My illness was a long con beginning around age 10. Mom took me to countless doctors, over exaggerating symptoms they couldn’t see, until she finally found one who gave her what she wanted... a sickly child to become her new obsession and purpose.
After some initial prescriptions made me more hyperactive and irritable, shit got heavier until I was sedated 24/7. This lasted from late elementary school until I finally moved out at age 19. I spent those early years as an apathetic zombie who would succumb to mom’s every whim.
Just like she wanted.
Mom was an insecure, nervous woman. She was incapable of being alone and married young. Dad gave her financial security. She was barely able to leave the house due to her extreme anxiety, and she needed someone to take care of her. Living a boring, comfortable life was all she ever wanted.
Not that the cunt was ever remotely comfortable with any aspect of her life, except for their pile of money and sympathy from their hypocritical church-going acquaintances. She didn’t have friends. Guess we kind of have that in common. Learning social skills after being tranquilized for my entire adolescence has been a slow learning curve.
Dad was hardly any better. Emotionally and physically abusive... no wonder he chose mom. Dominant and controlling, she was his punching bag and I was the punching bag’s pet.
Sometimes I marvel at the fact that I’m living a normal, happy life after my abusive childhood. Sure, my job as a cashier isn’t exactly impressive, but it gave me the freedom I needed to move out of mom and dad’s house. My apartment is shit, but at least I don’t need to rely on them to pay the bills. There’s no money left over after necessities, but for now that’s okay. It’s not like I do anything besides work, anyway.
I don’t need to do much, as long as I have my husband Dan.
He is, hands down, the greatest thing to ever happen to me. The only person I’ve been truly close to. He knows everything about my story, about my history, and he completely accepts and cherishes me.
After being surrounded by nothing but abuse for my entire life, I certainly don’t take for granted the fact that I’m so genuinely in love. I feel it every morning when I wake up next to him, and I am the luckiest woman in the world to get to call him mine for life.
Dan is so smart, too. He’s only a few classes away from finishing his psychology degree, and he has plans to get back to school and finish it sometime soon. We met at work, but he doesn’t plan to stay at the grocery store forever. He wants to get his doctorate, and help people so they never have to go through the type of abuse I faced.
He’s going to change so many lives. I just know it.
Even though he’s not an official psychologist yet, he’s amazing at what he does.
He helped me work through so many repressed memories. Without him, I never would’ve fully understood that my mother drugging me and creating an imaginary illness was a form of abuse, and it wasn’t my fault. Now that the drug cocktail is lifted, it’s like my brain is constantly making new connections.
He helped me see that the suicide notes when I was 8 weren’t a big deal. Lots of 9 year olds cut themselves, and the stabbing incident in 5th grade was really blown out of proportion. It’s not like I hit any of mom’s vital organs or anything. They definitely freaked out when I killed the neighborhood cat, but Dan says that’s a sign of intelligence and that I should think about becoming a doctor or something. He really believes in me.
Dan says my actions were a call for help to escape my abusive parents. I couldn't remember most of the abuse before, but through Dan’s therapy techniques I’m recovering more memories all the time.
Now, I’m in a great place. Best place I’ve ever been in my life.
Because I’m finally going to be free from them. Tonight.
Dan thinks it’s the only way I’m going to be able to move on with my life. Mom, dad, and I aren’t capable of happiness when we all exist in the same world. Really, I’m doing them a favor.
I’m their sole heir, and Dan and I will become multi-millionaires. He helped me devise a plan to make things look like an accident, and since he’s so brilliant I completely trust him. We’re going to quit our jobs and travel the world before settling down and starting a family. He’ll be a psychologist and I’ll get to do whatever I want. He says his whole life will be devoted to making me happy.
We can’t wait long. I’ll be 20 soon, and I’ve delayed my chance at happiness long enough.
I can’t believe Dan and I have only known each other 3 months, it really seems like a lifetime. We eloped last night, and Dan insists that we need to finish securing my freedom tonight. If we wait too long, our marriage will be poisoned by their existence.
Time to go, Dan is getting anxious and says it needs to happen now. He’s right, of course. He’s always right. I trust him. After all, he loves me.
Alien cats aren’t even the worst of it. Our entire species is at risk, and no one knows it except for me.
I just experienced the most astonishing and terrifying thing that has ever happened to me, and it might’ve happened to you too. You just don’t remember.
Since this is the most important event I’ll ever document, I’ll try my best to transcribe it as accurately as possible. I probably sound deranged, but please take this warning seriously.
Today began unremarkably. I woke up on the couch, thanks to falling asleep during a movie the night before. I spent those first few minutes lounging in an early morning haze, my body and mind making the gradual shift from dreamland to consciousness. Young morning light peeked through the blinds, and I listened to the gentle hum of crickets and chirping birds, the latter of which felt annoyingly lively for 7am.
Chester, my sweet orange tabby cat, kneaded the blanket with an expectant purr as I scratched his favorite spot behind his ear.
Suddenly, I heard a horrible, piercing sound, like screeching microphone feedback but deeper, more guttural. I jumped up in shock, looking around for the source. In my disorientation, it took several seconds to recognize that Chester was absolutely still - not just out of fear, but actually frozen in place - and... no, it couldn’t be... the incessant sound seemed to permeate from inside his body.
Before I could react to my beloved pet becoming a paralyzed siren, the sound stopped.
It was replaced with a voice.
“You are being targeted for peaceful intergalactic contact for data collection purposes. Do not be alarmed, you will not be harmed. Contact will occur in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1.”
And then he appeared.
I’m not proud to admit this, but for the sake of full documentation... I pissed myself.
“What, surprised to see me?” He leered. “You’re lucky I didn’t visit in my typical form, now that’d be a shocker.”
I tried to steady myself, took a few deep breaths and closed my eyes, as though mentally willing this to not be happening. But when I opened them, there he was. A perfectly average looking man, tan skin with a bushy beard and brown eyes.
I forced my voice out of hiding. “What the hell is going on?! Who are you? And what did you do to my cat?”
To my surprise, he chuckled. “You uninformed species are all the same. Now calm down so I can do my job, then I’ll move along to the next one.”
“How the fuck am I supposed to calm down?! What’s going on? Is this some kind of joke?” The panic rose as I tried to stave off hyperventilation.
“Wonderful, I can tell you’ll be a great candidate.” His voice dripped with sarcasm as he rolled his eyes toward the ceiling.
“Seriously though, shut up so I can get my job done. I’m just here to collect a quick brain reaction scan and I’ll be on my way. Shouldn’t take much longer than 5 minutes once we begin. I’m going to put this” - he held up something that looked like a thin, silver disk, no larger than a quarter - “on the side of your head. Then, I’ll tell you some information about your planet and the rest of the universe. This device will measure your reactions to everything I say. After we’re done, I’ll wipe your memory and you’ll never even know I was here. We don’t have much time though” - he glanced at Chester - “the CatBots can only be shut off for 10 minutes before the offline signal reaches headquarters.”
I was speechless. Mouth agape, pants soiled, heart racing, standing as still as Chester, paralyzed by fear.
A little smile played on his face, and I could tell he found this amusing. “I can’t tell you more until you’re wearing this.”
I flinched as he placed it on my temple, bracing myself for the worst, but I felt nothing besides cold, hard metal.
“Now sit down. We’ve wasted enough time with you having a damn near panic attack and pissing yourself - and fixing your pants will add more time to the memory reversal process.” He said it as though I should’ve known better for inconveniencing him.
“First of all, your CatBot - I mean, cat, is a data collection device for the Universal Alliance. CatBots monitor and collect data on advancing intelligent lifeforms throughout the universe. It’s how we study you, and other creatures like you, and determine if and when to make contact. Your cats have been helping us study humans for 10,000 years.”
He paused, letting that sink in. “Are you following so far?”
I opened my mouth, trying to make something come out, anything, but I couldn’t. My mind was too overwhelmed by this seemingly impossible situation.
He smiled and continued.
“Anyway, this information is also used to run simulations. After a sufficient developmental waiting period, the contact simulations begin. Figuring out which species could join The Alliance peacefully, maintain balance and harmony within the universe, that sort of thing. Of course, it also determines which species would be catastrophic to universal peace.
“So... does that mean you’re here because it’s time to make contact with us? Or... oh God, is this one of the contact simulations?”
He laughed out loud this time. “No, no. The Universal Alliance wouldn’t waste time on a simulation contacting someone like you, they strictly initiate contact with world leaders. I’m here for the opposite reason, actually. You humans have reached the limit of isolation, but simulations show that contact would be utterly disastrous, and shockingly so. Worse than any in recent memory, in fact. Because of that, your species has officially been declared uncontactable.”
I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. “If we aren’t supposed to be contacted... why are you here? And wait... what do you mean, limit of isolation? What happens after we reach the limit?” My mind felt sluggish, and I was having trouble processing everything he said. None of this information made sense, and my brain wanted nothing more than to reject every bit of it.
“Well, it goes beyond just a lack of contact. Unfortunately for you, uncontactable species aren’t permitted to survive past a certain point... that’s what we mean by the limit of isolation. The limit comes fairly quickly once a species develops instant planet-wide communication technology and space travel. No matter how laughingly rudimentary either technology may be. If a species hasn’t evolved enough to be classified as contactable by then, well... they’re considered a waste of resources and a potential danger in the future.”
I felt the blood drain from my face.
“Oh, it’ll be painless, don’t worry. People won’t even know what’s happening, and then it’s over. But that brings me to my next point.” He leaned in closer, and I could tell he was at his favorite part of the speech. Before speaking he glanced at Chester, as though ensuring he were still frozen in time.
“A small group of us have a little side project. A... collection, you could call it. A collection of inadequately evolved intelligent beings. One male and one female of each type, chosen based on how their minds handle... well, difficult situations. What we're doing is admirable, really. Noble. Preserving inferior intelligence all over the universe.”
My mind was stuck on his words "not permitted to survive," but I forced through the shock and tried to channel whatever ounce of focus I had left in me.
“A... collection? What will you do with those people? Will they stay on earth by themselves?” Something about the look in his eyes made me wary about the prospect of being part of his collection.
“Oh no, they can’t remain on Earth. This planet will become a transportation portal, at least until some other Earthling species evolves enough. Then the policy is to leave them alone, see how they turn out. You’d be surprised how quickly intelligence advances when the dominant ones disappear. Plus, it’s a useful spot out here - there isn’t much else around this side of the universe, and everyone always loved the sightseeing, hated the locals. As for what we do with them, well....”
He gave me a sinister smile that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. For the first time, I saw a flash of evil in his eyes.
“I guess only the chosen ones will figure that out.”
My blood ran cold at the sight of his piercing eyes. But then they became distracted, and when he spoke again, I knew it wasn’t to me.
“You’re coming through, repeat....” The voice he heard was silent to my ears, but this time, the flash in his eyes was of anger.
“Have they detected us?” He was looking off in the distance, distracted, thinking. “How much time do we have?” After a brief pause, “I haven’t started the memory reversal yet, but even if we can’t return to complete the job it won’t matter, they never believe each other anyway. Plus, they’ll be gone soon, I doubt headquarters is still monitoring them that closely. CatBot set for reanimating in 1 minute. Initiate transport.”
As suddenly as he came, he was gone.
I sat in shock, heart thumping, mind racing. Quick, shallow breaths. Chester came back to life before I did, acting as though nothing had ever happened. Even now, I want to tell myself it was all a dream, a hallucination, some moment of insanity.
But that’s a lie. My biggest regret is asking him when. When will every human life on this planet cease to exist? Maybe it's best to not know. But I do know it’s coming. Soon.
And there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.
I only started last month and just have 2 stories. For both of them, I had an idea of where they were going beyond the original. But I forced myself to simplify it just to get something out. Because of that, they feel incomplete.
It's at the point where I feel weird re-reading them and think I should've done better, spent more time on them, told the story more completely, etc... yeah I'm pretty hard on myself.
What are your thoughts on adding an update to a story that wasn't originally written as a series? I have a vague idea of where to go but nothing written, and I feel like the best way to do a part 2 or series is to have the entire story finished before posting anything. I'm getting way too concerned with ruining the original story if people don't like the follow up, which many probably won't, even though I feel confident in my mind that it's where the story is meant to go.
For the main one I'm thinking of adding an update to, I could see myself maybe doing a part 2, or possibly 3, with either one offering a decent enough conclusion to stop the story. Is that too disorganized of a way to approach it? Do you always decide if you'll do an update before you post your stories?
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August 3rd is a county general and federal/state primary election.
Online registration is available, if it doesn't work (like it didn't for me) there's a printable form to mail to the county election commission. Just has to be postmarked by July 3rd to meet the deadline.
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