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Milk (a short story)
I woke up to searing hunger pangs. Glancing at my new glow-in-the-dark analog clock, I got up and stumbled downstairs. It was 2 am. I grabbed a granola bar and sat down on the couch, looking out into the blackness of our front lawn as I tried to fill my stomach.
Mid-chew, I froze. What was that? Outside, I saw movement in the faint glow of the morning.Two shapes not quite as dark as the night. I stepped up to the window, hiding behind a curtain. There was a girl and a boy- both blondes. As her eyes adjusted, she could tell they were around my age, a bit older at about 16 or 17 years old. One was leaning next to a vehicle parked by their mailbox, another going through her mailbox. I remembered for the past two days I did not check the mail- being home alone, while my parents- my stupid parents- left for their “work trips” (just to meet their affairs) I was going to stay home for a week.
I reached for the phone to dail my mother- and got nothing. The lines were dead. I reached for a lightswitch, then remembering the people were outside, I ran into the kitchen to open the fridge a crack. Ice shot through my veins when no light bled through. Last night’s storm must of put down the electricity and cut the phone lines. I checked on the table for my cell phone, relieved. I picked it up, and turned it on. It made a sad beep before flashing zero battery, and died. I cursed myself for not charging it. I took my place by the window again, and looked out. The boy was sitting in the car, and the blonde one was walking right at me. Did she see me? I backed away from the window and ran into the kitchen, hiding under the table. I heard someone force the window open, and a thud when they hit the floor. No alarm went off. I had left the window open a bit because it was so hot last night.
I pulled my knees closer to my chest under the table, and listened the foot steps grow closer. They turned into the kitchen, and I almost screamed. I bit my lip as I watched two slender jean-covered legs advance toward me. Closer. Closer. Right in front of me- and…farther? Farther...to the fridge. They open it, and I hear them file around. Whatever they need, she finds it and closes the door. I hear her reach into our cupboard and grab a few plastic cups. She walks toward me, and out the room. I let out a huge sigh of relief-too soon. The footsteps freeze. I suck in a breath. The girl walks back to the table, and stops.
Shivering, I look right into startling light green eyes. And then, she grabs my shirt and drags me out from under the table, me screaming. She claps a hand around my mouth, and looks around, trying to decide what to do with me. Someone else-the boy-falls in the window with a thud. “Sis?” his ghostly voice snakes through the air. “Right here, Bryant. I thought I told you to stay in the car, you’re too weak…” she replied. “I’m fine for now-” I watched as he wobbled, and steadied himself on the table. “Who is this?”
“I don’t know, just found her. Hiding under the table. Can you grab me that yarn over there?” The boy looked at the counter, and picked up my mom’s knitting yarn. “Tie her up.” The girl ordered, and the boy tied the yarn around my hands in a hopeless tangle of knots. She held my hands together as he tied the final knot. He tied me to a chair. “Siren-I’m getting dizzy-” I watched as he crumpled to the ground. The girl- Siren- propped him up against the wall. She grabbed a gallon of milk- pilfered from the fridge- and poured him a cup. His weak hands trembled as he reached for it, and he brought it to his mouth, sipping. He kept sipping until it was all gone. He closed his eyes for a bit, and wiped the milk off his face. He then stood up, and shook his head. He looked at me. “Now again, who’s this?” he asked, looking at me. I saw that he was even paler then before. I kept my mouth shut. “I don’t know,” said Siren. “She was under the table when I came to get the milk.” “Why didn’t you sense her?” “We were both low on milk!” she cried, frustrated. They turned to me. “Siren, go drink.” He said, waving her off. She poured herself a glass, and leaned against the wall. “What’s your name?” asked the boy. I didn’t speak. “Hm, cat got your tongue? Don’t worry. We won’t do anything to you. Most likely. Ow!” Siren had kicked him in the leg. He shook his head. He turned back to me, and took a step closer. “Now, let’s try differently. My name is Bryant, and this is my sister, Siren. What is your name?” he waited. I was silent, and he took a menacing step closer. “Ris! I’m Ris!” I told him. “Why are you here?” I demanded. “Hello, Ris. We’re here to steal your milk and ice.” He said brightly. “And since I like you, we won’t kill you.” His sister kicked him again. He ignored her and looked at me. “Can we bring her with us?” He asked his sister. “WHAT.” She almost screamed. “NO! WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU-” “whoa, calm down. It was just a preposition.” Siren looked at him, closed her eyes for a few moments, taking deep breaths. When she opened them she said, “Bryon. We’re trying to stay alive. I know it gets lonely- but we can’t let your impulsiveness get in the way of what we need to do.” “My impulsiveness never gets in the way-” His sister interrupted him. “Kira. Will. Kelly. Will. And Will. They never got in the way?” Bryon shook his head. “She’s different. She won’t tell. Would you, Ris?” He said, turning to me. I spit at him. “Whoa now,” He said, taking a step back. He turned to his sister. “I want her.” He said. “Byron, we can’t go around picking up humans right and left-” she said. “WHAT?” I yelped. “Come on sis, it will be easy, I’ll take good care of her, she looks bored, and I miss Jet-”
“But we need three again!”
“Bryon, as hard as you look, you’ll never replace Jet.”
Bryon was silent. He looked at his sister, and turned around and sat down.
“Bryon.” No answer. “Bryon.” Silence. “Come on, I’m sorry.” He remained silent.
Siren was quiet for a few moments. She rubbed her forehead and sighed. “Fine. We can take her.” She moaned. “Really?” Bryon said excitedly, bouncing up from behind the table. “Yes.” Siren shook her head. Byron fist-pumped. I spoke up. “Whoa, whoa, people. I’m not going anywhere with you freaks. You broke into my house, stole my…milk…and now you’re going to kidnap me? I don’t think so. My parents-”
Bryon shook his head. “Your parents are on vacation for the next few weeks. We’re not stupid, we do backround checks on our houses. What threw us off was you. Why aren’t you with them?” He asked. I was silent. The question hung there. “It’s too quiet,” he said. “Do you want to come with us?” he asked me. “Why on earth would I want to be kidnap-” I began, but he cut me off. “You’re not listening, do you want to come with us? I’m giving you a choice. If you say no, we’ll just erase your memories of us and we’ll move on…” “WHAT?” I said, and he nodded. I was quiet. My parents are going to be- I stopped. My parents. Anger and hate boiled up in me, hot and volcanic. They always left me alone. Cheating on each other. They didn’t even care for each other or their daughter- I’m only a reminder to them of their mistakes. She always felt helpless. No way to ever get back at them. Unless- unless- she disappeared. Would they even care? It was worth a try. “I’ll do it.” I said, and Siren’s smug look she had for her brother turned into surprise, and then outrage. Bryon seemed elated. “Yes! This was a lot easier then the last four,” I didn’t ask about the last four. I didn’t even think. Adrenaline pumped through me. I was leaving. I was leaving once and for all.
Soon, somehow, I ended up in the back of a pickup truck, the warm summer night air combing through my hair, with the sound of Bryant’s horrible singing wafting through the open widow as the fuzzy radio scratched along in perfect disharmony. Siren, driving, had a grimace glued onto her face, and she looked ready to punch someone. I leaned back, a glass of iced milk in my hand, and watched the stars drift by.