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Life Cycle

“The human life cycle has attracted my curiosity, so the phase one shall begin. Do what I am asking and you will be rewarded. Touch the Machine on the Roof when you see it”.

I woke screaming again from another nightmare, while my sister came running to check up on me with a face full of worry. I didn’t want to tell her more about these nightmares because she would freak out and because the big launch is coming.

Today, the company that I’m working for may change the face of the space industry because they are going to send astronauts to Mars. This is the main reason why I didn’t told my sisiter about the nightmares. I didn’t want to spoil her day with been worried at me because she is a scientist who had a part on that trip to Mars and I only wish her to be happy in life.

Half hour before the launch, the alarm went on because we felt a massive earthquake that can end the trip. I was scared for my sister’s life, so I went to her office. She wansn’t there and I can only assume that she is on the roof because it’s her place to escape humanity and all the problems in the world. I run quickly by avoiding all of my colleagues who can be obstacles. Somehow all the nightmares became reasonable because I was facing the Machine in the Roof. I knew that I had to touch it in order to understand the nightmares and what the astronaut was trying to tell me, but I was scared. Without any warning, the alarm stopped and Chicago went to a blackout. A light started to come out out of the machine and quickly a beam begun to launch into the sky. I spotted many beams around the city, but I was conserned with the fact that I couldn’t take my hand off the machine. I felt the electricity passing from the machine through my body, but I was able to see a massive portal opening while hearing a near clapping and everything went dark with a small amount of light coming towards me.

Four days after what I witnessed, I woke up in some shelter with a burned hand from that bloody machine. Four reptilian-like creatures who seem to be aliens approached me with a look that I can’t understand. Of course I freaked out, but somehow they started to calm me although that I couldn’t understand their language. Soon, a man I know entered who totally shocked the hell out of me. He was Gabe, a trainee from our accountancy department who can explain everything to me.

_“How are you feeling?” Gabe said with worry on his eyes.

_”Good, I guess except for my hand.” trying to hide my rage.

_”Well, that hand is proof that you are a lucky man.”, Gabe answered in a calm way.

_”Lucky? How? The fact that I met aliens?”, I couldn’t control my rage.

_”No, the fact that you died.”, Gabe said it in a more calm way.

_”Now, this started to sound like a terrible Sci-FI movie.” trying to be sarcastic.

_”I found you lying on the roof of the company’s roof beside one of the teleportaion machines and no hearth beat, so I stroke your heart with some electricity to revive you.”

I didn’t want to have further conversation because I started to worry on my family, so when the aliens got out of the room I took my shoes and grabed an ax. I heard an alarm which made me think that they found out that I’m trying to run and that I am their prisoner, but something bigger was coming. This time five aliens showed up and started to talk english fluently and begun to instruct me. Apparently, other aliens found the shelter and they are raiding the place with the intention of killing everyone. One of the aliens who seemed to be Gabe told me to exit the shelter via sewers and to never get on the grounds, but I couldn’t say anything.

I knew that I need to find my family, but I also need to survive, so I stayed in the sewers. I had a hard time trying to locate which exit will lead me straight to the street where my family house is, but I met a man who appeared to head in the same way. We didn’t spoke much because I kind of lost my voice after what happend to me. We arrived after hours and waited until it was dark. Since this is an invasion, I don’t think that I will meet more merciful aliens like Gabe. When it went dark, I took a peek of the street and I just saw alien drones hovering in the air. With no signs of aliens on the ground, I came out and his after a car. My companion was scared, so I had to leave him. I entered the house to find it empty like a ghost town. It was wrecked and a lot of unusable supplies on the ground. It seemed that my father and mother left the house in a hurry, probably because of the alien invasion. I regret the fact that I didn’t come to visit them a lot, but the fact that I tried to ignore them for a while is more saddest.

Now, I need to check up on my sister and I tried to use the phone, but there was no signal. I knew that I had to take the sewers again, but there was no sewer lines that lead straight to the company. I decided to worry later about the next step, so I took a flashlight and jumped again in the sewers.

With hours before the dawn, I had to move quickly because nobody knows what could happens in four days. During the short time I spent in the sewers, I wondered for the first time about the nature of my nightmares and that astronaut who seemed somehow Russian. I mean, since we are facing an alien invasion now, anything can theory can be true. The reasonable theory that I can think off, is that he is somesort representation of God and that this is the end of the world, but since I don’t really go to church a lot, I don’t know. The only thing that I am sure off is that he can see the future, but it’s still mysterious. If he really can see the future, why not warn me off the invasion or tried to warn the government? And the most important is why he contacted me? Or he is just a hallucination? I don’t assume that I am special because I have an ax and a burning hand right now.

I made some progress in the last few hours, but I started to hear some voices who doesn’t really sound like human voices. I feared that the aliens are sweaping the area or the fact that I was followed. I used the flashlight to investigate the noises who seemed really close and I saw another alien who is smaller than Gabe. He was feeding on a dead corpse and I accidentally pointed the flashlight towards him. I can tell that he didn’t like it because he started to scream and move slowly to me. He was a zombie more than an alien and I wasn’t going to say hi. I hit him with my ax, but he didn’t seem to be hurt, angry perhaps. I hit him more and more until he felt, but it wasn’t over there. Some green substance similor to glue started coming out of his body and moving straight to me. I quickly grabbed a rock and threw it at that substance which seemed to be dead. Soon, other zombies/aliens showed up behind me, so I had to run. I saw a ladder and I was forced to climb it into the surface unless I become food.

I knew that my action will result some fatal consequences because there was several aliens on the surface. I tried to hide, but one of them spotted me. I started running in several direction hoping to loose their trail and then I heard some gunshots and a voice leading me to an old church. The gunshots slowed the alien that was chasing me and gave me enough time to jump in an open window. I entered the church and found several refugees, all armed with shotguns and pistols. A man helped to get up, while the others closed the window and started cheering. Obviously not for me, but for the fact that they managed to kill an alien who seems to be hard to kill. The man who was shooting is a fisherman who was very happy to help me and kill couple of aliens as a reward. Yeah, one of the first things he said was reward, which made me anxious.

_”I guess that you are completely humen?”, with a big laugh.

_”Yeah, but why would you assume that?”, playing it dumb.

_”Well, many of us saw that these aliens can change their appearances…”.

_”Okay, that is going to be a problem?”, I asked while my head was down.

_”For those who have weak hearts, I think…”, he answered with great grief in his eyes.

I could tell that one of the people who are close to him was an alien and he seems to barely handling the situation. I just didn’t want to continue the conversation, so I quickly asked how can I rach the space company.

_”I don’t assume that you knwo how can I reach PARC?”, I asked in a polite way.

_”Well, I don’t, but I know somoeone who does…”, he answered in the most clichéd way a person can answer.

He took me straight into a man who used to run construction site near PARC, and he was more than happy to tell me. I was right about the fact that there is no sewer lines that lead straight to the company, but the remaining distance was short enough to continue on foot. The fisherman told me that I can stay for the night and then asked me if I ever held a gun before. I used to practise in a shooting range, so I can be qualified to carry a gun.

In the following day, the fisherman gave me a revolver and hug with these words:”Farewell, my brother and I hope you find your people safe and unharmed”. It was a really shor speech, the type I prefer especially since it was delivered from a fisherman.

I jumped again in the sewers with high spirit and the ambition to find my sister safe and unharmed with the company of her friends. I still wonder about that astronaut who didn’t nor show up, yet. I mean, even after what we are facing as humans, I still can’t understand why he caused me such nightmares. Some kind of a sign or a bad omen. I even sensed that perhaps a massive alien invasion, I could be destined for great things and the first thing is unfolding on me. I’m talking about the family crisis, the fact that perhaps I ignored my parents so much that I’m going to make something about it, but yet, nothing can be done at this moment. I’m just a regular guy who is experiencing a really bad life, that’s all, no place for prophecies and that kind of stuff.

I arrived at the point where I have to get out of the sewers and continue on foot, but I also needed to be very vigilant about the aliens and their drones. We are at noon and it seemed that there was only alien drons hovering in the sky. I never imagined that I will witness an empty Chicago in my life, but there is it. I found several transportaion means that I can use, but I went for the bicycle because I have to avoid making noise. Thanks to my olympian level, I was able to achieve the entrance of PARC, but the main entrance won’t be opened because of the invasion, so I must head to the underground facility which wasn’t very far. The underground entrance is hidden under a large schist rock that my sister told me about it, but entering can be a bit hard. I saw some scanners that should give a hint that there are survivors inside the facility and soon, the scanners begun doing their work. I heard a voice saying: ”Well, the first scan shows that it’s human, from the outside”. It was weird and then it started again by saying:”The second scan has failed, I don’t think that it’s human from the inside, but you should call Trish”. I was surprised about the fact that my sister name is mentioned and she came quickly. The glass was opened and I heard my sister talking to me.

_”Hal is that you?”, with the worry killing her.

_”Yes, it’s me Trish, it’s Hal!!!”; I answered joyfully.

_”Well, you can tell me what is the place that I go to if I want to escape humanity?”.

_”THE ROOF!!!”.

_”It’s really you!!!”, I heard the joy in her voice.

The door was opened and she came out running towards me, while I opened my arms like I never did. I never got that happy before in my life and to see my sister happy is all what I want in the world, even if it is invaded by aliens. During me huging her, I was able to hear a near clapping which indicated the presence of the astronaut somewhere, watching as a smile may forms on his hidden face. After the longest hug in my life, I entered the facility with my sister and met with the staff who seemed to be surprise about the fact that I somehow survived what is happening out there. Everything seemed to be great, until the nightmares returned and

I kind of sensed it after hearing that twisted clapping. This time, it changed for the first time, he didn’t repeat the same boring sentence, but a much darker one.

“The human life cycle has attracted my attention, so the phase two shall begin. Do what I am asking and you will be rewarded. Kiss your Sister on the Cheek when you see her”.

I woke screaming again from another nightmare, while my sister came running to check up on me with a face full of worry. I didn’t want to tell her about this specific nightmare because she would freak out more than she is and because the invasion is still coming.

I knew that something bad is going to happen, so I didn’t kiss my sister when I saw her, I ignored what he told me, but I still know that something big is going to happend and I had to protect my sister whatever the coast was because this astronaut is a bad omen.

Days after the whole nightmare, the aliens came to sweep the area, but my sister was next to me when it happend. I grabbed both my ax and revolver and went straight to lower levels of the facility in order to avoid the aliens. The alien drones and the portal technology were clear evidences that the aliens are technologically advanced, but this time, there was giant robots that are sweeping the area and killing people. We avoided the robots, but we had some quick encounter with the same green substance that I faced in the sewers. Apparently, when it enters the human body, it turns him into zombies-like creatures. The zombies were easy to be defeated, but the green substance was a bit hard to kill. Other aliens showed up and most of them are similor to the reptilians of earth, but with the help of other people we managed to kill them all. It seemed for a while that we can outrun the sweep and make it to safety, but a robot was able to stop our momentum. Before the robot could direct it heavy weapons towards us, another civilian launched a rocket, but it nearly did nothing. As all hope seemed lost, five aliens attacked the robot and defeated him easily. All of the civilians were afraid, but one of them approached me and said that Gabe sent them to find me. The other civilians followed me and I followed the alien, who had technologically advanced weapons. Again, our momentum was stopped with other giant robots and me with all the other humans suffering some kind of a headache while hearing someone talking. First, I believed that it was the astronaut, but it was another powerful alien who seemed to have some kind of telepathic powers. After a short talk with the alien who was protecting us, we were all captured by the robots into the mothership of aliens

One can say that it was complete hell because we were strapped into terrible machines and perhaps been prepared for torturing, but I heard a clapping. I was afraid that the astronaut has orchestrated all of this for some evil plot, but I was wrong. Another alien who seemed to be friend of Gabe rescued us by detonating a bomb that sent me free. There was no time to try to understand or talk, so I grabbed an alien gun and followed the alien who helped in defeating the security. It didn’t take much time until we arrived to some chamber where the alien was afraid of entering it. He said that he has done his part and it’s time to return and help the other imprisoned rebel aliens. He also said that I will be facing the being who is responsible for the initial invasion and that only a foreigner who can defeat him.

I hoped that I will hear the clapping, but when I didn’t. I supposed that I will be facing the alien who has telepathic powers and it was him waiting for me, the foreigner. I directed my weapon towards him, but he started talking.

_”How dare you to point that weapon to me…”.

_”Well, since you are the alien responsible for all the hell that is going on out there, I really dare….”; I answered while trying to keep my courage.

_”You are all beneath me, and we are all beneath the others…”.

_”I don’t care who are the others, there is only you and me in here…”.

_”He is watching, the one who is been guiding you with his own frustrating way…”.

_”Well, maybe, he guided me to this place so I can kill you…”.

_”No, you are just part of a long phase and your race is part of a life cycle phase…”.

_”Life cyle?”.

_”We have been watching your race for a long time, we have seen that your race is primitive and that you have no right to exist…”.

Before any other further conversation, I heard the clapping and I heard the astronaut whispering in my ear, saying that phase three shall begin…

Hal will return

By Mohamed Farouk Bennadji from Algeria