by E. M. Gale
Ed explains what has been going on for the past month...
“At the present moment the monsters, the Tractatori as we’ve called them because they manipulated us into thinking they were human, are based in their huge ship that is orbiting our planet. Occasionally, they will send down a ship with two of them aboard. Those two are tasked with kidnapping two humans. We’ve heard reports of this happening all around the world. Always only two humans get taken.
“Because the local hospital was destroyed, we’ve had to rely on more…primitive ways of healing our sick and injured. I got a really bad virus last week and our resident medic made me drink something made from willow bark, I think. It doesn’t really matter what it was made of only that it tasted horrible.
“Is this the way our world will end?”
“Hey, yeah, I’m back. I guess this is kind of like making v-logs for my Instagram. Only, they are longer, and if I die, this is the only way that I’ll be remembered. Kind of a damper on anyone’s spirit, right?
“Sorry, I haven’t been very good at doing these every day like William wants me to. It has been about a week since my last log, and we haven’t made much progress. I hope beyond hope that Aekira is still alive. Who knows what they could be doing to her up there on their ship? What kind of evil are they planning for all of us?
“There is some slightly good news. A couple of members of our team managed to kill the two monsters that were sent down here. We now have control of one of their smaller ships! Of course, because they are so huge, so their small ship is still way too big. It was difficult to find a place to hide it, but we managed.
“I should probably end off this log soon. Other people need to use this computer. We have a total of five computers down here in our base. We also have one…Wait what!?”
I end my log immediately. Max had just come running in to the computer room out of breath and trying to say something about Aekira. We all stop what we were doing and turn to him. The rest of the team sidles into the room behind Max.
“What’s going on, Max?” Jemimah asks after Max regains his breath.
“You are not going to believe this, but I just received a message…a message from Aekira!” Max says excitedly. “It says that she is still alive and mostly well…”
“Mostly well!?” I say indignantly. My anger at the Tractatori begins to boil in my belly.
“Please don’t interrupt me, Ed. As I was saying, the message continues…Aekira found out that she can hack through all of their security blocks that they’ve set up. That is how she managed to message us. Of course, due to the fact that she is in outer space at the moment, orbiting us like the moon, her message was sent two days ago, and a lot can change in two days.”
Fiona piped up, “how do we know that this message actually came from Aekira? It could just be the Tractatori trying to track us down after we stole one of their ships and removed all of its tracking equipment.”
“I’m positive that this is real. See for yourself,” Max says confidently, handing her his phone. She takes one look at the message and hands it back to him. They share a nod, and Max turns to me. “There was another message that was sent. One specifically for you, Ed.”
I stand up and take the phone from Max. Then, I exit the room to find somewhere more private to look at the message. I end up on the roof, overlooking the dark city. Hardly anyone, except me, comes up here. I glance at the phone and gasp. Aekira sent a video to me.
I quickly pressed play and turned up the volume. I wanted to here every word that she said. The video begins after a short lag:
“Hey, Ed. If you are watching this video, then it means that it got through. I’ve been getting better with controlling and manipulating the technology around me. Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I’m okay. Nothing they do to me can hurt me as long as I know that everyone, especially you, is safe from them.
“I love you to the farthest reaches of the universe. Tell my father that I said ‘hi’ and that I love him, okay? Love you, bye.”
The video ends with her frozen with an eternal little smile. She may look happy, but her eyes speak pain and hurt. Throughout the entire video, I didn’t even realize that I was silently crying. I lean up against the short wall along the edge of the roof and let it all out.
A half hour later, the door to the roof opens. William steps out, looks around, and spots me sitting there, crying. He comes over and sits next to me. “Hey, Ed. Do you want to talk about it?”
I nod, tears spilling down my cheeks. “It…it was a video. I got to see her…she smiled, but her eyes were filled with pain. I feel so useless down here, not being able to rescue her…she told me to tell you that she loves you…”
“Well, crying won’t help her at all. You need to be strong for her; we both do,” William tells me, putting a comforting arm around me. “We all miss her, and we are all trying to come up with a plan to get her out of there.”
“I know, I just feel so useless not being able to do anything to help her…I want her to know that we are coming for her. I want to rescue her now!”
“I understand that feeling. I went for sixteen years without knowing if she was alive or dead. Then, when I finally reunite with her, she is stolen from me once again. That kind of pain, the pain of not being able to stop bad things from happening to you and those you love, is excruciating. I am her father. I feel the same way you do.”
I look at him with wet eyes. My heart believes him, but my mind is telling me otherwise. It is telling me that he doesn’t understand. How could he understand when he doesn’t even know Aekira like I do? I force myself to drown out that voice. “Thanks for talking to me. I really appreciate knowing that someone else knows what I’m going through.”
“You have a friend in me, Ed,” the old man tells me, patting my arm. He stands shakily to his feet. “Well, I should probably head back inside. Even a young man like you should get some sleep. Come back inside when you are ready.”