Fight or flight. The primal response is a short-term trigger from our hunter-gatherer souls, never designed to last for an extended period. Yet here we are, over a year later, full of adrenalin while hiding from an unworldly enemy.
We’ve changed our names, of course. And our appearances, as much as possible. Nobody knows who we are. Absolutely nobody. We can live without the acclaim, the gratitude. Acknowledgement brings unwanted attention.
Neither of us has slept through the night since the implosion. Actually, now that I think about it, the sleeplessness probably started months before then, back when I first realised our property managers weren’t human.
The Crones. An ugly, belligerent, long-lived race of narcissistic reptilians who enslave worlds, forcing the native populations to worship them and agree with every insane word they utter.
I still wake up screaming every night as flashbacks to the leader’s sexual demands invade my slumber. The disgust is as fresh now as it was at the time, forcing me to apply fake tan to its meat suit and comb out its wigs.
“You’re pretty.” The seduction always started like this. "Such a pretty mouth." The creature would rattle its master key to my apartment at me. “It’s time for an inspection.”
I did what I had to, to survive. All those insincere words I uttered to pander to this monster, as it slipped off its meat suit and revealled its true form. Eyestalks unable to focus on any one thing. Long hair sprouting from its back, dyed jet black. Acres of fat, covered in scales and cracked, dry skin. I’d have to roll the hideous beast in talcum powder so I could find the wet spot, then take one for the team. Team humans.
I tried to warn people, but nobody believed me. Not even my wife. “Are you having an affair with a dodgy fish and chip shop?” she teased. “You smell like rancid fat.”
At first, I thought there was only one. Then it invited its sister for a threesome. The sister was even more desperate for attention and validation, more demanding of blind insincere flattery. It was also older, fatter, and much uglier. No amount of talcum powder or lube could help me satisfy that beast, so I brought in my friend Daniel… he could fuck anything.
And satisfy it, he did. Daniel was an exceptionally skilled liar, and the older beast lapped up every false word which fell from his silver tongue. Eventually the older Crone suffered a narcissistic implosion and formed a black hole, opening a portal to their home world and triggering the start of an invasion.
Hideous Crones poured through the breach but humanity rallied behind us, beating back the invaders in what is now called the Mirror War. The invaders couldn’t bear to see their own reflections without their meat suits, so strategically placed mirrors had the hideous beasts fleeing back through the rupture in space. These mirrors are still the world’s main defence at ground zero… my apartment.
The aftermath was a confusing time. I kicked my wife to the curb… the bitch should have believed me. Humanity had difficulty dealing with the fact they’re not alone, but I had more immediate concerns. The leader, my tormentor, had escaped. A trail of blubber led away from ground zero. I fled in the opposite direction.
Which brings me to today. Over a year since the Mirror War, we’ve moved to a different continent and found a secluded cabin with 360 degree views. Daniel and I may be heroes to the world but we just want to lead a quiet life, free from the intimidation, threats, and unwanted sexual advances of malignant narcissists.
As we arrived at the cabin after our weekly shopping excursion, something felt wrong. Something caught my eye on the threshold so I placed my hand on Daniel’s chest to prevent him opening the door.
“What?” he queried, desperate to put down his load of groceries.
I bent down to inspect the object which had caught my attention. A scale, covered in layers of fake tan.
“Back to the car,” I whispered. “Now!”
Daniel dropped the bags as we fled for the car. A desperate wail filled the air, shaking the foundations of the cabin.
“We’ll be right back,” I screamed over my shoulder. “We forgot the talcum powder.”
Flash fiction for Scifantor