You know me, I'm not really fond of writing contests but hey, I can't pass up on another "everybody dies" scenario, right?
Please read the first half of the story before reading my ending. Or not. Technically, my ending can count as a short story in itself. But the context certainly helps!
We had been trying to save our planet.
For years, the climate had gotten worse and worse, the winters colder, the summers hotter. We had been told that changing our behaviour in every way would help save our home. And step by step, we improved.
We reduced our consumption of goods, shutting down factories.
We stopped travelling so much, focusing more on the people close to us.
We directed our war efforts against countries refusing to fall in line with our plan to save the world.
We stopped eating animals, switching to a completely vegan diet, supplemented with the nutrients we were missing out on.
It worked for a while. Or at least the climate didn’t get any worse. And wasn’t that the goal? Fight to live another day?
We had been so sure that if we saved the planet, we would be fine. How could we have anticipated the consequences? The things that followed had never even crossed our mind because they didn’t seem to be even slightly related to what we had been observing.
And yet we soon learned that we never had a chance to escape our fate.
Invasion Day had started out like any other, nothing announced the alien ship suddenly entering our orbit. Our satellites, failing their job to warn us early, sent out urgent signals to panicked scientists. But it was too little, too late.
The aliens were met with all of our remaining militaries, and they destroyed it like a child’s toys. We didn’t stand a chance against them, couldn’t communicate, couldn’t understand their foreign language.
But they could understand us. They knew everything about us, it seemed. Within a few hours, they had dismantled every single government by simply abducting key politicians and bringing them up to their ships.
We wouldn’t learn until much later what happened to them.
“Zoey?” I scrambled to hide my notes. It was forbidden to write, forbidden to conserve or share knowledge. And while the people living in my designated quarters weren’t necessarily collaborators, they might just share some info with one and get me killed.
“Yea?” I called out, blood rushing in my ears. Monica walked in. Hiding the evidence had been a good choice, somehow people kept disappearing around Monica.
“They called for the third lunch. Didn’t you hear?” Nausea crept up my throat. I really couldn’t eat that much, not even after several months.
“I’m not hungry”, I said, knowing that was pointless.
“Come on, don’t be like that. You know you have to eat. Look at you! You’re way too skinny!” I was overweight. I knew I was. I could see it in the way my body looked, and I felt it when moving around. Everyone was overweight.
They were fattening us up.
But I had no choice. If I didn’t go, they would just kill me sooner, and I would have lost every chance to ever escape.
“Alright, alright. I’m coming.” With a quick look, I confirmed that my notes were still safe, then I joined Monica.
The cafeteria was full, as always. No space wasted, the aliens had transformed most of the planet’s surface into farmland filled with grain and had then stuffed us humans into closed quarters, feeding us as much bread and other grain-based foods.
I used to love pasta.
But something was different today. Something … something wasn’t right.
The robot guarding the door to the hall looked at me with lifeless eyes. I could see the light between its eyes when it registered my face and added me to the list. Once Monica and I had passed, the robot closed the door.
The robot locked the door.
The air smelled wrong. I started getting dizzy. Everything turned black.
The Captain inspected the shipment of harvested humans that had just arrived and nodded satisfied. The additional months spent fattening up the human population hadn’t been wasted, there were now more supplies than they had dared to hope.
While everyone was preparing to leave, he pulled out a small remote that had been made specifically for this moment. He pressed a button, and the planet below him went up in flames, as hundreds of nuclear warheads exploded.
Nobody would ask about the ethics of harvesting an intelligent species if nobody ever found out there had been an intelligent species.
And his crew wouldn’t talk.
He would make sure of that.
Signature by @atopy