I was only four years old when the Qharr invaded our world. They rained death and destruction upon the Earth and when the smoke finally cleared those of us who survived lived to see ourselves fall under their rule.
Author’s Note: This was originally posted as a serial in various-sized chunks on the usual sites.
Although, it’s a bit ‘spoil-rific’ I feel I need to warn people that I do kill off a lot of characters throughout this series. I make no apologies as I believe in staying true to the story even if it means putting my characters through hell.
Thanks to the following people for pre-reading the story and helping with grammatical edits: Beyogi, Maggie Finson, Loki and Zapper.
I remember when the Qharr invaded the Earth though I was only four years old when it happened. The United Earth Defense Fleet had been battling them in the skies above for days and I watched from the safety of our family home in wide-eyed fascination. It wasn’t until I grew older that I finally understood what those bright flashes of light in the night sky had been. Death. Humans ships exchanging fire with the Qharr invaders. The battle was an exercise in futility, everyone knew it except me. I was too young to understand what it all meant.
The Qharr were coming and no one that remained was safe not even my then four year old self.
“Jellfree!” my mother, Muriel Briggs, called my name as she appeared in the doorway of my room.
“Come on, honey. It’s time to go!” she called urgently.
I tried to protest, to ask my mother why, but she merely smiled sadly as tears cascaded down her face. She gently reached over to where I was sitting on my bed and picked me up. I started to cry. I didn’t want to go! I didn’t understand why we had to leave. My cries fell on deaf ears as she rushed me out of the house. My father soon joined us accompanied by my older sister, Rebecca . Mother rushed me into the family aerocar, a battered old Ford Vision, and my sister joined me in the back seat. My father, Lloyd, drove and took us out onto the nearest lane speeding into traffic with a velocity that reflected my own terror.
I didn’t understand what was happening, but I knew enough to sense that something had my parents and older sibling scared. Neither my sister or I spoke; instead we clung to one another with wide eyes. Our parents offered up reassurances from the front seat, but it was abundantly clear that they didn’t believe a word they said. They told us we were going somewhere safe, somewhere where the Qharr couldn’t find us. Over the last few weeks I’d heard my family talk of the Qharr, but I didn’t really understand the threat they posed. They kept speaking of invasion, but I didn’t know what that word meant.
My father let out a long string of curses and the car went veering off to the side of the road. I peeked out the window and noted that traffic was so packed it had come to a standstill. The car stalled and floated down to the ground. Becca and I exchanged glances and with faces glued to the window we watched in amazement as all the surrounding vehicles did the same. My parents started to argue, they’d been doing a lot of that during those last few days. One of them mentioned an EMP and while I’d heard that word a lot. I didn’t know the exact meaning. I did know it was some sort of weapon the Qharr had been using against us. Our parents seemed to come to a decision as they both undid their restraints and urged my sister and me to do the same.
Once we were out of the car we started walking. We traveled by foot for what seemed to be an eternity to my child’s mind. I started to cry, my feet were throbbing and I didn’t want to walk any longer. Mother attempted to sooth me, but it was too no avail. Instead of stopping, my father picked me up and put me up on his shoulders. This had always been one of my favorite modes of transportation and my father knew it. I quickly settled down and we resumed our journey through the city streets.
There wasn’t a soul out in the open, and it almost seemed as if the entire city was out stuck in traffic. It was an eerie experience walking through the empty streets and even to this day I remember it quite vividly. Once or twice we caught sight of vague outline of a person lurking in the shadows or group of people moving in the distance, but none of them came close enough to us for me to see them very clearly.
Our long walk came to a very abrupt end after rounding a corner. A large, almost insect like black monstrosity rested in the middle of the street blocking traffic going in every direction. I had no idea what the horrendous thing was, but I later became much more familiar with the god awful things. It was a Qharr J’narr class destroyer, but that was nothing compared to the horrible gray-skinned creatures that littered the street around it.
It was my first glimpse of our conquerors but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. We just stood there for a moment in complete shock, and then my father handed me off to my mother and reached into his jacket producing a phase pistol. We started running in the opposite direction as one of the Qharr called something out and two of them broke into a run behind us. My father shot his weapon haphazardly behind him as we ran, but the shots never landed home and our Qharr pursuers got closer and closer until they were right on our heels .
The shorter of the two grabbed my father’s arm as he reached back to fire and tore the gun out of his hand. My father spun around to punch at the Qharr with his other hand, but the alien caught his fist with the casual ease of a trained fighter.
We all stopped to watch in horror as the Qharr grabbed my father by the throat and lifted him from the ground.
“Muriel dammit, don’t just stand there! Run !”
We started running again, but I peered over my mother’s shoulder and watched as the Qharr snapped my father’s neck and cast his body aside with casual disdain. I screamed out in terror and I felt my mother’s tears splatter against my neck as I bounced in her arms. She didn’t utter a word, but her weeping was indication enough that she knew my father’s fate. His demise only distracted them for a few short moments before they were right back after us. It didn’t take them long to catch up to us and I think my mother finally realized that fleeing wasn’t doing us any good because she stopped just as they were nearly on top of us.
She calmly set me down then she stepped in front of my sister and me facing the Qharr with both fists planted on her hips and head held high in defiance. “I won’t let you harm my children!” she screamed.
The very same Qharr who had killed my father stepped forward and regarded my mother with a trio of unblinking pale yellow eyes then abruptly he raised his hand and struck her in the throat. Mother gasped for breath and clutched at her neck, but soon collapsed dead to the ground. Becca tugged at my arm screaming at me to run, but I fell to my knees and wrapped my small hands around my mother’s corpse.
I’d never known death before, but instinctively my child’s mind knew that my mother was gone. I felt a massive hand lift me up, and I clenched my eyes shut and waited for the Qharr to do to me what he had done to my mother and father, but my death never came. My eyes flew back open and watched as the other alien lifted my sister into his arms. The two aliens carried us off and we began our new lives as slaves…
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