Allí usted es! ”He screamed. “Pensé que usted se ahogó. ¡Encontré el café y un crisol del café! ¿Usted quiere un poco de café? Venido conmigo.”
I stood up. He put his arm around me, patting my back a few times. We went around the ship to a small campfire with a beat up coffee pot brewing. A few feet beside it, Carlos had positioned every gun in the ship on a busted up door. As I got closer, I saw that he labeled each one. However, they were written in Spanish.
He came up to me with the big gun in his hands. “Éste. Esto es impresionante. Es como una ráfaga atómica. ¡Puede hacer saltar un tanque entero! Es mi favorito!”
He placed it down on the door and picked up a small pistol. “Solamente éste… éste es… un arma de rayo,” he said. Then he fired it at a pile of debris. A bright blue focused beam of light shot out and burned a hole through it.
“Niza derecha?” he said, smiling like a crazy man while handing me his spliff.
I sat down and inhaled. A moment later, Carlos handed me an empty soup can full of fresh brewed coffee. “Thanks, Carlos,” I said, sipping. It was good, strong and hot.
I inhaled again, and then threw my busted blocker onto the table. “I broke this thing,” I said.
Carlos looked toward it raising an eye, then he picked it up and shook it. He flipped it around and opened the back. Then he pressed a green button in its center, closing it again. A moment later it let out a series of electronic “pings” and the screen turned itself back on.
“Vea? Ése es todo,” he said. I nodded, but had no idea how he did it. “When did you figure this out?”
He stared at me, inhaled, and then smiled. “Venido conmigo. Quiero mostrado le algo,” he said, and then gestured for me to follow. We went into the ship to find that there were labels on everything. Carlos had spent the night labeling ship with notes and scraps of paper. He had something tapped to every control on the main board. It was amazing, but I didn’t have a clue what any of them said.
“This is what you did all night? You figured out the ship?”
He stared at me. “No sé lo que usted acaba de decir, Ninja… sino que pasé anoche imaginar la nave. Estoy bastante seguro yo puedo moverla… pero soy un poco preocupante de causar un crash. Haremos quizá un funcionamiento de prueba mañana.”
We started laughing. What a weird relationship.
“Have you checked any of these while I was swimming?” I asked, pointing to the alien life detectors. “Qué? No. Ésos están trabajando muy bien.” He shook his head.
I walked over to the charging bay and turned one on. It keyed the same sound that all of their tech made, and a moment later the screen lit up with an aerial view of our surrounding area for a ten mile radius.
About a minute later the screen lit up with roughly forty red lights probably about nine miles away.
I shot up.
“Carlos! People! Forty people!” “Que?” “There are people!” I showed him the screen and his eyes popped open. “Gente? Tenemos que ir conseguirlo!” he said. “We have to go and get them!” I yelled, but just then, ten new orange lights entered the screen. They moved towards the red lights at an incredibly fast speed. They covered the distance between them like it was nothing. Like it was a video game, until they overtook the red lights.
“No…” I said, as we both stood together in horror watching as the red lights began to blink away, one by one, until they were all gone.
The rain pounds against my face. My eyes try to open. I remember something about the Belvedere Castle in the Rambles of Central Park. The blossoms that were in bloom one particular spring when I was there with an ex-girlfriend and a buddy long ago.
I blink my eyes and stretch out my hands but only feel water. Things start coming together. I’m lying up to my chest in black water at the bottom of a ditch. The rain continues to pour over the sides filling the pool even more.
I start to pull myself out of this mess when I see something out of the corner of my eye. I squint at it, and very slowly, whatever it is turns into a man. A man in a black suit…maybe wearing a priest’s collar. No. It’s a priest, crouching there on the rocks.
We stare at each other for a bit.
“They’ll be coming soon,” he say’s over the roar of the rain.
I blink the water out of my eyes, but when I look toward him again, he’s gone.
“I’m fucked up,” I think to myself. And then, slowly, my eyes begin to close.
Raindrops pounded against the hull of the ship as the thunderstorms went on their second day. They came down hard and fast and didn’t let up.
We were lucky to have dug through the wreckage of a Key Food supermarket on Mc’Guiness Blvd for supplies before the rain hit. We got tons of canned goods and other things. Really, it was enough to feed a small army for two weeks.
We made it back to the alien ship right as the storm came on us. The rain just poured down, and we stayed put in the ship.
Carlos and I were on a steady diet of “Butterfinger” candy bars and weed. We had to have smoked roughly an ounce between the two of us over the last two days, spending our time looking through every compartment in the ship. Examining every piece of hardware and trying to figure out what it might be used for.
Carlos was fascinated by the flight controls. He kept going over to the strangely lit alien board. I kept peering out at the storm sitting dry underneath the ship on the access ramp. Day and night, I perched there waiting for whatever mess was going to find its way to us. But, all in all, nothing but the rain came. Nothing showed up on the alien life form tracker either. Just rain.
I kept one of the alien guns close by at all times. Carlos and I had stashed weapons throughout the ship just in case we had to fall back for some kind of last stand. I just wished we knew the ship better, or could read the alien text that was written on everything. I was sure it had defensive weapons onboard, but we couldn’t figure out where they were, or how to use them.
As the day moved on we got into the “shrooms” that were in the bottom of the duffel bag. Once we found them tightly wrapped beneath the “Blatt-attack” I knew it wouldn’t be long until we got into them.
We both ate about an eighth each.
They came on fast and strong. Before I knew it, I had been staring at the falling rain for over an hour, completely zoning out at the puddles and pools that were forming throughout the debris. Rivers of rain flowed along depression lines in every direction, causing streams to break off and reform again further down. It was a complete mess. Without the sewer system, everything that was once Brooklyn just washed away into deep pools and fast flowing flood rivers.
Carlos sat in front of the control board staring at the pulsing green neon lights. His eyes danced along the board while his fingers seemed to crave touching the colors.
I came over. “Shit man…I’m fucked,” I said. “Si…” Carlos bellowed, followed by “Niicceee!”
He turned his glassy eyes back to the board and was once more sucked into the lights. He began to lightly touch the controls. Feeling the knobs. Daring to touch the odd red glowing orb that was hardwired onto the board.
I watched him for a bit until I found myself at the access ramp again, staring at the rain. I lit up a roach that was sitting there on the ledge and smoked it. I watched the trails blow into the storm. Then, for whatever reason, I decided to walk out into the rain.
I must have walked about twenty yards away from the ship, carefully stepping over the rain soaked ground. It was impossible to see anything, just a black night sky that was occasionally lit up by long bursts of lightning. The rain soaked me down to my skin. I closed my eyes and felt it hit me.
Lightning crackled above me, followed by loud thunder and howling wind. I opened my eyes and squinted. I couldn’t see the ship, or the dim light coming from its opened hatch.
The wind whipped at me with biting rain. It was too much. I was starting to feel dizzy. I needed to get back inside, so I turned towards the direction of the ship.
I took two steps and then tripped on something and began to fall face forward. I reached out for anything to hold onto, but I only continued to fall down into the darkness with the rain.
Carlos sat taking a break while I dug. I have to say, he was a good sport digging with me for so long while not understanding what we were digging for.
We had been at it since early in the morning into the better part of the afternoon. Every so often we’d hit an outcropping of cement and have to double back, but for the most part we were lucky to be digging through a wood frame building.
Still though, work was work, and I decided to take a break. Carlos pointed at me a chuckled something under his breath. I got his meaning.
I drank some of the water that we had found on our way here. That was a lucky break. Tomorrow, we’ll have to start scrounging through all of the deli’s and supermarkets I knew for provisions.
It would have to be tomorrow because a big storm was moving in from the direction of New Jersey. It was amazing to see everything on Manhattan leveled to the water. It was just bedrock now. Not even a steel girder was on the horizon. But beyond that, smoke was coming up in Jersey…probably Jersey City. And that was interesting because it was relatively the same distance from Manhattan as we were in Greenpoint. So, thinking that way, hopefully things will get better if we travel away from the center of the blast.
I noticed that there weren’t any birds flying over. All day as I dug, not a single thing flew through the sky. There were no planes. No weird alien ships. Nothing on the alien locator. No army coming through. Everything was empty.
I got up and focused on moving a broken door. I pulled it back and let out a sigh of relief as I stared down at the busted up red footlocker that my weed dealer kept his stash in.
I opened the locker door to find everything there. Twenty or twenty five pounds of different shit all broken up by different names in different bags. Purple Kush, G.O.D, Mudrush, Haik and Blattattack.
I screamed “YES” a couple dozen times.
Eventually Carlos came over and knelt down beside me. He looked deep into the footlocker and his eyes lit up.
My new and only friend was freaking out. Not that it wasn’t undeserved under the circumstance, but still, he was doing the whole “throw your hands up in the air and scream about an alien invasion” kind of freak out.
So…I sat on top of a car cushion and listened.
It felt good to get off of my feet. Walking over the debris really cut them up. Still though, I was glad to see that the alien doohicky thing did what I thought it did.
Meanwhile, this guy was going to town trying to tell me what had happened to him.
I couldn’t understand more than a word or two. He was moving his fingers in the air and stamping his feet, pantomiming that he was playing guitar, then he did a dance with a pretend someone. I think he was fishing at one point. He kept moving his arm like he was. I don’t know. There were some other parts that I didn’t get. The kneeling like he was proposing to someone, and pointing his fingers to his temple like a gun. But, eventually he came to the aliens, and digging himself out of rubble to find all of this.
He got on his hands and knees and started drawing pictures in the dirt to try and explain, but I they didn’t help me very much.
He looked over at me, saying something to help me understand. I just shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t get it. The picture was a bunch of wavy lines coming from what I thought was a guitar.
He was gesturing forcefully.
I shrugged my shoulders. “Sorry bro…I don’t get it.”
He gave up and sat back. Then he dropped his head and shoulders. He seemed to let it all go with that. He chuckled a few times and then looked up at me and put his hand on the center of his chest.
“Carlos. Carlos Ortega.”
I told him my name.
We shook hands.
He sat quietly for a bit taking in how I was dressed. He kept eyeing the rifle on my bag and the alien gun on the side of my backpack.
Carlos nodded his head and reached into his backpack, pulling out two bottles of Beck’s beer. He handed me one of them. I popped it open and we clicked the tops together before taking a sip.
I liked Becks. They were good beers. I never liked drinking as much as I liked smoking though. I always found myself throwing up and hugging the toilet for hours after a night of drinking. But smoking…well, that worked for me.
I took another long sip and came up with an idea. I slapped my hands together and let out a huge laugh. Carlos just stared at me.
I never liked Bushwick all that much. I think it had something to do with the name. “Bush” and “Wick.” What does that even mean? My cousin had a loft out there that was impossible to get to because of L train problems. After an hour of traveling all you’d get for your efforts was a bunch of factories and 22 year olds. I liked walking through the remains of it even less.
As it got darker I could see fires spread out over the horizon. There were dozens of bright spots in the blackness. Manhattan was dark though. It didn’t look like there was anything burning there.
I kept moving southeast towards the red beeping light. Every so often I’d stop and try to find a landmark in all of the wreckage. The foundation of a church, or the framework of a new condo development. But, for the most, part the landscape was just chaos.
I’d walk on a street for a block or two, only to have it swallowed up by buildings and debris. Everything that everyone ever had was broken into countless pieces and blowing with the wind. No sneakers though. Would you believe it? In all the mounds of crap, not a single sneaker.
I kept moving forward and checking the monitor. The blip would move a bit, but it was random. For the most part it just stayed in the same place.
Somewhere around Bushwick and Grand Ave I turned a corner to see him standing in the middle of the street.
He was a Spanish man, around five feet tall, somewhere in his thirties. He looked at me in disbelief for a moment, and then quickly began speaking to me in Spanish. He was hysterical. Screaming stuff at me, while moving his hands around his head like a wild man.
“Woah. Wait up,” I said, raising my hands. “English? Do you speak English?”
He shook his head and made a grimace. “No.” Then he pointed his finger at me. “Tu?”
I shook my head. “No.”
A moment later we both nodded our heads and said “shit” at the same time.
I stayed in the alien ship longer than I should have. Still though, it was fully loaded with gear.
You would think that what I was doing would be more difficult than it was, but I was finding that there were basic principals to the construction of things that were holding true here.
These aliens were humanoid shaped, and with that, their ship and gear worked on a similar design to how our stuff worked.
I had spent years doing carpentry back when I was hiding from real jobs. The benefit was that I could see the basic design of things and understand how they worked, which came in handy now.
I opened up hatches and panels looking through their gear. They had a lot of gear. Ray guns. Bombs. All kinds of things. Even body armor. I took a chest plate that was made out of the same thin black material as all of their clothes.
After I was fully loaded with whatever I could carry, I stepped into the cockpit. There was no way I was going to figure out how to fly this thing. Still though, I found something interesting. Well, I don’t really know how interesting a find it was. You have to understand. None of what had happened was magic. It was science. These guys were ahead of us by who knows how long…by a bit, considering that they just destroyed my planet. That’s assuming a lot. New York was the only place that I could be sure of.
Still, their tech was tech and not magic. So…plugged into a housing unit near the pilots seat, was a small device that could only be the key for the ship.
I unplugged it from the terminal, which caused a female alien voice to flood the cabin. “Ch;kdah De-larous?”
“Sure,” I muttered, walking out of the ship. I stood over the alien bodies. That’s when I came across my most useful find. Clasped onto their belts were these two devices no bigger than an Iphone.
It seemed pretty clear to me that one of them was a tracking device. It had three different screens on it. Each one was calibrated for a different species. The guys I had killed were all there. There was nothing for the blue screen. And then there I was blinking in red. I picked up the other device and found that as soon as it was on me, my signal vanished from the screen. I tested it a few times. They each had these little devices on their belts, and I reckoned that they were there to block other aliens from knowing where they were. I took the other blockers off of their dead and threw them in my bag.
Then I turned towards the ship.
I had a terrible feeling. What if these guys weren’t the only type of alien that was on the planet now? That idea spooked the shit out of me. Still though, why would they be blocking themselves from their own people? And, for that matter, why were there different species screens on their Iphone tracker thing?
I shook my head…the possibility was there that I just had killed the wrong guys. The wrong aliens. Alien guys. Whatever.
I looked at the key thing I took from the ship. It had a few buttons on it, just like a remote for a car. I pressed the first button. A moment later the ships exterior lights changed in intensity as the door raised itself and sealed shut.
I pushed the next button. The lights started pulsing in a weird pattern, and a moment later the ship vanished.
I walked over to it. There was an electric hum coming from where the ship was. I touched it and felt a slight static charge. That was interesting. But it was still there, just…invisible.
I re-checked the settings on my controller. If I pressed the same buttons again, the ship became visible and the door opened back up. “Okay. This is a good thing.” I muttered, and closed the ship back up.
I sat on a pile of rubble for a few minutes in front of an invisible ship thinking stuff. I really wish I had weed. That thought that kept coming into my head.
I looked at the locator again. I took off my blocking thing, and there I was, beeping in red on an aerial map of Brooklyn. I put it back on and I was gone from the screen. But then something happened. Another red beeping light came onto the screen. Red. Red meant human. And that meant that somebody else was alive out here…in Bushwick.
I stood up and got my things together, and heading through the debris in the direction of the beeping light.
Before I even got to think about what I was doing, I found myself moving closer to the ship. I slowly climbed down through the mounds of rubble trying my best not to make a sound.
Strangely, I found out that I was pretty good at skulking around.
I got as close as I could get to them without exposing myself. There was nothing else between us, just scattered debris, but not enough to hide behind.
I squinted. From what I could tell, they weren’t wearing any body armor. Just some sort of black mesh cloth. I thought about what I was going to do for ten seconds.
“Fuck you guys,” I said to myself. Strangely, one of them turned to look towards me when I spoke.
It didn’t matter. I pulled the police rifle I took off of my back and aimed at the one on the left of the spacecraft door. I had never fired a gun before in my life.
I waited. Aimed. And then I took a shot. The thing fell down. From what I could tell, I clipped him in the neck. The other one looked over at him, and then turned to scan the perimeter, while pulling some sort of black weapon from his side holster. It turned on with blue lights blinking across it.
I aimed for his chest. I pulled the trigger and the shot rang out loud throughout what was left of the neighborhood.
To my surprise, the bastard didn’t go down like the other one. No. He managed to get a shot off. A blue bolt of something flew out from the gun and exploded about 50 feet from me. Lightning and sparks shattered through the darkness.
I fired two more shots into him. This time he went down.
I crouched there thinking for a second. The rest of them, the whatever’s they were that made all of the tracks, they were sure to come back after hearing my shots and seeing the flashes.
Then I thought about the gun he used.
I got up and ran along the ground as fast as I could on my taped up feet until I reached them.
The first one that I shot was spurting out all of this black blood, but he was still alive. When I got close enough, he raised his weapon at me and fired. But, luckily he was too far gone from blood loss to aim. It went right by my head and into the debris behind me sparking out in all directions.
But what I didn’t realize was that his stray shot might have saved my life, because the scouting party was just a few feet behind the blast.
It struck right in front of them and sent them falling back.
I didn’t hesitate. I shot the alien three times in the head. Then I picked up his weapon. It looked simple enough. Point. Aim. Shoot. I turned towards the scouting party and fired.
The kickback from the gun was terrible. I wasn’t expecting it, and it almost knocked me on my ass. It also made me quickly realize that if the dying thing that shot me fired it with such ease, that probably meant that these things were a lot stronger than I was. I made a note of that. Never get into a fistfight with one of them.
I hid myself behind their landing hatch and fired their weapon two more times. The blast struck against the debris again. Lighting flashes struck one of their guys and sent him falling over.
I fired again and again. One of my shots hit one of them causing him to vanish into blue light. A second shot hit another one. The same thing happened. A third landed near the last standing guy, striking him with blue lighting and sending him falling over.
And that was it. It was done. I hid in my position for a few minutes listening for any others, but I was alone again. The whole time I kept thinking about the fact that none of the scouting party fired at me. I assumed that they didn’t want to damage their weird black ship with the blue lighting.
I mustered up the courage to walk towards them holding the alien gun before me.
Three of them were dead. One was still moving. He was burned and smoking, but still alive.
He looked up at me with his red swollen eyes.
"Kla’CK uNI’zz," it muttered.
Who knows what the fuck it said.
I raised my one of my pistols towards its head.
“Welcome to Brooklyn, asshole,” I said. Then I shot him in the head.
By the time night came I had already managed to find several bottles of water and food at a deli that wasn’t too badly wrecked. No shoes though. I had taken shelter in the remains of St. Anthony’s Church on what used to be Manhattan Ave. I spent some time there re-wrapping my feet with tape.
It was right around then that I first saw them.
I’d learn what everything was over the next few years, but right then, at that point, I had no idea what I was facing. Just that several silver points of light were racing downward from the sky towards various locations.
I held my breath and waited to be killed by the explosions…except there weren’t any. Instead, I heard engines. Soon enough one of those lights flew right over where I was hiding and landed somewhere near where Mc’Caren Park used to be.
I gathered my bags and started out in that direction. Small fires were beginning to burn just about everywhere. The bigger fires were still in Queens. I assumed it was the gas lines going up. But it wasn’t happening where I was…not yet.
It took a bit of time, but I managed to make my way to where the ship went down. I was right. It had landed in the old baseball fields in the park. It was a thin black ship, completely alien to anything I’d ever seen, and underneath it, an access hatch was opened, and on either side of it, two…aliens?
I couldn’t get a good enough look. But there was one thing I was certain of…there were a lot of tracks leading out from where the hatch was opened…
I had no shoes. I found some masking tape and wrapped it around my feet so I could walk. I was still dressed for bed. I had my black kung-fu sleepy pants on and a black band t-shirt with the words “Big Linda” written on it. They were a band from England that I had some friends in, which made me start to wonder if the attack…by whoever attacked us…was worldwide or not?
I moved through the wreckage of my neighborhood, desperately searching for fallen land markers to figure out where I was.
Eventually I made it to the 94th Precinct. I dug through the rubble for about two hours picking guns off of the bodies of dead, crushed police officers. Somehow I made it to a busted open weapons locker. I found boxes of rounds and several guns. I grabbed a bag from an adjacent locker and filled it up.
Then I stood there on the remains of the precinct thinking about what to do next. I still needed shoes and clothes that didn’t rely on a drawstring.
I looked into the horizon at the trails of thick black smoke that were coming from Long Island City. I hadn’t seen a single other living person all day…but the smoke meant that fires were coming…and they would most likely burn through everything that was around.
Well…at least it wouldn’t be completely dark tonight.
I was never much of anything. Despite what I wanted to believe about myself…the truth is that I never amounted to much.
As a kid I was a daydreamer. As a teenager I was a daydreamer. As a young man I wanted a car and to drive fast and to get laid…well, and to daydream during all of it.
But then my 20’s left for my 30’s and then those continued on as well. And soon enough, one day after my 34th birthday I got hit with a reality check. I really hadn’t done anything with my life.
I was thousands of dollars in debt and continuing to dig a huge hole for myself. My years of daydreaming resulted in little more than dozens of Microsoft word files and printouts with scribbles all over them. I didn’t have a kid. I didn’t have a family. I didn’t have more than a few hundred dollars to my name. And, of course, I was unemployed…again.
So, it was on May 5th 2009 when I decided to throw in the towel on all of my ridiculous pursuits that never panned out to anything. I would be a man. I would buckle down. I would get a job and get out of debt. Find a girl. Buy a car. Basically, I’d build a life for myself.
So, I filled up my coffee cup with the last of the coffee that I had in the house. I turned on the internet and right when I was about to begin sending out resumes everything in the entire world ended.
Not ended…ended. But definitely changed.
It went like this. I turned on the computer. I went online. Then I sipped some coffee and looked out the window towards the Manhattan skyline to see four or five massive spaceships floating at different altitudes in the sky above New York.
And then they started dropping bombs.
IN CAPTION: BROOKLYN NINJA ALIEN FIGHTER
I’ll tell you what’s funny. Unlike all of those hundreds of “Aliens come and attack the Earth” movies that we’ve seen, the attack was silent. The bombs came down with a bright soundless flash. They left nothing but great big craters where they fell.
But the wake of the explosions took out everything around it. Just a wave of force that knocked over every other building around.
One of those blasts hit my building.
I don’t know how long I was out for.
I don’t even know how long it took me to dig myself out through my roof.
All I know is that when I finally did climb out of the rubble nothing was left standing as far as I could see. Brooklyn and Manhattan were leveled. There were miles of destruction going out in every direction. Everything was gone.
Brooklyn native Chris Miskiewicz is a writer/actor/musician working in film, music and comics.
He’s the writer of The EVERYWHERE Anthology published monthly on ACTIVATECOMIX.COM, and a founding member of the Brooklyn based psychedelic rock group Swinger Eight
You can often see him wandering around his apartment eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon.