December 2, 2022
Forty-two days into captivity
The room had no windows, no closet, one door, a sterile floor, one waste speculator, and thirty-six capacodex, otherwise known as alien equipment with computer brains that provided medical support of all kind without anyone needing to lend a physical hand.
The longest recorded human duration of a Reedis Resurrection lasted one-hundred-and-ninety hours. Ericka Elise Martin confirmed what most Babisianx discovered since invading Earth. Never trust humans to do as they should.
Not much of her hadn’t gone through some form of resurrection; most of the changes occurring in her body cavities, organs, spinal cord, sinuses, interstitial fluids, body composition, microbiome, brains and reproduction organs. The Babisianx hadn’t been trying to make her superhuman, but they did make her better than what she had been. The changes were necessary for her survival, because as soon as the time became appropriate the first thing King Sammo wanted was to ship the meddling soothsayer’s little black ass off of Earth, and hopefully without his son going along with her, because it was his favorite son who had chosen the meddler as his mate.
No other human had been able to bring down his warships from the sky, and Ericka, the daring, meddling esper she was had brought down five, along with her army of humans and alien subspecies who now ranked high on King Sammo’s ‘Kill List.’
The entire race of Babisianx thought it strange when Ericka slept five-hundred-and-five hours after the cruedel, became conscious for eighteen of those hours in which during that time she ran across Hamut’s bed, then leapt nine feet across the room like a spider monkey to attack Queen Katta. Twelve minutes later she returned to her Reedis Resurrection exhausted and was placed back into dependent stasis.
She slept four-hundred-and-seventy-three hours more before showing signs of waking. The first day she opened her eyes everyone knew she couldn’t see anything because she hadn’t gotten used to the alterations made to her human eyes. Two days later she pushed back the blankets and saw she was sans underwear and dressed in a T-shirt and shorts that used to belong to someone else.
One touch of her foot against the floor triggered pain. Her eyes crossed. Her knees folded. The room separated into eight individual rooms of the same size. Loud ringing began in her ears. Her scalp rolled to the left as her body made sudden adjustments. The bones of her pelvis separated. Her heart gave two hard thumps.
The ringing stopped as suddenly as it began. The room pulled again into one. But her legs still protested, and her arms – Ericka couldn’t understand what was happening to them. For reasons she couldn’t explain her arms made motions that her brain wasn’t telling them to do.
When she tried getting to her feet she saw that her feet also had minds of their own.
How can walking be this difficult? She thought as she stumbled across the floor to a sliding door that led out into a rear yard.
Once she saw a stone pathway led to a natural pool hidden between forest trees her inner voice led her to it. Her inner voice had become more than a friend; it had gotten her through some tough shit. Aliens. An invasion. War against aliens. Abduction. And being given to a half human, half alien to be his wife.
This was not the life she saw for herself. How was this even possible when she had what others called psychic abilities? The truth was sometimes she felt her ability to see the past, present and future played annoying tricks on her. Like when she’d seen a man named Farzad Emir and herself in a room with the granddaddy of all aliens and two others inside it, and Farzad telling her he would protect her at all cost.
Really? Since she was a child she knew the visions she saw were puzzles to figure out. But come on! How could she have known that the Farzad she saw was really an alien who had taken human form?
A splash drew her attention to the pool as she wobbled and jerked and reached with her hands just to stay upright.
Walking shouldn’t be this hard! What all did they do to me?
The good thing she reminded herself was she was still alive, and of all people, or should she say aliens, it was the man from the vision the reason she was still alive.
Other than the three of them, the Shadows were the only others on the island, which hadn’t been too different before the invasion. For years Aogashima Volcano was the most isolated island in Japan, its population reaching as high as one-hundred-and-eighty. King Sammo had designated the island as a future prison camp for humans. Because of this, during the invasion the islanders had been spared.
Vegetation crawled up the side of the volcano’s crater.
When she reached the pool, Zizi broke through its surface, an ayu fish wiggling in her mouth. Hamut lounged comfortably on a stone in the sun, a piece of clear glass in his hands. The glass wasn’t simply a glass. Ericka had seen one before. As clear as air but three inches thick, it had a square shape. At all times images ran across it too swiftly for humans to retain. As the future king of Babis, Hamut stayed updated on Earth’s domination.
Billions of people lost their lives at exactly three minutes after the Babisianx’ arrival. Cities lay in ruins. Defeating the Babisianx wouldn’t come easily: indestructible exoskeletons, innards made from energy unknown to man, their rope-like tongues which were called pikes had electrical barb hooks that could fry man and other aliens to the dry stage of decomposition. All Babisianx had reachers, inner arms that looked like red slippery tentacles. The only weakness a few humans had discovered so far was their reaction to diamonds, but with the loss of electricity there wasn’t a way to get the word out to warn other survivors.
Zizi’s human shaped eyes were in contrast with her blank alien expression. More human in appearance than alien, the subspecies she fell under were known as Humanlikes.
Ericka remembered Hamut telling Zizi animals had been released into the forest for hunting. This was right up Zizi’s alley. Hunting ranked second under her need for complete nudity. Zizi’s breasts and pale skinned rear surfaced higher than the water, then swam deeper into the pool.
Ericka noticed that Hamut paid no more attention to Zizi than he did her. Extraordinary in design, he was a human form of high-voltage electricity. No eyebrows or eyelashes, the color of his eyes were red and white. His pupils were tiny electrical charges much smaller than the flames found in a furnace. Beads of currents traveled throughout his skin like shooting stars. Markings similar to blue diamonds covered his chest.
The pain came from nowhere. Ericka’s knees folded. Her brain shut down. When her eyes opened again, Hamut and Zizi stood over her as if both had discovered a new kind of bug that became a joy to watch.
“Am I still human?” This Ericka wanted to know more than anything else at the moment.
“You’ll always be human, Ericka,” Hamut answered.
The sound of his deep, flat tone reminded her that Hamut embraced his alien side rather than his human side.
He lowered and held her gaze, and then touched his fingers to the center of her forehead. “We made many changes.” From there he separated his fingers and traced her temples, then joined his hands together across her jaw. Several places in her neck were touched. A finger was pressed against the area of her brain stem. Reaching his hands underneath her, his fingers traced her spine in both directions. “Your lungs. Your heart. Your joints. These changes are secondary changes predicted by Reedis. Your veins, all of your muscles, and…” The palm of his hand slid between her thighs and tightly cupped her sex. “Another secondary change just like the others.”
Zizi gave what could have been a chuckle. “Sex. I want it. But I’m given to the ugliest alien.”
For some reason the back of Ericka’s head felt fifty pounds too heavy.
Hamut gripped her hands. Like an infant responding to physical stimulation, she pulled up on her feet.
She lifted her right leg. The ground slammed hard into her chest.
“Okay,” she said in surrender. “That hurt.”
“You no longer have to force your body to move. Just think it,” Hamut encouraged
Her hands, feet and body worked together as she stood. I’m going for a run. Her feet ran in the gait of a treadmill starting underneath still feet before she had physically tried to make any motions.
“You got it?” was all he asked when she stopped and held her hands in front of her. “Your body has electrical energy trapped inside it much more than before. You no longer have tendons and now have better flexibility. Your autonomic nervous system includes all movements made with your limbs. Like I said before, just think about doing something and you can do it.”
Standing still a moment, she looked at the start of the road then found herself there in less than a second, her feet taking rapid steps. It was like driving a car with her brain doing all of the work.
She looked over her shoulder and saw Hamut watching. A squeal slipped out of her when her body faced him, then hurried to him. I guess he was right, she thought when her palm slapped his face.
Hamut held her gaze. “Control your thoughts, Ericka.”
“This is going to be a problem. I thought about slapping you, but I wouldn’t have really done it.” Her eyes slid down the front of him. Another squeal slipped out when she gave a firm grip between his legs. The bleating goat sound that rushed out of him was his way of laughing.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts,” he said, his voice lower and slightly husky.
“You’re alien, so I know you can see me blushing despite my skin color,” she ranted.
“Do you want me to tell you all…”
Her body swung around, placing her back to him. “No,” she said, walking away without even trying to move. I can get used to this. No physical requirement and just a thought. “I’m taking a walk,” she announced just as she reached the road again.
She had only taken a few steps when Hamut and Zizi landed in front of her at the same time.
Zizi’s pike rushed out of her human-shaped mouth and tangled around the neck of a mountain lion perched on nearby grass. Her reachers scattered out of her navel like strong rope and in equal speed and hogtied the animal. The lion’s neck was stretched and snapped in several places by the strength of her reachers.
Ericka hadn’t been surprised by Zizi’s sudden response. Born from the John Felt clan, she and her family had vowed to protect Ericka during Earth’s war with the Babisianx.
“The other animals in the forest you should be able to outrun,” Hamut said and walked away.
Ericka started walking before she meant to. The next moment she was running. The feel of her lungs vibrating would take some getting used to. Staring down she saw that the T-shirt had tightened around her breasts as her lungs filled with air. I’m glad he didn’t see that because my boobs actually look good right now.
Still looking down she pulled the Tee back. The expression on her face was the same as saying ‘not so shabby.’
Other roads soon branched off and led up the volcano’s crater and to the other side of it. After a few minutes she reached houses with sheets of tin for roofs layered in enough rust to give the now defunct American CDC nightmares.
At the lookout point she saw a main village on the island’s north side. It looked nothing more than a few small collections of houses and buildings that were too spaced apart to be a united town.
She continued to run this time to see how fast she could, only to learn she had to be running no less than fifty-miles-per-hour, and far too fast to slow down at once.
I can run as fast as Hamut, she thought when reality slammed into her like a skyscraper collapsing on her head. The world she once knew no longer existed. While she had been running and checking out her new figure, and getting excited about changes aliens had made with her body, people all over the world had been thrown back to the Dark Ages. Electricity, running water and gas were controlled by the Babisianx. Computer systems and the Internet were things of the past. Survivors, after they got tired of running and realizing there was no true place to hide, had only to look forward to becoming a Babisian slave.
Running back to the house where she started, Hamut sat on the floor of the door as if waiting for her. He didn’t say anything. Rising to his feet once he saw her return, he entered the house, waited for her to enter, then closed the door.
Smells of real food reached her nostrils. The Shadows had prepared a dinner consisting of the fish Zizi caught, steamed rice and potatoes, and plenty of vegetables. Walking through the front door had reminded Ericka of what life had been like before the Babisianx.
Hunger pains twisted her stomach. Again her thoughts got the better of her. Before she knew it she sat at the dining room table ready to shove food in her mouth. Zizi saw this and leapt on top of the table like an oversized frog testing a new lily pad.
Hamut had also seen her sit at the dining room table. Only then did he make his way to his bedroom, which Ericka saw was different from the one she’d awakened in.
Rising to her feet, she made her way to her room. Food would have to wait. First she needed to get her shit together and her priorities in check. People were starving – people she knew. It didn’t seem right only she’d been afforded this luxury because she had been forced to marry the son of the Babisian King.
Hamut must have heard her approaching; he stood in the room he had chosen. Slipping inside her room, she closed the door behind her.
Seconds later she heard Hamut’s bedroom door also close.
Get a check on yourself, Ericka. Already you’re screwing this up.
Breakfast sat on the bedside table. A vase of jungle greenery sat next to a pitcher of orange juice. She lifted the pitcher and gave a long sniff. Real orange juice.
Zizi didn’t strike her as a flower giver, which only left one person the jungle greenery could have come from. Ericka lifted a piece of bacon and puzzled over Hamut. After his coaching yesterday she knew he went back to his work and behaved as if he was alone on the island. During her run, Zizi had appeared every so often, darting through the sky and above trees as if having the time of her life. The only people Ericka noticed had given her the most attention were the Shadows. This wasn’t surprising. She’d already seen a vision of King Sammo using the Shadows to kill her.
Hamut appeared in the door. “Zizi thinks she’s well enough to hunt. Stay away from the forest. As wildly as Zizi’s been behaving, I think even the most dangerous animals will run from her.”
She sensed him waiting to see if she would say anything in return. She couldn’t think of a way to tell him to go away politely and looked at him over her shoulder. As soon as their eyes met he walked away.
Get your shit together, Ericka. This is the wrong time to make him your enemy.
After breakfast she made a polite gesture and asked if he wanted to run with her to the north end.
“Are you ill?”
Not once did he look up from the images on the alien glass. “Why do you need me to run with you?”
“I don’t,” she answered.
Hamut looked up as Ericka walked away. As she walked she studied the trees and the birds that flew overhead. And then she began to run.
She ran to the north side and saw it looked better than it had from up top. A handful of buildings, a few restaurants, a helicopter pad sat at a high point, sturdier houses in some areas, more shacks with tin roofs in others, plenty of farm land. Cattle grazed openly in a field.
She saw Shadows move in and out of her frame of vision. Knowing one of them would soon try and kill her, she headed in a different direction when Zizi zipped through the trees and dropped in front of her.
“The animals are different,” she said in a flat alien tone, then sprang away with her left leg held stiffly.
Ericka smiled as Zizi disappeared. The island proved beautiful to look at and made it easy to forget what was happening in other places around the world. A tree nearby had tiny buds of red flowers on it. Reaching for it, she held one in her hand. Her thoughts had been so far away she hadn’t heard him approaching. The next thing she knew Hamut’s arms wrapped around her waist and his body pressed closely to hers as he whispered in her ear. “My father’s coming. I thought we would have more alone time. Come back to the house with me.”
Her brain did exactly what she thought.
Her feet ran fast in the opposite direction. Once she realized she was running she didn’t look back and ran faster.
The goddamned grandfather of all aliens is coming to an island teeming with Shadows. Do not piss Hamut off!
She stopped, and after a few seconds she turned around.
Hamut had lowered to the ground in a fit of laughter from her gazelle sprint over uneven ground.
She walked back to him.
It took a moment for him to compose himself. “At least I know you can outrun a zuer once we reach Babis.”
Those words and his laughter started all over again.
“I need you,” she said. “I know you already know that. Can we find some kind of middle ground?”
“You’re standing on it,” he said and walked away still laughing.
King Sammo didn’t come alone. What humans called alien transportation vehicles were wahfx. The number that lowered to the island was nothing less than a second invasion.
Here comes trouble.
She stood outside one of the concrete huts hoping his majesty didn’t come looking for her. The amount of supplies and equipment she saw warned King Sammo’s visit would be a long one rather than a short one.
He’s coming to kill me.
Less than twenty-four hours had been all she was given to have peace. From this moment forward she knew she’d be running, and worse. Vulnerable to the Babisian king.
Within minutes Babisianx were everywhere. The island’s many ducks scattered to flee being trampled by heavy, black Babisianx feet. King Sammo scouted out the land and pointed out different areas. Work began in those areas right away. Soon Earth would have its first prison for humans designed and guarded by aliens.
The Shadows no longer stayed in hiding. Apparently, their hands were needed in the prison’s construction. Black vapors secreted from their bodies at all times to conceal their appearance. One of them reached for a felled tree. A startling white hand with visible red veins appeared. Long pointy fingernails made from what looked like seashells stretched out of the end of it. Underneath those fingers a second set of smaller fingers allowed them to grip objects and stay ready to defend themselves at all times.
It was this moment she noticed several other things. The Babisianx didn’t take breaks or lunches, and the Shadows didn’t either. In minutes trees had been cleared, prepped, set aside, the ground excavated and leveled, all while using a limited amount of the alien machinery that had been brought with them.
While one group worked in one area, a smaller group worked a second location. Ericka got closer to see what the second group was up to.
A smaller area had been leveled. Wahfx bearing animal cages lowered carefully to the ground. Inside those cages weren’t lions or cheetahs or snakes or any kind of animal that had been born on Earth. In one of them looked like rams without heads. Fur grew on their arms and legs. In between those areas black hardened skin grew together like boils made of leather. A razor-thin tail swayed mesmerizingly behind it. Twisted round horns grew out of both shoulders with its sharpest points growing out of the center.
Ericka stared at where the head should have been. Folds of hairy skin created a hollow cave between the creatures’ horns. She started to walk away but couldn’t. In another cage hairless looking dogs with disfigured faces that looked like they had been washed in acid stared at her. Their eyes were alert and had a sparkle to them like stars shining against a black sky. Blue eels with daggers made into wings and long legs that allowed them to walk upright and a face covered with eyes sat in another cage. In another Ericka believed Satan had a dozen midget sons, and she was staring at them.
Fear got her running.
Once running there wasn’t any stopping without colliding into the many Babisianx. Instead of focusing on running she focused on not crashing. From the corner of her eye she saw something running through the trees at her same speed, trying to catch up with her. And then it turned in her direction.
Clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition, psychic ability, ESP: she tested positive for all of them as a child. From the voices in her head, visions, dreams, and daymares she had learned long ago to listen and follow the commands of her inner voice. And she did that now without question.
She cut hard to the left so swiftly her right leg swung in the air and spun her around. It hadn’t been a thought out plan; it simply happened. Her foot connected dead center with a felled log. The log shot out like a missile toward whatever was chasing her. The alien ram stumbled and hit the dirt. That’s when she heard more feet giving chase.
Another ram appeared. Its head lifted. A cone of pink flesh with skinny white tentacles, one eye like a shiny huge marble, and a mouth full of teeth with tentacles wiggling between them.
Her momentum didn’t slow. The kick spun her so she faced left again. In front of her the forest turned wild. No paths or visible trails. Ferns grew five feet off the ground. The trees in this area were completely surrounded by brush, tangled vines, and vegetation that grew higher than three feet tall. Just behind the trees she saw something dark.
She pushed off the ground in a flying leap, burst through the top of a clump of ferns and became airborne.
The darkness turned out to be a cliff.
Electrical poles with live wiring ran the length of a narrow road beneath her. On the other side of the road the forest picked up again.
She missed the electrical wires by a hair. Reaching her hands in front of her to break her fall, the crackle of the largest mosquito zapper sounded behind her. She heard the exact moment when the electrical pole snapped.
She tumbled hard on the ground keeping her body as low as possible. Live wires landed inches away and touched the ground. A swarm of bee stings touched her right arm as she continued to roll.
She staggered to her feet and ran faster.
The house wasn’t far from the cages; she wanted to get as far from them as possible. Sooner or later Hamut would look for her, and she hoped it wouldn’t be too late. On her left she saw one of the Shadows appear and disappear between the trees. Knowing now that King Sammo hadn’t wasted time in trying to kill her, she ran with everything she had until the Shadows could no longer be seen.
Reaching a new road she followed her instinct, took a flying leap onto it, then ran north. Within minutes the road led her over the volcano’s crater and into the north side of the island.
Ahead of her a wahf lowered with a dozen more black vapors shimmering, waiting for the wahf to hit the ground.
She curved hard to her right, flew past one of them as it ran toward her like a greyhound on a race track. With every intention of running all the way to the sea and plunging into it, she began to run faster after her heart trembled in her chest like a generator kicking into start.
She could no longer see how many Shadows were behind her, but she saw who was in front of her. Like she’d seen at the Battle of Missoula, Hamut ran faster than most animals. She didn’t know where he’d come from. All she saw was him suddenly in front of her running. He stopped when she was still some distance away. Reaching both of his hands out to both sides of him, he drew them up and inward. A sizzling burning cape of electricity like wings with a five-foot span on both sides separated down its center and flew around him, then around her, then slammed against the ground directly behind her.
The jolting of the ground sent her flying high into the air and off balance. When she landed she tried not to break her neck. Her feet were still moving, incredulously. As carefully as she could she slowed to a tripping gait.
In front of her Hamut walked boldly and confidently as his right arm stayed in motion. The pike in his wrist ejected with each flick he made. Like rays of light captured in a still frame the speed the pike left his wrist, returned and left it again made the current appear like it was in constant motion and enclosing her in the space between him and whatever was behind her.
As soon as she saw she was safe her adrenaline crashed. Her knees unlocked. Her hands reached for the ground as she collapsed face down.
Hamut retracted the pike, reached Ericka, then lowered in front of her and held her gaze. “Don’t turn around.”
It was the way he said it that made her stare at him unable to move. Behind her fields of electricity sizzled and popped.
“My father wants to kill you.” He spoke matter-of-factly. “If I know him as well as I think I do, he’s going to try and make your death look like an accident. You’re his enemy. Because of you he watched five of his warships fall out of the sky. No one else since the invasion has been able to do that. Because of you he lost his arm during the Battle of Missoula. Why would you not find me as soon as you saw him arrive?”
He was right and she knew it.
He held out his hand.
She grabbed it and stood to her feet. All the ‘what ifs’ hit her at once. If she hadn’t forced herself to walk the day before. If she had kept running away from Hamut after he offered his version of how to make them truly become man and wife. If she hadn’t turned left.
“You’re smarter than that,” he said.
His words weren’t scolding, but the words of an enemy helping his opponent when he knew he shouldn’t.
“I was told the cages accidently opened.”
Cages? More than one cage meant more than one species had given chase.
She tried to turn around.
Hamut grabbed her and held her firmly against him, then looked over her shoulder and stared at the salo. Its spade shaped tail and sharp nailed fingers had only been inches from reaching Ericka before he risked hurting her, too, in order to kill it. Shadows and other animals had also been released and lay tangled in the electrical fields that stretched hundreds of feet behind him.
Many things came to Ericka’s mind to say. Luckily she looked up first and saw the expression on his face. He blamed her for putting him in the position he now faced with his father. It showed on his face.
“Everything happens for a reason, Hamut. I don’t know why I was there. I hadn’t expected anyone to come to that area. And then I saw the cages and couldn’t believe what I saw. I wasn’t thinking.” She stared at the ground realizing how foolish she’d been. “I just stood there looking at everything. I watched the Shadows because I saw them in a vision trying to kill me. And I looked at the work because I wondered how many humans will suffer once it was completed. But I learned something. I learned that when I run fast, I have to breathe differently, and if I gain the right momentum I can catapult off of stable objects…”
He leaned close so they were eye to eye. “My father, the King, sees you as a prisoner worthy of a vicious and brutal death. You’re no longer a soldier, Ericka. You’re my wife, as well as a prisoner of war.”
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