A New World – Contact
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The scene is a nightmare the main character, Todd, has after finding out that aliens are coming to Earth from his brother. The global announcement hasn’t been made yet, so Todd and his husband, Jerry, have had to keep what they know quiet:
Todd hurried along the devastated street, his clothes torn and burned. Around him, a thick blanket of gray filled the air with a putrid smell of rot. He recognized the overturned cart and the woman’s hand grasping out at him.
He was at the store.
There was panic. People grabbed and fought over everything in reach. People argued over cans of soup and packages of chips. Pure anarchy. There was so little left when he arrived.
It was every man for himself.
He remembered spotting the bodies of an old couple next to the now emptied-out produce area. They hadn’t stood a chance in the panic. All around him, hysteria, a frenzy that he’d taken part in. He didn’t recognize faces or know names. He remembered stepping over the body of a child. Holding what? Something purple. A woman dead next to him. Her purse’s spewed contents of cellphone, keys, wallet, and change around her. He tried to get what he needed before…before what? He couldn’t remember.
Rushing down the street, Todd no longer comprehended where he was. Finally, he found a familiar house through the endless sheets of gray. Everything burned: trees, cars, homes, and people. All gray, everything covered in an unholy layer of ash.
Slowly, he made his way home. As he walked, he glanced at what remained of a stroller with a burned body kneeling before it protecting a baby. He steadied himself and hurried over to the remains, reaching out his hand in terror.
God in heaven.
His stomach lurched as he fell back, tears streaking his face. It was Steve holding his infant daughter, failing to protect her. Failing to save her. They were dead, everyone dead, all dead. He was distraught as a haze fell over his mind.
He tried to cry out for help but found he had no voice. His throat scorched and voice obliterated. Gone. Was it the rancid smoke around him, or was it the reality of what had happened? Either way, no sounds slipped off his tongue. A deafening quiet surrounded him. A menacing emptiness mocked him with everything he had once held dear. There were no planes, no cars, no dogs, nothing. All gone. Whatever happened long since finished.
Running past the crumbling world and into the remains of his front entry, Todd gasped at the devastation. He didn’t know where else to go.
The burned remains of his once comfortable home taunted him. Home was supposed to be safe. He was supposed to walk through the door and feel happy. He called out Jerry’s name. His voice faltered. The harder he tried, the more ear-piercing the silence became.
Todd rushed to what had once been their living room, he searched desperately for Jerry. How could he not be here? When he went to the store, Jerry was still there, but that had been—how long had it been? He couldn’t remember. When he ran to the den, he found it, too, was in ruins. The large window had blown out, and the heavy curtains were shredded, laying on the floor. Where had Jerry gone? Wrecked room after wrecked room, and there was no sign of Jerry. The house abandoned, except for the layer of gray.
Slowly, it sank in. The aliens hadn’t come in peace. They’d destroyed it all and killed everyone. There was nothing left. He was alone. Finally, he moved to the back door and looked through the shattered window.
A figure hovered over something small in the yard. The figure was covered in filth and torn clothing. Jerry. It had to be. If there was a God, the man there in the yard would be Jerry.
Todd could survive anything, even this, as long as he had Jerry.
He ran to Jerry and reached out to touch his shoulder. His husband turned and gave him a sickening, bloody smile. Todd stopped dead in his tracks, his soul ripped from his body.
Jerry chewed on something, something small, his mouth covered in bright-red blood and white fur. Todd recognized the first thing devoid of the color gray—Bianca’s white fur. Todd heard the words “Mmm, kitty stew.” Jerry’s features were splattered in white fur and blood.