Free Short Stories:
Had They Known
By: Jae El Foster
Had they known, perhaps they could have prevented it. Yet, even as its threat was broadcast across every major network, news journal and radio station, it was ignored.
There was no belief. No faith. Misinformation had guided humanity toward a foundation built upon a wall of distrust. The news was the enemy – pitting man against man with falsified truths and skillfully-twisted wording. No one knew who they could trust… who was honest. No one knew what they could believe or not believe, and in a global society of both opinionated and controlled individuals, nobody wanted to listen to a voice that was not their own or that of their leaders, for only their voices held reason – even if it proved to be reason just for them.
Had they known – had they been able to silence their own voices to listen to others, things would have been different. There would have been time to make arrangements, preparations… there would have been time to fight, and there would have been time to say goodbye.
By the time they knew, it was too late.
The bombs began to drop like fiery cannonballs across the globe. New York, Hong Kong, Moscow, London… Japan was obliterated in the blink of an eye. When the bombs had all fallen and much of the world crumbled into ruin, a final blast of pure white light sprayed across the planet, illuminating all of Earth at once. It lasted for only the briefest moment, and then the light was gone. With it, all technology, electricity, and battery power were gone as well. Now, there was no news, or rather there was no media to share any news. There was only the dawn of a new Dark Age and the birth of a new global empire.
Had they known what awaited them, they would have surely perished at their own hands, versus the hands of this new god. The new god was a merciless god. From a ship as large as a small nation, the new god arrived. He walked taller than the average man. He was strong and poised. Yet, as much as his attributes seemed similar to that of the humans, it was unmistakable that he was not of them. His skin was snow white in streaks and patches, whereas the rest of his skin was transparent. These patches of white and strips of transparency seemed to move continuously throughout him and within him.
This new god also brought with him an army of a thousand soldiers.
Without technology, it would seem that there was only one of these gods, and only one battalion of troops to accompany him. The world had no way of spreading the knowledge that there were more. In fact, there were hundreds of these massive ships filling the sky, the land, and the space around the planet. Each of these ships held another such god with another outrageously large army. Each army was ordered the same thing by its companion god.
They were ordered to eliminate all humans.
The slaughter was swift and painful. Blood ran like rivers throughout villages, towns, and cities. This new army attacked the human race with weapons that could not have been imagined had they not been seen. There were blasters that threw spikes that honed in on eyeballs, spearing into them and plucking them like seeds from plums. The invaders’ guns were not like the guns that the earthlings were accustomed to. These guns dissolved whatever their rays hit – arms, feet, hands, heads, pieces of necks, noses, fingers, torsos… it didn’t matter. Whatever weapon these creatures used, it was effective toward their mission – toward their ultimate goal of human annihilation.
No stone was left unturned. No building was left unsearched, and most structures were destroyed to rubble in the elimination process.
On the seventh day of the invasion, all water supplies were contaminated. A strong toxin began to fill the air as death conquered all on the land. Fumes began to flood out from the alien ships and meld with the particles of decay, and the atmosphere began to change. A new weather was created – one that rained down a gloom of black dust and thick, wet drops of poisonous sludge across the planet. This combination of sludge and what shall be known as death dust made the air unbreathable and the water undrinkable for the weak and dying humans. It seeped into the ground, into the plant life, and it filled the oceans.
By the tenth day, even the humans that had earlier retreated underground had perished. The alien invaders had succeeded in fully eliminating mankind.
The new gods – the ruling invaders – were accustomed to the death dust and the toxic brown sludge. It was what they breathed and drank, as unusual as that was. It powered them and allowed them to claim Earth as their own and to take from it what they pleased.
Over time, the new gods built settlements across the planet. Through those settlements, they began to drill into the rocky terrains and process the rich minerals that they had chosen the planet for. Their own planet had been exhausted of its resources long ago, and so this powerful race traveled through space, seeking new life sources.
Wherever they went, extinction followed. As with Earth, dozens of other planets had perished in similar ways, and in the end, those planets become nothing more than barren wastelands.
Earth, somehow, was different. Nature died away, as it had with the other planets, and when all life seemed to have faded from existence and all that remained was the crusade of the new gods and their ruthless attempt to gather the minerals they needed for both travel and survival, something unusual began to surface. The poisonous sludge and the death dust had taken its toll on nearly every creature exposed to it throughout the universe. Only the invading gods had survived before. Now, they had unexpected company.
One breed of Earth creature had proven immune to their methods of extinction. Their polluted weather had no negative effects on them. In fact, it made them stronger. It made them grow massively to sizes that were thousands of times larger than before. Their armor grew stronger – nearly impenetrable.
Never before had the invaders come across such adaptable creatures. Whereas the humans knew them as cockroaches, the new gods referred to them as the enemy, and they began to attack with everything that they had.
The mutated cockroaches rose up from the ground in masses, flooding the lands with such great numbers that they easily overpopulated the invaders.
Perhaps the greatest shock of all to the new gods was that this new enemy did not seem to emerge in an effort to stop the invasion. No, with every kill came a feast as the cockroaches ate every alien that they encountered. They had risen up not to protect their home, but to eat. They were hungry, and the new gods and their armies were the only meals left to be found.
Had they known that such an uprising would occur, the new gods surely would have found an advantage, but as no race had ever survived them before, they had grown arrogant and so their guards were down. They had not expected the attack, nor had they anticipated being a feast for billions of mutated cockroaches across the planet.
What few invading settlers survived left the planet with what limited resources they had already gathered and loaded onto their ships.
The death dust and sludge stopped falling from the sky and the fumes began to lift. Earth was yet again in the hands of a new breed of leaders – a breed that was resilient and skilled in the act of survival. The cockroaches had inherited the Earth. Their population would continue to grow and change as the planet began to heal itself.
Eventually, rain began to fall, cleansing the ground of the dust, sludge, and blood that covered it. Nature began to rise again from the seeds that had been left behind. The new ruling race prospered without further war, without prejudices, and without the need of anything more than the earth itself could provide to them.
At last, under the reign of the cockroaches, Earth was finally at peace.
Copyright Jae El Foster, 2018