A Tale of Two Species: The RevelationBy Faheem Fathah
October 15, 2018
A thousand questions bombard inside my head. Yet I follow in silence. The whole place suddenly shakes violently for a few seconds. We stop. “What was that?!”, I ask. He smirks and says, “She’s probably done.”
“Come. Let’s not waste time.”
We pick up the pace and walk up to what seems like a dead end, but the moment we approach it the wall opens to reveal a staircase that ends at a tiny latched door in the tunnel’s roof above. I follow him and climb through the door to find ourselves inside an empty house. And we get out of the house. A sedan is parked up front. As we head towards the car, I notice a cloud of dust at a distance to my left. I also find Sli moseying towards us.
“What on earth did you do?”, I ask in dismay.
“You can chit-chat in the car!” The man yells.
“Alright, alright. Sheesh.”
I begin to ask her what happened, but apparently, she read my mind as I hear her voice say, “They were informed, men. So, your commanders in my planet already know of our absence. My people probably know of it too.” She turns pale as she mentioned her people. I suddenly get reminded of Sean. I hope he is not in any trouble. We travel for a while in silence, which is unbearable. I finally break it.
“Can I get your name at least, mister?”
“Can’t shut it, can ya. The name’s Raj. A friend of your father’s for as long as I remember.”
After two hours or so, Raj says, “We’re here.” which is music to my ears. But the place takes me by surprise.
“But, this is behind the space center headquarters.”
“Exactly. The last place they’ll expect to find us. Right under their rotten noses.”
We head inside an almost abandoned factory, through some of the last working machines and enter a room. Several people are randomly seated, and a woman gets up. Someone who I remember ever since I started having memories. Yet, something isn’t right. I freeze. I take one glance at Sli for confirmation. Horror settles in my spines as I try to grasp at what I am looking at. Mom is the same as I remember, but pale. Martian pale.
I stammer, “Wh…what’s going on?”
Mom’s mouth doesn’t open, but I hear her voice, “Sweetie, relax, ill ex-”
“No…” my heart thunders. I begin to panic, but mom swiftly gets close to me and places her hand on my forehead. We establish contact. The surrounding clouds up and disappears.
“Calm down Zeki. I know you’re confused. Relax, I’ll show you everything.”
I see dad. Sitting in a chair, he fiddles with a bizarre radio receiver which sends a static noise. Mom appears behind dad. She looks normal…looks human. She hugs him from behind. “Are you gonna keep fiddling with that receiver your entire life?” Dad chuckles, “Maybe.” Mom grunts and pushes dad and he accidentally turns a knob. “Hey… c’mon!”, he gets up and pulls her close. Cupping her face and stroking her cheeks, he says, “I know I’m close! It’s only a matter of time before I get-”
The radio gives aloud and harsh static sound and the goes eerily silent. And then an intensely deep voice murmurs indistinctly.
“That…was…creepy…”, mom hides behind dad as he fine tunes the signal. The door behind us creek and I turn to see who it is. I see myself. Half asleep. Small. Innocent. Yawning, my smaller self-asks, “What was that sound, dada?” Dad trembles in excitement, “We…we got a response from Mars.”
All three of them cloud up.
Dad runs to the commander’s office and bulldozes the door open almost knocking a man inside.
“Sorry, Michael. Commander, I got a response!”
“The signals! They’ve replied! Here.” Dad makes the commander and Michael listen to the sounds he received.
“They appear to have heard us, but we don’t understand them.”
“Yes. Begin working on the bridge then.”
The room clouds up.
Dad exits his office room in the space center headquarters. He checks his watch. “Late as always.” He grunts and picks his pace up. He almost starts jogging towards the elevator but stops abruptly. To his right, Michael’s office door is partially open. His voice is heard, along with the commander’s.
“…no matter what. Understood?”
“I know that he won’t support our idea, sir. But he will eventually realize. What then?”
“That’s not anytime soon, Mike. Martians cannot coexist with us. Gray told us that there should be around a hundred thousand of them. Is the shockwave generator ready?”
“Almost sir. Gray said he’ll give more information on Martian physiology soon. I can then finish the generator.”
“Good. Hiding it from him will be the difficult task. Also, better to-”
Dad steps in. “Does this make things easier?”
They both get taken aback. “Gray…I uh…you’re still here?” Michael starts getting nervous. The commander gives him a cold stare signaling him to not speak.
“Explain, please.” Dad sounds cold. The commander takes a breath. “Yes, but shall we do it tomorrow? It’s late already.”
“With all due respect, commander, I’m not taking chances in giving you time to improvise a lie and convince me to aid you in whatever conspiracy you’re planning. But I’ve heard enough. I cannot allow Xenocide!”
“Listen to me! The primary goal of this organization is colonization of Mars. It is literally invading their home. You said they’re peaceful, but who knows? Even if the chance of one of those aliens becoming rogue and threatening our safety is remote, it still exists. And I am not going to let it happen. Also, this happens to be the best chance of eradicating them as they are not prepared.”
Dad’s fists ball up. “We’ll talk about this tomorrow. Goodnight, commander.”
They cloud up.
“So, this is how it is, eh?”, Raj says as he drives the car.
Dad is fuming. “I’ve completed the bridge! We can now communicate with the Martians and understand them as well. I asked for time to prove him wrong, but he doesn’t seem to budge. And he threatened to kill my family if I do anything he doesn’t like. And you know he’s done things before. Also, I corrupted the bridge files in the lab, so he can’t use them.”
“Listen up. Knowing you, you will do something stupid to foil his plans. But your family needs to be safe. The underground tunnel. Mia’s and Zeki’s voice has been authenticated right? Your commander doesn’t know me. I’ll be the escape route.”
“And take care of them, should anything happen to me.”
“I’m being realistic. Hey…” Dad notices something as they approach our house. “Mia never leaves the door open.” Dad gets nervous as he steps out and walks fast towards the door, with Raj right behind him. He cautiously opens the door and slowly walks inside. My heart starts thumping as well. Then, I hear mom singing. Dad should’ve heard it too, as I see him heaving a sigh of relief. I follow dad who walks towards the kitchen. He stops abruptly. “Mia?”, Dad walks into the kitchen. I see mom on a chair in front of him. But her voice sounds different…….like it was recorded. Dad kneels in front of her, his eyes opened wide in shock. I slowly walk towards mom only to find her staring back at dad with lifeless eyes. A speaker is on her lap, and her voice is coming from it. There is a note under the speaker.
THIS SONG WAS HER LAST WORDS. OBEY, OR YOUR SON IS NEXT.
“Raj”, dads voice sounds dead, “Zeki is in school. Take him to your house. Keep him there for a couple of weeks. Go, now.” Raj leaves without argument. Anger and hatred boil inside me. Dad couldn’t take it. He cups mom’s face. He screams. I kneel beside him, tearing up. I try to put a hand on his shoulder, but it passes through him.
He starts disappearing, along with everything around me clouding up.
Dad enters his bedroom, talking on the phone. “…I spoke to a Martian female, yes, I’ll explain tomorrow. Yes Raj, bring him tomorrow….I’ll take care of that…okay.” His eyes are hollow. He’s about to go to bed. The light flickers. He stops. A muted thud echoes from the room where his bridging device is kept, followed by another thud. He walks out towards the room, vigilant. A voice is heard. Slow, struggling gasps. The struggle sounds familiar. He opens the door and finds a person on the floor, twitching. He turns the lights on, and the person is all too familiar to me. A female Martian. Dad notices her pale skin and stays at a precautionary distance from her, although he seems to want to help. Her gasps get shorter and slower and finally comes to normal. She slowly stands up, looks at dad and starts walking towards him, her expression blank. Dad doesn’t move. She raises her arms and places her hand on his forehead to establish contact. “How did you find me?”, he asks. They stand still for about a minute. Then, dad asks, “Can you become a mother?”.
His request hits me like a sledgehammer as scene clouds up.
Dad opens the front door. Raj stands outside along with the younger me.
My perception suddenly changes, and I become my younger self. “Are you sure you-” He stops talking and gawks in horror as mom appears behind dad. Somehow, dad managed to mask her to look exactly like mom. “Come inside Raj, I’ll explain,” Dad says as I run up to mom and hug her. Raj still stares at her in disbelief. Dad ushers him inside.
They cloud up.
“Raj, listen. I’ve destroyed the bridge. Open the tunnel. I’m sending Zeki and Mia. NOW!!” He looks at mom. She nods. “Zeki, sweetie come here.” mom calls me. The same way in that dream I always had. I scuttle towards her. Standing near her, dad kneels and gestures me to come closer. “Zeki. I want you to remember this. You have been gifted. I have told you this before. You are smart, alright? VERY smart. But the world shouldn’t know.” I begin to protest, “But, dada why shouldn’t they know? I wanna help them!”. Dad sighs. “Not all people are good, son. Some will try to hurt you, use you. But, whatever happens, do not let them. Okay?” I nod. He smiles, “Come. Let’s go.”
The main door bursts open, and two people rush in. Dad suddenly grabs me and starts to run towards the basement but-
A sound comes from the basement. Dad stops for a moment, then suddenly kneels down facing me, “Run, Zeki. Go, now!”
I start running but I begin to panic when mom’s soft gentle arms hug me.
“I love you, sweetie. Go now, run!”
I run out to the back door and look back. Mom smiles at me. “You will be fine.” I hear her. I run outside.
My perception changes back suddenly and I’m myself now, inside the house.
“DeGray. I warned you.”
Dad looks at the man, who has a familiar voice. Michael.
“You killed her?” Dad’s fists ball up.
“I’m sorry, Gray. It wasn’t my-”
Dad knocks him down and lands his fists to his face. He lifts his arm again-
Dad’s eyes open wide. Michael pushes him to the ground, where dad lies, hands on his chest that starts bleeding. I run up to dad kneel beside him.
A piercing shriek filled the room. Mom takes one step from her place and-
Mom is right in front of Michael, enraged. His eyes open in terror as he sees a woman he killed, an inch in front of him. She lifts her hand pounds her fist into his chest, piercing through his body and slamming him onto the wall behind. He slowly slips down, into his own pool of blood. I watch, horror stricken, at mom. She looks back at me with gloomy eyes. I look back at dad. He lay motionless. I touch him, but my hand passes through him.
He starts fading, along with mom, Michael’s body, and the entire room.
I blink my eyes several times as I come back to reality. I see mom, her pale, original self. I kneel. What I saw, the emotional turmoil breaks me as I lose consciousness.
“Sean.” The commander calls as he approaches Sean.
Sean turns and salutes, “Sir!”
“I need to tell you something.”
“Go ahead, sir.”
“I have a mission for you. But before that, I want you to know something about your father.”
“Yes. You see, Michael didn’t die in an accident. He was killed by Zeki’s parents. And his mother is still alive.”