There were no objects distant and unrecognizable on the horizon, no people who spoke, in voices tinged with madness, of having been kidnapped by unseen creatures, no armada of stars filling the night skies above. One day they were not there and the next they were, with no sign of how they had done so. There was no panic, no riots in the streets, or calls to arms, for it was obvious to all there would be no point to it. They were among them, walking the streets and going about their business as if they had always been there.
No one even thought it particularly strange, though on some distant level, deep within their consciousness, they knew it was. They were aliens and they had seized the planet without so much as a word of defiance. How had it happened? Something must have occurred. Something terrible and awful, to make them surrender so completely. But no one seemed to know. This was the way it had always been, they said, even as they knew it was not so.
It was difficult to describe the invaders. They were not human and they were…something. Words failed them, as did their memories. The shape and substance of the aliens seemed to dissipate as soon as their minds tried to focus on them. It was as though they were figments of dreams, and yet there could be no doubt they were there. Their presence was palpable everywhere one went. It left them with nothing to fight, nothing to even focus their anxiety on.
Strangest of all was how little things changed. The invaders were among them, shadowing their thoughts, filling their every step with doubt, and yet they did little concrete. Businesses still opened and closed, people went to work and ran their errands, and returned home to their families. But all the while the aliens were there, not observing, not disrupting, simply there, as if they had always been and always would be.
Things went on like this for some time, and people began to wonder if this was simply how existence would be from now an. An oppressiveness hung over all their thoughts, from which they could not escape. The invaders did not appear to notice the growing melancholy of the planet. They continued about their days as though there was nothing untoward or sinister about the aliens’ presence at all. It only added to the growing hysteria people could feel clawing at the edges of their thoughts.
What were the aliens doing? Nothing in particular it seemed, living lives that seemed not to intersect with anyone. No one saw them returning to their homes, or sleeping, or eating. They were simply present. That absence of purpose began to seem more and more ominous, for they clearly had the power and ability to do so much more. They had taken control of the planet without struggle and kept the entire populace in a state of unease, unable to so much as explain why they felt as they did.
Nothing stays as it is, entropy demands it, and the universe gradually unspools. One day a woman named Anj awoke to find one of the invaders in her home looking upon her expectantly. She wanted to scream, but could not find the will to speak. The alien did not say anything either, it simply watched as she got up and prepared for the day. Anj showered and dressed and put on her makeup, palpably aware of the invader’s presence, yet unable to stop her compulsion to go about her morning as though it were any other.
Normally she did not make breakfast at home, preferring to eat at the office after she had settled in with some coffee and checked her emails. Today was different. Today she decided to take the time to cook eggs, and not just any eggs, perfectly rounded soft poached eggs. She set a pot with water and a bit vinegar on the stove to boil. Turning from that she made coffee and set some bread in the toaster.
It was all very odd, because she needed to be going soon or she would be late for work. She was unconcerned though. She could find some explanation, or call in sick and not show up at all. What about tomorrow? She understood now that she would not be going to work tomorrow either, or the next day, and she began to feel anxious about that as the water started to boil. She cracked the eggs into custard cups and began to stir the boiling water as she poured the eggs in.
There was a knock at the door and she went to answer it. Her neighbor Zee was standing there, blurry eyed. Anj stepped aside and allowed her in, neither of them speaking. She returned to the eggs, not watching as Zee began to dance the nae nae in front of the invader. It was all so much like a dream, the thought came to Anj, but it was not a dream. She could feel the cloud of humidity from the boiling water striking her face, could hear each step Zee took, all while the invader watched them both, there and not there.
How to explain it? She could not. She put the bread down in the toaster. When it was done the eggs were as well and she retrieved them from the water, nestling them on the bread. The plate ready, she set it on the table with cutlery alongside. Zee was sounding short of breath from her dancing but she continued without ceasing and Anj went to join her as the invader sat down to eat.
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