Part Two: Yet there was nowhere to run. They were everywhere. Gary made it back to his apartment and when he looked down out of the window he saw dozens more of the creatures, each of them chasing down terrified people and tearing them apart. They ran with an awkward gait but were incredibly fast. Gary remembered the noise, a clicking noise like the sound of a sticking hitting the pavement. When three or four of them were running together it sounded like Legos being dumped on a hard floor. Gary turned the television on. There were reports coming in from every state, every country, and none of the news was any different. There were creatures popping out of the air in every city. Bullets didn’t seem to hurt them at all. Gary watched as one of the creatures was rammed by a semi-truck and it rolled over and over but got back up and pulled the driver from the cab and happily ate him.
The next day there were reports the creatures were being killed, beaten back, and the humans were winning. Gary looked out of his window and doubted it. Worse, whenever one of them was killed, and it took a lot to kill one, it exploded into that awful thick black smoke that poisoned everyone it touched. After two weeks the fire in Florida finally went out but now there were hundreds more. The military announced that it had produced a special projectile that would easily penetrate the creatures’ tough skin but they remained mute about the smoke. All the news channels showed the monsters being shot and killed but Gary knew better. There were dead humans everywhere in the streets and not one dead monster.
After three days, Gary decided to risk going out. He hadn’t see a monster in over twenty-four hours on the street though the internet and the television showed heroic battles being fought and won, everywhere. Every time he looked out of his window he checked the other windows in other buildings and saw other people looking out too. Gary slipped out of his apartment and used the stairs. There was a coffee place on the same block and maybe he could get a bag of beans or two. He hadn’t seen any looting. The street smelled terrible. There were pieces of people everywhere. Gary walked quickly to the coffee place and slipped through the front door. There was blood everywhere. Clearly someone, or several people, had died here. Gary picked through the rubble carefully and found several undamaged bags of coffee.
“You live around here, sir?” It was a man’s voice and Gary jumped at the sound. A man in a brown camouflage military uniform hid in one corner of the room, under two tables he had slid together on their sides.
“Yeah, one building over, fifth floor.” Gary was excited. “Are we winning?”
“My name is Colonel Franks, I’m with the 24th Infantry, or I was,” the man began shaking, “they came in, hundreds of them, thousands of them maybe, they were coming in out of the air, they ambushed our convoy and didn’t leave anyone alive. There’s, there’s a section of the Interstate where there is nothing but fire and smoke and death. It’s like that everywhere. They went after us first. They even managed to pop into aircraft that were in flight. We have no idea of they got the subs, too, I hope not, but we’re finished. There isn’t an army or a navy or the Marines anymore. In two days they were everywhere, all over us, and we couldn’t fight back hard enough anywhere. They came into the barracks at night and killed us. They hit us everywhere we stopped, everywhere we tried to fight back, and they just kept coming. It’s like this everywhere, China, Russia, Europe, even Iceland and those places you’d never guess. If you really want to draw their attention pick up a rifle or ride in a vehicle with some sort of markings on it.” The man began to sob softly. “America doesn’t exist anymore. We’re dead.”
“What…what…what, “ Gary couldn’t think of what to say next, “what do they want?”
“Who knows?” Franks tried to stop crying, rubbed his eyes, then started laughing, “They can pretty much take what they want when they want it. I watched General Sheets try to surrender to them, to try to communicate with them somehow, and they killed him, and they carried his body around like a trophy. He was Joints Chief of Staff. I think the President is dead. They got into that secure cavern in Wyoming from what I heard. Once the doors were locked the monsters just popped in anyway. I think they know who is who. I think they’re hunting people based on rank.” Franks stopped laughing. “You might want to get away from me, really.”
“What…” Gary couldn’t think of anything to say. “What about the nukes?”
“Nukes?” Franks laughed loudly. “They took out everybody carrying a code, took them out clear and clean, those were the first to be targeted. Ours, theirs, every nuke on earth, maybe. Now it’s just us and them.”
“Want to, I mean, “ Gary looked around. “you could come with me.”
“I worked my ass off for twenty years to get where I am.” The man said. “I’m not going to huddle up and hide. I’ve got two bullets left and unless you want one please be advised that you are in a combat zone.” Franks stood up and straightened up his uniform. “I’m going hunting, sir, please stand aside.” He jacked a round into his pistol and walked out.
Gary took the coffee and slipped out of the door.