Aliens have taken over the country. What would you do?
|I never knew where the brain slugs came from exactly- my aunt said it was one of Jupiter’s moons. They were long, and yellow, and attached to the base of the spine. You could always tell who had a slug controlling them because of how they sat- upright posture, or slumped forward; never leaning back comfortably.
It happened so fast, and so quickly that I guess no one saw what was going on. But soon the slugs were on everyone with any power. Mayors. Congressmen. Judges. Even the President. You’d look at a picture of congress- all videos became prohibited- and most of the men and women sat up in that awkward way.
I think the brain slugs must have loved cold climate, because soon the news came that we were invading Norway. Everyone seemed to have a different explanation for this. The news anchors talked about the dangerous weapons the Norwegians were making. People on the internet, at least the sites that hadn’t been banned, talked about how Norway was a socialist country. They said we needed to fight the dangers of socialism. I remember my teacher telling us that the Norwegians didn’t believe in God, and that we had to help them find Christ. We sent our military to Norway, and soon we were working on Sweden and Finland.
There was a draft, and the military van came to pick up my brother in the middle of the night. I screamed at the recruiter. I screamed until my throat was hoarse and my voice burned. I told him that we were humans, and that we didn’t need to listen to a bunch of aliens. He told me that I was disrespecting the American flag, and that I should never question my country. I told him that it wasn’t our country anymore, that it was theirs. He placed his hand on his gun, looked me in the eye, and told me to insult America again. I just cried. I never saw my brother again.
Eighteen months later we got a letter in the mail. I remember every word of it. Your son, in a show of immense bravery, gave his life fighting for freedom and the American way of life.
Life became hard after that. There was never enough food, never anything fun to play with. They melted down my bicycle for the steel. Most of my friends weren’t allowed to play. I remember being with my friend, Josie, down by the river, when her mom came to get her. Her mom was so angry that her face was red. She yelled at Josie, and said ‘don’t you know there are god damn Scandinavians around every corner! Get in the house now!’
I guess she was right, because soon the arrests started happening. Anyone who was tall and white just disappeared in the night. I never knew what happened to them- but my uncle said it was for the best. Just to make sure none of the Norwegians or the Swedes or whoever, could get us. I was afraid that they were going to take my dad away, because he was so tall, but no one seemed interested I him. It makes me thank god that he’s Afghani.
The wars continued, with Iceland and Greenland falling soon after, but I didn’t think about it. I started college, and had other things to worry about. I wanted to date girls, and learn about biology, and have fun like I had seen on the television. I didn’t have any of those drunk adventures like what I saw on TV though, mostly because alcohol was so hard to find anymore. But I did fall in love. I met a girl named Azwa, this beautiful woman from Sri Lanka, and we spent most of our time together.
She was involved in all the clubs at school, but the one I will never forget was the Free America Club. It was the first time in my life that I met people who were opposed to brain slugs. People who wanted our politicians to become ours again. I was amazed by this- I had never heard people being so open about these thoughts. When I was a child and I told these same things to my parents, they just said that I didn’t understand, or that I shouldn’t speak poorly of my country. But now, in this club, it was like they were all speaking to me.
I remember this angry guy getting on stage, talking about how our country had been stolen from us, and everyone cheered. He talked about how this had once been a democracy, but now it was just a war engine for brain slugs. And everyone cheered again. Then he said we were going to have a protest at city hall the following week. The whole room went quiet at this- we all knew that protests had become illegal. But Azwa squeezed my hand and then started clapping. And I started clapping- I guess that she just made me feel brave. A few other people started, and soon the whole room was cheering and yelling, and it felt like we were really doing something.
For a week, I didn’t sleep well. And when I did, I just woke up in a nervous sweat. I had dreams about my brother being taken away. I had dreams about all the tall, white men coming to get me in my sleep. I dreamt about being arrested, and then thrown down a big hole in the Earth.
On the night before the protest, Azwa held me and told me not to be afraid. I had no idea how she could be so strong, so fearless. But her being strong showed me that I could be strong too. The night before the protest, I slept like a baby.
There weren’t as many people at the protest as I had hoped. There had been over two hundred people at the meeting who promised to be there, but now there were only about 75 or so. It was pretty quiet. We all made signs. Some of the people were shouting. Azwa started a chant of ‘out of the bars, and into the streets.’ But they people never left the bars or department stores- they just filmed us with their cell phones. A few of the people around us yelled that we were traitors. One woman asked why we hated America. A restaurant owner told us to get our Scandinavian-loving-asses away from his establishment.
I saw a news van nearby, but they weren’t interviewing any of the people protesting, they were just asking passersby what they saw and what they thought.
Azwa walked up to the news reporter to say something, but before she could get there, the police arrived.
Two cars pulled up with a screeching halt- it made me think there was a fire or a bank robbery- some emergency, and I looked around like an idiot to see why they were there. The police told us to move along, and that we weren’t welcome here.
The angry man who had started the protest yelled that this was freedom of speech, and that we had every right to be here, and that we needed to take our country back from the slugs. The officer told us that according to Loyalist Act, all protest had been outlawed during war time, and that we needed to move along before we got ourselves arrested. I looked to Azwa nervously- I just wanted to go home. I just wanted to call my mom and hear her voice.
None of the protesters moved. I heard a heavy, powerful engine then, and looked down the street. Three large military vans, just like the one that took my brother away, came roaring down the street. They all stopped nearby, and soldiers filed out, one by one. They wore body armor, and helmets, and had assault rifles.
Stupidly, I thought they were going to tell the police to leave us alone, and that American citizens had every right to protest. But that didn’t happen. They pointed their weapons at us and told us we had three seconds to disperse. The protest leader got down on his knees in front of them and begged them. With tears in his eyes, he said that our country had been taken over by outsiders, and it was our duty to come together to stop the threat, and that he loved America, and only wanted to defend it. I don’t even remember hearing anyone count to three before he was shot.
I can’t remember what happened first- if the soldiers fired at us, or if Azwa and I were running, or if the onlookers were screaming. It’s all a blur in my mind now. I just remember hiding in a dumpster, with the smell of old baby diapers and rotten fish filling the air as I held Azwa. The sound of gunfire and screaming continued, and every time another round was fired, I felt Azwa squeeze me tighter.
The shooting stopped. I heard a girl crying and wailing- she wasn’t even speaking anything audible. Just screams.
Soon, sound bled in as the officers began telling people to go about their business, and I heard the military vans turn on their engines and drive away. Azwa cried into my shoulder and I couldn’t say or do anything, so I just held her in the foul dumpster.
I must have fallen asleep, because I remember being woken up to Azwa gently shaking me. She said that it was probably safe to go now, and so I followed her. I looked at the area of the protest as we walked by, and I saw six white tarps covering bodies on the ground.
“Why did they shoot?” I asked Azwa. “We’re just college kids with signs.”
Azwa shook her head and said nothing. We walked back to our campus, her hand in mine, and neither of us said a word.
The next month Azwa came into my room crying. I asked her what was wrong, and when she spoke I couldn’t understand her. Her words were so muddled with tears and anguish that she couldn’t get anything meaningful out. She just pointed at the TV, her face warped by tears. I turned it on. A news anchor said that we were invading Canada, and that all men, aged 18-21 were being drafted into the military. No college deferments. The only exceptions were for those who could buy their way out with 100,000 dollars. Even physically disabled people were drafted. Blind. Def. Paraplegic.
The military van came to get me at 2 am. Azwa had to be restrained. She spit on the men and howled and cursed in ways I had never heard. She said the same things I had said when my brother was taken away. This was all pointless. Couldn’t they see that our country had been hijacked. Couldn’t they see that they were helping the enemy. Couldn’t they see that they had failed in their duty to protect America. The army were supposed to be stopping alien invaders, not helping them. They bound her to the kitchen table and left here there.
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t do anything. I think I was just so tired of being told I was wrong, and seeing the people I cared about taken away from me. I went with the men without a fight.
My boot camp was in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The colonel in charge of our base had a brain slug, and he insisted that every room be kept cold. He said that heaters were for the weak. Blankets were for people who hated America. Three men in my unit had toes amputated from frostbite.
Some of the men took the cold challenge with gusto, and bragged about how they loved their country so much, that they could stand any cold. When one guy discarded his socks and undershirt, I snatched them up as quickly as I could.
We’re not allowed to say the word ‘brain slug’ here. We’re not allowed to question our leaders here. They hit me when I fail a training drill, and call me weak, and ask why I hate my country so much. They don’t feed me when I ask anyone why we’re having this war. They don’t let me sleep when they feel I’m not 100% devoted to the war. I don’t know how long I went without food or sleep. But I think the people here actually care about me- that’s what they say. I think they just want me to see the truth.
I’m tired of getting hit, and told that I’m wrong. I’m tired of worrying about Azwa. I’m tired of silently criticizing the politicians. I just want to feel ok. I just want to be normal.
Every day I feel the thoughts creeping in. If everyone else thinks this war is right, maybe I’m the wrong one. And Azwa was just a stupid foreigner- she doesn’t know what it means to really care about your homeland. And the politicians know what’s best- brain slug or not. I can’t remember what I used to believe. I can’t remember who I was before I wore a military uniform. I can’t remember the people I used to love. Every day before meals, and before sleep, we say the same thing. ‘I love America, and I will die defending her.’
It makes me hate who I was when I was with Azwa, so quick to question the military, or the police, or the politicians. It makes me realize how young and naïve I was. I’m glad the people here set me straight,
Tomorrow I get deployed to Toronto. I’m going to kill as many of the Canadians as I can. Their rivers running red with blood, will prove how much I love my country.