New World Order
I heard the helicopter as it made another pass around the burned-out neighborhood. Was it looking for humans? Or the octopus-shaped aliens who dropped out of the sky one unsuspecting night? It didn’t matter. Being found was not an option. Rumor had it the government wasn’t keeping any captives. Food was scarce and water even more so. They’d kill us and blame the aliens.
The current administration was as useless as tits on a boar. From the beginning of their tenure, they’d fucked up the country from day one. They didn’t care what the people wanted; they only cared about their own agenda. It’s no wonder the aliens were able to accomplish mass destruction in less than a week.
All the old isms and cutesy memes that spread like wildfire along the social media outlets, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, were true. In the back of our minds, we chose to believe they were only jokes. We’d laugh, share them with our partisan friends, and pray things would change after their four years were up.
Didn’t take long. Eleven months into it, our country would never be the same. Things couldn’t get worse. Were we in for a big surprise?
As I smeared black soot on my face and arms, I thought back to the night before the ‘new order’ took over. I threw the burned timber back into the pile, and the memories came flooding back.
The six of us sat around the firepit in Pagan’s backyard. It was October 15th. I remember the date as if it were my birthday. The day Jupiter was closest to the Moon, and a dwarf planet known as 136199 Eris was closest to the Earth. A sky phenomenon; at least it was to us Astrophiles.
Childhood friends, we’d all grown up in the same neighborhood, went to the same school from kindergarten through graduating high school. Five of us were studying online due to the pandemic. Abe was the only one who decided to go to trade school, Heating and Air. Taryn, Maegan, Cai, Pagan, and I were following our dreams.
Well, what we thought were our dreams. All through secondary school, we hung out together. Rare for six people to have the same things in common. Science nerds, loving everything there was about science and the heavens. God’s creation. We were true blue Astrophiles. Stoned Astrophiles.
“Indigo, it’s your job to keep the fire going,” Abe said as he passed the joint to Pagan.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m on it.” I threw another log onto the already blazing fire. “Gimme some of that, please. You guys skipped me when I was in the head.”
The five of them started laughing. “The head? Did you grow up in the ‘70s?” Pagan said as she handed me the joint.
“As a matter of fact, I didn’t, but my parents did, and I picked it up from them.” I took a long hit. The group went silent because their parents grew up in the ‘70s too.
Abe got up from his gravity lounger and walked over to one of the six telescopes we had set up earlier. Yes, there were six of them. We each had our own telescopes. As well as our own gravity chair. It allowed us to look up at the sky when we didn’t need a telescope to see what was going on up there.
Abe was the first to see it. Which really pisses me off. I would’ve loved to have been the first. Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have been as nonchalant or monotone as Abe. It was supposed to be the ending of a meteor shower. We’d get to see maybe ten to fifteen falling stars with the naked eye as they hit the Earth’s atmosphere.
All he said was, “Hey, guys, you need to see this.”
Yep, if I had seen it first, I’d have said, “Holy fuck, you guys! Get off your asses and look at this shit. What the hell? Fuck me!” But Abe didn’t do that. Stoned as we were, we just laughed and joked about Abe seeing things that weren’t really there. “Hey, that’s some good pot, Pagan…and for my next act.”
But Abe’s seriousness caused us all to jump out of our gravity chairs and head to our telescopes.
If I could unsee it, I would, but I can’t. Green, purple, white, and a few orange floaters fell like stars until they got closer to Earth. They didn’t burn up like stars usually do. I’m sure the amateurs were oohing and aahing over the beautiful colors, but we knew better.
Pagan’s parents had a Ham Radio in their study. Three of us ran into the house to see if we could pick up something on their frequency, and three of us stayed outside, eyes glued to our telescopes.
I stayed outside. I had to see this. I wanted to take in every second, every minute of this pivotal moment, and I needed to experience it. This beauty turns into a murderous ugly.
It wasn’t only happening here. Ham operators all over the world were transmitting what they saw until they weren’t. Frequencies were being jammed, so information was stymied. But you get the jest.
It was decided we should split up. It seemed like a good plan at the time, but it may have been better to stay together in the end. By the time I got home, my family had evacuated. The note on the counter read, ‘Indigo, went to Hunter; meet us there. You know what to do. Be careful. We love you. Mom & Dad.’
Hunter was the Army base closest to our house. My dad was retired military. He’d spent forty-two years serving his country between active duty and reserves. As an officer, he’d be protected.
Back in ’72, his draft number was low, so he enlisted in the Army. He claimed it gave him a little control. He didn’t go to Vietnam but Alaska to be an Infantry Paratrooper until his ankles gave way; then his shoulder from jumping out of airplanes with a twenty-three-pound machine gun strapped to his back. He loved telling his story.
He retired at sixty as a CW4. His crew still called him Chief.
He was a great dad; supportive, loving, easy to talk to. But in all honesty, it seemed I was always missing him in my formative years. Once a month, he had to go away for a weekend. It was a sacrifice we all had to make with him being in the reserves. The sacrifices we made as a family for the love of the country. The old country.
But the important thing he taught me through the years was survival. Women needed to know how to protect themselves. Self-defense in hand-to-hand combat as well as weaponry.
This brings me back to my reality.
My mouth is as dry as the Mojave Desert.
God, before all this, I thought nothing of spending $200 on a new perfume.
And I’m purposely covering myself in black soot. Ha, is this what the government meant by ‘New World Order?’ Damn, I wish I had some pot.
I picked up my backpack, water bottle, and 9MM handgun. According to the compass, I headed southwest.
In knowing one’s enemy, one must know their weakness.
Since all communications were down, I didn’t know much about my enemy. What was their kryptonite? Fire? Water? Light? High-pitched sounds? A certain melody? I tried to think of all the Sci-Fi Hollywood movies I had seen.
‘White privilege’ was a hindrance in this situation. I decided to move at night. Hence the black soot. Black hoodie, black leggings, black Ugg boots, black stretch bra, and a black tank top. I’d be able to layer for changes in climate and remain somewhat hidden in the shadows at night.
My neighborhood looked like a war zone. Beautiful homes burned; bodies spread across the once manicured lawns. Slaughterhouse 101. These things were pure evil. Was this the coming of the Lord? Had we all been fooled? Was He really a loving God? We always looked up when we prayed to Him. Could we have been praying to the wrong thing? My heart sank.
I stayed away from major highways. I walked into the forest, which quickly turned into a swamp. Twelve thousand acres of swampland. I’d come out at the dump. Another eight miles, I’d be at Hunter. My thoughts went to alligators and mosquitos.
Pure hell. My preacher’s voice yelled in my head, ‘Ya have ta go through hell to get to our Lord.’ Fuck! I smeared my body with swamp mud.
If Rick from the Walking Dead could cover himself in zombie blood to walk among the dead undisturbed, I could wear stinking, slimy swamp mud to ward off mosquitos and gators. Can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Right?
After two days in the swamp, I arrived at Hunter. Military guards at the gate welcomed me in. I only had two arms, not eight. My dad hadn’t checked in yet. Odd. They directed me to the showers after collecting my information.
A young private handed me a tube of Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy body lotion.
Had I died and gone to Heaven?
“Keep it,” she said.
I hugged her. “You, my friend, are a lifesaver.” I stuffed the tube in my backpack.
The barracks were full of people. I just wanted to sleep so I could wake up from this nightmare.
“How do we kill them?” was the question everyone was asking.
My nerdy science mind came to life. I remembered studying marine biology. “Octopi are smart, therefore, difficult to kill. They can appear colorless or take the shape and color of their environment. If you want to kill one, go for the brain,” my professor told the class.
As much as I wanted to stay within the safety of the Army base, I knew I had to do my part to rid our country of these invaders.
Grabbing my backpack, I headed out towards the gate. Low and behold, as I waited in line, I heard a familiar monotone voice. Abe was explaining to a group of kids how he had killed one of the invaders. “I aimed right between his eye and splat!” His arms came out for effect. Their eyes round as saucers. “I hadn’t eaten in days, so I cooked me up some calamari.” He laughed.
“So, is that where you got that big belly?” I said as I walked over to him, smiling, giving him a tight squeeze.
“Indigo, hot damn. We thought you were dead.”
“We?” I questioned, eyebrows raised.
“The gang. After you left, we decided to stick together, but there was no way to contact you. You’re a sight for sore eyes.” He hugged me again.
“Okay, okay, where is the gang?” I pulled away from him; he smelled sour.
“We’ve been helping a group of sharpshooters wrangle up these slimy bastards. Once we figured out how to kill them. It was pretty easy. Just gotta hit ‘em before they release that black acid they throw at ya.”
Pagan and Cai came running over to me. “OMG, girlfriend.” They squealed as they hugged me.
Pagan touched my cheek. “It’s so good to see you.”
“Same here. It sucked being out there alone without my backup.”
Maegan and Taryn showed up shortly after. “The gang is all here. Ready to kick some bootie?”
From that day forward, we’ve never left each other’s side. We fought together during the day and at night as we sat around a makeshift fire pit and reminisced about how we were once Astrophiles and now we are Alienators. As far as the New World Order, the military stepped in and took the reins from the demented government officials.
As far as my mom and dad, sad to say, I never found them.