“Incursio” #6 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days) by Cherie Ann Turpin

Incursio #6 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days) by Cherie Ann Turpin

leonids_meteor_shower_november_2009

My tabby cat Munchkin first noticed the strange lights in my pool late last night after spectacular meteor shower that lit up the sky. I thought the meteor shower was lightning at first, until I walked outside and peered up from my deck in the backyard. The clouds partially covered the flashes of light, but no thunder occurred. Munchkin scurried inside and ran under the kitchen table, her tail quivering. I leaned over the wooden rail and glanced at the sparkling night sky, slowly dragging a curl of smoke from my cigarette. The air was thick and humid, and the wind flowed on my skin like a moist pillow.

An unnatural stirring of the heavenly realm was afoot.

I finished my cigarette and walked into the house, sealing shut the sliding glass doors and pulling together the white curtains. The outdoor lights were left on, casting shadows on the pool below. I motioned to Munchkin as I walked down the hallway towards my bedroom, and she jumped up into my outstretched arms, purring away like a perpetual motor buried in fur. As I kicked off my slippers and sat down on the bed she curled up at the edge of the bed, her favorite spot. Clicking off the light, I finally fell into a deep sleep.

Buscuit-Under-monitor

After what seemed to be hours, I was awakened by a strange howl and hiss. Munchkin paced around the room, visibly disturbed. I looked at the clock on my cell phone: 3 A.M. What the fuck, I thought. I threw on a night robe and stuffed my feet into my slippers, then followed my shaken cat towards the sliding doors and pulled back the curtains. The outdoor lights were still on, and the sky looked, well, odd. Yellowish, like phlegm. I’d never seen clouds like that, but weather wasn’t exactly normal, lately. I noticed Munchkin staring and hissing at something and peered out towards the pool. It seemed to be glowing with lights like that same phlegmatic yellow. The water seemed to churn with an urgency to boil.

I carefully backed away from the glass doors and ran into the bedroom, leaving the lights off. I quickly dressed, and grabbed my purse, cell phone, and laptop bag. My cat looked at me, quietly pleading. I pulled her up and placed her into the opening of my purse and rushed outside to my car. As I pulled away from the house I noticed some people who had wandered outside to stare at the sky, while others were busy packing a few belongings and their children into their cars.

The invasion had begun.

Again Part 3 #25 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

Again Part 3 #25

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days

Fire

The traffic on I-66E was unbearable. Suleena Davis could feel the sweat pooling underneath her in the leather seat she was confined to while sitting in a 2002 Ford Focus. The a/c was fried, and the night air was thick with a fine mist of water and summer bugs. She could feel her throat itch and her nose swell in the mix of humidity and pollen.

 

At 11:58 pm a fog had formed over the I-66/I-495 junction in Northern Virginia, just a few miles out from downtown Washington D.C. Nothing seemed to make sense, least of all the four lanes packed with late night drivers unfortunate enough to be caught in the traffic jam that locked down both sides of the highway. Eighteen-wheelers were lined up in the far right lanes like cattle cars on a railroad on a slow cruise. A steady swarm of fire trucks and police cars, along with black unmarked cars and vans save for a singular flashing blue light continued to make its way towards a yet to be seen accident scene.

 

After simmering in the heat, the traffic began to crawl again on I-66, and miles of cars were squeezed into two lanes, then a single lane. By the time Suleena drove past the incident point the line was in the breakdown lane. As she inched down the highway she noticed the site of the incident was below the piece of I-66 crossing over I-495. An oval-shaped object lay embedded across both lanes of the highway below, while dozens of cars were flipped, crushed or otherwise mangled by what seemed to be an emergency landing. Huge pieces of concrete and soil partially buried the still smoking object.

 

Suleena could see firefighters and police attempting to attend to the wounded who were pulled out of the endless wreckage. She kept looking over to see if anyone or anything had been pulled out of the object, almost running into the car in front of her. With shaky hands, she darted her eyes back to the road in front of her and took the next exit.

 

The news covering the incident made no mention of an object crashing on the highway, but noted an ongoing investigation by the FAA on single engine plane flight paths and safety.

Again (Part Two) #13 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

Again (Part Two) #13

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days
alien
At 3:15 am the Lakeshore Limited slid past Youngstown, Ohio towards Lake Erie through the mush of snow,ice, and mud with a mournful wail that echoed through the trees and otherwise silent roads alongside the railroad tracks.  My brown wool pea coat covered my face, neck and chest while I attempted to sleep in my seat and the empty coach seat beside me in a semi-crouched position.  I could hear snoring and sleepy gasps for air in the darkened coach car.  The train shook my coat off my face and I opened my eyes to adjust myself to a more comfortable position over my purse-turned-pillow.

A pale face hovered near my face. I froze, not knowing if I was dreaming.  I felt its warm breath bloom over my skin like a foul-smelling burst of steam.  I sat up and jerked my coat down, freeing my hands and arms.  A tall, tall figure resembling a human with marble-like skin, a paper-like shroud, and almond-shaped eyes leaned over me, watching me as I stared back in shock.  When I opened my mouth to shout at it, I felt the sound gurgle and stammer into wheezing coughs.  It was not alone.  It seemed that the entire car was filled with these strange people with almond eyes and tissue paper clothes. My body struggled against invisible restraints that only tightened with every attempt to move.

The coach car began to fill with light as it quaked with a ferocity that seemed to indicate an impending derailment.  I felt myself being lifted from my seat and pushed into the light, noticing other frozen people being transported.  I felt the heat of the exploding car below me as I was lifted towards a large ship with pink, yellow, blue, and red lights.  I drifted into a dreamless sleep with a realization of my efforts to escape and not be found again.

They didn’t need the tracking bot to find me anymore.

The Extinction Level Event Has Not Happened Yet #12 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

The Extinction Level Event Has Not Happened Yet #12

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days

I should have kissed him yesterday.
kiss
I think I still hold onto my mother’s advice to let men pursue me, rather than being more assertive in matters of the heart and body.  She thought it was too pushy and too forward to show too much interest or to reveal desire to men.

I think it’s a shitty way of dealing with men, especially the ones who go overboard to be gentlemen, but I ended up almost by default complying with her vision of proper female behavior, which, of course, resulted in long periods of sexual dry spells.  I burned out about four different vibrators during my long wait for the “right one.”  When the aliens came I was almost six years without a long-term partner or a casual lover.  I’m too old to keep waiting for him to make the first move, and since the aliens devastated our planet, I guess I should try to ignore the rules and show some moxie before we die from the coming second wave.

He was right there, standing next to me, talking with me. He really paid attention to what I had to say, and I didn’t mind us walking fifteen blocks to the nearest charging station to get our laptops and phones charged (yes, we still have WiFi and cell phones–we just don’t know how long they will last).  He looked into my eyes as he shared his stories of finding and losing love, how when he first moved here he couldn’t seem to find anyone who really understood him.  I felt my tummy quiver, slightly.

We talked about our families, who we resembled, why we both happened to be living in this part of the city.

We talked about the restaurants we grew to love as a part of city living, and how neither of us really liked to cook as a daily habit, and how our career schedules did not bide for long periods of cooking prep or clean-up.

We didn’t talk about the invasion, or the semi-permanent federal state of emergency, or the abductions by the alien hunting squads who snatched up unsuspecting humans for experiments and other purposes which usually resulted in bloody piles of limbs and entrails.

We didn’t talk about the fall-out shelters our military built to keep the remaining humans safe, or the fact that the empty streets we walked once packed with a sea of citizens in a city that boasted a population of well over 4 million people.

We didn’t talk about how we watched cities around the world crumble and burn, wondering when ours would be next.

We talked about finding love in the fury of apocalyptic ruination, and holding fast to what remained of human civilization.  We hugged, and walked back to our respective shelters just below the streets.

If we still exist tomorrow, I’ll kiss him before we go scavenge for food.

Yellow Pollen #8 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30days

Yellow Pollen #8

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30days

yellowpollen

Yellow pollen.  Burning throat, swollen membranes.  That’s what I remember it starting out to be, but that was before we stopped going outside all together.

Yellow pollen.  Changing people, changing the animals, the plants.

It’s the same place, this hotel, only different now with the change.  We do try to find ways of staying cheerful in midst of disaster, and nothing keeps me from joining a party with my favorite people, people I want to be around, not even that ghastly yellow pollen killing us slowly.  I saw mostly men in suits, including Walt who eventually sat next to me after getting a refill of his cranberry and vodka, plus a retired athlete who seemed a bit shorter than expected but very welcome:  he had whitish blonde hair, blue eyes, very warm—he knew me for some reason—I touched his shoulders and we hugged.  I think this was a banquet of sorts, not a card game.  He leaned over told me it was last call for drinks before the card game.  I shouted out lemon vodka to the bartender, then corrected myself by saying, “I meant lime vodka.”  He nodded,  replying with “oh, yeah, right I know what you mean,” and started making it.  I sat down at the table.  This was what was one of a few fragments left of human civilization, or what I thought of as our few bright moments of pleasure before the inevitable cessation of our existence, at least on this planet.

Sometimes I like to pretend I don’t remember how it began, but I prefer to keep my lying limited to fooling my rivals at the card table.  Truth is, I can’t forget it.  The scars in my lungs, nose, and on my arms from the burns remind me of the spores that felt like pins of fire shooting through me and around me as it swirled into our atmosphere.  We unfortunate few who are now left are all that remains after the small contingent who were selected randomly by the invading alien race departed in strange oblong ships.  yellow_pollen

The change started with what had been assumed to be tree pollen during late spring not so many moons ago.  It rolled in like a fog, settling on every surface outside like a bright, thick carpet of snow.  Asthmatics, pregnant women and the elderly were the first to be warned to stay inside; schools were closed, and people in general were warned to avoid touching this “pollen” that continued to fall from the sky, accumulating on cars, buildings, bushes, and just about any other outside surface left uncovered.  Eventually, no one dared leaving their home without layers of protective clothes and masks.  The shelters were packed with homeless people attempting to escape exposure to the outside air.

Some teenagers thought it would be cool to use their snowboards and skateboards to plow through the yellow piles of pollen like snow, only find discover to their horror the difficult and painful consequences of rolling through a substance that, upon contact with skin, felt like tiny needles of fire shooting through every nerve.  Several young men were admitted to ER with chemical burns, and at least two died as a result of complications stemming from third-degree burns and anaphylaxis.  A national state of emergency was declared after scientific discovery of what had been long feared to be a contamination of the environment by a biological substance of alien origin.

This was not pollen.