I awake to a pounding in my ears. It’s been like this for four days now. It is the relentless sound of shells landing and exploding all around my neighbourhood.
I thought I lived in a utopian society. We had everything, we never wanted for anything, plenty of food, we all had jobs; there was a pervading sense of security within the world we lived in.
But that has all gone now. Ever since the Criers arrived, life has changed for the worse for all of us. The Criers are marauders sent by some super power to subdue us and eventually take over our planet.
They are relentless and nothing we have has any impact on them. I know it is just a matter of time. A matter of time until we either cease to exist or we are absorbed into the Crier ships which hover above our cities sucking not only mankind into their bowels but everything else we value.
The word is we will be used as slaves, a labour force for the invading armies, but no one seems certain nor knowledgeable as to what the Criers are doing with the people they suck into their ships.
My family and I are huddled in our shelter, one I knew existed but never used in my lifetime until now. My father was the town’s mayor. The elders are all now gone except for my father who is at this moment asleep in the corner. At his age he knocks up badly but at 230 years of age you would expect no less.
My children are here also and their children so it is very crowded but what else could I do. We have enough food; my wife gathered all we had in our pantry before we came down here. There are sufficient vials of food to sustain us for a few months. We are fortunate I think sometimes that humans have evolved to no longer need to consume vast amounts of food but rather can sustain themselves on the food vials, small as they are but packed with everything needed to keep us going a good twenty four hours.
I remember my children being amazed by the stories of the distant past where man grew food in vast fields, employed hundreds of people to harvest the crops, pack it and then sell it. Each night I give thanks to the scientists who developed the food vials thus solving the world’s food issues as they can be produced at low cost everyone is now well fed.
I wonder what will happen if the Criers stay around, will they hunt us down?
Will we last together; already there is ill feeling amongst the children of my grandchildren. The children want to run outside but I am too afraid of them drawing attention and thereby putting us all in danger.
They have their various play consoles, but they complain that after two plays the game is dull and they are so used now days to replenishing their games and playing new ones daily that stuck with the same games is not helping harmony amongst them.
Of course with the arrival of the Criers all communication was halted. Even the devices the modern child wears behind their ears that enable them to see and hear their friends have been shut down.
Having nothing to hold in their hands and to play is a totally new experience for them.
We receive a sort of muted news now, pirate radios have been set up all round the city and news is carried to all who have receivers, ancient devices our ancestors used to communicate with but that my grandparents installed in this shelter all so long ago, along with instructions for use. It’s become our lifesaver in finding out the current situation.
Already there is not much left of the city centre and the Criers are moving through the suburbs systematically sucking up anyone they see moving.
I fear for our future. Have I lived these long years to end this way? We have such wonderful technologies to prolong everyone’s quality of life to have it all come undone to these intergalactic barbarians seems such a travesty.
There’s a hush now as a Crier ship passes overhead. We hear the rumble of their engines, the cry of their high-pitched voices urging us to come out and join them in a new and wonderful world with them. Not one report we have heard suggests any advantage in giving yourself up to the Criers.
Many of us fear they are harvesting humans, the large population now on earth means a plentiful food supply.
We huddle together, barely breathing for fear they can detect even breathing.
We hear it move away and there is a collective sigh of relief. The children look at each other, a game console changes hands, quiet settles again but I know it is temporary. At some point very soon, we will have to make choices, choices which most of us adults know will be life changing if not life ending.