Chapter 7: Slap

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Science Fiction

Reads: 167

I still hadn’t found my family or Zach. Or Halley. I thought they would be in our district, but… I didn’t know. One thing I noticed is that there were no young kids or families. My guess was that there was a place for families on the ship, and if I found that, I’d find my family. The only problem was that the ship was the size of Alaska.

I was losing hope. I missed my family. I didn’t even know how long I’d been there. I wanted to go home, see Halley, go to work. I just wanted my life to be normal again. Malik and Maya were the only people keeping me sane.

 

Zach woke up to see Halley poring over a book, Fahrenheit 451, in the corner of his room. She was gently spinning back and forth on the swivel chair, chin resting on her fingers.

“Halley?” Zach croaked as he tried to sit up.

Halley closed the book and smiled, “Careful, you cracked several ribs,”

Zach lay back down on his bed. He noticed Halley had a bandage running down the right side of her face. “What happened?” he said, gesturing to it.

Halley gingerly touched the wound, recalling the moment. “Flying shard of glass, I’m okay though.”

“Did we win?” Zach asked.

Halley’s smile vanished. “If by win you mean we were able to launch, then yes. But we lost twenty-six crew members, bringing our total count to four hundred seventy-nine. That’s not a lot of people left. We nearly lost the captain. Everything would have gone to pot without her and we would all be dead,” something in Halley’s voice suggested there was more to say.

“What else?” Zach asked, noticing this.

Halley let out a long sigh, “David was taken.”

Zach thought for a moment. “David? As in the gross guy who is trying to date you?” he asked, suddenly remembering. “Why are you upset about that?”

Halley set her book down. “I don’t know, it might’ve been the shock of it. We’ve launched, by the way,” she said, quickly changing the subject.

Zach let the subject change slide, not wanting to interfere in Halley’s personal life. “How long was I out?” he asked.

Halley went over to the window and opened the cover revealing what Zach never thought he would see: space. There were more stars than he had ever seen in his entire life. Then there was earth, in all its glory, and it was round.

Take that, flat earthers Zach thought.

“We launched three hours ago,” Halley said.

“Three hours?” Zach exclaimed, “I’m no master of space science-”

“Astronomy,” Halley corrected.

“See, I don’t even know what it’s called, but there is no way we’ve gotten this far in three hours. Doesn’t it take three days to get to the moon?”

Halley’s soft smile returned, “Those ships travel at seven miles per second with intent to get to the moon. The Ark has no specified destination, so she can travel as fast as she can, which is 130 miles per second. Faster than the Parker Solar Probe will be traveling at. Of course, we’re not there yet, we’re currently at forty miles per second, but steadily accelerating.”

Zach rubbed his fingers on his temples, “Stop, you’re giving me a headache.”

Halley laughed infectiously, and a loose strand of hair fell over her face. She brushed it away and smiled, “Get some rest, you still need to heal.”

Zach watched her as she walked across the room to the door, she opened it and started walking out, but stopped and turned around. Speaking to Zach, she said, “you remind me of Tanner,” and she left, closing the door behind her.

It was then that Zach realized something. The look Halley had given him hours earlier and just then was the same way she would look at Tanner.

“Let me go!” David spat at the foreigners gripping him by his elbows. He tried kicking their shins, but his feet bounced off the tough metal hopelessly.

The foreigners tightened their grip and David howled in pain.

“Shut it,” a (what sounded like) female foreigner said gruffly.

David did.

The foreigners carried him up the fourteen flights of stairs, which was not a pleasant experience. His feet hit every single stair.

They reached the top and David noticed that they had used explosives to bypass every single security measure they had. They had to have high tech explosives because the bunker was built to withstand a direct bombing.

They had cleared the rubble in front of the main entrance and in place of it was a gray truck with purple accents covering it. David recalled Halley saying something about Zach seeing a truck similar looking to this one. This one had a closed bed and bars on the back doors. Two more foreigners flanked the vehicle, each armed with a long weapon, similar to that of a battle rifle.

David knew what was going on. He struggled to escape the foreigner's grip, but they were inhumanly strong.

“Let me go you…”

The foreigner on David’s left gave him a hard slap across the face. The sound of echoed off the walls of the room and another foreigner winced at the sight of it. “Watch your tongue,” he said.

David bit his tongue, holding back a scream. He could instantly feel a bruise forming on his cheek. It felt like fire was engulfing his face. Being slapped by a bare hand was one thing, but being hit in the face with a metal glove was a whole different type of pain.

The foreigners flanking the truck opened up the back of it. Two benches ran along each side of it. One of which was occupied by a man and a woman with dark frowns on their faces. David noticed they were each cuffed to the bench by their wrists and ankles.

The foreigners hauled David into the back and bound him to the unoccupied bench.

“That’s a nasty bruise you got there,” the man said in a baritone voice.

“The foreigners slapped me,” David answered.

“Foreigners?” the woman asked. “You mean the aliens?”

David nodded.

“Those cretins burnt my house down,” the man growled. “They kidnapped my wife and I just minutes ago.”

The truck lurched forward without a sound, they must have been electric, possibly nuclear.

“I almost got killed by them,” David said, “I work for NASA and we were gathering as many civilians as possible and leaving the planet. They should be taking off in a couple of minutes now…”

David was interrupted by a huge tremor, he would have been thrown against the roof had he not been cuffed to his seat. The handcuffs chafed his wrists and ankles. He strained his neck to see the Ark rising from the ground.

He hoped the foreigners wouldn’t shoot the ship down, and luckily, they didn’t. He assumed they didn’t have the firepower. Yet, at least. He watched the massive ship slowly disappear into the sky.

“Was that it?” the woman asked when the noise subsided.

“Yes, that was the Ark. We have had the ship for almost sixty years in case, well, in case this happened and we need to get out of Dodge. We were attacked by the foreigners before we launched and they took me prisoner. Everyone at NASA who survived is on that ship, and is now in space.”

“And you were supposed to be on it?” the woman asked. She was definitely the more talkative of the couple.

“Yes,” David said, silently begging the woman to stop talking.

“Where were you heading?” the woman pressed, ignoring David’s silent plea.

He sighed, “We honestly don’t know. We wanted to go to the Euphoria, but we’re not sure that’s even possible. We just need to get out before we were killed,” he paused to look around the prison truck, “or imprisoned, apparently.” He looked back at the couple, “What are your names, by the way, I neglected to ask.”

“I am Margaret, and this is my husband Jacob,” the woman said, “And yours?”

David gave the couple his name, and peered out the bars, trying to see the Ark, but it had disappeared.

Margaret studied David for a moment. “Is there someone on that ship? Someone you like?”

David looked back at Margaret, surprised. “How did you know?” he asked her.

“I know kinesics, the study of body language. Your shoulders dropped and you sighed while looking longingly out the window. You’re missing someone.”

David sighed once again, “Her name is Halley,”

Margaret smiled, “Is she…”

David gave a sad smile, “My girlfriend?” he looked back out the crude window, “Yeah. She’s my girlfriend.”

 


Submitted: April 24, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Ethan Crandall. All rights reserved.

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