Alien Apocalypse - Genesis Copyright © 2012 by Dean Giles All rights reserved. No part of this story (eBook) may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or book reviews. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidences are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Published by TWB Press Edited by Terry Wright Cover Art by Terry Wright ISBN 978-1-936991-38-9
By Dean Giles
THE INVADED LAND stretched out to the horizon in a patchwork of beautiful but deadly green. Our only path through the acid fields of alien moss was the motorway that carved through the ravaged countryside. Elliott and I had only the clothes on our backs, a hunger in our bellies, and futures bleak as nightmares. Trees still lined the roadside, but too few stood tall and healthy, lonely in their defiant last stand against the smothering moss. Most were hidden by the stalks and leaves of an alien growth that slowly ate through the woodlands like a malevolent parasite. I led Elliott along the safety of the asphalt road under the watchful gaze of possessed trees. Their clawed branches leaned over
the motorway’s edge, stretching as far as they could, as if to grab us as they swayed in the wind. All around, vehicles were crushed and piled across the M25’s tarmac like discarded beer cans. The wind through the abandoned metal husks moaned like the doomed ghosts of humanity. I searched the horizon for signs of movement, of human life, animal life, a bird or a bug, any recognisable earthly life at all. But there was none to behold. In the days since the comet passed, we’d found only traces of living people, abandoned camps, cold fire pit embers, fresh litter dumps, and human waste. I hoped we would meet other survivors. We could band together, help each other...another truth struck me: survival of the fittest. Dog eat dog. We could just as easily run into lawless savages. A voice in my head snapped at me: Don’t let your guard down, Leon Weber. The road rounded a bend and ran straight down to The River Thames. Northbound traffic would normally go under it by tunnel, and southbound traffic ran over it by bridge. I pointed to the suspended carriageway. “The Dartford Crossing,” I told Elliott. “It looks dangerous.” Past the last slip-road before the crossing, the four lane road widened to thirteen lanes leading up to a row of vacant pay-stations. Beyond them, the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge towered one-hundred and fifty metres above the Thames - a once white cable-stayed design
now green and creaking under the weight of the moss. On the underside of the bridge, alien pods grouped around the supports like giant mould patches. But the road over appeared clear. To the left, the tunnel entrance was covered with moss shimmering like green ice as crystalline reflections bounced off its textured surface. I stopped and took in the sight of the bridge access ahead, fraught with obstacles, hazards and imminent death. Cars were strewn in all directions, perpetually mirroring the panic of their long dead owners. My heart thumped hard, angry that we’d be forced to survive this gauntlet in order to survive the day, and tomorrow, and the next. “Are you sure about this, Dad?” I regarded Elliott. He slouched under the weight of his backpacks, a forest fire-fighter’s CamelBak filled with oil instead of water and a Blackhawk Phoenix packed with canned food, hand tools, and spare clothing. His cargo trousers and multi-pocketed jacket were coated with oil, and his white-rimmed eyes blinked from a face blackened with grease. He held a sprayer nozzle and pump in his right hand, ready to douse the moss with oil piped from the CamelBak, our silver bullets against the invading blanket of slime that was destroying our world. Though my twelve-year-old son looked uncomfortable under his gear, he was determined to carry on, never once voicing a complaint. I carried a similar arsenal except my Phoenix was filled with
other equipment: night vision kit, bolt cutters, map, and flares. To my leather belt I’d strapped extra oil bottles, precious as ammo. We were a sight to look at, the two of us. “So what do you reckon?” I asked him. “Are you fit?” Elliott regarded me with a raised eyebrow. “You’re the one who’s afraid of heights.” “Nah, just falling, mate.” He took a deep breath and looked out over the water. “How far do you think it is across?” “About a mile.” I glanced up to a clear summer day. The deserted skies still filled me with dread. No insects, no birds, no planes, no jet trails. Nothing. But we had good visibility. We walked on, and I kept my eyes forward searching for signs of human activity amongst the chaos of destroyed cars that were heaped across both carriageways. Beyond the pay-stations, the oilstained road sloped upwards to the bridge. The only sound was the dull thud of my Timberland boots. The air smelled like a chemical lab, sharp in my nostrils, stinging my eyes. The moss exhaled an irritant I’d never get used to. As we neared the pay-stations, the smell got worse, forcing me to breathe through my mouth. Moss crawled across the pay-stations’ windows like swarming green termites. I noticed a pattern emerge in the heaped cars. They seemed deliberately grouped to funnel foot traffic to a point between two pay-
stations, as if someone wanted us to go there and nowhere else. It looked, impossibly, like a trap. I tapped Elliott on the shoulder. He turned with a smile, and I was struck by how much he reminded me of his mother. “I don’t like the look of this.” I pointed to the wrecked cars. His smile drooped. He played it cool, but I knew his heartbeat had quickened and his face had turned pale behind the smeared grease. A boy his age should have been kicking a ball about the park on a day like this instead of confronting unknown dangers. As we neared the apex of the makeshift car funnel, maybe ten yards from the pay-station, the first human being we had encountered since the day the world was taken from us stepped into view. He stood alone in the centre of the narrow passage with both hands behind his back. His face was cast in the shadow of a pulled-up hood. He wore dark clothes and white Reebok Classic trainers that looked like they had just come off the factory line. I stepped ahead of Elliott and nodded towards the other paystations, which could have been good cover for an ambush. “He’s not alone,” I whispered. It would take more than one hooligan to set a lure like this. I would have stopped and gone back, but this was the only pass over the River Thames for miles; we had no choice but to risk the meathead’s intentions. We had to get to Coryton Refinery’s oil supply and use it to fight the invading moss. We walked through the deserted pay-stations. Moss hung from
the overheads like drool. “Get behind, stay close. Watch our backs.” I ducked under the drawbar, intent on being civil. “Hello there.” The man’s eyes flickered left and right, slyly, black pupils visible through thin slits and heavy lids. His shoulders slouched forwards, and his demeanour stunk of bad egg. “Where you going, bruv?” His gaze shifted from me to Elliott. “This ain’t no safe place for the boy, innit?” “It’s okay. He’s with me.” “Then you got two choices,” he said. “You kindly donate your wares to me, and you can be on your way. Or I take your stuff the hard way. What’s it gonna be?” I knew his type too well. I’d spent four years locked up with men just like him. They never worked alone; too chickenshit, but part of a group, they thought they were invincible. I couldn’t make a move until I knew exactly how many I was dealing with and what weapons they were carrying. I had to provoke a reaction and force his cohorts out of hiding. Moving towards him, “You’re gonna have to say that again, mate,” I shouted with my hand cupped to my ear. I stopped a few feet from him, just out of reach. “Try it in English this time?” His cheeks reddened, his brow furrowed. He doubled the intensity of his intimidating scowl. I kept constant eye contact, not wavering. I could see by his shifting stance that he was beginning to lose his play. His hand came quickly from behind his back, held high above
with one finger raised: signalling his backup. I smiled at my small victory. Then he pulled the other hand from behind his back and displayed a yellow hilted garden axe. He gripped the black handle and held up the sharp blade ready to strike. My smile faded, and I curled a lip to bare my teeth. Behind to my left, another tough-guy wannabe emerged from a pay-station. He was an unpleasant-looking breed. Maybe six-feet-five, pale skin behind scraggly facial hair, wiry mullet the colour of mud. He didn’t look well. Maybe he hadn’t fed in a few days... then I saw the bat, an enormous baseball slugger with six-inch nails bristling about its splintered barrel. His drawn eyes looked vacant, and I wondered about the sheer effort he must have been under to stop himself from drooling like a Neanderthal. I spoke to Shifty Eyes in a voice loud enough for Caveman to hear. “So that’s what you get when you bang your own mother?” Caveman took the bait. “What the fuck did you say?” He swung the baseball bat and slammed the side of the pay-station. “You fucking want some of this?” “Calm down,” Shifty Eyes shouted to his inbred friend. But it was too late; his other mates had left their hiding places, all puffed up like morning roosters. There were four in total, no guns, just garden tools and sporting goods for weapons. I could take them with my eyes closed. Trick was keeping Elliott out of the fray. I took one step forward and slammed my fist into Shifty Eyes’
sternum. He hit the ground gasping. Now that the others were cut off from their leader, I turned to the caveman first. He was busy trying to free the bat’s nails from the pay-station wall. I sprinted towards him and jumped feet-first into his chest. He smashed into the wall, and I was on top of him in a second. Two knuckle sandwiches knocked him out cold. By the time I turned to the other two thugs, one was nearly on Elliott. The other held back, watching Shifty Eyes pull in wheezing breaths. Elliott was backing up. He tripped and fell, sprawled on the ground, his backpacks scraping the road. Shit. Adrenalin shot through my veins, sending me into a powerful run. My breath caught in my throat, and I feared for Elliott’s life as the thug bore down on him. As I sprinted towards them, the other guy bowled into me, knocking me to the tarmac. Elliott’s attacker reared back his fists to pummel my son. His spine was bent over his oil-filled CamelBak, and as I regained my feet, my attacker clocked me again, a glancing blow, as I’d seen it coming and managed a quick spin around and a side-kick to his temple, dropping him in a single shot. Screams echoed through the pay-stations. I twisted around toward Elliott. The thug was on his knees, palms over his face...dripping oil. Elliott had sprayed him in the eyes with the oil sprayer. I got there quick and finished him off with a double-fisted
chop to the back of his neck. “That’s the way to think on your back, boy.” I grabbed Elliott’s wrist and pulled him to his feet. “You okay?” My voice was croaky with adrenalin, and my body tingled with waning panic. “I’m okay, I’m fine.” His nose leaked blood a little. “He got in a lucky punch, is all.” I tousled his hair, pride a wild blossom in my chest. “Good job.” I moved towards downed Shifty Eyes - still clutching his chest grabbed him round the throat and squeezed his carotid arteries just enough to make him dizzy. “How many survivors?” His face started to turn rosy, and he grasped my arm, tried to tear my grip from his neck - ineffectually. “Answer me or you die.” Panic rose in his eyes then glazed over with tears of fright. It was the sign I was waiting for. A man was at his most honest in the face of death. I loosened my grip and repeated the question. “How many survivors passed through?” “Eight.” “Were they alone?” “Four alone.” He hacked. “Two pairs.” “How long ago?” “Two days.” “You rob them too?” His eyes darted left and right. No help coming. I tightened my grip around his throat.
“We... did... It’s a dog-eat-dog world... now...” I put a boot into his ribs, something to remember me by, and then turned to Elliott. “Look around for their stash of loot.” I didn’t want to hang about for long. There were other survivors out there that were probably defenceless and hungry. Hopefully we would catch up to them on our way to the refinery. Elliott came out of a pay-station with an armload of food cans. “Fish and soup.” “Okay. Pack them up.” “What about those guys?” “Let them eat moss.” “They’ll starve.” He set four cans next to Shifty Eyes. That was my son, compassionate to a fault. I was tempted to toss the punks to the moss, but then I’d be no better than these animals. Elliott and I walked towards the bridge in silence. I wanted to keep hold of my sense of justice and honour, things that civilisation imprinted on me, even if others had discarded them. Perhaps it was naive of me, and maybe I’d have to rethink my morals at some point along the way, but for now... I’d live or die by them. *** THE ANCIENT MIND’S need to consume and grow was insatiable. A deep-rooted hunger propelled it onwards, giving it motivation to feed, to destroy. Its biomass spread quickly across the land, and with something akin to joy, it welcomed the raw energy provided by the
nearest star. As it warmed and grew, the ancient mind began to understand the truth of its predicament. Its food source was limited, and its gorging would soon come to a forced end. To reproduce and thrive it must learn to survive here in harmony with its new environment. Otherwise it would have to recede into hibernation and return to the frozen reaches of empty space in search of another world to devour, a journey that could take another untold number of eons. It had to find a way to preserve its resources here so it could thrive on this oasis. The ancient mind looked inwardly. It examined the planet’s biomasses it had consumed. Chemical signatures abounded, and from the essences of the indigenous creatures who called themselves humans, the mind learned those chemicals made up a structure called DNA. But disassembled as they were, during the processes of digestion and photosynthesis, these chemicals were now chaotically dispersed. Billions of possible combinations needed to be tested, calculated, and assembled, a sort of reverse engineering of indigenous life-forms. It set to work. Through its reproductive pods, the ancient mind spliced DNA sequences together, searching for a workable combination. After a time, a pod started to pulsate. The mind released stored solar energy into the process. The bulb’s temperature rose as the DNA combined and developed. The mind focused huge segments of energy
into the replicating process and duplicated its own consciousness into the replicate’s developing brain. And then the capsule split. Liquid spilled from it and splattered on the ground with a wet slap. The rich solution convulsed nosily and began to draw together into a form. Four hoofed legs sprouted from a bulbous sack of meat. It heaved as it tried to suck air into its newly formed lungs, but they were full of thick mucus. The semi-formed being struggled to stand but fell to the ground and melted back into the surrounding moss. Several attempts later and the ancient mind began to see an order to the enormous amount of DNA information it contained. Again it fed energy to a reproduction pod and inserted the relevant DNA samples to create an indigenous creature. The capsule split open and revealed a round human’s head supported by a long neck. It had two forward facing eyes that were completely white without pupils or lenses. A mound of tough fur sprouted on the tip of its otherwise hairless head. It gurgled, and a painful scream rang through the air. It pushed itself free from the pod. Two arms supported its huge frame that sprouted four legs and fleshy padded feet, like the body of a dog attached to the torso of a human, it was top-heavy. It took a step forward, shaking violently, every replicated nerve in its deformed body flared with savage pain. Once again the replicate fell to the ground and melted into the moss. For the first time, the ancient mind experienced frustration.
Another failed attempt. But with each failure the mind drew closer to understanding the problem. On the planet’s seventh revolution, the mind finally learned it could not assemble a proper creature by using random chemicals. The subtle differences between DNA combinations resulted in huge differences between the indigenous creatures. So the ancient mind utilised the complete DNA signature of a human creature it had consumed. Earlier, this replication process had produced a deer and a duck, as the human’s essence had revealed the names to the alien. It had bet its existence that, from this replicated human intelligence, it would learn what it must do to survive on this planet’s limited resources. *** To find the links to purchase the story go to www.twbpress.com/alienapocalypsegenesis.html Thank you for your interest in Alien Apocalypse - Genesis
About The Author
Dean lives with his wife and two young children in Surrey, UK. He owns a business jointly with his father, developing and manufacturing fibre optic components. His day job consists largely of shining light through fragile glass fibres, and trying to glue very small things to even smaller things. Dean is a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Kickboxing and has won national and international titles in the sport. In 2003 he spent a few months living, and training at a Shaolin Kung Fu academy in Northern China. He enjoys running and mountain biking, but now does most of his training in the local boxing gym. Dean writes science fiction and horror, and his short stories have appeared in webzines in the UK and US.
Enjoy other fine short stories and novels from Dean Giles
Alien Apocalypse – The Hunger, FREE ebook (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Dean Giles (Prequel to The Storm) http://www.twbpress.com/alienapocalypsethehunger.html
Alien Apocalypse – The Storm (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Dean Giles http://www.twbpress.com/alienapocalypsethestorm.html
Ghost in the Machine (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Dean Giles http://www.twbpress.com/ghostinthemachine.html
IN BOOK THREE OF THE SERIES, humanity is on a downward spiral. Leon and Elliott set out for the Coryton Refinery and discover the oil reserv...
Published on Feb 26, 2012
IN BOOK THREE OF THE SERIES, humanity is on a downward spiral. Leon and Elliott set out for the Coryton Refinery and discover the oil reserv...