(Shhhh its still totally wednesday!)
Unity – An Ideological Horror Story in Four Parts – for Worlds and Words Short Story Wednesdays
This is a first person short-form socio-political spec-fic short. This first part is about Aliens.
Part 1 – Alien
The alien invasion was nothing like we’d ever thought it would be. They weren’t invaders, not when you got down to it. An invasion involves a declaration of war, violent intent. There was none of that. Where is the line between invader and migrant? I mean, we struggle enough drawing that line with members of our own species, and our languages, varied as they are, can be translated into each other if we try. The aliens didn’t even have a language, not as we think of it.
There weren’t ships, nothing that looked like weapons, no technology that we could see. We didn’t even notice the first arrivals, not even the best and the brightest of our scientists. This story isn’t about the best and the brightest, its about me and my neighbours, and we really weren’t very different from most people, weren’t very different from you. No-one saw the first ones coming. It was only in my neighbourhood, in a quiet country, whose name I’m sure you’ve heard, but don’t think much about, that they arrived at all. Before you ask, my neighbourhood did have a name, yes, but it isn’t important. This story isn’t really about places. I mean, no-one knew precisely what precariously small village on the edge of exactly which forest Hansel and Gretel lived in. We don’t ask what the name of their country was, we just wait for the lesson at the end. This is one of those kinds of stories: one with a message, with something for you to take away. But its still early to be telling you that.
The first aliens, or some of the first, arrived in my neighbourhood and we couldn’t even see them until enough of them were here, to band together and make sparkles in the air. We all noticed that, at least, the tiny blue shimmers and glows at the corners of our vision, when we were in shadowed places, at certain times of the day. The local newspaper, and other people who liked to give the things they see names, called it an ‘atmospheric disturbance’. Everyone agreed that someone should study it further. Thing was, you could only see the sparkles in the dark places of my neighbourhood, which was already the kind of neighbourhood that nobody wanted to do scientific experiments in. The sparkles were strongest in the seediest, most run down parts. That’s were I lived. I was a student, at a university somewhere nicer than where I lived, studying something. It doesn’t matter what it was now. In the same way that this story isn’t about places, its not really about me. I know I said that before, but what I really meant was that its about the parts of me that make me the same as you. Don’t worry if that seems confusing now, there’s time enough to make things clear. At least, I hope there’s still time.
So a sparkly, blue atmospheric disturbance started appearing in shadows, between the sunnier spots and around dank corners in the rougher parts of town. If this wasn’t a true story, I’d say that no one even noticed it, but really, no one’s that thick. We all noticed it and talked about it and decided that someone should study it, and then went back to the thousand other small chores of daily existence. And the not-so-small chores. Everyone noticed the aliens when there were finally enough of them to create visual presences, they just didn’t mean much to us back then. We had other things to think about too. It was a pretty bad time for aliens.
See, things had been happening: central government elections, fist-fights in the senate, regime change, faction fighting, upheaval. We tended to stay out of politics, in my neighbourhood, and most politicians tended to stay far away from us. Politics was a distant, incomprehensible thing, that didn’t really affect us much. That was until we started having our doors kicked in by riot police. Someone, one of the politicians who were usually content with pretending that we didn’t exist, got itchy fingers. So we were preoccupied, when the aliens started arriving.
Check in next Wednesday for: Part 2 – Government
(where things start to get complicated)