The Friday Muse – Nowhere To Go After Rothburg


It was where we made our last stand.

A small warehouse in the lower east side of Rothburg was one of the last remaining buildings in the small town. We would have hidden underground, in someone’s game room basement or wine cellar. But there were no basements left. Nor were there any wine cellars. Or wine.

When the Vile Ones invaded, they destroyed nearly everything. Even if I had until the end of time, I wouldn’t be able to put into words the destruction they caused. They came from afar, somewhere in deep space where only black holes and darkness exist. They came without warning, landing in so many ships that we lost count after the first day. They had weapons Gene Roddenberry could never have thought of. Weapons that did so much killing in so little time.

I watched a farmer disintegrate into a pile of salt and ash in the middle of his corn field. I watched a pregnant mother’s skin peel off when horrific blades carved her like a Thanksgiving turkey in her own home. I watched a small child…

My leg. There’s nothing I can do for it now. There’s nobody left to heal it. There’s nobody left to talk to.

Rebecca lays, glassy-eyed, to my right in a pile of sawdust. She hasn’t moved since she was hit with the strange black marbles a Vile One shot into her back. They did something to her – pushed her into a coma. Her eyes are open and she breathes, but she’s out. Her back stopped bleeding, but I haven’t seen those marbles come out. I can’t bring myself to dig into her back to pull them out.

And my leg…I barely avoided one of the Vile Ones only to get attacked by a rabid dog. The bite is deep, and I fear I’m losing too much blood. I can’t walk, that’s for damn certain.

In the center of our little warehouse, one of the creatures lay dead, a mound of alien filth piled next to the dead dog that attacked me. The alien’s body is almost humanoid. In fact, it looks just like a human male, dressed in a black bodysuit made of what looks to be latex or a similar material. Only his face is exposed. There is a thick black line across his neck. I imagine – much like the other Vile Ones I have seen – that he has black lines around his wrists and ankles as well.

I have no idea what the marks are supposed to represent. And there is a stench coming from the being, something akin to vinegar. The scent does not mix well with the warehouse’s own scents of wood and manure.

The light outside is fading. The sun – our only friend in this whole experience – is fleeing, leaving the way open for the darkness to come. I have no idea if there are more of these things nearby. I’m sure once they find out I killed their kin, they will do something unimaginable to me and to Rebecca – as if they haven’t done enough to her already.

She stirs next to me. Her eyes are wide open, but she sleeps? She speaks in strange tongues. I fear what may happen if she wakes. I fear what may happen if she doesn’t.

The fading light gives a long, last burst through the small square windows on the other side of the room. I wrote ‘I love you’ in the glass before that creature and the dog showed up. Rebecca and I shared a kiss. Now we may share death.

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