We are still not allowed to leave the house. They tell us that the war is over. That we won against the bloodthirsty goons that had landed on this earth years ago. Sending us to war against them for over 20 years. The Earth becoming nothing but a barren wasteland and battlegrounds. How some of us survived, I don’t know. Yet, we still can’t leave. They still think it’s too dangerous for us to go outside. We get rations weekly from the military. The only people allowed to go outside. The one my father left to go serve and has yet to come back. That was 16 years ago. I barely remember him, I was just a kid back then. I only hear stories about him now. I still wait for him to walk through that door.
I remember when I was little, playing outside in the grass. Running around with my siblings. I also remember the day the aliens arrived and everything changing. Now I only know the inside of my house. I didn’t even know what's the outside looks like. Our windows have been boarded up for as long as I can remember. The only way for us to know what’s going on is the small radio we have set up in the living room. Every evening we sit around it waiting to hear good news. The minute the radio said the war was over, mother got up and tore down the boards. I ran excitedly to see the outside, but the smile was wiped from my face as I saw the broken down, worn houses and desolate land surrounding us. There is no more green grass to play in.
When the military comes next to drop off our rations, mother asks them when we will be able to come out. They don’t tell her anything. Just to hold tight. I stare out the window watching them go up to other houses. Some of the neighbors answer their door, but they skip houses. This only tells me not everyone made it. I haven’t seen any of my neighbors or friends since we were told to not leave our houses. It was only months after my dad left when the order came through the television. When we still had electricity. I wonder when we will get that back. We were lucky we still had water, cold water, but water nonetheless. That's only because we had well water. We were also one of the few lucky areas that their water didn’t get contaminated.
A few days later, I watch out the window and see one of the neighbors leaving his house. I thought we couldn’t leave out houses yet. He’s carefully stepping across his lawn. Trying to be sneaky it seems. I call my other siblings over and we all watch him get down to the street. None of us know what he is doing. He looks both ways as if expecting cars to come. He does notice us and gives us a wave. We all go to wave back, but before we even have our hands up, he melts. His body completely turns to liquid. His clothes flow down and crumple over the puddle that used to be my neighbor. My older brother covers my eyes even through I already have the image etched into my brain. One I don’t think will be leaving anytime soon.
We all sit around the radio, spitting ideas on why that happened. Also hoping to hear something on the radio. Why haven’t the men in the military melted? They must know something we don’t. They are keeping it from us. I would think this is something we should know. Has the war ruined our atmosphere that bad, that we will melt from the sun’s rays? Is there a chemical in the air that we can’t come in contact with? Why doesn’t it bother us in the house or when we open the door? Maybe the men in the military are just used to it by now. What really happened with this war?
The radio speaks of people trying to leave their houses. It doesn’t say what is happening to them, just that they are disappearing. We already know what is happening, they just don’t want to harm their listeners. They caution us to stay in our houses. To not leave under any circumstances. After what I witness with our neighbor, I’m not sure I ever want to leave my house. Mother paces back and forth and I sit by the window. Even though its desolate outside, I still like being able to look outside for once. My siblings find things to do. Though, there isn’t much. We’ve done everything there is to do in this house more than once.
The next time the military comes they only leave enough rations for six days. Mother doesn’t realize it until after they have left. She is furious and there is no way she can contact the military to get more food. So she opts to split her rations with us. I don’t like the idea, but I understand. Mother realizes the risks into not getting enough food, but hopefully next week we get the right amount of rations. I pray this was just a small mistake. We still have no idea what is going on in the world besides the small bit we get through the radio, but who knows, that could be wrong. Maybe, after all the fighting and war, we are having trouble getting food. I would think it would be starting to get better.
It only starts to go downhill from there. Our population, small that it had become, is only becoming smaller. From what we are hearing on the radio. Some think the Aliens are still here, they are still attacking us, but there is no confirmation, no proof. We are getting less rations each week and we aren't the only ones. I could see one of the neighbors across the street getting angry with the military men. Mother confronted them too. They only shrugged and said you get what you get. It’s like they don’t care anymore. We split the rations up as much as we can, but its still not enough.
Soon mother falls ill. She has lost to much weight. She is slowly loosing energy. It’s hard for her to get out of bed some days. My siblings and I take turns helping her down the stairs or to the toilet. We switch off bathing her as she succumbs to weakness. My older brother takes over meeting the military at the door. He tries to ask them for more food and medicine, but they ignore him. He starts to stop eating too. He makes sure my mother, my sister and me get most of the food. He doesn’t want my sister and I to get sick, but he also is hoping to help mother. Though, I’ve become doubtful she will get better.
Mother dies three days later. She stopped getting out of bed. Her skin turned gray and she was skin and bones. Brother covered her in white linen and left her in the bed. We have no way of burying her. Once we are allowed outside we will give her a proper burial. For now, her room is blocked off. We aren’t allowed in there. Though at night, I sneak in to talk to mother. I know she’s gone, but I’m not ready to let her go. I leave the sheet over her, but it doesn’t stop me from making conversation.
Any rations we can split, we split between each other. We only have three days of food this week. We have no idea how we are going to make it last. I’m starving. I’ve been hungry before, but not like this. You get used to being on rations, but with barely any food for the whole week, we are going hungry. My sister is starting to give up. My brother having to force feed her most of the time. I’m doing everything I can to stay strong, but it’s getting harder and harder every day.
Today, I’m staring out the window, something I do every day. The military men are supposed to come today. I like to watch them come. They used to give me hope, but now I’m not sure we will survive this. I have to greet them at the door today, my brother and sister are too weak to answer the door. My sister has chosen to stay in bed today. I’m not sure she will survive the night. My brother is laying on the couch. He doesn’t like to leave me alone, but I know he’s losing hope too.
I jump up from my seat as I see the military trucks come in. They stop in the middle of the street and hop out. Taking items from the back of the trucks. They start at the end of the street and work their way this way. That's when I start to hear screaming. It’s horrific, agonizing screams. It hurts my ears. My brother stirs from his sleep and looks at me confused. The shrieks only get louder the closer they come to us. I turn to look back out the window, but it only causes me to scream too. Out the window is something staring back at me. It has empty eyes, there is no eyeball, just an empty socket. It has no nose and its mouth is wide with sharp teeth sticking out from under the thin lips and it’s smiling at me. Its skin looks like leather, only its green. A puke color green. Its terrifying. I can’t see anything else, I can’t get past its disgusting face.
The door whips open and bangs against the wall. A tall hooded being walks through the door, holding a weapon. It’s feet are the first thing I notice as it walks gracefully in. The same color leather skin lay on its feet and legs as the creature staring at me through the window. It makes me look back at the window and the thing is gone. It makes me even more scared and nervous. I thought we defeated the aliens. I thought the war was over. Maybe we never did and everything we heard was a lie. The alien walks towards me. I try and back up, but I trip over the chair I had been sitting in. My brother rushes to get in front of me. The things brings a scaly hand out and points at my brother. Then before my eyes, he melts. He liquefies and sinks to the ground. I can only choke back a sob. I don’t have anytime to do anything else before it grabs me and pulls me out the door.