Short Stories

Short Story: Then They Were Gone

They say children are the future, that without them towns, cities, nations, species, planets die. And if you want to defeat your enemy, make them watch as you slaughter their children and never give their bodies back to be mourned. That was the official doctrine. There was always retaliation, and it was his job to start it and kill it.

He sat there, guarding the convoy, taking the children into the headquarters. There, they would broadcast their death planet-wise, and other people like him would shoot anyone who would revolt. He had done this several times on different planets, in different bodies to know how it goes. Now he was inside an alien body like the ones they were gradually killing into extinction. After a while, you stopped caring about the superficial differences and got used to the extra tentacles and the ugly mug staring back at you from the mirror. The official doctrine was to assimilate and kill the moral on all fronts. It was disconcerting to see their kind willingly do the horrendous acts for small favors from the invaders.

The sickening feeling he had in his stomach had started a couple of planets ago. The endless eyes from black to white with irises or not haunted him. They looked back with similar needs, fears, and wants as he had, or else the official doctrine wouldn’t work. He could hear the children’s cries. He would cry too if someone ripped him off from his mother and father. And they did all this to dominate the resource-rich planets. It was easier if they were uninhabited. Easier to bring in their kind to do the mining until the planet became a hollow bone. Their own survival. Their own species. These aliens were things and not equal to humans.

He squeezed the trigger of his gun slightly. They had modified it for his weaker and longer alien fingers.  He stopped himself from going all the way through to end up shooting his leg off. He was the convoy’s leader, sitting comfortably in his vehicle at the back, ignoring the conversation between his driver and another lower-ranking guard who were jovial about all this. 

“Shut up. You know nothing about what you are talking,” he barked. The box in his neck rattled as it translated his words to the two humans.

The driver glanced at him, nervously. Both of them were newbies and hadn’t seen a lot of alien bodies. “Sorry, chief,” the driver said and turned back to face the road.

He had asked both of them to be there with him, letting them believe this was some great honor from him bestowed on them. No, he had chosen them because both were as green as they came. The jovial chatter was proof of that. Nervous as ever.

He kept eyeing the city landscape. The structures were primitive compared to their motherships and cities back at home. But enough to hide what he wanted. He began counting after the turn they took. The headquarters would be three blocks away, but that wasn’t what he waited for. And then it came; the explosion, bringing the convoy into a halt by taking three of the first vehicles and his men with them.

The drive pushed the breaks hard. He had readied himself; still, he knocked his head against the dashboard. When he recovered, all around there was shooting. His men were trying to secure the cargo, and the attackers were pushing in. There were more explosions. He kicked the door open.

“Sir,” the driver insisted.

“If I were you, I would back away and try to get out of here. But if I were the alien, I would pluck you like the easy target you are. Your choice.” He slammed the door shut behind him.

He brought the gun against his shoulder and began to shoot his way to the oversized vehicle with the children inside. Behind him, the driver reversed and fled from the scene. He had read the man right.

He aimed at his own men. They were confused as most of them recognized him from his uniform, but he kept shooting them down. This was his justice.

The aliens were pushing hard from the other side. He ignored them. They knew his ugly mug with the uniform and left him alone, aiding him to get to the children. He had planned this. He was finished being a child murderer. This time he was going to lead the revolution.

Thank you for reading, have a great day ❤

© K.A. Ashcomb

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