Invasion

The world looks nebulous as if seen through aged glass. I blink, blink again, shake my head and squint. Slowly the world shifts into clarity. The leg of a desk, then another. A shoe, and connected to it, a leg. What happened? How long have I been out? I’ve a headache. A metallic tone, high-pitched, exists in the space of sound, then slips from existence. I sit up. Rub my eyes. Most of my students are slumped in their seats. Others have fallen to the floor. Some of them are beginning to wake. Beth opens her mouth. No words. I reply, but feel only vibrations rumble through my throat. I touch my Adam’s apple and hum. No sound. I point to my ears and shake my head. Beth nods. Other students are waking now. Beth goes to them. I move to my desk to check my computer, my phone, but through the window I see the smoke, billowing into columns like the arms of a demon grasping at heaven. Just a hundred feet away a car has crashed into a house, taking out the living room. A door opens next door and a woman walks out holding a child, its limbs dangle but don’t move. Her mouth opens. Silence.

A hand at my arm. Beth and the others stand looking at me with red-rimmed eyes. Some of them bleed from tiny cuts on their head. I go to the whiteboard and grab a marker and write, Can anyone hear? They shake their heads. Lips quiver. Some cry and lean on shoulders. Each of them have eyes the size of silver dollars, looking at me, their teacher. I’m supposed to know what to do. I write, Stay here. Don’t leave.

In the hallway I find Gary and a handful of other faculty. A few students run to us from the opposite end of the corridor. Frantically, they beckon us to follow. In their classroom, the first thing I see is bright red blood. It pools on the white tile floor. Robert. Just last night we’d tossed a couple back and watched the game. Gary and I look at each other and bend over the body of our colleague. I push my hand against his loose skin and feel no pulse.  My hand goes to his chest and feels the quiet. On the board I write, Everyone to the gym.

The message spreads around the school and we gather. What would be the sound of anxious murmuring, or the shuffle of feet as people find a place to sit, is stillness. Silence that terrifies more than it comforts. As the last of the students are settled in, the principal sets up an overhead projector in order to address the masses. Gary and I go outside and he hands me a cigarette. I take it. Light it. I should be hearing sirens. I should be hearing screams. Instead, I see the first of the bombers as they cut through the sky.


This is the first of five posts for flash fiction week II. Tomorrow: Fransi Weinstein.

Steven E. Athay is an aspiring story designer and connoisseur of all things awesome. Follow him on Twitter at @steveneathay, or read his blog Afflatus.

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4 thoughts on “Invasion

  1. Pingback: Danger Triangle « afflatus

  2. Welcome to my report on typical causes of snoring and sleep apnea.

    First off, let me ask a question, have you ever been unable to sleep because there was a grizzly bear inside your residence?
    All jokes aside, my wife has nudged me somewhat challenging within
    the middle with the night and it does not really feel great; properly, I guess it does not really feel good not becoming capable to to sleep either and most snorers possess
    a hard time sleeping themselves. Let’s initial begin together with the definition of snoring. It truly is when one particular has restricted airflow inside the uvula and soft palate. What is that, appropriate? Effectively to keep it simple it is that factor that hangs on the roof in the back of the mouth. And a few of the a lot of causes of snoring are as follows:

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