A Disastrous Decision

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: CLOG
Tim makes a decision that jeopardizes the future of the Human Race.

Submitted: October 09, 2016

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Submitted: October 09, 2016

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A Disastrous Decision

Mark Roman

 

We all make mistakes, of course we do. But rarely do we make misjudgements of the magnitude of Tim’s spur-of-the-moment decision that would have such a calamitous consequence for the very future of the Human Race. To be fair, he wasn’t given an awful lot of time to think things through, but it was still a considerable boo-boo.

It was 3am. A bright flash of light, accompanied by what felt like a minor earthquake, jolted Tim from his sleep, leaving him staring with terror-filled eyes at the huge hole in the wall where his window had been. Worse, two strange silhouettes were climbing into his bedroom through the hole. In a blind panic he slid under the duvet and stopped his breathing and his movement. Only his heart and mind raced. What was happening? Was this a prank, maybe? College mates? But the figures were too short to be humans in costume. And what the blazes had they done with his window?

Tim stiffened at the sound of the figures approaching his bed. They were making a burbly, sing-song noise, which turned into speech. “Hello there, little human-human.”

Tim didn’t move. Perhaps if he kept still they would go away.

“We are Thereem and we come in peace-peace,” continued the burbling voice. “Sort of-of.”

This last statement caught Tim’s attention. Tentatively he surfaced and poked an eye over the bedcovers.

“Sort of?” he asked, surveying the two short aliens in the weird glow that filled the room. The creatures were long-necked, with short, stubby legs, long snaking arms, and what looked like a beer gut. One was purple and the other yellow. Each had two independently wandering eyes that surveyed the room and would occasionally flick in Tim’s direction. He was relieved that they appeared unarmed. “What do you mean: you come in peace, ‘sort of’?”

The aliens looked at one another and made a noise like a girlish giggle.

“Our intentions are largely friendly,” said the yellow alien. This one had a deeper voice, also burbly.

“Largely?” queried Tim, sitting up.

“Sort of. Come with us.”

“No way. Who are you?”

“We already said,” said the purple alien who had spoken first. “We are Thereem. I am Zablik and this is Thrbok-Thrbok.”

“The Ream?”

The purple alien, Zablik, seemed to sigh impatiently. “It is pronounced ‘Thereem-Thereem’.”

“Thereme-Thereme,” tried Tim.

“No, there’s only one ‘Thereem’, not two. And it is pronounced ‘Thereem’. Put your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Like this: Thereem-Thereem.”

“You keep saying two The Reems!”

The yellow alien, Thrbok, raised a snaking arm and leaned towards Tim before whispering, “Zablik has a speech impediment. Please ignore it as he is very sensitive about it.”

Zablik swivelled to face Thrbok. “Speech impediment? How dare you-you? I have no speech impediment-impediment.”

Tim said nothing, thinking it best to stay out of it. He gave the name another try, “Threem.”

“Hah!” said Zablik triumphantly, pointing at Tim. “Now that’s what I call a speech impediment-impediment.” The jelly-like protuberances on his head waved wildly. “Anyway, we have no time to waste. You must come with us now-now.”

“Is this an alien abduction?” Tim shrank back, pulling the duvet up to his chin.

“No,” said Thrbok. “It’s an alien rescue. We have come to save your species.”

Tim raised an eyebrow. “Save my species? From what?”

The Thereem burbled to one another for a few seconds.

“Well?” prompted Tim.

“Er,” started Thrbok, his eyes flicking this way and that, avoiding Tim’s gaze. “There’s a … black hole. And it’s … er … heading towards the centre of your planet.”

“A black hole?”

Thrbok nodded. “As it falls, it will suck in the Earth. We estimate there are two of your Earth hours left before the crust caves in, and everything with it.”

Tim was at a loss for words. “But...”

“You must get ready for escape-escape.”

“This doesn’t make sense. Where did this black hole come from?”

“Ah,” said Thrbok.

“Erm-erm,” said Zablik.

Tim threw back the duvet cover and swung his legs to the floor. His eyes narrowed as he glared at the two aliens. “Did you guys have anything to do with this?”

“Ah,” repeated Thrbok.

“Erm-erm,” repeated Zablik.

“Well?”

“You are a creature of limited intelligence. We would not expect you to understand,” said Thrbok.

“Try me.”

Thrbok’s eyes crossed and then uncrossed. “Well, a couple of weeks ago we … er … borrowed a spaceship. How were we to know it was a black hole transporter? Anyway, as we were making a tight turn through your planetary system the black hole, kind of, slipped out. Most unfortunate.”

“I’d say so. That’s how you define ‘largely friendly,’ is it? Dropping a black hole into the centre of our planet?”

“We all make mistakes,” said Thrbok with a shrug. “But at least we plan to make good our error. We are here to save your species!”

Zablik stepped forward. “Indeed, but we only have two hours-hours.”

Tim’s mouth dropped open. “How are you going to save everyone in two hours?”

The aliens exchanged glances. “We’re not-not,” said Zablik. “We said we are going to save your species. We are not going to save everyone. Not enough room in our craft-craft.”

Thrbok gave a solemn nod. “We can only take so many.”

Tim’s eyes narrowed again. “How many?”

The aliens shuffled their feet.

“Well?”

“Seven,” said Thrbok finally.

Tim gave an involuntary laugh before screaming, “Seven??”

“More than enough to keep the species going. You’re our first. Aren’t you the lucky one? We just need six more to go with you.”

Tim stared at them, unable to say anything.

Thrbok stepped forward and swept an arm to indicate the house. “Who else lives in this domicile?”

Tim hardly heard the question, so Thrbok repeated it.

“My landlady – terrible woman – and her poor, hen-pecked husband.”

“Would you like us to save them?”

Tim choked. “Er, not particularly.” Then he corrected himself, “That’s to say, they wouldn’t be in my top six.”

“Very well. Please select your top six. You will be the last of your species, so please choose fit and healthy individuals to maximize breeding and survival chances.”

Zablik seemed suddenly agitated and pointed both his rubbery arms at Tim, burbling at Thrbok as he did so.

“Good point,” said Thrbok before turning to Tim. “We should have asked before. Are you fertile?”

Tim blinked several times at the question. “Er, well, I should imagine so. I’ve never been tested.”

Both Thrbok and Zablik peered closely at him. “Hmm,” said the former. “No time for an anal probe. Pity. We’ll just have to take your word for it.”

Tim felt his nether regions contracting at the thought.

“But you’d better hurry,” urged Thrbok.

“What?”

“Six others-others,” Zablik reminded him.

“Ah,” said Tim. He gave his head a shake in an effort to focus. He reached for his mobile phone and scrolled down his contacts, stopping at Samantha. He hesitated. Dare he? He hardly knew her; didn’t even have a picture of her for the icon. But she’d hardly been out of his thoughts for most of the past week. If he’d had a picture he would probably have spent all his time just gazing at it. They had hit it off instantly. Hadn’t they?

“Hurry-hurry!”

“OK, OK.” Tim tapped Samantha’s blank icon and waited, his heart suddenly thumping in his chest.

Two rings, three rings, four rings, and then a click.

“Hello?” said a sleepy voice on the other end. Tim’s stomach gave a somersault.

“Hi, Samantha. Er, this is Tim. I don’t know if you remember me. From the Freshers’ party last Saturday night.”

“Who?”

“Tim. Studying Chemistry. We chatted about some stuff. Sorry to disturb you at this hour, but it’s important. There’s a black hole heading towards the centre of the Earth and these two aliens called the Thereme ...”

“Thereem-Thereem,” corrected Zablik.

“... Theream, have broken into my bedroom ...”

“What? What the hell?” croaked Samantha. “Are you insane? It’s 3 o’clock in the morning!”

“I know, I know. It sounds crazy, but ...”

Just before he heard the click Tim caught the word “Creep!” It was like a knife to his heart.

“Well?” asked Thrbok.

“Technical hitch,” said Tim, still hurting. The conversation had not gone well. Could he call again and try a different tack? His insides churned.

“Maybe we’ve got the wrong person-person,” said Zablik, turning as though to leave.

“No, no. I’m good,” said Tim hurriedly. “I’ll call Barry. He’s my best mate and he’ll round up two or three girls in no time. He has a talent. You’ll see.” Tim tapped Barry’s leering icon.

The Thereem exchanged glances. “Perhaps we should have gone straight to Barry’s place,” said Thrbok.

“Agreed-agreed.” Zablik nodded.

“I’m sorry, the person you are calling is not available,” said the recorded voice on Tim’s phone. “But if you ...” Tim killed the call and sighed in exasperation. He gulped as he sensed the aliens were about to move on. With a shaking finger he scrolled up and down his address book. Jenny? They’d broken up two months previously, but she might still have feelings for him. If only he still had feelings for her.

“Time’s running out,” pressed Thrbok.

“I know, I know.” Tim scrolled once more through the address list. Who else was there? Flora? Quite a nice girl, but she was studying abroad. Jane? No, he’d never really fancied Jane. Molly? No way.

Besides, who’d believe his crazy story and come at such short notice?

There was a sound of movement on the ceiling above their heads. All three froze.

“My landlady!” whispered Tim. “She doesn’t allow company after 10 pm. I think she primarily means lady friends, but if she sees what you’ve done to her window I expect she’ll extend the ban to aliens.”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t like her to come along with us? Save a lot of time and trouble.”

“God, no!” spluttered Tim, his eyes popping.

“Why not-not?”

 “Er, ...” Tim’s mind raced. “She’s not ... er ... not fertile. At least, I sincerely hope not.”

“Must push you, then-then,” hissed Zablik.

“Alright, alright!”

It was at that point that Tim made the biggest, most disastrous, most far-reaching mistake of his entire life.

He phoned his mum. And his mum, being his mum, took control.

*

And so it was that Tim now found himself in an alien spaceship, fleeing a collapsing, crumbling Earth far below, his heart aching at thoughts of the fair Samantha, down there, being sucked into a ravenous black hole, and soon to be crushed out of existence – abandoned to her ghastly fate along with seven billion other people.

He thought fleetingly of Barry, too, but more about what might have been had he answered the phone, than about the guy himself.

Instead, here he was in the company of his mum, his dad, granddad Alf, Great Aunt Agatha, Bert from the pub and last, but not least, Rosie Scroggins from the Bingo Club.

What his mum had been thinking when she had assembled this lot, Tim could not imagine, but propagation of the human race could not have been uppermost in her mind. Or, if it had...

Tim shuddered.

Humanity was doomed and he no longer cared.

 


© Copyright 2017 Mark Roman. All rights reserved.

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