by Marie Cammock

‘What seemed like an eternity became mere seconds in the eye of the beholder. . .

Clayton scrambled to his feet and clutched the nearest rifle firmly between blood sweat hands and pulled the trigger. Amused his aggressor moved towards him. Clayton screamed a warrior’s last cry as an attempt to baffle the creature. The massive figure that towered before him stopped. Was this the answer? Clayton shouted, howled and exclaimed every imaginable sound he could conjure up under such strict time constraints. It did not move. Instead an instantaneous display of particles dispersed into the cool nights air and what was – was no more. Clayton sighed in relief.

A voice spoke from behind a large brown rock in the distance.

“So they disappear too,” the voice remarked.

“You can come on out now,” Clayton instructed.

A small willowy man appeared dressed in fatigues, like Clayton. He staggered at first but then regained a soldier’s composure.

“I’m sorry,” the small man said.

“Don’t. Not now. The next time – ”

The small man interrupted.

“There will be no next time for me Clayton! I’m outta this hell hole.”

Clayton relaxed his grip on the rifle and turned towards the billowing smoke that lay ahead. Who could have imagined that weeks of tyranny would have turned into the most miserable year in history. A one-year war was forged against the aliens that landed exactly twelve months to the day. It was amazing that humans still existed. Their universal migration was unexpected and insanely unappreciated by the inhabitants of Earth. This was man’s planet. A planet ordained by God himself and no intentionally or unintentionally creature created by the maker Himself was going to change that. It was a big universe. Why did they leave their home planet to begin with and why was Earth so important to them. The men and woman of Earth would not give up. They had not given up in twenty years and no one, not even the aliens, was going to stop fighting now. But how long would the war wage on?

“Look down there. What do you see?” he asked his comrade.

“Hell,” the man replied.

“No. Home!” Clayton barked.

Ashamed the small willowy man known as Private Jensen fell to the ground and clasped his mud drenched face while tears marked clean streaks down hollow cheeks. He had not eaten in days. Jensen was beaten and he knew it.

“They can have this planet!” he screamed.

“No they can’t! We will blow it up ourselves before it’s given up to a bunch of thieves and I don’t care where they are from or what they can do. If they are so smart why are they here? Why aren’t they cultivating an uninhabited planet? Why our planet?” Clayton asked.

“We’ve been asking that question for months Clayton. We don’t know and they don’t seem to want to tell us or maybe they just can’t figure how to tell us. I just don’t know but I am sure of this, we cannot go on much longer. We are not surviving. We are simply waiting to die. To be killed. I remember how things used to be. The sky was blue. The grass green. You could smell homemade cookin’ around the corner. The air was free from ash and perpetual smoke. And food. Food came hot or cold. It wasn’t baked by humidity and then cooled by an evening breeze only to be smothered by sunlight and slowly decomposed over time. I don’t feel brave anymore Clayton. I want to give up.”

“To whom? To them?” Clayton asked.

“Sure why not. So what if they kill me. I’m dying now anyway,” Jensen coughed.

He did not want to witness the surrender. Instead he gave the order.

“Go,” Clayton said.

Private Jensen was not hesitant about any of this. He stood up, dusted himself off and proceeded to walk in the direction of dying flames. Clayton would not look at him. What seemed like an eternity became mere seconds in the eye of the beholder. Jensen walked while all the time he continued to peer up at the levitating objects in the sky. The technology was impressive. You could barely hear a whisper from their propulsion system. In fact, if this had not been a war, the humming source of energy that transported these aliens across space’s black abyss would lull a grown man to sleep. Jensen ventured on considering what his final moments would be like. Would he feel unimaginable pain or was their compassion even for the weak minded. His knees began to buckle under the stressful anticipation of death. Now that death had finally come for him, he was filled with uncontrollable anxiety. His instincts told him to run back to Sergeant Clayton but something kept him moving. Something he could not explain. Drawing closer to what looked like extremely dark smoke, if there was such a thing, Jensen watched the transformation of dark smog; two large beings emerged carrying metal framed spears. Jensen recognized the spears. They were weapons.

Sergeant Clayton, against his better judgment, caught a glimpse of what was going on down in the valley.

“Do something. Don’t die without trying,” he whispered.

Jensen stopped dead in his tracks but the two beings did not. They moved in on their prey.

“How easy is this? That is what they must be thinking,” Jensen surmised.

Jensen began to talk to them.

“What do you want? What do you want!”

His short line of questioning did not disturb them in the least.

“What do you want! What in God’s creation do you want!!” he screamed louder this time.

The two halted abruptly and quite awkwardly, Jensen noted. Maybe there was something about sound that affected their equilibrium. There had been rumors but if sound did affect them why were they still here? Now that he thought about it their feats of remarkable engineering, their system of propulsion resembled a soft hushing vibration. Could it be that they were gradually losing their immunity to sound? It happened in a sci-fi flick called “The War of the Worlds” where aliens were destroyed by microorganisms. The kind of germs that cause humans to sneeze, cough and get an occasional fever. So why not this? Why not sound? We were sharing the same airwave space with them and maybe just maybe our voices were tearing down their walls of sonic communication. Years ago Naval ships experimented with sonic sound in open seas and in desperation to escape a disorienting pitch only whales could hear, these mammals beached themselves out of what we can only imagine as sheer agony. Is that what happened to the other Alien Clayton engaged several minutes ago? And, he continued his thought, they did not speak. No one had ever heard these predatory aliens speak. Did they communicate telepathically? Oh, this was sweet. They chose the wrong planet. They chose perhaps the loudest miracles of habit to mess with. Men were loud, brash and bossy. Man’s worst characteristics may very well be their saving grace. But governments used bombs, guns, missiles… everything against the aliens and still the aliens prevailed. What was it about the human voice that made the most aggressive creature seen on two legs, apart from man, render massive figures motionless? Perhaps like the walls of Jericho defeat was only a triumphant blow away. An old sci-fi flick had the soldier thinking and they were good thoughts. Very good thoughts.
Jensen bellowed louder and louder. He screamed, chanted gospel truths his mother taught him as a boy from the Bible and he moved around in jerky strange movements for which he had no rational reason.

Clayton watched in bewilderment while Jensen continued to perform his tribal ritual against the invaders.

“What in the world is he doing?” Clayton thought.

Jensen’s arms waved vigorously back and forth as if he were experiencing an involuntary muscular fit. For whatever good it was doing Clayton silently praised Jenson for his efforts because it seemed to be working.

“He must be yelling. Screaming. Screaming frantically and scared like I did before the creature . . . disappeared!” Clayton finally said out loud.

Running down the hill was the easy part. Catching his breath was not. Clayton used every ounce of energy and will to reach Jenson in time.

Jensen’s voice was beginning to weaken. His throat was soar and his dance for freedom was tiring. Clayton was yelling to him but Jensen could not hear or see the sergeant. He was too focused on the still but intimidating creatures in front of him. His cries were no longer clear but rough and jagged around the edges. The aliens responded immediately and quickly plunged onto their victim but not before sensing a sharp stinging pain to their frontal cortex. There was another human in the midst and he knew exactly what to do. Jensen joined the ranting voice and the two soldiers became one. They could not differentiate their own voice from the other. Alien one was the first to stop and dissipate. The second creature was not so easy to dismiss.

“He’s coming at you!” Jensen warned the sergeant.

Clayton charged heroically into the alien and found himself standing in the midst of released particles. Had he “broken” the creature upon impact or did it flee in fear like his predecessors.

“Could it be something we said?” Clayton panted.

“Literally speaking, yes! I believe their defense against conflicting vibrating airwaves has weakened. Their equilibrium is thrown off course by one or many varied pitches. I am not clear on this Sergeant but I think we have a weapon,” Jensen agreed.

“Could it be that simple?” Clayton suggested.

“Maybe just that. Let’s go find out,” Jensen asserted.

“Long live man,” Clayton smiled.

Both men shook hands and prepared themselves to spread the good news.

“Long live man,” Jensen sighed.

The End.

Published by
Independent publisher of science fiction stories.