The street bustled around him, simply enveloping him as one of them. He was no different on the outside, identical to any of the other blank faces that filled the street. He was a man marred by his history, he had betrayed those he had loved, he had given in to his desires. Although he knew he could never fix completely that which he had broken, he yearned for a way to redeem his name
James Reilly swore under his breath as he looked at his watch, realising he was running late for his interview. Surrounded by people, he still felt completely alone. He needed this job, without it he would have absolutely no way to support himself, and would have to bend his pride to ask for assistance in order to survive. That was something he did not want to do.
Reilly reached the door of the office with barely anytime to spare. He straightened his tie, and flattened his hair before knocking on the door firmly. The face of Dr Hugh Farth greeted him. He looked far from impressed. ‘Late Reilly, late. Get in here and take a seat, and try and convince me I need you in my company’. Reilly glanced at his watch. He didn’t even think to tell Farth that it was 11.58, and his interview was booked in for 12.00. He levelled his shoulders, and walked into Farth’s office.
‘You love to test me don’t you Reilly? Tell me, why do I need you in my company, what do you have to offer?’ Farth growled. ‘Well, I believe that…’ The floor rumbled beneath Reilly’s feet. ‘What the hell is that?’ Farth rumbled. Reilly looked out the window, and had to stop himself for crawling underneath the desk. Metallic pods slammed into the Earth, hundreds of them peppering the ground around him. Farth looked out, and said almost nonchalantly: ‘They’ve arrived’
Reilly heard a bestial roar as the door was shattered before his eyes. A hulking armoured lizard man rumbled into the office, holding a horrific looking sword. ‘Follow. Now’ he said in a guttural rendition of the English language. ‘Or die’. Not given much choice, Reilly and Farth followed the terrifying alien out of the room, and down on to the street. Reilly was surprised that he was able to hold himself together.
The brute lead Farth and Reilly outside the building, and pushed them into line along with hundreds of other civilians. Any who tried to resist were killed mercilessly, and thrown to the side, without a degree of emotion. The aliens didn’t even notice, continuing to march onwards, towards a looming spacecraft that had landed in the large park at the centre of the city. Storm clouds began to gather. Earth was under siege. All across the planet, similar situations were taking place-Earths people were being taken hostage.
* * *
Reilly was terrified. He had never felt fear quite like this. Farth had already given up. He was curled up in the corner of the cell, quite literally having given up on the world, and on life. Yet Reilly felt no such desire. He for one wanted to keep hold onto life for as long as possible, it was not something he was willing to give up. He had thought Farth to be a hard man, one who would not collapse under such pressures. Yet he had. Whilst fear filled Reilly’s heart, this seemed to only make him cling to life more tightly.
Every morning the lizard men patrolled the corridors, looking for those who had passed through the night. Without fail, there were some carted past Reilly’s cell every morning by these aliens, the Ghear as Reilly overheard one man. Yet, after a couple of nights, there were no more bodies. Only the strongest remained. And Reilly, the man who had been close to having no job, no one in his life, was amongst them.
* * *
They reached the Ghear’s planet as the sky was dark outside. A humid, tropical planet, it was as a close a replica to Earth in the galaxy as possible. Large trees covered its surface, the brutal Ghear paling in comparison to the other inhabitants of the planet Kazaldor. The Ghear needed slave labour to help mine a precious mineral out of the earth, so they set out to find sentient beings to fulfil such a role. A man kind was the first they found
* * *
Reilly stretched his shoulders, coughing as he inhaled dust from the air around him. He had been down the mine for over a week now. Farth had died yesterday, his body taken away by the Ghear. Reilly was surprised that on the very basic level he had survived, that his body had even made it this far. Something deep within him allowed him to keep fighting, and Reilly suspected that his tremendous pride, although coming close to being broken at times during his lifetime, kept him alive. And although he had first doubted that he would get this far, he now had no doubt of one thing-he would fight on.