Nothing Was Ever The Same Again

She got out of bed very grumpy and the annoyance clearly showed on her face. Glaring at the the clock on the nightstand, she flared her nostrils even more. She dragged her feet all the way to the kitchen, towards the focal point of her irritation.

The telephone.

It was on its fifth ring, three more rings to make it a missed call, but she didn’t bother to quicken her pace. Intuition told her even if she missed it, the caller would call again. The brief silence that followed after the eighth ring was profound, it was all quiet around her. Just as it should be, she thought. She entered the kitchen and headed straight for the fridge. She opened it and the area around her was instantaneously lit with illumination from the fridge. She took a bottle of chilled water to quench her thirst. Something about drinking chilled water at dawn made it feel like Poseidon himself was watering the parched canal of the throat. She hadn’t taken more than three gulps when the phone started blaring again. She closed the fridge and squinted, pausing for her eyes to readjust to the semi-darkness of the kitchen. She moved to the telephone and glanced at the display screen to discern who her caller was, but she couldn’t recognize the num- wait… there was no number. No caller ID, no string of numbers or even the occasional “Private Number.” Weird. She lifted the receiver from its cradle and muttered a rough Hello, making sure to convey her annoyance at being disturbed at such an hour.

“Hello?”

Silence. She heard nothing. Confused, she said a third hello, beginning to lose her patience. She could hear static noise and series of clicks which got louder with each passing second, increasing in pitch like the crescendo of a performing orchestra group, only that, the sound she was hearing now was anything but melodious. In a span of ten seconds, the shrill sound got so loud and piercing she had to hold the handset far away from her ears… then it culminated with a sudden abruptness.

It was all quiet again, then she heard something. She thought. It was barely audible than a whisper and she felt she had imagined it. It sounded guttural, even feral, like the person who uttered the sound wasn’t accustomed to human speech… but the meaning was somewhat clear.

“We are coming for you.”

Just five words, but they were enough to riddle her body with a sickly sensation. Whatever that disembodied voice was, it sounded so ethereal, it made cold fear prickle down her spine. She thought she faintly recognized those series of clicks too, somewhere in the background.

“What?” she softly said, more to herself than to whoever the caller was. She looked at the handset, still clutched away from her ear, her trepidation growing with each passing moment. “Who are you? And what did you mean by that? Who is ‘We’?” She realized she was yelling at the receiver, but the line was already dead. Whoever had called had just passed the message and ended the call. She was angry now but still felt the fear lingering. You wake me up at 2:45 am to play this stupid prank on me? That was all she could do to keep herself from freaking out- convincing herself that it was a prank. She frantically jammed the receiver back into its cradle, wincing at the force she applied and hoped she hadn’t cracked the handset.

She paced the kitchen in her oversized T-shirt and boxers trying to calm her nerves but she couldn’t. She opened the fridge once more, grabbed a cold can of ginger ale and kicked it close. Even in the dark, she could make out the poster of Earth’s Solar System that she had adorned her fridge with. She sidled over to one of the high stools and opened the can, wondering what the mystery call was all about.

**********************

He clenched and unclenched his fist again, leaning against a tree across the street, well out of sight. He continued surveying the house, just as he’d been doing for the past hour-and-half. Just a few minutes ago, he saw a faint glow in the kitchen, probably from the opening of a fridge, and he realized how thirsty he himself was. Even from across the street, he had heard the very faint ringing of a telephone somewhere in the house, probably the kitchen, and he presumed that was what had awakened her. He wondered who would be calling her at such a time and he felt a little queasy. Checking the safety of the glock one more time, he slid it down the waistband of his trousers, at the small of his back… he wasn’t a great fan of concealing guns around or near the crotch. He straightened his shirt and jacket to cover the weapon. He carried no phone on him and in his breast pocket was a photograph of her. Using the path he had traversed so many times, he made his way to the building through the backyard.
He paused behind the door, listening in. He could hear her opening a canned drink somewhere in there. He scratched the stubble of beard that was growing on his chin and his fingers brushed the long scar that marked his left cheek. Glancing around one last time, he knelt and began picking the lock.

*********************

9,500 kilometers above Earth’s surface, a fremd looking metallochromic craft hovered in space, not very far away from the edge of the exosphere. The craft was the size of a football pitch, with three sub-levels: an upper deck, the central command center and a lower deck. On board were three beings, each draped in a cowl concealing their faces. They were seated on high backed ball chairs which could hover across the entire the space of the command and navigation center. The coordinates of a geolocation, represented in glyphs indecipherable to humans, swirled on a holographic screen. Series of clicks seemed to emanate from beneath the cowl of the hooded figures as their long knobbly appendages worked various control buttons. Just moments ago, they had established preliminary contact with the subject. They readied a section of the upper deck for a probing session.

At last.. they’ve found another target.



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