Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2272853-Escape-From-Above
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2272853
Journal of an alien invasion survivor
I was 20 when they arrived.

Actual spaceships from some other world appeared in the skies over Earth and began raining down fiery beams of destruction. At first, it was thought maybe they had come in peace, you know, to help mankind see the error of their ways. Perhaps they had come to ignite a new evolution.

That was not the case.

After the military began a massive aerial engagement in an attempt to destroy the aliens, things went to shit. Worldwide retaliations against them only made it worse, and soon all fighter jets had been blown out of the sky and we were nuked into oblivion.

Such a show of force from these visitors was a lot different from the usual sightings that had been recorded over the years, even some of the more well-known mass sightings such as the Belgian Lights were nowhere near the same magnitude. There was absolutely no denying that beings from somewhere else, be it planet, dimension or time, were here and they outnumbered us.

In high school, I was obsessed with UFOs. Whenever I had free reign, they were most often a subject I felt I had done enough research on to be able to present the topic to my fellow students with confidence. The Internet allowed me to dive deep into the rabbit hole of what at the time was considered canonical pseudoscience and of which now, I can tell you, is not all pure science fiction, swamp gas or birds flying in formation. Obviously, I can look back now and see that YouTube videos were hardly a proper investigation and admit that while there were many grains of truth online, it was mostly for entertainment.

The real mind-blowing stuff was what I learnt from my parents who were working in a top-secret underground military facility known as DIME or Defense Intelligence Military Experiment, a programme created for the retrieval and reverse engineering of foreign technology which I suppose would explain my fascination with all things extraterrestrial, although I wouldn’t find this and so much more, out until later. Some knew they didn’t come in peace, my father being one of them, and I will be forever grateful for the warning of an imminent attack by otherworldly beings..

My parents saved my life.
“Chance, It’s your Mother.”

Yeah, they named me Chance. My father said it was because they both took one. Take that as you will. Anyway, she sounded shaken. There was a tremor in her voice that I had never heard before, not to mention the fact that it was 3 am and phone calls at that time were never good.I first thought something had happened to dad. How wrong I was.

“I need you to do exactly what I say, no questions asked. Do you understand?”“I understand.”“There’s not much time, so listen carefully. In your father’s office, underneath the top right-side drawer of his desk, is a digital combination lock. Enter the code 9381 and take the book from the top shelf, third from the left, and make your way to us through the door that is opened. Are we clear?”

What was I supposed to say to that? ‘make your way to us through the door that is opened.’ What the hell did that even mean? I was still half asleep and not completely comprehending what was going on. Was I dreaming?

As if reading my mind, my mother spoke again. “Chance, this is not a dream. There is no time to waste. The key to the house is under the Buddha and the key to the office is in the lounge in the mouth of the statue of Anubis. you need to go immediately. Do you copy?”

‘Do you copy?’, that was how I knew it was serious. She rarely went into military mode around me, and to be honest, I couldn’t even remember the last time. It may have been the day that Keith Richards died.Instantly awake, I grabbed the pen and paper I kept by my bedside and wrote down what my mother had told me. “I’ll be at the house in one hour.”

“I love you, Chance. Godspeed.”

And she was gone.

The drive over gave me plenty of time to think about what just happened and to come up with different scenarios in my head about what would wait for me. Why couldn’t she just come out and say what was going on? Was she calling from work, perhaps? On an unsecured line? None of the movies that I saw in my mind would compare to the blockbuster that was awaiting me, and the entire human race, for that matter.

I located both keys soon enough and, for the first time as far as I could ever recall, entered my father’s office. Above his desk, larger than life was a portrait of former President Grohl which was definitely no surprise, even I was a fan of his music before he entered politics although I wasn’t sure how his superiors would feel if they knew my dad would always be more loyal to the old Commander In Chief.

I sat down at the desk and took a moment to absorb his discipline. Although both my parents were in the military, I had no interest in following in their footsteps. I just didn’t believe in war and the concept of spending money that could be better spent elsewhere, on weapons and, considering how easily everything went wrong, I feel justified in those beliefs. It was wasted money and wasted time because, in the end, we had no chance in hell and not just from invaders from the skies but from our own governments.

I was ready. I found the combination lock, entered the code and stood in front of the library of knowledge and fantasy that was my father’s bookshelf.

The book in question was My Life In Obscurity by Richard Barker, just in case you were wondering, one I have since read but at the time was not familiar with. To this day, that book holds a special place in my heart. I’m not sure why I kept it, but I did and it serves as a constant reminder of a different time.

So behind the book was a switch which, when I flicked it, opened the bookcase up, like the sliding doors you used to see in malls and supermarkets. Both sides just separated, revealing nothing but darkness.

With the light on my phone as my guide and protector, I stepped in, gingerly, mind you. I did not know what I was walking into and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sweating just a bit.

As soon as I entered, the books closed behind, leaving me alone with the shadows in what was essentially a tomb. It wasn’t until I noticed the hatch on the floor that the apprehension I was feeling gave way to relief.

I was trying to wrap my head around the entire situation as I climbed down into the unknown. I had just discovered a secret staircase built underneath the home I grew up in with an entrance hidden elaborately in my father’s office, that both he and my mother knew about, leading to who knows where and here I was, stepping down into the darkness.

They led down some way to a small tunnel which opened up into a long-abandoned train station and not just one of those stations in which the trains only stopped at sporadically, this place looked to have multiple platforms, now forgotten.

Except for one.

A lone black carriage sat at the platform closest to me, silently waiting like a ghost. I knew it was here for me, but at that moment I was frozen. It just looked scary. I couldn’t help but notice how clean it was. A sparkling brand new bullet lit up eerily in the dark, ready to shoot me into the bowels of hell. I had been in empty tube stations before, but this felt completely different.

Besides the creepy ghost train eerily illuminating the station, the place was lifeless and seemed to have been for some time. There were no other lights and other than the hollow echoes of my own footsteps, the sound was only silence. Not even the sound of squeaking rats, and yet I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. I felt like I was not quite awake, half dreaming, part of me wanting to wake up safe in my bed, the other part of me wanting to carry on and see where this was going to end. If it got too much, I could just force a scream to jolt myself awake from the terror, but for now, my curiosity and determination got the better of me and I climbed aboard.

I had been on trains before and enjoyed them. Seeing the odd assortment of characters that rode up and down the rails was always a pleasure to me. Never had I not felt safe, even in the hours where the crazy drunks roamed the carriages, but as I left the station, with windows blackened like bats’ wings, a wave of panic crashed over me. I could hear my heart thumping against my chest like a bird trying to escape a cage, and my perspiration intensified. I closed my eyes, willed myself not to have a heart attack, and tried to breathe.

When I opened them, the train had stopped. The anxiety had settled down to a gentle nagging and yet there was a slight reluctance to depart, not even knowing if this was the last stop. A voice in my head told me it was, though. Dozing off had cleared the fog in my mind like a morning haze swept away by summer winds, and with some of the pieces beginning to fall into place, I could calm myself enough to take the next step.

Perhaps sensing my reluctance, the doors opened, encouraging me to take my cue.

I wasn’t sure what was on the other side of those doors, but it had to be something big. If this was some kind of military exercise or terrorist attack, why was I, a civilian, being brought into the fold? Surely protocol would prohibit me from being involved in anything of that nature. This wasn’t just a visit to the Beehive to visit the president, this was full-on black budget, top-secret, secret government type stuff. Did my parents really have that type of authority? None of that would matter.

They were waiting for me when I stepped off onto the platform, both in their dress suits and flanked on either side by armed soldiers in fatigues who clearly meant business. My father stretched out his hand and shook mine so violently I was worried it might come off, a habit he had picked up somewhere during training that I tried to perfect myself.

“A strong handshake is a trusted handshake,” he would always say. I found that to not always be the case, but nobody ever out shook my dad.

“Sorry for the cloak and dagger, son.” I massaged my fingers to try to get some feeling back as he continued. “It’s good to see you.” Before I even had a chance to embrace my mother, they led me towards a nearby elevator to descend even further down.

I was given a short debriefing in a room full of closed-circuit television screens showing various major cities. It was unbelievable at the time, I mean it still is unbelievable but it is what it is right? Now that it's actually happened and the shock of it all has worn off, it doesn’t seem so crazy. If I told you some of this stuff when the world was still working, you would have probably labelled me in with those flat earth weirdos and Covid Deniers.

Some of what I heard I had previous knowledge of, things I had read in school or come across while net surfing and some of it was some crazy Independence Day meets Mars Attacks type shit. I would have had a hard time believing all of it if not for the people telling the story. Basically, beings in spaceships from other worlds were headed back this way with major reinforcements, retaliation for previously downed crafts, because negotiations with said beings had failed. Those in charge decided this was not something that the public would be better off knowing about and decided, as usual, with items of this nature, to make it invisible. Society had only just gotten back on its feet after the Covid-20 virus wiped out all of Europe and Asia.

The last thing they needed was an alien invasion.

Why were they wasting time telling me all this classified stuff, though? If the planet was indeed about to be annihilated, wouldn’t it make more sense to let me continue on with my day rather than have my last moments drenched in fear? What could I possibly have to do with any of this? It turned out it wasn’t because I had some kind of special skill that would ensure the future of humanity or that my parents just didn’t want me to die. It wasn’t as simple as that. Because of the rank of my father and mother, my name was on a list of people who would be a part of the continuation of government plans in the event of a catastrophe.

Remaining topside would certainly mean death.

Some nights I lay awake and long for that death. A peaceful demise of my soul in the deepest and most pleasant of dreams. Those dreams never come, however, only the nightmarish flashbacks that haunt my sleep like a clown haunts a sewer, a by-product of the Post Traumatic Stress which I deal with daily.

My parents didn’t have the time to explain every little detail to me. The world was ending; they knew it, but they still had a job to do. From files I grabbed along the way I would learn more, reading them over and over until they were lost to the elements of time. My mother once said that no matter where I went, I would always return with reading material. I still have the book from the study and though dog-eared and torn it may be, it provides me with a sense of comfort and knowledge that I could never imagine an apocalypse to provide.

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