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I want to say it’s a Thursday, and the middle of January. I’m not sure exactly because I haven’t seen a calendar since the end of October. The one we kept in the apartment ran out, and all of the others have been destroyed in the effort to make sure all of us poor, inferior, humans, submit to the ways of the Achlivan. We were able to draw one on our bathroom wall. It’s small, but it does the job.
It took some time, but I think I’m finally able to accurately document everything that’s happened in the past three months. For a while, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be ready. I’ve seen things I wish I could forget, and as much as I want to just go along with the way of these aliens, I can’t.
Letting go of my past life is not easy, and I’m terrified of forgetting it. Someday, the human race will be free from captivity, and when that day comes, they’ll need to know what happened and how life used to be. They’ll need to know that our species was once part of a thriving civilization.
That’s why I’m writing this.
I remember the day the Achlivans came, vividly. It was warm, which was something to cherish in late October in Minnesota. The weather there was always so temperamental, like mother nature had PMS. One day it’d be gorgeous, and the next there would be three feet of snow. It didn’t matter if it was the middle of July. That day, I want to say it was around sixty degrees. Jeans and a sweatshirt kind of weather.
Like most days before I had to open at work, I didn’t sleep the best the night before. Something about the anticipation of having to wake up with my alarm clock always messed with my ability to relax. I had the same problem during school too. Any time I had to wake up before my body actually wanted to, messed with my head. I don’t think I need to elaborate how going to bed at two in the morning on a regular basis didn’t make for waking up at a time before eleven often. It all comes with being a night owl. At school, I had the ability to schedule my classes around that. Work on the other hand left me at the mercy of my manager. Because I needed money – badly – opening was something I had to suck it up and deal with.
The store opens at ten, so it wasn’t like I had to get up at some ungodly hour in the morning or anything. Still, the morning of the attack, I was having a hard time wanting to get out of bed. I groaned several times and opted out of taking a shower just for the extra half an hour of sleep.
My alarm went off on my cellphone one last time. If I hit the snooze button and stayed in bed, I’d be on the chopping block at work. The fifty cents over minimum wage that I got an hour was almost enough for me to say screw it all and stay in bed. Unfortunately, it was still more money than I had in my bank account.
As if he could read my mind, my Chihuahua, Burrito, jumped up onto my chest and started to lick my face until I couldn’t breathe. Dog breath filled my nostrils, slobber covered my mouth and nose, and tiny paws scratched my neck and shoulders.
“Ugh, okay, I’m awake, I’m awake!” I carefully picked Burrito up and put him next to me. Then I reluctantly got out of my warm, cozy, bed. Getting dressed took all of five minutes since I threw on my jeans from the day before which were still lying on the floor, my navy Toy Tech t-shirt that I needed for work, the first pair of socks and necessary undergarments I could find in my top dresser drawer, and my amazing comfortable work shoes. All that was left to do was pull my long, dark, straight, boring, dark hair back into a ponytail.
I was halfway up the stairs when my Mom called down to me. “Chevelle, if you don’t get up here soon you’re going to be late! Breakfast is ready for you!”
“I’m right here, relax,” I said, meeting her at the top of the steps. “You cooked? Wait, of course you cooked. You’re always cooking.”
“Someone has to make sure you’re eating right. I figured you’d be thanking me so you didn’t have to eat all of that cafeteria college food.” Mom threw up her hands and shook her head. “All right honey, I can take a hint. You’re an adult now and you don’t need me to baby you.”
I gave her a big hug. “Baby me all you want. I just don’t have a lot of time to eat a big breakfast. Like you said, I’m going to be late. Besides, do the words freshmen fifteen mean anything to you?”
She laughed. “If you’ve gained fifteen pounds already, you’re hiding it well.”
Truth was, I’d gained five pounds, and it all went to my hips. For the time being, I didn’t look all too different but I could feel the changes in my body every time I had to put on my jeans in the morning. The typical five minute struggle gradually increased every day. Once I hit ten minutes, I was going to have to invest in a new, larger, pair. Pants should not be such a chore to get on. Would my mother have understood this? Over time, but not until I lost control over my weight gain and it became painfully obvious it was there. I didn’t want to go there and, like most American teenage girls, I believed I already needed to lose ten pounds as it was just to feel good about myself.
Ignoring her comment, I took a cold toaster pastry from out of the box and rushed to grab my purse and hoodie from school. “I’ll be back for dinner! Love you!” I called out before I headed out the door. Those were the last words I spoke to my mother.