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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2262053
A retired couple sees something very strange on their TV. Twisted Tales contest entry.
Gladys and Albert Hovath sat on the couch as they did nearly every evening after supper. He read a book while she watched a game show on television. Gladys was thinking about how their lives had become pretty routine the last few years, not that she really minded so much.

They had been married for thirty-two years and while they had no children, they both could look back on fulfilling careers. Albert had sold IBM computers for many years before finishing his career with Apple Mac's. Gladys had developed software for local businesses in their reasonably small town of about thirty thousand people. With the overlap in their jobs, there was always plenty to talk about, although there hadn't been much talking in the last few years since they had both retired.

Before the last round of the game show, the host said they'd be right back after this word from their sponsor, but instead of a commercial, the screen turned dark blue with a bright red rectangle and strange looking yellow characters inside. Gladys turned to her husband and said, "Al, what on earth is that?"

"What is what, Gladys?"

"Here on the screen, look!"

"Gladys, I'm at a really good place in this book. Can't it wait until..."

Al glanced up from his book, but when he saw the screen he stood up, dropped his book, and started running out of the living room.

"Al, what's wrong? Where are you going?"

There was no reply but she could hear him rustling around in his workshop. He returned a few minutes later with a large shiny device like nothing she had ever seen him with before. He turned to her and finally spoke.

"Well Gladys, it's been fun and all, but it's over now."

"What on earth are you talking about, Al? And what's that thing you're carrying?"

"Oh Gladys, dear sweet, stupid Gladys. You Earth creatures think you're so smart. You think you're the smartest beings in the galaxy and you haven't even been to another planet in your own solar system! Well, you never will now, because the invasion of Earth begins tonight. That message on the TV tonight was to activate me and hundreds of others like me who have been masquerading as humans to prepare the way for the invasion force due to arrive in just three days, and there's not a thing you can do about it. I've been preparing for most of my life for this day. Well, goodbye Gladys."

With that he raised the device, pointed it at her, and pressed a button, The bright red flash would have incinerated Gladys had it not been for the network of blue lines surrounding Al like a two-foot-wide cylinder at the moment he activated his device. He tried to speak but no sound penetrated the barrier, though he could hear her perfectly.

"You know Al, I've only been preparing for this for a tiny fraction of my life - only since 1870 when we decided to protect Earth from predators like you. Oh, don't look so surprised. They don't know we're here either, but there are many thousands of us here on the planet and many more on our cloaked vessels, just waiting for someone like you and your friends to try something like this. By the way, this isn't the first time we've thwarted an attack on Earth and I'm sure it won't be the last, but we can handle it."

Gladys pulled a small device out of her sweater pocket and spoke briefly in an unknown language into it, then continued.

"Thirty-three years ago, which was a few hundred years since the last failed invasion, I was assigned to you and I figured the easiest way to keep an eye on you was to marry you. You see, Al, Earth has a lot of problems right now, but we see a lot of potential, We can wait a few hundred more years, or a few thousand if that's what it takes, for them to grow up a bit more."

A tone sounded, seeming to come from everywhere at once, and Gladys continued.

"There's the signal. All agents of your species have been captured and your invasion fleet has been destroyed. Goodbye, Al."

The network of blue lines around Al glowed brighter and brighter until, with a flash, he vanished.

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