All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
I Face Death With Something To Live For (Remember Me)-Second Of Two Parts
When I came round the thudding had subsided, the wildfire extinguished. I noticed that my breathing was slowly returning to normal once more. An oxygen mask must have been slipped over my nose and mouth when I lost consciousness, an attempt to bring me back perhaps.
”That’s it, breathe.“ she sighed, she turned to the on looking aliens, ”We almost lost him, maybe we should stop and try again later? He needs to rest!“
”No! We’re so close; the worst is over! By now the inserted technology must be rooting through memories. Within the hour we’ll have all the information we need and we can dispose of him!“
Then all went silent again as we waited. An uneasy silence, an uneasy wait.
After what seemed like years I heard a crackling, like on an old TV set before you tuned it. Everyone in the room began to gather round the screen; even I turned my head to see what secret I would expose first.
Please, I pleaded, hoping that whatever was in my head would understand, keep them safe… Please.
Then there was one last jolt of pain that rocketed through my body causing me to scream in agony when it caught me by surprise, followed by the screen snapping into life.
My earliest memories, the ones of my childhood, were beautiful, almost like a dream. The world I lived in then was so different, filled with happiness and love.
I wiggled my toes in the soft green grass of our garden; the sun’s rays warmed my skin. Round and round run my brothers, their screams filled with excitement. Standing arm in arm by the door, my mother and father look on. Our happy family.
Blissfully unaware of the hell that was yet to be, the child on the screen spent the most precious years of my life free in the great outdoors, but that freedom wouldn’t last forever.
Flitting around the house, my father and brothers gathered the few weapons they could find whilst myself and my mother watched. They were leaving us behind. My father insisted that I was too young to fight along side them, that someone must protect mother but I thought otherwise. Fifteen is old enough to fight, even if the outcome looks hopeless.
I was completely alone. Mom had gone too. I was alone in hell on Earth. Wandering across America, hunger ravaged my stomach, hunger so strong it was crippling, my belly growling like a ravenous hound. Tired, hungry and so close to losing my mind. Exhausted, I was on the very edge, trekking through the desert under the blistering hot sun, an unbearable thirst raged at the back of my throat. My mouth felt as though it was filled with the sand upon which I walked. I wanted it to end. If this was the life my family fought for me to live they shouldn’t have bothered.
I must have collapsed because when I opened my eyes people surrounded me. People I’d never seen before in my life, each studied me with blank expressions. Then the crowd parted and a man stepped forward. A friendly look filled his face and a welcoming smile too. He extended a hand and I shook it warmly.
”Welcome home kid.“
That was my home, more so than my childhood town ever had been, I fitted in perfectly. I felt as though I should’ve been there all my life, the hole in my life was filled.
I watched as the aliens gawped at the screen, their reaction to 50 humans striving for survival together, it was almost laughable. To me it was a miracle but to them a disaster.
I knew what was coming next, the big secret that would expose them all. I had to stop it, that thing in my head was getting too close. What could I do? I was helpless… I had no control in my own mind, my safe house and sanctuary betraying me. I saw no way out but I had to try and protect them just a little longer…
I threw up a wall around my most precious memories, the ones that would be worth the most to them. Making a thick boundary around the wall, an impenetrable barrier of my hopes and dreams. I prayed my mental stronghold would be enough.
Would praying work though?
The screen stayed unmistakably blank as the thing in my head fought against my mental defences. I could feel the effort it was making, a dull ache in the back of my skull, as it rammed against my strong hold. It scratched against the walls like a dog eager to bound around the park. It was persistent; I’d give it that…
Just then, we were catapulted into a different memory all together. A recent one that was fresh in all our minds, both human and alien. The memory of my capture.
The round silver moon shone down on us, it felt good to finally see the sky after months of being cooped up in the dark. This was a good dark though. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, a serene and beautiful night. The silence though, was un-nerving. The threat of exposure hung over us, an odd, heat pounding presence. I couldn’t stop thinking tonight was the end.
We loaded up the van as fast as we possibly could. Filling it with essentials; pasta, rice, noodles, jam, flour, different varieties of bread, ripe fruit and vegetables, eggs and slabs of meat. Even when the van was practically over flowing with food, we still found room for treats, the requests from loved ones. They were obvious things, ones anyone would miss; cigarettes, chocolate, coffee and alcohol.
Just as we shut the doors of the van, the unmistakeable wailing of sirens could be heard growing closer. We froze, dreading to think what would come now. This was the end.
For me at least.
”Get in.“ I whispered.
”What?“ The shock on their faces was apparent even in the week moonlight. I knew what they were thinking, shame I didn’t know what I was.
”Drive!“ I screamed. ”Look after her…“ I added but only deaf ears heard.
Squealing tyres protested their driver’s urgency but eventually the van raced away, I watched on solemnly as the distance between us grew. I was alone and I was our only hope.
I stood in the middle of the road, my heart in my mouth. If they got me it was over for all of us. I needed a plan; I had nothing. Frantically, I searched the immediate area for inspiration just as the police car skidded round the corner, creeping steadily closer. Panic set in, I’d volunteered to lead us to our deaths. Why? My head screamed at me. You’re not that kind of man! You’re not a hero!
Then I saw my plan.
I’d grown up around bikes. Taking them apart, putting them back together just to take them apart again… I’d spent so long in our garage mom was starting to despair. I’d never ridden one before though, I was simply the mechanic for my brothers but surely it couldn’t be that hard? I knew how they worked after all and my brothers had told me enough for me to know the basics. I could do this; it was my only option after all. Drive or die.
Running to the bike, I admired the workmanship. It was beautiful. I straddled it, constantly aware of the sirens growing closer still. I turned the key in the ignition and prayed my brother’s tuition had stuck.
I sped down the street away from the chasing police cars. The wind whipped through my hair, causing my eyes to water. I didn’t know where I was going exactly but I had a plan. I turned the corner toward the downtown shopping district, if I could lose them there I could ditch the bike and lie low for a while, then I could make my way home.
Buildings flashed past me, brands I recognised and some I’d never seen before. Strange how the life you lived continues even though you’ve stopped living it. Our own bubble protecting us from the unknown, our knowledge though would be our downfall. Nothing can protect you from yourself. Nothing.
Seeing how the aliens had changed this place made me wonder about my hometown and how that had been affected. Would the playground still be there? Filled with smiling reptilian children and parents instead of human families. My house now a home to the invaders, my belongings now theirs. I shuddered at the thought.
Rain poured down from above, soaking everything. The road now glistened under the light from the motorbikes headlamps. I could see the reflection of the aliens continuing to chase me through the streets. I turned my head to check how far behind they were, to see if I should accelerate and pull further ahead.
I didn’t see the lorry reverse out of the loading bay in time.
I didn’t press the brakes fast enough.
The collision should have killed me, knocked me from the face of the Earth. It would be a worthy death, dying for the sake of my family, but, unfortunately, I didn’t. I lived. I lived through it all. If only I hadn’t tried to play the hero.
I was thrown to the ground, the bike toppled on me, knocking all the breath from my lungs. Glass from the lorry’s shattered window fell from above, mixing with the rain as it showered down on me. I lay in the twisted metal and glass. I could feel something damp sticking my shirt to my chest and back, my legs felt heavy and lifeless. The taste of copper filled my mouth and I could feel the blood trickle down my face but there wasn’t any pain. No pain, just a numbness; like when you get drunk and there is a feeling of nothingness. I tried to stand; I could hear the sirens blaring. Stupid! Screamed the voice in my head. What the hell were you thinking?
I knew it was hopeless. My brother had crashed at 50mph and seriously messed himself up, I’d been doing almost double that, I shouldn’t even be conscious. I just lay there, waiting. I was ready to die but my death would have to wait. The aliens had other ideas.
I didn’t move, I felt tired and my limbs felt heavy. I stroked the braided leather band around my wrist; a symbol of our love and how our lives had entwined. It was our wedding band, in the eyes of our family we were married, husband and wife but to me it felt like more than that. Now I’d never see her again.
In my head I replayed our goodbye. She’d been right; they should’ve sent someone else. Not me, the dad-to-be with the woman of his dreams to care for. I’d failed.
The sirens stopped, as did the flashing blue and red police lights. I could hear footsteps splashing through puddles on the road. They’ve got me, I thought as one alien bent down to inspect the damage.
”Call the med centre,“ it shouted to the others by the police cars. ”He’ll have information. We can’t let him slip through our fingers.“ It smiled at me, almost happy that I was making it so easy for them.
Then the pain hit, it came as one massive wave, almost a tsunami. I shuddered, my eyes closed and I hoped this was death.
”That’s the truth.“ I growled. ”I hoped I was dead and I still am.“
Then something hit me, my cheek stung and I looked up to see the woman’s face. Her eyes filled with tears and her hand was raised.
”You’re not the only one who’s lost someone. You’re not so special, get over yourself.“ She looked so broken, so vulnerable, so much like someone I knew so well and loved so much.
Then I heard the wall in my head crumble to dust. Crap…
She’s practically glowing; never before have I felt so in tune with a girl. I can see the tears beginning to well up in her big brown eyes. I pulled her closer to me, wrapping my arms around her, holding her close. As she hugged me closer I could feel her bulging stomach pressing into me. It felt so good, new life in the making. I untangled myself from her and bent down so my head was level with her stomach.
”Behave yourself for mummy, okay?“ I kissed the bump softly and then did the same with her hand, the one she always held her swollen belly with protectively.
I began to cry. Not our baby… our poor innocent child! Our fresh start… barely alive and yet already sentenced to death. I’d failed. As a boyfriend, as a father and as a member of our family.
”We’re so close!“ rasped an alien excitedly, clapping his hands with glee. ”He’ll lead us where we need to go!“
I traced the wavy, unpredictable lines of the road on the map. Committing them to memory. I’ll always know my way home; I’ll never be apart from them. Doc looked on, pleased I was ready for responsibility, pleased I wanted to help.
Then Doc’s face faded away, replaced by something much more dangerous. The map hovered onto the screen, staying there as though my mind had paused.
Aliens screeched with joy as my heart withered inside me, screaming echoing in my head.
I’d killed them.
I continued to cry as the woman switched the screen off and turned to the aliens. ”The child may complicate things, they won’t let you take her without a fight but now you know where you’re going. You’ll catch them by surprise, they won’t stand a chance.“ she turned to me, ”Well, aren’t you lucky? A beautiful girl, a family that care about you and a baby on the way. Shame you’ll never see them again.“ She held her hand out and was passed something that glinted under the bright glare of the light.
”No!“ I screamed, ”You can’t, please! You can’t, I need them… Please!“ I continued to sob, writhing on the table, trying to escape one last time.
”Hold him down.“ she said, her voice was cold and emotionless. How could she not care?
I kept screaming, hoping they’d change they’re mind. Two aliens held me arms down as the woman bent down closer. ”Preparing for permanent sedation.“
Permanent? No… The same word stampeded through my mind. I’m going to die. Although I’d thought it every few minutes since I woke, I knew that I was now. It had finally come to an end. There was no fear now, only calm. All things end, but why must I die when I have so much to live for?
I didn’t turn my head away this time, I watched as she drew closer. The needle from the syringe now hanging dangerously close to the vein in my left wrist. My death in a tube. Of all the ways to die in this world, why did it have to end with me as a traitor? I looked up into her eyes, daring her to do it. How would she cope? Killing one of the last of her race wouldn’t rest easy in her conscience. She sighed and I braced myself, relaxing the muscles in my arm.
I barely winced as she slid the needle under my skin, the liquid being pushed into my body for my thudding heart to circulate. It didn’t make my arm throb as it had before, not even the dull ache I’d gotten from other injections, there was only numbness now. Slowly, she withdrew the syringe from my arm, placing it back on the trolley.
”It won’t be long now,“ she whispered, barely a mumble so I didn’t know who she was comforting, myself or her. ”No more suffering…“ Her sentences were slow and robotic, almost automatic. How many times had she done this? Or was this how she had been taught?
We were alone now; the others had left to share the information I had supplied; two humans alone in the lions’ den.
”Why don’t you let me go?“
She turned, wiping her eyes on her sleeve. I knew it. I thought, She does care; she’s not a tight-faced cow.
”I don’t think you understand, kid.“ she squatted down so she was level with me. ”I’ve just given you a lethal dose of morphine. You’d be dead before you reached the door.“ She glanced at her watch casually. ”I’m sorry…“
Narrowing my eyes I began to state my case. ”I know, there’s no point denying it now. I was dead the moment I woke up but I want to die with some dignity, not strapped to a table…“ I stopped mid thought, my mind becoming fuzzy and unclear.
I let my eyelids, suddenly heavy, close; fighting it was useless, my energy had been sapped. Silence fell in the room, both of us coming to terms with my death. The pressure on my wrists and ankles eased. I stretched, pleased to move finally, not restrained anymore. Sleepy, I turned onto my side and curled up, waiting.
”Thank you…“ The words took longer to form than they should, a childish whisper. Not enough to show my gratitude.
The darkness welcomed me; the weight of the pressures that had built up over the years of the occupation simply fell away, as though the cords that tied them to me had been snipped. Finally, allowing me to float away into nothingness, falling into oblivion. Peace at last.