The throbbing from the implant in Sarah’s arm had stopped by the time the spider drones delivered her at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. They set her down carefully inside a circle of half-breeds and humans. She rubbed her arms, sore from the drones’ tight grips. Looking around, she noticed she was in the parking area beside a two-story building not far from the reactor. The long shadows cast by the setting sun did not impede her view enough to keep her from noticing everyone staring at her. Then she gasped at what she saw. Some in the ring of people appeared half-human and half-alien, standing proper and still with hands clasped in front of their long white robes. The ones that were human were smiling and talking among themselves, like construction workers ready to begin catcalls. Then spotlights clicked on. She covered her eyes from their blinding glare. She felt like a cornered rabbit, not sure whether to run or stay put.
A half-breed approached her and held out its hand. In broken English that clicked as its epiglottis snapped back, it said, “My name is Rausuca, welcome.”
She looked at its pale human hand. It was the same hand she had seen extended to her as a young adult when she was awakened in the middle of the night by a flash of light similar to lightning. A being dressed in a white robe floated to the side of her bed and extended its hand. She remembers not making out any facial features; its face was fuzzy, but she had placed her hand in its and that was all she remembered. She had told her parents about it the next morning, but they had thought it was a dream. This being in front of her, however, was real. Using her hand for shade, she looked at its eyes, human yet larger. Its mouth was small with thin lips. The skin was gray. Oddly, she felt a familiarity with this being.
She did not shake its hand. “Why am I here?”
“You are my guest,” Rausuca said, reaching for her trembling palm.
Sarah crossed her arms so that it could not touch her. She had been kidnapped and was not going to play along with whatever this thing had in mind. “You haven’t told me why I’m here.”
The half-breed came close to Sarah, so close she could feel a coldness radiate from its body and smell its sour breath. “I am the leader of Carenderlaa. We have come to join your people. We are peaceful and seek unity.”
“You infected us and turned us into zombies, how can you possibly be here in peace?” Sarah said, avoiding its gaze.
“The infection was unfortunate,” it said. “Soon an asteroid will impact your planet. To protect your species, my people need to alter your environment so that we can inhabit your world and prevent this cataclysmic event. It appears you humans did not tolerate the terraforming. It is quite regrettable.”
“Why didn’t you stop when you saw what it was doing to us?”
“It did not affect all your people, look at yourself,” it said. “The sacrifice is necessary for us to help you. We will rescue your kind and give you a savior.”
“You have hurt us, not helped us.”
“I know you doubt our intentions, but you must trust me,” it said. “Just as an earlier savior named Jesus Christ was born of a woman long ago, a new savior will be born to guide your people from darkness to light.”
Sarah looked down at the pavement, unsure what to say.
“Come inside the building with me,” it said, beginning to turn.
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” she said. She could hear the chuckles of the humans, and she knew they were leering at her. To get away from them, she would need to follow the half-breed.
“Please, follow me,” Rausuca said, walking toward the entrance. Its white robe billowed with each stride.
Sarah followed the half-breed inside the lobby of the building. Away from the glare of the floodlights, she was better able to see Rausuca’s facial features. She turned her head away from the unbelievable sight. The half-breed made her think of a deviant scientist’s lab, where human genes would be cloned with animals, producing ugly and deformed subjects. While this walking experiment was not hideous, it was not an ordinary human.
He led her down the hall to a room. “This way,” he said, entering the doorway.
Sarah looked inside the open door. She could not believe what she was seeing. The ambient light of the room was calming. A table of food, wine, and burning candles were to one side while cushioned chairs and a bed with a canopy was in the far corner. It was as if a romantic evening had been pulled from her head, but this was not Jack, this was a freak.
As the thing took a bottle of wine and poured it into two glasses, she knew its intentions. It wanted to have sex with her. She resisted the odd sensation to obey him but still took the stemware it handed her and looked inside the bowl. It did not contain wine but rather a nectar.
“Drink,” Rausuca said, sipping from his glass. “It is good.”
It took all her willpower to resist the sweet floral bouquet rising from the crystal. She did not drink, but the glass was still in her hand. “Why are you doing this?”
Rausuca seemed perplexed. “You are strong-willed. Look at me, and I will tell you all about it.” It placed a cold hand underneath Sarah’s chin and began to guide her face toward his.
Sarah stumbled back, dropping the glass she held. The thin honey drink spilled on the paisley carpet. She crawled away from her kidnapper, unable to stand and run. It was as if this thing had power over her and could drain her energy, even paralyze.
“You will not resist,” it said, walking up to Sarah.
“Stay away from me,” she shouted, now crawling as it approached. Looking up, she noticed it had something in its hand. Not a glass of nectar but a device similar to a long, slender penlight. Before she could block its hand, it had the light next to her temple and everything went black.