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Thread: "Love on the Run"

  1. #1
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    Default "Love on the Run"

    Chapter 1


    6:01 am

    Not a time most people are happy to see. Since it was Saturday and I had the day off, I was really not pleased.

    My phone was insistent, the ring for important people.

    "hullo"

    "Bobby man, you awake?"

    It was Mark, my best bud, someone who should know better than to call... someone who did know better... someone who I had asked to help me with a very delicate matter. I was awake.

    "Yeah, you called, you talk" Ok so mostly awake.

    "Listen, get yourself together and get over here, now."

    Now I was scared, what he had been doing for me for the past week flashed into my brain.

    "What did you see Mark? Is it about her?"

    "Yeah, her, but not what you thought, not what I thought. You gotta get over here!"

    Sudden relief swept over me, not what I thought!

    "Then what is going on? It is 6 bloody am man."

    "Look, we have known each other a long time. I have been up for the last 24 hours trying to prove that what I have in front of me is not real. I can't, it's real. This is not a joke. I swear on my mother's life, on your mother's life, hell I swear on your mother's hamburgers! Just please, please, get over here."

    "I'm on my way"

    Confusion.

    I wanted to think he was just screwing with me. He had cause. For the past two weeks he had been monitoring 2 cameras that were set up in my girlfriends house.

    I know, this is not normal. Believe me, nothing about this situation was normal, I had my reasons.

    But swearing on my mom's burgers, well that was just not a joke. When Mark was 23 he got sick, really sick. For a while eating was a problem, his life was in danger. For some reason my mom's combination of crackers, meat, and a little ground turkey worked for him. Saved by burgers.

    Out to the car, pull out onto the road.

    Her name is Isabelle Clark.

    We met 3 years ago when our social circles connected in the usual way. A girlfriend of hers started dating one of my basketball buddies. For the next two years we saw each other now and again. I always sought her out when the groups met, and it seemed she did the same with me.

    A date eventually followed, and another, and another.

    For a year we were inseparable, life was good. One small problem though, no sex.

    Kissing sure, but nothing beyond that. She could not, or so I was told. A physical condition made it impossible. No name for this condition, no real explanation.

    But you know what? I did not really care. She is smart, witty, cute, playful, and a whole lot more.

    But it seemed she cared. There are odd things about her life, she lives according to a schedule that would make the Army proud. Every night at 1am or so, she would suddenly become passionate. Kissing, cuddling, those things couple do when one person can have sex and the other cannot.

    Again, no complaints, but a little too regimented perhaps.

    One night, just about two weeks ago, something changed. I could tell from the moment I arrived, she was focused on something, she had decided to do something.

    At 1 o'clock I found out what. She almost dragged me into her bedroom, she did push me onto the bed.

    And then... and then... words just fail.

    Now look I have had some good sex in my life. I knew this one girl I thought might just kill me in bed with her passion and raw fire.

    This was nothing like that, this was beyond that. From the moment we touched, and for hours afterward, I was in some sort of twilight zone state of mind. Everything was perfect, everything was pleasure, it was bliss.

    I cannot tell how how jarring it was to be pushed out the door when 3am approached. Not out of the house, just out of the bedroom. At the time it was just odd, now I look back and I really have to wonder.

    The next day I thought things would have changed, but it seemed they had not. She told me we should not have done what we did but she knew I so wanted to. She said that things seemed to be ok for her, but that a repeat performance was out of the question.

    What?

    What kind of a medical condition is that? Believe me I took a good look at her when we were in bed, everything looked perfect, hell beautiful is the proper word for her body.

    Looking back now I realize that I had a little bit of a break with reality about then. The most wonderful woman I had ever known, a love that I thought impossible, and the sex. I was afraid to have sex with her again, almost as much as I needed to do it again.

    Mark pushed me over the edge, even though it was all very well-meaning.

    "Maybe there is another guy." he said. And he continued with, "That would explain a lot of it right? Can't have sex because the other guy is getting it all. Worried about marks and other little details that might give her away. The schedule, somehow it keeps her safe from him finding out, although damned if I know how it works."

    Then I had a thought, one I wonder if I would take back even if I could...

    "Do you still have those tiny remote cameras you showed me?" I asked.

    Mark is a techno-wiz, loves the little toys. He had his whole house wired with voice-activated controls, and there was always something new at his house.

    "Sure, why... no... no really no."

    "I have to know. I am going insane."

    "Man it is illegal as hell, she finds out we both go to jail."

    "I realize that. Either help me, or put a bullet in my brain, I cannot live like this"

    "Dump her."

    "NO! No I won't do that without proof. You don't know man, you just don't understand. I thought it was bullshit too, I really did. We gotta keep the species going so we make up Love to help everything work out. But there is something else... something that is real. Wipe that dumb look off your face, it is Love, True soul-burning, cannot stop, cannot quit, cannot live without her LOVE!"

    He said yes.

    Right about now you are probably expecting an interesting tale about how we placed the cameras. Actually it was rather dull. She has a spare key she never uses, I borrowed it. Next afternoon when she headed out to work, we went in, placed the 2 cameras, and were out the door in less than 20 mins.

    Then we waited, then we watched, then we grew very bored.

    I made Mark turn off the bedroom camera when she started to get ready for a bath. I made him promise that even if I was not around he would do the same. He can look very sincere when he wishes.

    For 12 days nothing happened. No phone calls from people I did not know about. No strange visitors. In fact nothing at all to give me any new information about anything. She just sort of existed quietly, oddly, but quietly.

    I did not go over to Mark's house last night. I did call to tell him that it seemed we had at least knocked a few things off of the list and I no longer thought she was cheating on me. I told him to shut down the cameras and destroy all the recordings. He said he would be happy to do so 'cause he was tired of doing it. Again, he sounded very sincere and honest when he said that.

    So why was I about to pull up at his house at 6:42 am?

    He kept watching, that is clear enough. And saw... what?

    I will admit that of all the insane and completely-without-any-basis-whatsoever things I thought of just then, I was no where near the truth.

    Front door, not completely closed.

    "Mark"

    I hear "Up here!" from a bit of a distance. His workroom was upstairs in what used to be the attic.



    "Love on the Run" by Christopher Darque
    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-22-2009 at 08:31 PM.

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    Chapter 2



    I climb the stairs. My first look at Mark does not help my state of mind any. He looks like a wreck. Dark circles under his eyes and skin should not be that color unless you are a dead fish.

    “Bobby man am I glad to see you.”

    “You look like crap.”

    “I feel worse and so will you in about 5 minutes.”

    I just looked at him with the question on my face.

    “Alright... alright. I have had a lot of time to think about how I was going to do this so here goes. Most of the last 24 hours has been spent trying to prove that what I am about to show you is fake. Somehow she found the cameras and fed this video to me. That is the only logical explanation.”

    “But!”, Mark says jabbing a finger upwards. “But it is not a fake. Or if it is it is so good a fake that I cannot believe anyone outside of Steven Spielberg could have done it.”

    “So what is Steven up to these days?” I joked.

    “According to his publicist he is scouting locations in Brazil.” he replies deadpan.

    “Your kidding?”

    “I called. He has a public office. I called and I asked. Told you man I am going out of my mind.”

    It was at this moment that my annoyance at being up and here gave way to worry about my friend. If he was not kidding then he was not well. Something was wrong.

    “So tell me why it cannot be a fake?” I asked still feeling very much in the dark but wanting to play along for now.

    He brightened a bit at my show of interest in his problem, my problem but I did not know that yet.
    “Well first the cameras have not been touched. I have digital alignment references on all of them and nobody as as much as nudged them. Second I checked the feeds. There is no break anywhere. If someone had cut in there would have to be some little hiccup somewhere. Nothing. Then the moment itself man I have gone over that frame by frame. Every light source is perfect. The reflections are right. Nobody is that good. Nobody!” Mark explains in a bit of a rush,

    “I guess you had better show it to me then.”

    “Ok. Ok. But first I have to explain. When you asked me not to watch her get undressed I really did listen. I am a little surprised but at the first snap or button each night I cur off the tapes. I even deleted them so I would not be tempted. 8 days man. But then you started to think there was nothing really going on and I knew you would want to stop soon.”

    “I am sorry but I watched. For a couple of days it was just her getting naked, taking a shower and going to bed. But then... But then something else happened.”

    “What something else happened?” I asked with my annoyance coming back. I was impressed that he managed 8 days I wondered how I would have done had our positions been reversed.

    “Ok. You better sit down. One last time. I swear on my life this is not a joke.”

    I sit and look at the wide monitor screen before me. The image is of her bedroom, empty.

    Isabelle opens the door and walks in. She tosses a jacket on the bed.

    “So am I supposed to be looking for something here?” I ask in wonder.

    Mike shakes his head a few more times than necessary before he says, “You'll see. Watch.”

    She starts to undress. For a moment I smile looking at her. Then I remember when I am and I turn to glare at Mike. He should not have been watching this in the first place.

    “I know. I know. But as painful as this is going to be I think you deserve to know.” he says with a look that would do Yoda proud.

    I snort and turn back to screen.

    Ok she is naked now. Wow is just not good enough.

    But then...

    Her skin started to change color. It grew darker.

    Her beautiful blond hair became these light green tendrils. Her skin was green now. Those fine facial features became sharper and her nose almost disappeared.

    Green.

    Isabelle had been standing at a slight angle to the camera. Now she turns to directly face it. Mike taps his mouse and the image freezes.

    “I do not know what she is my friend. But she ain't human.” says Mike in a voice straight out of the Twilight Zone.

    I sat stunned beyond words. I wanted to reject the images. To deny what was in front of my eyes.

    But I knew it was true. Somehow it just fit. All the weirdness, the sex, everything just added right up perfectly. To an insane conclusion but just to one insane conclusion.

    My girlfriend was not human.


    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-22-2009 at 08:33 PM.

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    Chapter 3



    How do you recover from a blow like this. If I ever do I will let you know. I think I sat for a very long time not really thinking at all. Mike seemed to understand and just waited for me to speak.

    In that moment I felt my life slipping away from me. Everything I had done was fuzzy. Things of meaning were like smoke scented with hints of a memory.

    Eventually I focused on Mike. He gave me a very weak smile.

    “When we started this...” I began and then stopped. Another long moment of just sitting and then I continued as if I had not paused, “I was terrified beyond rational thought. I broke the law, I broke her trust, I let my scumdog best friend ogle my girl... all to prove what?”

    I shook my head.

    “I do not know what that is.” I say pointing at the screen.

    “But I have to know. I hope you are a moron and missed something. That would mean I will lose my girl and perhaps have to talk to the police if she is feeling vindictive. Funny. That is the optimistic me talking.” a very mirth-free chuckle follows that last line.

    “But if that image is real. Then I need to know. Maybe we all need to know.”

    My brain kicked into gear. I had a goal now and from than a plan naturally formed. That was my particular talent. Tell me what you have and what you want and I will tell you how to make it happen. It has made me a reasonable amount of money so far.

    “She will be on her way to work by now. I will meet her at her place when she gets home. Off schedule which might throw her a little. Usually I feel guilty when I do that but this time I am going to use it to my advantage. Wish me luck buddy.”

    “Do you want me to go with you?” he asks.

    “No I want you to get some sleep. Whatever this means it has happened and you are no good to me like you are now. I will call you after I talk to her.”

    “Bobby I am sorry. For well... that.”

    “Mike I never should have asked you to do any of this. I hope I am about to be mocked and ridiculed by the woman I love. Even that will not be what I deserve for doing this to her, to you, and to myself.”

    Amazing how clear you see things when it is far too late.

    'Just in case the insane is true I am going to need something. My pistol.' I thought to myself as I left Mike sputtering promises to get some rest.


    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-22-2009 at 08:34 PM.

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    Author's Comments

    That is all I have written so far but I have the whole Story plotted out. In movie pitch terms this is 'Romeo and Juliet meets the X-Files'. But I promise the first part of that is not a simple plot steal.

    Like MetaWar this too started as an idea for a Radio-style series of episodes. Always wanted to see how many cliff-hanger moments I could come up with.

    It has changed a bit since then but still pretty similar.


    A.T
    (-)

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    Chapter 4



    I have a lot of time to think while she is working.

    Would it be trite to say too much? Probably. But I think I had reached a fairly calm state by the time I was driving over to her condo. I had come to believe that the only possible answer was that she had discovered the cameras. Despite Mike's protests I think anyone can be fooled and that just had to be it.

    Once I really decided this I could look at the other possibility with more detachment. Could she be alien? Ok yes she could. I am not one of those people who think humans are it. Science has found billions of galaxies out there. The number of stars is beyond comprehension.

    It is not a fantastic conclusion hell I made it when I was 12 years old. What we do not know about our own planet is still a pretty big list. What we do not know about the universe is an infinite list. Essentially we know nothing. Only human arrogance makes us shout 'We are it!'.

    So could she be an alien or some other form of life, yes. Was she? No.

    Despite what I had seen I just did not believe it.

    I parked down the street from her usual spot and waited. She came home at 5:47 which was pretty close to normal. Watching her go inside was like watching the walls close in. I had come to accept I was about to lose her. My heart hurt already and I knew it would only get worse.

    Getting out of the car was hard. Walking even harder. I will not embarrass myself by admitting how long I stood before her door. The sound of the door bell was so normal but at that moment they were the 'Chimes of Doom'.

    Life had taken on a heightened quality. I heard her footsteps as she walked to the door. Her hand touching the latch was like a thunderclap, the click of the lock even louder. The door knob rattled as she wrapped her delicate fingers about it's smooth metal surface.

    I wondered how I was going to get through this. All my preparation and resolve melted into the sweat suddenly pouring out of me.
    Shifting from one foot to the other the weight of the gun in it's holster brought me back. Hooked to my belt at the small of my back it reminded me this was no childish matter.

    She smiled when she saw me. But her expression drooped a little as she looked at me.

    “Robert is something wrong?” became her first question.

    “Seems so babe.” I say as I walk past her into her place. Seeing the condo from my new perspective I was impressed again with how much subtle luxury was on display. She had a great job, big bucks, but still this place spoke of more than that. I had always just accepted it but now it bothered me.

    A few steps takes me in the the main room. High ceilings and lots of windows make for a very open place. Mostly done in light earth tones the condo is a very relaxing place. Big plants cover whole swaths of wall space.

    I run both hands across my face. Delaying. How to start?

    She does not seem angry. Concerned is all I can see. Is she that good an actress? Does she want to really stick the knife in and twist it? A baseball bat when I walked in the door I would have understood. Welcomed really. At least that would have been quick with little need to talk about it.

    “When did you find the cameras?” I ask. Start bold no other choice now.

    She looks puzzled.

    “What cameras? My digital one is in the drawer over there if you need it?” she asks. The picture of innocence.

    “Isabelle if you wanted to fuck with me you succeeded. You scrambled my brains and made a nervous wreck out of Mark. I have never been slammed so hard in my life. You are the Queen of payback. I bow before you. Now please just cut off my head and be done with it. You win. I'm pondscum and I fully admit it.” I say in an angry rush.

    I am breathing hard by the time I am done.

    She is shaking her head. Her eyes are wide and emotions play across her features. Confusion. Hurt, Worry, Fear... and oh yeah Anger.

    “What the HELL are you talking about? What happened to you? Something is wrong with Mark? I do not understand anything you just SAID!”

    Wow. So that is what she looks like angry. Even prettier. I am so doomed.

    “So that is how you wish to play it?” my anger goes up a notch. Enough is enough.

    “I am not playing anything you moron.” she throws back.

    I stalk across the room. The luxury of her condo includes a fireplace. On the right side at about 5 feet up is a small access grate. Not something anyone normally uses it is meant to qualified maint people to work on the gas mechanisms.

    It was a perfect spot for camera #1. I pull it out and toss it across the room into her lap.

    Isabelle picks it up and looks at it. I think she recognizes what it is but I am not sure as I say, “Follow me.” and head into the bedroom.

    Her footsteps are slow. I get to her room and up into the air vent before she reaches the door. The mini screwdriver I had carried with me makes short work of extracting camera #2.

    I toss it on the bed.

    She is standing in the doorway. I see a tear run down one cheek.

    I look at her. All my words seems pointless. She simply has to pronounce my doom and I will slink off into my hole. Drinking myself to death seems appropriate.

    SLAP “Bastard!” both of them hurt.

    She turns and runs out of the room. I follow.

    When I reach the living room she is on the love seat that looks out across her backyard. We have sat there often watching people play volleyball or children chase each other. I feel I should say something before I leave so I begin to walk across the room towards her.

    “Stop.” She says.

    I freeze.

    “Why? Why did you do this?” she asks in a voice that is awash with tears and pain.

    “Why is the reason. I had to know why we cannot have a normal life. I love you. You must know that but I had to know the rest.” I explain slowly.

    “Well now we will have no life at all.” she says with a long sad sigh.

    “I know. I am sorry. I will go and leave you alone.” I say the line I have been waiting to say.

    Her eyes narrow. Anger returns.

    “You think that will matter? You could not have told me all this tonight when it was safe could you? Did you ever stop to think for one second that maybe everything weird about our life was to protect you? Run anywhere you like, the end will be the same. Yours, and mine.”

    She breaks down sobbing.

    Now I was confused.

    “Look you do not really think I bought your little special effects show do you? Ok you blew Mark's mind and whoever you got must have cost a fortune. But I am not that gullible. You found the cameras and you set up the show. Drop the act. Please?” I half blustered and half pleaded with her.

    A long moment of silence.

    Her crying stops. Loud snuffles and bright red eyes make her pretty face ugly.

    “How did I fall in love with such a fool.” she says in a voice that drips contempt.

    Her skin begins to change.

    It darkens. Her face sharpens and her nose almost vanishes. Looking at her the texture of her skin is even different. Hair becomes fine tendrils and the whole event takes about 10 seconds.

    “Now you know.” Her voice is only slightly altered. My Isabelle's voice.

    “And now we are both going to die.”

    Turns out I was right. She did pronounce my doom.


    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-24-2009 at 07:50 PM.

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    Chapter 5



    I was scared now. I never really faced this possibility and that was a mistake.

    All on it's own my right hand went behind my back. The snap seemed loud as I released the pistol and pulled it free. I brought my arm around so the gun would be visible but I did not point it at her.

    “Are you threatening me Isabelle?” I asked in a shaky voice.

    She did not answer but her form slowly shifted back to human.

    “We are all watched. Constantly. By now we have been seen and someone has been notified. We have a little time. Robert... I do not know what to say. I do love you. That is honest and real. It is also forbidden. I wish I could do something to change what is going to happen.” She sounded so sad.

    It cut through my fear but my confusion remained, “Who is they? Who are you? Explain this to me please because I feel like I am losing my mind here! Is this some sort of invasion?” I demanded.

    “We have lived on your planet for centuries. The invasion is over but we do not want control over your planet. What we do want is a steady supply of your resources. Each planet has a unique set of elements. Similar but special. Even your common carbon is very useful to us, very profitable to sell. ” she explains in a flat voice.

    “What we do is capture material out of your air and transport it off your planet. Because of our particular methods this is better than direct mining or other extraction. We have... encouraged your society to pollute your air. As long as there is a massive and constant flow of material into your atmosphere our operations remain undetected.” her words were not what I expected. Too commercial. Too simple for aliens.

    Still though, I did not like it.

    “So what happens if we continue like this? If we never stop polluting so you can keep making money?” I asked.

    She looks down for a moment and then says, “Eventually your Eco-system will reach a crisis point. This will start a destructive spiral that could easily destroy half the life on your planet.”

    “How long?”

    “10 years. We cannot be sure but the signs are everywhere. That. That is the reason for you. I mean that is the reason that you and I. I am not saying this right. Because after all my years here I know that I will be leaving soon. I wanted to experience human love, human sex, before I had to go. It was selfish and dangerous of me. Despite all my years of service the penalty for breaking these kinds of rules is inflexible. “

    She stands up and moves a few steps towards me. The gun is down at my side and my finger is not on the trigger.

    “I never thought you would know I swear to you. I never would have put you into danger. If I had thought for a moment you had real suspicions about me I would have kept you away. You have to believe that. Please believe that.” she pleads.

    I take a couple of steps back and feel instantly guilty. The hurt in her eyes is obvious.

    “Sorry. I am freaked out. But lets say I believe you. Lets go to the cops. If your people are going to kill us then what do we have to lose?” I ask.

    She shakes her head.

    “The authorities will not help us. We do have controls Robert we simply do not use them. There are ways to program the minds of human beings. It only takes moments but can be very comprehensive. Nobody will help us.” she tells me sadly.

    I hold up the gun.

    “Then we will have to fight them ourselves. You may be an alien but I am an American. We do not just give up we are too ornery for that.” I felt a little pride saying that. Even more pride that it was really true.

    Again she shakes her head.

    “No point. Too many of them. Give me the gun Robert lets die with dignity.”

    “Are you kidding me? No.”

    She moves closer. I am feeling scared.

    I cock the hammer and clear the safety.

    “Stop Is. Really stop. If people are really going to come for me, for us, I am not just going to quit.”

    She moves forward again. I level the gun. My hand shakes.

    “Don't Isabelle. Please don't.”

    She stops. I lower the gun a little.

    “Robert you do not understand.” and she moves for the gun. I panic.

    The gun comes up.

    BANG!

    She grunts and falls backward. Blood. Red Blood.

    “Isabelle!” I cry and fall down next to her.

    “Run Robert. I love you but run!” she tells me before her eyes close and her breathing ceases.




    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-24-2009 at 12:34 AM.

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    Chapter 6


    Not sure why but my brain was working. I wiped my hands on a towel and put my gun away. With one last look at the body that used to be the woman I loved I ran.

    Out the door. To my car. Pulling away. No sign of anybody looking for me.

    Calling Mike I get nothing. I try a couple times but still no luck. Every time I see a cop I get cold chills but nothing happens.

    Mike's house goes by on the right and I find an open slot about a block down. A nice empty space directly in front of a different house. I walk quickly to Mike's place. Knocking gets me nowhere so I go for his 'drunk key'. Making sure to lock the door behind me I call out his name.

    “Mike?”

    Nothing.

    “YO MIKE!” I shout.

    “what?” comes the sleepy reply.

    “Get up we got big trouble coming pal.” I say still rather loudly.

    Suddenly realizing my need for something to drink I head into his kitchen. There was a small entranceway that leads into the main room. From there you could go upstairs or directly across into the kitchen.

    Mike always had some Vodka and I went for it. By the time he was downstairs and looking at me with sleep-filled eyes I was on my fourth long draw on the bottle.

    “What the hell happened to you? You do not sound like a eunuch so I guess you have not talked to the hottie yet.” he joked.

    The look on my face could have killed a deer at ten paces.

    “She really was an alien. It was not a joke. Turns out there are a lot of them and they are helping us screw up the planet so they can make a credit or whatever they call it. We talked. We fought. And she tried to take my gun away from me. She said that people would kill me because I know all this. And when she tried to take the gun, I fired. She is dead Mike.”

    His face fell and he sputtered a bit.

    “Yeah take a moment to process it. You have a couple. Or at least you have until someone bangs on that door over there with orders to kill me. And if they know about you I suspect they will kill you too.”

    Another long pull on the bottle. I was feeling it now.

    “So buddy you have a choice. Go on the run with me. Or sit here and hope they do not know about anything you have done. I will need all the recordings. Not sure what I can do with them but I will take whatever advantage I can get.” I offered my friend in a slightly slurred voice.

    “Wait Bobby. Slow down and tell me what happened again.” mike asks looking for some time to think about what is happening.

    I look at the bottle in my hands and find it empty. With a snort of disgust I toss it towards the sink. CRASH and it breaks. Glass flys across the counter.

    “Bobby Dammit! What did you do that for?” mike asks angrily.

    I smile. I am deep in the darkness now. Acceptance has come along with the wave of booze.

    “You are not going to care about that when this all finally sinks in my friend. You will gather your stuff and load your van pretty soon. Come with me.” I say as I head out of the room.

    Upstairs to that bloody computer.

    I watched him enough this last week to be able to call up the feed from the living room camera. I find the proper spot and set it playing.

    Mike watches us enter the room and listens to us speak. I need more vodka but he says that he does not have anymore.

    We reach the point at which I pull the camera out of the fireplace. The video starts to bobble but the sound stays clear. When we leave the room I tell him, “I got the other camera too but we will be back in the living room.”

    And of course we are.

    The rest of the afternoon at Isabelle plays out. He gets to hear all of it. As the end approaches I cannot sit there. I am up pacing the length of the room. When she says we should accept death I leave the room.

    Down the stars!
    All the way to the front door.
    I slam into it. Probably feel that in the morning.
    Tears.
    Even this far away I still hear the shot.
    Sobs.

    “Isabelle.” even as a whisper my voice cracks.

    I realize that no matter what she was, no matter how many lies she told, there was one thing that was the truth. She loved me. I loved her too.

    And I killed her out of fear.

    I deserve to die. I deserve to be punished.

    The gun is a heavy weight at my back. I have worn it so long now I am used to it. But it can bring justice. For one long moment I hang on the edge of that thought.

    No. No not that easy.

    I was already dead. The Reaper was nearing my name on his list. But there are aliens on my planet. They would have killed her. They will kill me.

    Eventually. And oh the smile that came across my face. The entire focus of the remainder of my existence would be spent killing the people that would have killed my Isabelle. First them, then me.

    Life took on a new sharpness because I now had focus. Still blurry from the vodka but when a human being puts 100% of their mind, body, and spirit on one task they can do amazing things.

    It also means you become a world-class asshole. But that is just how it goes.

    I go back up the stairs.

    Mike is just sitting slumped forward a bit. Eyes half open.

    “You did not get my cameras.” he says in a heavy voice.

    “No I did not. But I do not think that matters.” I say flatly.

    “You don't think it matters! Accessory to murder ring a bell?” he asks with sarcasm dripping.

    I sigh and shake my head. Time to get a little mean because we do not have time to waste. Something tells me to hurry.

    “Mike get your head screwed on straight. I know there is a brain in that HUGE head so please use it. Isabelle was not HUMAN! “ I shout the last line and both of my hands come up, fingers curled tight, then my hands pop open all my fingers to make the BIG point.

    “Take even the thought that this is all somehow a joke and throw it the fuck away. Right now you have 5 minutes to make a decision. Are you with me or not? I am on the run from some world controlling alien sons of bitches and I have very little time.”

    This comes fast now, “I am going to grab money and some of my wilder friends. We are going to run like hell and kill anybody who comes to take us. We will all of course die. I freely admit that is my personal goal. But I am going to take some of them with me. For her. And then I will die because I killed her.”

    I walk away from him. Afraid that if he asks some childish question I might shoot him. Funny that has always been an idle threat between us. Nothing is idle anymore. Nothing but getting a whole bunch of them matters at all. I owe Mike that chance but I do not know if he will take it.

    Don't much care in all honesty.

    I waited anyway.



    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-24-2009 at 08:41 PM.

  8. #8
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    Chapter 7


    Mike was locked in indecision. I was starting to think I should get going without him when a knock at a door made up both jump. My heart sank to my feet. Then I realized it was coming over the net from the cameras I had left behind.

    Another knock followed then silence.

    We jumped again when someone walked right by the still active camera. Black pants were visible for a moment.

    “Mike if you are coming with me now would be the time to get your stuff.” I say offhandedly.

    He says nothing.

    In Isabelle's apartment we hear, “Yeah she is here and bloody. Bring the crew up.”

    A few moment later there is more noise. People begin to move about and both camera's show flashes of activity. Very quiet though nobody seems to be saying much. Both cameras are picked up and deposited together in the living room.

    They move about for maybe 10 minutes. Before anything understandable comes across.

    “Can you believe this? Her? With one of them?” says a male voice.

    “This is going to generate new directives. All our lives are going to be difficult because of her.” says a female voice.

    “How could she do it? Did these have something to do with it.?” the first voice asks. The camera's show fingers pushing them around.

    “No those are human. Somehow she got a personal friend assigned to late night monitor duty. That gave her a window of freedom every night.” answers the female.

    My head came up at this statement. Someone had helped her?

    “We have her. I expect an example to be made.” says another male voice.

    “So what about these?” again with the fingers pushing the cameras around.

    “We think he put them in to spy on her. Typical human. No trust.” says the female.

    “Do we have him yet?”

    “No. He has not returned to his apartment. I have a team waiting for him. Probably out getting drunk.” says the female voice.

    I flipped the screen the bird. Her insight into my actions pissed me off.

    “They are waiting for you dude.” says Mike in a scared voice.

    “I am never going back there. They will be waiting for a while. Stay or go buddy. Decide now.” I say.

    “Do you want anything from all of this?” he asks with his hand sweeping his whole electronics set-up.

    “Yes. I need the initial transformation recording and copies of today and right now. Load your van but leave room for a couple of other people. Do you still have that remote model rocket trigger?” I ask with my mind racing though possibilities.

    “Sure?” he replies obviously not understanding why I would want that.

    “Get your shit. I have some stuff to do.”

    I turn the volume on his computer all the way up so I can keep listening. They do not say much for a while but they are moving around doing something. The remote trigger could fire off multiple rockets without a reset. Mike always had to go that extra step. It was wireless and he had a bunch of the receiver/igniter pairs.

    Most of what I needed was in the garage and was easy to find. Mike was hauling half-closed bags of clothes into his van. His electronic gear was much more carefully packed.

    He was going to cut the connection to the cameras but I stopped him.

    “Leave it running.” I said to his puzzled face.

    “And I want the laptop that runs your home system on my seat in your van.” I also ordered.

    That made a little sense to him so he did not argue.

    We were about done when there was a little more discussion at Isabelle's.

    “So what about these?” asked the second male voice. The image from the cameras showed them in his hand. Audio begins to break up a bit.

    “Track them. They are still run <inaudible> be easy.” says the female.

    “Dammit! I told you.” Mike curses.

    “Yes it will bring them right here. I hate to wait. Lets go.” I order with a smile.

    Someone helped Isabelle and I. She was beyond my reach and might stay that way. But it was something.

    I have Mike drive about a mile away. We pull over in a out of the way spot. The laptop gives me interior and exterior views of Mike's former residence. The rocket control is on the dash.

    We don't have long to wait. Four black SUVs pull up in front of the house. Only a few people get out at first. A pair go to check out my car down the street.

    'Ok so they are not fooled by simple tricks. I will remember that.' I think to myself. I had hoped the car might confuse them. Someone without an exact address might have thought the house my car was in front of was Mike's. They were dead on.

    I tap the control to activate the speakers inside the entranceway and say “COME IN.”

    The pair at the door look at each other and walk inside.

    They look surprised not to see me. I activate the speakers upstairs.

    “I would rather keep some distance between us.” I say in a more normal voice.

    “I think you should come downstairs. You are under arrest for the murder of Isabelle Clark.” says the male of the pair. I have gotten a good look at both of them, the other is young and female. Both have long coats that could be covering a lot. They look human.

    “Well on this planet the authorities always identify themselves.” I say.

    “FBI. Come downstairs or we will come up and get you.” says the man.

    Hmmm... They are not that smart. That was lame.

    “I would not be too hasty. I still have a gun.” I say just to slow them down.

    They have guns too. Damn. Not kidding around either. The man has a large pistol that I think is a Desert Eagle. The girl has a Scorpion auto pistol.

    Suddenly very glad I am sitting way over here.

    “I would like to ask something first.” I say with a silent request to Isabelle to help me make this work.

    “What would that be?” asks the woman. Her voice is no-nonsense and a little harsh. She smokes cigarettes I would bet. No wonder he does the talking.

    “Isabelle had a friend. She was the one who watched the cameras at night. But I never knew her name and I would like to.” I explain.

    “I believe that traditionally it will be we who are asking the questions. So I must decline your request.” she says.

    “I noticed your species does not have much of a nose. Does that mean you sense of smell is limited?” I ask.

    The two have moved forward into the middle room. They are looking up the stairs. They would have to be most of the way up to see anything but they try.

    They both look puzzled. Looking first at each other and then around the room. The man glances into the kitchen and shakes his head.

    “Why?” the female agent finally asks.

    “Because despite all the masking spray I used I bet you can still smell the gasoline if you try,” I say.

    Mike looks shocked. Then a huge grin spreads across his face. He slaps the seat three or four times and puts his other hand over his mouth to stifle the laughs.

    I grin too but it is not a pretty sight.

    On the screen the two are obviously trying to smell. Both are looking around the room more pointedly. They find one of the small containers of gas with the igniter attached.

    The female waves the man to look to for more.

    “Ah ah. No more touching. Please move to the center of the room.” I say.

    They comply. They look pissed. Ok so they are tough. Good for them.

    “Tell me her name and I will let you run out the front door. Otherwise you can burn.” I demand.

    “Very well. Her name is Angelica Urbanto. Not that it will do you any good.” spits out the female.

    “Thank you.” I say

    I reach out and pick up the remote. I flip all the safeties off and one by one press all the triggers.

    BAWOOSH BAWOOSH BAWOOSH

    Muffled explosions fill the house with flames. I press the power button on the laptop to shut it down.

    I only hear a loud curse before the screen goes blank.

    “Drive Mike. Kat's house first.” I order.

    He is as white as a ghost.

    “But you said you would let them go.” he sputters as he puts the van in drive.

    Why do people always make you say the most obvious of things?

    “I lied. That's 2.” I say.




  9. #9
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    Chapter 8

    Katherine Edwards lives on the edge of town. Not the best area but it allowed her to buy a big place. She is not a survivalist nut but she does love her guns. Spent a number of years in the army. Despite the ban on women in combat she manged to get into a a few serious firefughts.

    Did well too. The Army does not ignore valor under fire and she was honored for her actions.

    We called her Kat as a reference to kitty cat which she was not. She did favor women over men which was fine with me. She and Mike never got along but that was just not a factor anymore.

    “You know she hates me right?” Mike asks as we near her house.

    “She is not fond of you granted. But that seems unimportant right now.”

    “It will be important if she pounds me into hamburger.” he retorts.

    “Has she ever even said that?” I ask knowing the answer.

    “Well no but still. She does not have to.”

    That tells you a lot about her. She is formidable looking and has the skills to back it up. She does not like Mike much but never threatened him. The implied threat was all Mike's imagination. Kat did not think enough about him to work up a threat.

    Mike stopped in the long driveway. I started to get out and said, “Pull up to the garage. I will get her ok for you to park there. Make sure to close the door. Bring the laptop with the recordings on it.”

    Mike looks confused again.

    “We are going to leave your Van here if she agrees to help. They will be looking for it now so we cannot take it until we head out.” I explain.

    “Oh.” is all he says.

    I walk to the front door and knock.

    It takes a minute before she comes to the door. Not expecting guests I see.

    “Hey Bobby. What cha doing here?” she asks through the screen.

    “Need to talk Kar. Mike is with me. Can we park in your garage?” I ask.

    She looks puzzled as this is not a normal request. We did it one other time when we were all going up into the mountains together. We left Mark's van here that time.

    “Sure. Then come on in.”

    I walk the few steps to wave at Mark. He gets out and goes for the garage door. I go back and inside the house.

    Kat is dressed in a tight tanktop and light shorts. She is almost 6 feet tall and works out everyday. Hair is short but has a tendency to get shaggy. Right now it is getting close to her shoulders. The color is variable but right now it was a deep brown.

    She is watching me as she offers a drink. When I ask for vodka she just nods as if expecting it.

    Mike comes in with a laptop. He looks like a wreck. Kat offers him a beer which he grabs at like a dying man.

    “Ok. Let's hear it.” she asks as she sits down across from me. Her living room was large. The huge TV dominated but there was a lot of space to get comfy.

    I take a deep breath. Until I speak she is in no danger. Do I have the right to do this?

    I need her.

    “Kat. We are going to play some recordings for you. Your first thought is going to be that we are playing a trick on you. Look at me, look at him, we are not here to mess with you. I am in deep, deep shit and I need your help. Just watch.” I explain slowly looking right into her eyes the whole time.

    She nods with a serious look on her face.

    “Ok but if its porn there better not be in guys in it.” she jokes.

    I tell her the basic story. When I get to the part about the cameras the look on her face turns dark. But I fill her in completely up to the first time I saw her transform on the screen and then Mike jumps in.

    “We recorded this a few days ago.” Mike says as the initial scene plays out.

    “Wow impressive effects.” Kat smirks.

    “Then I went to talk to her.” I say with a nod to Mike.

    He begins the playback right as I come into the living room with Isabelle. I decide I am going to stay this time. I know what is coming but I am not going to run from it. I did it. It happened. Nothing will change that and nothing will make it worse.

    Kat's expression slowly changes. When we reach the point at which Isabelle changes before my eyes Kat looks at me. I nod and say, “Right in front of me. It is no trick Kat.”

    Her eyes widen but she keeps her attention on the recording.

    BANG!

    One tear. That is all. But the pain is still raw and fresh.

    “Mike can you show her the agents?” I ask. I believe she is convinced but she might as well see the rest of it.

    “Sure. Give me a second.” Mike replies.

    “You want to fight back don't cha Bobby” Kat asks me.

    I nod.

    “Already started. You told me once that you regretted you never really got your chance. No bullshit Kat they are going to blow me to hell. But before they do I have to hit back. I have no right to ask. I know that. I also know that if you say yes you will die along with me. But I am asking anyway.”

    I pause, Mike is still working.

    “If what Isabelle told me is true they are destroying the planet. I have to do something about that. I do not know what. I have no illusions I can stop them. But I can hurt them. I can try. And I have to try for her. Help me hurt them Kat.”

    “I loved her too you know.” she says. That was true. I never understood the friendship between them. Always worried me a touch because Kat made no secret that if Isabelle and I ever broke up she would be waiting for her. All the other women in Isabelle's social circles could not stand Kat. Too different.

    “Got it.” Mike says.

    He plays the views from his home. Kat studies the agents and says “Pros. Well trained but not FBI. military I would say.”

    When the explosions start and the recording ends she has a small smile on her face.

    “That was pretty good boss. Here I was thinking we were just going to Bonny and Clyde our way to glory. But that was pretty slick. We might actually have a chance.” she says.

    “Does that mean you are in?” I ask hopefully.

    “Hell yes. What do we do first?” she asks.




    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-25-2009 at 07:56 PM.

  10. #10
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    Chapter 9


    Kat had a nice four door car with fully tinted windows. Mike gathered up his gear and we went into the Garage.

    Kat drove this time. We had three people to visit and some things to do. I had no idea how much time we had so our stops at two different banks came first. I had about $9,000 in my accounts all of which I took leaving only enough to keep the accounts open. Mike only had about $2,000 but Kat came back with a bag with nearly $20,000.

    “Clean living” was all she said when mike whistled at the pile.

    With money I felt a little better. We could move now and not leave a huge trail. But I still knew we had to get out of the city. Sooner would be better.

    The three other stops we had to make were all guys. Close friends but more importantly each with skills that I could use. Skills I needed if I was going to do anything more than die with style.

    I thought about all the people I wanted to say goodbye too. I have always been very social. From my parents on down a lot of people are going to miss me. They won't know what I did or why but they are part of why I am doing this.

    Already past the moral question of should I tell them it was easier to present the story to each of them in turn. The reactions made a nice curve. Instant horror. Instant Acceptance. Instant Amazement. But in rapid time each decided to go along with me. They all have their reasons but what matters is they came along. After the first one agreed and came along we sent the other two directly to Kat's place.

    From this moment onward we operated as a team. I was the boss and Kat was number two. Never had to discuss it much it just was a natural fit.

    I was the most worried when we were all back at Kat's place. The decision to get money from our new recruit's accounts from outside the city had already been made. We swapped a set of license plates from one of Kat's old cars onto Mike's van. Between that and the car with the tinted windows we just barely had room for everything and everyone.

    Kat had quite the array of weapons. Nothing illegal but pushing it in a few cases. She handed everyone a pistol and holster and loaded a box with a couple of shotguns and tools. Three more cases brought two high power hunting pieces and a semi-auto Mp5 model.

    Handling the guns made it all very real to everyone. The jokes were lame and the laughs a bit strained.

    The Six of us stood in Kat's living room. I felt like I had to say something.

    What do you say to five people willing to sacrifice their lives for you? Not just me I knew. For Isabelle and maybe for the entire freaking planet too. But I asked.

    I looked at all of them. Uneasy smiles. A wink from Kat.

    “I do not know what I should say so I guess I just go with what I feel. I cannot thank each of you. To even try would be an insult. You are here and I am grateful just know that. Right now we need to get the hell out of town. Lets get.”

    Ok not very good. But it got them moving.

    Our trip out of town was uneventful. I did not let this go to my head as it seemed obvious I had done the radically unexpected. Isabelle said they did not really control the world but could influence any part of it. So they would set the whole machinery of law enforcement on our heads but it would take time.

    Kat and I debated the rule of engagement as we rode in the van.

    “Any of them, whatever they are called, is fair game. Lethal force encouraged. If it is a human and we somehow learn to tell the difference we go non-lethal if we can.” I say.

    Kat snorts.

    “Anybody who comes after us is going to be using lethal force. You are not telling me I have to play nice when they are not?” she throws back.

    “If we can tell the difference...” I begin

    “Then we will just have a whole lot more target to shoot at. She said that they can mind control us easily. So is the cop coming at me doing it because he is a cop and I have a warrant or is he doing it under the control of them? Do you think we will be able to tell the difference. And what the fuck does it matter anyway.” she asks.

    I muse with pursed lips for a moment.

    “We do what we have to do. If the planet really is at risk then that will be our justification.” I finally say.

    “Works for me.” she says with a smile.

    'She thinks she just won something,' I think to myself. 'But she just asked for permission to kill humans just doing their job. And I just said yes. We just both lost part of our souls.'

    We travel all night. I want to put a lot of distance between us and our former home. When dawn finally breaks we stop in a very small town. Cheap motel that barely takes credit cards (which we do not use) and does not seem to have a security cam in sight.

    Our cover story as a family was worked out along the way. It was weak but something for now. Traveling to a reunion across the country. Not having something to say makes people look awkward and that draws attention.

    As it was we all got to sleep for a while. Kat came knocking at my door at Noon. 6 hours of sleep had helped but the hangover was not fun.

    She wanted orders. I wanted coffee. We settled on the little diner attached to the motel. They would know what the town had to offer and she was welcome to ask as far as I was concerned.

    While I drank and ate some decent eggs and bacon she went out and visited the two use car dealers in town. Both had an abundance of vans and other vehicles available. When she returned we discussed picking up a new set. Dumping the van and car well away from here would help cover our trail.

    Dealer plates would do along with a nice story about a breakdown along the way. As long as our money held out we could swap vehicles a few times.

    Just have to live that long.

    Going in separately we would purchase 3 vehicles. Another sedan, a larger van and a specialty hauler. Not sure where this sucker came from but it was half a full semi-trailer in length. The back third held 2 dirt bikes and the front was living space.

    Turns out it used to belong to a small local race team who fell on hard times. Kat took possession of this truck immediately. She promised to get the bikes ready to go in a couple of days.

    Almost all of us had to drive something to get out of town and I do not think we were as subtle about it as I would have hoped. But soon enough we were 100 miles west and dumping the Van and car.

    It was a bit emotional for Mike. He had had the van for a while.

    “The sooner we get some distance between us and it the safer we will be.” I was not in a mood to be nice about it. We needed to go and we did.

    Another days travel this time slanting south a bit and we found a very out of the way place. A tiny town that seemed a safe place to hunker down a bit and plan. We had a lot to learn and no idea where to begin.


    Last edited by Alexander Tau; 05-27-2009 at 11:11 PM.

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