Return of the Aliens

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Return of the Aliens Novella 3 The Leader Ruth Ann Nordin Ruth Ann Nordin’s Books Springfield, Nebraska This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and also represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The Leader Novella 3 to the Novel: Return of the Aliens All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010 Ruth Ann Nordin V1.0 Cover Photo images Getty Images LLC. All rights reserved – used with permission. This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without expressed written consent of the publisher/author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Ruth Ann Nordin Books Dedicated to my long-time good friend, Melanie Nilles, whose love of science fiction has inspired me to consider writing my own science fiction tale. The Leader Chapter One ___________________________________________________ Two months later... Devon knew it was a bad idea to come here. He had no business tempting fate. As long as he stayed away, she would most likely give up on her suicidal pursuit to find out what was going on. And yet, he couldn’t stay away. Or maybe it wasn’t that he couldn’t but more of the fact that he didn’t want to. Whatever the case, one thing was for sure: this was a bad idea. But that didn’t stop him from entering the mall, nor did it stop him from stepping into the store where she worked. His gaze drifted up to the camera set at the entrance. No longer did the stores hide the fact that they had surveillance. Now it was all in the open. Any pretense of privacy was being eroded right in front of everyone, and very few people seemed to notice or care. It was unfortunate. They were trading freedom for security, and in the end, it would be their undoing. But this was the aliens’ plan. How nicely it all fit into place. ―Can I help you?‖ a young blond woman asked as she came up to him. He wondered if he should ask for her co-worker or just ―look‖. But then, what would he look for in the women’s section of a store? Finally, he said, ―I have a matter to discuss with someone who works here. She’s 5’4‖, a light brunette, probably in her early 30’s.‖ And pretty. He willed that thought away. 5 Ruth Ann Nordin ―Oh, you mean Autumn.‖ So that was her name. ―Right.‖ ―She’s outside on a break. She likes to smoke a lot.‖ She rolled her eyes and giggled. ―Thank you,‖ he replied, deciding that women as young as the woman in front of him had limited appeal. His boss preferred those types—probably because they weren’t smart enough to figure out what a loser he was. But then, his boss didn’t want smart; he wanted easy. And the type standing in front of him would fit the bill. Sighing, Devon headed out of the mall through a doorway that wasn’t blocked off by security. He found Autumn sitting alone on a bench a few stores down and took his time in approaching her. She put out her cigarette but remained sitting. She stared ahead, not seeming to be looking at anything in particular. He wondered what she was thinking. He was aware that they were being watched, but he’d been aware of that ever since he started his job a good seventeen years ago, though he hadn’t been a human guinea pig until seven years later. He stopped in front of her and realized she had her eyes closed. ―Autumn?‖ She jerked and sat up straight. An amused smile crossed his face. ―I didn’t realize this bench was a good place to nap.‖ ―I’m not sleeping,‖ she denied, even though it was apparent she was dozing off. She gave him a good look. ―What are you doing here?‖ He sat next to her. He would have asked if he could, but he figured she’d say no. ―I came to talk to you. How have you been doing since the explosion?‖ Her eyebrows furrowed. ―You have a lot of nerve, you know that? You spent all that time warning me to leave matters alone and now you’re digging them up?‖ 6 The Leader ―I’m not digging anything up. I just thought I’d ask a question.‖ ―What do you care? You set a bomb, and three people died that day.‖ He shook his head. ―I told them to stay away from that plant. It’s not my fault they didn’t heed my warning.‖ ―You’re amazing, really amazing.‖ She pulled out a cigarette and lighter. He noted the slight trembling of her hands. ―One minute you’re telling me I better watch what I say and where I go and the next, you’re claiming to be a good Samaritan.‖ ―I’ve never claimed that. The goal was to scare people, not harm anyone. Sometimes unpleasant side effects are part of the job.‖ He mentally kicked himself. Why was he telling her this? He knew better than to reveal anything personal to anyone. ―I find it hard to believe you care about anyone but yourself,‖ she muttered and lit up her cigarette. ―Well, you’re wrong.‖ He did care, and that was a problem because it was probably a matter of time before they found out and conveniently replaced him with someone who didn’t. ―I do what I have to do.‖ ―Oh really? And does that thing hovering around you tell you what to do?‖ His head snapped in her direction. ―There’s nothing hovering around me.‖ She shrugged, said, ―Whatever,‖ and took a puff of her cigarette. The way she casually stated that gave him an uneasy feeling in his gut. ―I don’t,‖ he insisted, unsure if he was trying to convince him or her. ―You must not see it.‖ A shiver crawled up his spine. He didn’t want to ask it but felt compelled to. ―See what?‖ ―The black shadow that lurks near you. It’s standing behind you.‖ 7 Ruth Ann Nordin He glanced back. ―I don’t see anything.‖ ―I know. I didn’t see it until those people vanished. Ever since then I’ve become aware of a spiritual world around us.‖ ―Spiritual? As in God?‖ ―I think so. It’s the only logical explanation for angels and demons hanging around.‖ ―You’re a nut.‖ She glared at him. ―You’re the one bombing places and I’m the nut?‖ ―Yes, you are.‖ He stood up. Nothing was behind him. There wasn’t anything dark and creepy hovering nearby. She was probably schizophrenic or something. ―You should get some pills for those hallucinations you’re having.‖ ―I haven’t come across a single person who sees them, so I’m not surprised you’d say that.‖ The way she casually made her comments bothered him. She was either psychotic or telling him the truth. He couldn’t believe he wanted to see her. She’d been the first person who had seemed completely human to him; someone who wasn’t manipulative or part of the nightmare that had become his life. But she turned out to be a complete nut, and that sorely disappointed him. ―Seriously, get some help for that.‖ Her response was to take another puff of her cigarette. ―And it wouldn’t hurt to stop smoking. It’s a filthy habit, you know.‖ She looked him in the eyes and said, ―It’s touching your shoulder.‖ For a moment, just a brief one, he thought he felt a cold touch on his left shoulder. Great. Now she was making him imagine things. Deciding not to add more fuel to the fire, he spun on his heels and left. A waste of his time. That’s all it was. One big waste of his time. Spiritual things. A world where demons and angels ran around but no one could detect them, except for a select few like 8 The Leader Autumn. He shook his head. It couldn’t be real. There was no way it could be real. He returned to his car and got in, quickly looking over his shoulder and to his side. Nothing. There wasn’t anything there. And yet...and yet... He shivered and started the car. How many times had he told people that government conspiracy theories were crazy, even though he knew the truth? He lived the truth every day of his life. He knew things he wished he didn’t and had heard conversations he wished he hadn’t. Plans were in the works to collapse the worlds’ economies so a one world currency would go into place. There were plans to devastate areas through manipulating the weather. Increased earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts... Plans to unite the governments into a one world order. So many things were happening behind the scenes, and God help him but he was a part of it; he was responsible for some of it. He chuckled and shook his head. God help him? Now she had him thinking of God. He drove to one of the exits in the parking lot and rolled his window down where a security guard stood. Taking out his government ID, he handed it to the guard who scanned it over. ―Drive safe, Mr. Patrick,‖ the man said with a solemn nod. Devon took his ID back, nodded in return, and drove off, watching in the rearview mirror as the driver in the car behind him stopped so he could pass through the security clearance. This was the new world people were quickly being thrust into, and by the time they woke up and realized that it wasn’t because of their safety but to control them, it would be too late. He came to a stop at the red light and rubbed his eyes, suddenly feeling as if the weight of the world was weighing down on him. He didn’t know what to do. He was in too deep. He couldn’t get out…unless he died. He placed his free hand on the place between the two seats and jerked. His hand had touched something that could only 9 Ruth Ann Nordin be described as an icy mist. Turning his eyes to the passenger seat, he thought he saw a faint distortion in the seat. As soon as he saw it, it disappeared. His heart pounded anxiously in his chest, and for a good moment, all he could do was stare at the empty seat and wonder if what he thought he felt and saw was real or his imagination going wild. He’d seen a lot of things in his time, but he’d never experienced something like this. In that brief instant, his very core had shaken with fear. A horn honked behind him. Directing his gaze to the light, he saw that it had turned green. With a deep breath, he pressed his foot to the accelerator and drove through the intersection. He glanced at his passenger seat. Nothing. He tentatively touched the seat next to him. Nothing. He released his shaky breath. Nothing. It’d been nothing. Just a figment of his imagination. Yes, that’s all it was. Nothing more. But no matter how hard he tried to convince himself, he was deathly afraid that Autumn was right. 10 The Leader Chapter Two ___________________________________________________ Alex took the pill out of the orange bottle, once again wondering if this was a good idea. But did he have a choice? If he stopped taking his prescription, then the alien would be back. It hated him. It haunted him. So many people thought the aliens were their friends. It was enough to make him laugh. How wrong they are, he thought bitterly as he plopped the little pill into his mouth and swallowed the soda. He placed the can on the table in front of the TV and sat back in his recliner. Picking up the remote, he changed the channel. What he needed was a mindless show so he could forget about everything for awhile. Kicking his feet up and crossing his arms, he relaxed and focused on the sitcom. For fifteen minutes, the husband and wife on the TV show bickered, and he chuckled a few times. Five minutes later and his eyes began to droop. His limbs felt pleasantly heavy, and he gave into the urge to sleep. Maybe it would be better to sleep out in the living room instead of the bed. He’d keep the lights on and the TV going. It was comforting. And he needed comforting right now. The commercials ended and the show came back on, but he hardly noticed. Caught in the limbo state between being awake and being asleep, he drifted off, enjoying the simplicity of it all. ―Kill her.‖ He mumbled and turned his head. ―They’re laughing at you.‖ 11 Ruth Ann Nordin His eyes flew open. No one was in the room with him. Easing out of his chair, he checked the lock on the apartment door. It was bolted. He made it a point to do a thorough examination of his apartment every time he came home to make sure no one was there. Of course, that didn’t keep out the alien. But the pills kept that away. How, he didn’t understand. But they worked, and he wasn’t about to question it; not after his last encounter when the ghastly thing almost killed him. So why was he hearing voices? It couldn’t be someone hiding in the apartment. It couldn’t be the alien. The pounding of his heart grew faster, and he couldn’t determine whether it was from fear or a side effect of the pill. He sat back in the chair which was now upright and placed his head in his hands. I’m not going crazy. I’m not going crazy. He rocked back and forth and repeated those words to himself. ―The watchers are watching you.‖ He lifted his head and looked at the TV. The voice came from there. He was sure of it. The last three minutes of the sitcom was on. He watched it with apprehension. The man walked over to his wife and hugged her. “Hey, don’t worry about it, honey. You can’t help it if they want to rip your brains out.” The audience laughed. Alex sat up straight and stared at the scene in horror. This was supposed to be a comedy “It’s the aliens,” the wife replied. “They’re not what they seem, and they have people working from the inside. They’re everywhere. Our neighbors are aliens in disguise.” “You have to be careful what you say and do. They’re onto you. You’ve figured them out,” her husband said. 12 The Leader She went over to the window and glanced out of it. “I can see them moving around in the house. Do you think they assume their natural form when no one’s watching?” “I don’t know. Maybe.” “I have to go find out.” “No. It’s dangerous. If they see you, they’ll take out your eyeballs and make you watch as they peel your flesh off and eat it. Then they’ll have their alien friends over to barbeque the rest of you, and you’ll feel every bit of the pain as they sink their teeth into every organ of your body.” The audience laughed again. Gasping for breath, Alex scrambled for the remote and turned off the TV. Silence. Wonderful, blessed silence. Still panting for air, Alex wiped his forehead. Sweat literally dripped down his face. His hand trembled. He blinked several times before he realized he was seeing black spots. His pulse quickened, and he was sure it wasn’t all fear. This had to be from the pill. The voices on the TV, his physical reaction, the low humming sound tickling his ear drums... What’s happening to me? Why can’t I have a normal life anymore? And so he was back to placing his head in his hands and rocking back and forth. He struggled to take slow and even breaths, but what had begun as a slight tremble through his body became a sudden uncontrollable shaking. ―Kill her,‖ the voice whispered in his head. He gritted his teeth and tried to hum aloud. Anything to get rid of the voice as it repeated ―Kill her‖ over and over. A sharp pain sliced through the front part of his brain and trickled down his spine. Screaming, more from fright than from pain, he leapt off the chair and collapsed onto the floor. His head hit the side of the table, and he fell into the bliss of unconsciousness. 13 Ruth Ann Nordin Autumn practically sped to the hospital. She burst through the front door and ran to the intensive care unit, unable to believe that Alex had gone into cardiac arrest. When she reached the desk to sign in, they allowed her to put on the gown, gloves, shoe coverings and face mask so she could go in to see him. It was an unreal experience to see him lying in the bed, a tube going down his mouth and two smaller ones going up his nose. Cords ran under his hospital gown to monitor his heart rate and other vital signs. A series of IVs were hooked up to his arms, and she could only guess what they all did, besides feed him and medicated him. She stood at the threshold of the white room and gulped back her tears. Of all people to end up like this, why did it have to be Alex? He wasn’t even thirty. What were the chances he had a heart attack? With uncertain steps, she moved forward and gingerly touched his hand. ―Alex?‖ Of course, he wouldn’t respond. He was unconscious. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, unable to get enough air under the weight of the mask, but the action steadied her emotions enough so that she didn’t burst into tears. She squeezed his hand, willing him to live. Hadn’t there been enough loss over the past year already? Opening her eyes, she took another good look at him. There seemed to be some color in his cheeks. That was good. And his breathing was steady. He’d pull through this. He had to. ―It’s me. Autumn,‖ she softly said, wondering if unconscious people had any awareness of things that went on around them. She leaned forward and brushed aside a lock of hair that had fallen to his right eye. ―I don’t understand anything that’s happening. Overnight, the world’s changed, and I don’t recognize anything anymore. You and Alicia are the only ones I have left. 14 The Leader I’ve never felt more alone in my entire life. Please don’t die on me.‖ She choked on her last word as her tears fell. She couldn’t successfully wipe them away with the mask on but did her best to clear her vision. When she did, she noticed the angel standing at the other side of the bed. Once again, he looked just like an ordinary man. He had neatly trimmed blond hair and wore a brown suit. She glanced at the nurse who glanced into the room. She wondered if the nurse would notice the angel, but the nurse smiled at her and went to the next room. Autumn turned back to the angel and dared to ask, ―Will Alex live?‖ ―Yes.‖ Giving a grateful sigh of relief, she wept some more. ―He must not take any more pills,‖ the angel warned. Sniffing, she swallowed and asked, ―Is that what did this to him? Did those pills give him a heart attack?‖ ―He didn’t have a heart attack. That’s how it looks, but it’s not what happened. He was spiritually attacked.‖ ―By what? By one of those...things...I saw at Area 51?‖ A chill raced up her spine as she remembered the dark shadowy figure with the horns and red eyes. ―A demon?‖ ―A demon is a disembodied spirit seeking a home. That one wants him.‖ ―Are the aliens demons? Is that why he sees the alien in his apartment?‖ ―They appear as they will but there are no aliens as you think of them. It’s all an illusion to make you believe the lie when it comes.‖ ―What lie?‖ ―Watch the Middle East.‖ Before she could ask anything else, he vanished. She tried not to let this frustrate her. For once, he was answering some of 15 Ruth Ann Nordin her questions. She should just be glad he did that much. But she wished he would have answered more. Turning to Alex with renewed hope, she squeezed his hand again. ―You’ll be alright.‖ Then she laughed. ―Thank God you’re going to be alright.‖ 16 The Leader Chapter Three ___________________________________________________ Devon sat beside Vanessa who slept in a bed at the hospital. He rubbed his forehead. It didn’t surprise him that she tried to commit suicide. He’d thought of it often enough. If it wasn’t for the fear of what might or might not lie on the other side, he would have done it long ago. He recalled his enthusiasm when he first started working for the government. Giving a bitter laugh, he rubbed his eyes, a sense of weariness seeping into his bones. Vanessa had had the same look of optimism and hope. They signed up to help improve humanity, but they were systematically destroying it. Vanessa groaned and her eyes fluttered open. Devon jumped out of his chair and went over to her. ―Vanessa?‖ he softly asked, worried about her state of mind. She turned her frightened eyes to him. ―Why didn’t you tell me? The Illuminati...they plan to destroy most of the population and—‖ He pressed his hand over her mouth. ―Don’t. Don’t say it. They may not kill you, but there are things worse than death,‖ he whispered. He glanced around the room. Who knew who...or what...was watching and listening? ―It was a bad dream,‖ he said in a louder voice. ―You’re awake now. Everything’s going to be fine.‖ Bile rose up in his throat at the lie, but he forced the words out, knowing if he didn’t, things would be worse for her...and for him. 17 Ruth Ann Nordin Tears formed in her eyes and fell down her cheeks. Had she known what she was getting herself into, she never would have gone to the job interview. She didn’t have to say it. The message was in her eyes. Looking away in shame and regret, he reached across the bed and grabbed some kleenex to wipe her tears away. This was stupid, of course. No amount of wiping tears would make the stark reality they were in disappear. They were all sitting ducks. All they did by cooperating was extend their lives a little bit longer with the hope they might find a place to hide and avoid the plans of the world’s elite before they succeeded in cleansing the Earth from the billions of people they deemed unworthy of living in the new Earth they planned to establish. A nurse walked into the room. ―Oh good. You’re awake,‖ she told Vanessa with a smile. ―How are you feeling, honey?‖ Vanessa turned her eyes to the window and remained silent. Another tear slid down her cheek. ―It’s been a rough time,‖ Devon said on her behalf, realizing how shallow the words sounded. The nurse wasn’t in on this. She had no idea what was going on or about the things that were planned. Devon took a deep breath and faced the nurse. ―She needs to rest.‖ The nurse nodded in sympathy. ―Poor thing.‖ She took out a needle and got ready to insert something into the IV that was in Vanessa’s arm. Devon stopped her. ―What is that?‖ Surprised, the nurse said, ―It’s something to help her sleep. She needs her rest.‖ He caught sight of the words on the needle and relaxed. It wasn’t anything harmful. ―I’m sorry.‖ Then he backed away so the nurse could inject his co-worker with the drug to make her sleep. ―You’ll be fine, Vanessa,‖ he said, wondering if she got the 18 The Leader hidden message meant to assure her that nothing poisonous was in the substance. Vanessa didn’t look his way. She just continued to softly cry. With a heavy sigh, he said, ―I’ll be back in a couple hours. I have to return to the office.‖ Since she didn’t respond, he left the room and headed down the corridor. How he wished he didn’t have to go through this. He wished even more Vanessa could get out, but she was stuck now. She was as much a prisoner as him. Up ahead, he caught sight of Autumn walking toward him. He hesitated. He could slip down another corridor. She hadn’t seen him yet. Her gaze was lowered and she seemed worried. He wondered why she was here, and more than that, he wondered why he wanted to talk to her. He saw a flash of white blink beside her. She stopped and said something. Devon frowned. It seemed to him that she was talking to someone, and though he couldn’t see it, he noted the distortion in the air. There was a current that emanated from the spot she directed her attention to, and that current could only be described as a soothing warmth. Whatever it was, Devon noted there was no evil in it, unlike the sensation he’d experienced in the car that day he’d seen her at the mall. Her gaze went from the thing beside her to Devon. Unsure of what to do or say, he stayed still. She looked back at the thing and shook her head. Even if Devon had no idea what was going on, he knew that she had no intention of communicating with him. As if to make it final, she turned around and found another corridor to go down. Devon released the breath he’d been holding. He shouldn’t have been surprised. The last time he saw Autumn, he called her nuts and told her to see a shrink. And yet, he felt an 19 Ruth Ann Nordin overwhelming sense of disappointment. With a heavy heart, he stepped forward. He had to go to work. As he passed where she’d been, the warmth pressed in on his awareness. He turned to the source, wondering if this was a part of his imagination, but there was a prickling icy sensation that dug into his arm on his other side. He waited for a second and stared long and hard at the air where the warmth flowed. Then a blurry image with white extended wings came into view. The image didn’t clear, no matter how many times he blinked, but he heard a distorted male voice coming from it. ―What? I don’t understand you,‖ he told the thing. The sharp icy pain in his arm made him wince, but he was determined to make some sense out of this apparition before him. ―You don’t....‖ the thing began. ―I don’t what?‖ ―...don’t have to...‖ Devon rubbed his arm, aware that it was going numb, as if someone was squeezing it. ―I don’t have to what?‖ he demanded, willing the thing to finish its sentence. ― a pawn.‖ Then the icy thing lashed out and the warmth departed. Devon examined the area where he’d felt the freezing air, but he could not detect anything, either good or bad. Scanning the empty corridor, he wondered what the white-winged thing meant. You don’t have to be a pawn. His gaze went to the camera hiding in the circular fixture that hovered down from the ceiling. Further down the hallway, in front of the stairwell door, was another camera masked over by an identical fixture. Did the thing mean what he thought? That it referred to how the government had been treating him and Vanessa like pawns? If ever there was a definition of pawns, it was them. 20

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