“Hallo liefie. Kom sit.”
Abie stood still for a very long time, gazing at the rolling sea-sand curls framing the pale face before him. Soft, hazel eyes he’d fallen in love with gazed back at him; a hand was raised to gesture at the chair in front of him.
“Ana-marie. What…” the words felt heavy in his mouth, weighing his bottom lip down in shock.
“Abie, please, sit.”
Abie eventually shuffled into the seat and fell into it hard. His arms stayed still at his sides, the heavy pistol slipping from his fingers to clatter onto the floor.
“What are you doing here?” He managed to ask. His mind was still reeling from the sight of the woman before him, a face from a memory that still haunted him so long after its occurrence.
“I came to find you. To save you.” She smiled as she sat forward in the chair, placing both her arms on the table so that her open hands were pointed towards Abie. He looked at them, afraid to hold them even as they seemed to be pleading to be held.
“You were captured. You were…” His eyes stared at the pale hands held out to him, he could almost feel their soft warmth. At his sides, his arms had begun to shake but he didn’t seem to be aware.
“Here I am Abie. That was the past and we are here in the now.”
His arms lifted, drawn to the outstretched hands before him of the girl he’d once thought he would marry. The girl who had been there before he’d joined the army as another soldier in the UAC. The girl who… the girl who…
<The girl who died!>
Abie jolted back in his seat in shock, sending his body and chair tumbling back in one swift motion.
<She died Abie! This is not her, do you not sense its presence?>
Abie was attempting to breathe following his fall, the wind had been knocked out of him and as he lifted his eyes, he found that Ana-Marie was standing beside him, only it wasn’t completely Ana-Marie; from her waist down she was a mass of wet, grey tentacles. He wanted to scream. Instead, a wheeze escaped his open mouth.
“The shock wears off soon enough, and as a soldier you should be able to get over it fairly quickly.”
Abie’s eyes fell away from Ana-Marie’s face and down towards the slithering limbs as they slid back towards the chair. He could still hear them swish and suckle even when they were out of sight behind the table.
<What the heck is that thing? What the heck is it?> Abie cried at the voice in his head. It was frustratingly silent once again. He managed to sit up, his breath coming in better as he spotted the pistol on the floor ahead of him. He picked his chair up while he was sitting, grabbing the pistol on his way back onto the chair, careful to keep the weapon hidden. The Ana-Marie-creature looked at him in mild amusement.
<If you’re going to help, you need to speak!> Abie whispered into his brain. The voice remained silent.
“It can’t hear you. I’m making sure of that.” Ana-Marie said but the voice came out in the same monotonous tone, both out loud as well as in his head. “Also, I would put away that toy, it has no effect on me.”
Abie looked down at his shaking hand, and shook his head
“It gives me comfort…”
“Well good, then perhaps you won’t be as pathetic as your soldier friends down below yes?” Abie lifted his head,
“Who are you… what are you?”
“Ah for that, we would have to travel light-years away to an ancient planetary speck on the outskirts of the milky-way, and we just don’t have the time. Instead I’ll give you answers to questions you’ve blatantly avoided. First and foremost, we are an alien race. Extra terrestrial. Hence the tentacles as you so aptly described my limbs.”
Abie continued to stare, his mind listening. Absorbing.
“Secondly, we are not a hostile race as you may be inclined to believe. It seems that America has fed much of society’s expectations when it comes to extra terrestrials and their quest for Earth’s domination.”
“So what is it that you want? How can I trust anything that you say?”
“Well you aren’t dead, for one, and secondly, you haven’t seen or heard anything about an alien invasion have you? And let me guess what you’re thinking; we wouldn’t allow our presence to be known until it was too late for mankind to do anything about it?”
The creature didn’t need to read Abie’s mind to know what he was thinking of course. It waited for Abie to respond and when he didn’t, it continued,
“Currently there are about… five of us… on Earth, including the one in your brain right now. We were summoned. It seems that the UAC is in need of assistance when it comes to bringing peace across its vast, beautiful plain…”
“And you and your alien squad are going to unite Africa peacefully? No hostile take over? Nothing?”
“Well I wouldn’t say nothing. Everything comes at a price.”
“And what price are we to pay for your so called peaceful involvement?” The creature that was Ana-Marie smiled.
Abie stared hard at the creature before him, no longer distracted by its facade even though it unsettled him,
“Will you change appearance please, I can’t handle looking at my dead ex?”
“I fear you wouldn’t get over the shock of what you will see if I were to do that. Ana-Marie here is to pacify you, make who I am more acceptable.”
Abie nodded as though he understood even though he didn’t. He stared hard at the body before him, taking it all in, trying to find anything that would give away the creature’s true self
“This is a mental projection. I am not wearing her body as you once experienced with the little girl before, I have not found a suitable body to attach myself to, as one has attached to you.”
Abie remembered the voice in his head.
“Who are you?” he asked the voice.
<Run Abie! Run!> The voice quivered.
“Why is it always telling me to run?”
“I fear it is trying to…”
Abie’s arm shot up suddenly out of his control, the pistol gripped tight and sure. His body rose on its own accord and fired two quick shots into Ana-Marie’s face as it moved around her. Ana-Marie lurched back, the chair tilting backwards until it was impossibly leaning on its two back legs without falling. Abie saw the top half shimmer slightly, a sliver of grey waning in and out of existence in the space between Ana-Marie’s gaping face and the floor. His fingers pulled the trigger twice and then they were pushing out of the other door and into a long, dark corridor.
“What the hell are you doing!?”
“What do you mean from what!? Did you really think this whole thing is about voluntary hosts?”
Abie let the words sweep through his mind. He wasn’t sure what he believed anymore. They barged through a heavy door at the end of the corridor while behind them, they could already feel the soldiers losing the hold Abie had over them. Ana-Marie wasn’t chasing them.
<We are all of the same mind, the five of us on this planet. That is how our planet works.> The voice continued. By now they were inside an office block of sorts with bright florescent lights lighting their way. It was eerily quiet
<A call reached our planet and we were tasked with investigating the commotion. What we had not anticipated, however, was the human tribal group standing before one of our communication pillars, in what was once our ancient calling ritual. We were summoned alright, but not by the UAC.>
“You were on our planet before?” Abie was suddenly feeling overwhelmed
<Of course. This time around we decided not to stay, to tell our overseers that it was a false alarm. So far from our planet, we found that we could influence each other’s thoughts as one; this was something only our overseers could do. One of us overpowered the rest and sought to remain on the planet as an overseer.>
Abie was beginning to catch on. The one in Ana-Marie’s body was calling the shots outside of home planet, and now was clearly trying to “oversee” the UAC under the guise of voluntary hosts.
<That’s exactly it!>
“So what now?”
The voice remained silent as they pushed through the doorway at the end of the corridor, and ran right into a squadron of soldiers with rifles pointed at them. Statesman Akinyi Cisse, of Joluo, the Eastern sector of the UAC, stood before the men in a shiny, silver, three-piece men’s suit. Behind them, a large helicopter stood waiting.
“Abie Prinsloo, so glad to finally meet my fellow host.” Akinyi stepped aside and gestured towards the waiting helicopter.
Understanding that it wasn’t so much a request as it was an instruction, Abie walked towards the helicopter; this was turning out to be much bigger than he’d thought.
Although not inspired by the prompt this time (I actually wrote this story yesterday), it fit the theme so… https://rachelpoli.com/2016/04/15/time-to-write-tension-rises/