I made sure to not let go of the little girl, Lara is her name, because I vowed to never leave her. We don’t know what happened to her parents or any of the adults. It felt like the least I could do. She’s so young and as silly as it sounds, it gave me a purpose, a goal, which was something I needed to keep moving forward. Otherwise I may have shut down, and that is not an option. With the Achlivan’s you always have to stay ahead of the game. The very least, never fall behind.
The guy in the bowler hat from the store stood next to us. We’d been pulled away from the rest of our group. It was not just the three of us and one of the aliens. We’d been divided into male/female pairings for the most part, outside of a few groups of three or four that added a child or two into the mix. He was the other half of my pair, and Lara was our kid, like a happy little family. He stood strong and I could tell he was on edge with the way he twitched at every small sound. It was almost like he wanted to protect us though because he maintained a close proximity. With Wicken not around, it was good to have someone else I could sort of rely on.
Wicken. I wish things could have been different for him. I still don’t understand why he wasn’t chosen. I needed him then. Maybe if I had fought harder like I had with Lara things would have been different. The other guy seemed okay though, safe, sane. I’d noticed him from afar with some of the kids earlier. He didn’t ignore them like a lot of the other young adults. That had to say something right?
The aliens wouldn’t talk to us. Sometimes a few words would be spoken in another language as we passed by one. Beyond that though, our leader was silent and it was scary. For all I knew, I was going to be slaughtered for some kind of weird feast, or forced into some other messed up situation. My imagination was going everywhere, especially since I was paired with a guy I’d never met before. Why else would they make male or female groups? Create mock ups of families?
They brought us to a ship where the airport was. Instead of airplanes there were several space crafts in various shapes and sizes. We were taken to an enormous one that kind of reminded me of a cruise ship in a way. It was six stories tall, about three cruise ships in length and width. Just huge. The guy with us stopped for a moment to stare before being nudged by the alien to keep moving forward. It took me a moment to realize this was all real.
We were led aboard and taken to an elevator. Going up a number of floors, I stepped out into a luxurious hallway. Plush, maroon, carpet graced the floors. There were trees decorating the hall, and twinkling lights creating a romantic atmosphere. A number of the aliens were staring at us. They sat at tables, looking as though they were dining in a restaurant. Humans were serving and busing tables. We’re going to be slaves.
We walked through a pair of glass doors, and it was as though we had stepped outside again. Above us was a moonlit sky and stars. It was day time so this had to be artificial, though it looked real enough. They twinkled and moved. Outside of this restaurant it felt like a fake street. Only instead of pavement was more carpet. Street lamps lit the way though, wrapped in more twinkling lights, and nearby was a fake river flowing by, ending in a waterfall. When I glanced down at it, I noticed it fall into a new floor. Though I couldn’t make out any more details beyond that. This made me feel a little nervous, but thankfully the walls were high on this fake street. Much higher than I was tall since I’m guessing they were designed to keep the aliens safe more so than the humans. The only reason I knew there was even water to begin with was because I could hear it and on occasion see it through a small decorative hole in the wall.
The three of us were taken down a quieter hallway. In English I saw the words “upper staff only” which confirmed my suspicions. We passed by a number of rooms, and then shoved into a door. It locked behind us.
For a minute none of us moved. The room was completely dark, and for all I knew we were shoved into a closet. I reached out to find a light switch and flipped it. Turns out we were in an apartment. It was actually pretty nice. A modern kitchen was to our right with fancy tiling and an overhead light with glass flower shaped casing around the bulbs. The same maroon carpet in the hallways was on the floor. A black leather sofa was around twenty feet in front of us sitting in front of a large flat screen black TV. There were shelves filled with books, DVDs, and video games? And to the slight left was a glass door leading outside to a glassed in balcony. We could see the artificial night sky clearly and it was beautiful. To our left was a dining table with a small chandelier hanging above it and a hallway that I could only assume led to other rooms.
My male companion took off his hat. The first thing I notice is his thick dark hair. I looked into his olive eyes, get a good look at his face, and the connection is instantly made. Timber Hudson, movie star, is in the room with me. Don’t freak out. Don’t say anything. But my cheeks go hot because he is so hot. My friends from home would die. Then again, maybe they already had. Hey, fangirling beat having a meltdown right? The little things kept us going. I’ve always been more of an optimist.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
“Like the band.”
“Something like that.”
“I’m Timber,” Duh, but it’s nice how he wanted to be polite. Or maybe he didn’t get that I recognized him. Either way it didn’t matter.
“What’s your name?” He asked the girl, leaning down a little and giving her the most amazing and beautiful smile.
“Lara,” she whispered.
“Are you guys hungry?” He walked into the kitchen and started to search the cupboards. The next thing I know, he’s getting a pot on the stove and a box of mac and cheese ready.
My mind wasn’t focused on food, but I nodded anyway. If it’s poisoned, those aliens are sicker than I thought. Our only options were give up or keep living. He made the choice easier for us. Timber dove right into taking care of us.