I cry out as my bully, Steven Haggins, grabs me from behind slamming me into the lockers. “Nobody’s around Sylvester,” he breathes heavily into my ear, “I’m still upset about the teacher breaking up our last...lesson.” He moves in front of me pinning my shoulders against the locker, “Beg.” He orders simply and I start whimpering, “Please, please don’t hurt me, I’m sorry I-'' He punches me in the throat and I gag, coughing. His friends chuckle as he shakes his hand, “Sorry man I just can’t stand seeing that nasty adam’s apple warbling.” He laughs ugly for a little bit. Then gestures for one of his goons to bring him something, “You’re lucky Sylvester, I don’t have a lot of time to play with you, but you still have to suffer for the detention you gave me.” He growls. I flinch whimpering and cringing away from him. “You’ll have plenty of time to think about what you did over the weekend,” he grins wickedly as he opens my locker. “Wait! No! That’s two days!” I exclaim grabbing onto him to stop him from shoving me inside. “I’ll die!” “You must think I’m an idiot, humans can survive three days without water.” He grabs my face and I look at him knowing if I fought it’d be worse. “Open your mouth.” He orders and tears streaming down my face I slowly open my mouth. ‘Please don't be anything disgusting.’ I beg mentally. He shoves a cloth deep into my mouth then turns me around pinning me painfully against the lockers despite the fact I’d have turned around if he ordered me to. I feel him tie the cloth in a tight knot against the back of my head, pulling my hair. He laughs hysterically, as his friends help shove me into my locker. The door slams behind me and I hear them laughing and laughing and laughing. “Hey Sylvester I better not hear about you getting let out over the weekend. If you don’t stay quiet and stay like a good dog, I’ll break all your pathetic little bones.” Steven whispers through the slits in the metal. “Who knows I may even give you a bone on Monday.” He starts laughing again before an explosion silences everything. When my ears stop ringing I hear faint screams coming from the gym and then the hallway is full of fleeing students and flashes of metal. ‘What’s happening?!’ I think, unable to move, ‘Wait I remember the news…’ A metal clad figure pounces on a slower student dragging their screaming body towards where the explosion sounded from. I hear another scream following a loud crackle of electricity and then the metal clad figures run past on all fours, joined by dozens of others. Everything is happening so fast, metal invaders are stunning students and then when some of the braver students try to fight back, they get slashed by metal claws. I flinch when one of the masked faces turns towards me, it’s a terrifying, horned mask with tinted glass where the eyes should be. It’s unnerving. Then I hear Stevens' voice ringing out above the other cornered students screams. He’s in one of the alien’s claws. He struggles madly grabbing onto one of the tubes that went into the mask from the armor. He rips it out and then when the alien grabs it and runs back towards the exit, yells, “Everyone aim for the hoses, they can’t breathe our air!” An alien approaches him slowly, squaring up. He tenses and cockily yells, “Come at me alien scum, I’ll freaking kill you!” The aliens' whole attitude changes and the other aliens even stop grappling with the students, just holding them, to watch. Steven lunges for the alien's hoses and gets impaled through the stomach. A wail goes through the air and all the other students give up fighting. ‘Smart. The aliens took out the “alpha” and now the “pack” is leaderless and easily defeated. They’re definitely intelligent.’ I think with a flash of fear. I watch the alien drop Steven’s bleeding body to the ground and find that I’m emotionless about it, neither happy nor upset. ‘I must be in shock.’ The alien gestures with its head and leaves followed by the rest of the aliens with all their captured victims. Everyone is gone except me and the body. 'It's not safe to move yet.' I think. Staying perfectly still, listening, I can still hear them in the building. I wait so long that my heart has slowed and muscles relax. I start moving around now pulling the gag out of my mouth and around to untie it. Suddenly my elbow bangs against the locker. I freeze with a surge of adrenaline, waiting to see if an alien heard it. My heartbeat picks up as I hear the clack, clack, clack of claws approaching. I hold a hand over my mouth to muffle my breathing as a figure slowly creeps past the locker I’ve been shoved in. ‘To think if I hadn’t been shoved in here I would have been captured like the others, it may have even saved my life, I don’t know what the aliens want with us.’ A few horrible thoughts get pushed down. 'Never in my life was I so thankful for my bullying.' I watch the metal alien pick up the unconscious bully by his leg, the deep bloody marks show as his shirt slips down. It sniffs him and I immediately stiffen, knowing I was sweating badly. Then turns, body slow and clunky, and walks away to join the others. 'The slow movement is just a farce,' I remind myself. 'They were all running earlier, They can run faster than me easily.' Only after my heart rate slows again do I realize there's an issue. I was locked in here and the only person who knew the combination was just killed. I panic, 'okay so either call out and let the aliens capture me or hope somebody searches the school after they leave.' My mind's picture of my corpse locked in the locker is almost as scary as being eaten by aliens, I had to worry about what came before that though. The electrocution. I shudder remembering the way a student arched their back and the horrendous scream that came out of their mouth when touched. I don’t get to think about what to do for very long because the locker door is suddenly penetrated on either side by claws, 'Oh crap.' I think when it's ripped off.
I thought I was going to scream but all I do is gasp. It's like all the air was sucked out of me as I looked up into the mask of my finder. I hold out my hands blubbering some nonsense hoping for mercy. Crouching down, I instinctively make myself as small as possible. Turning my face away as it moves closer, 'Don’t look,' I think not wanting to see that terror-inducing mask up close. For a long while all I hear is it’s breathing and my whimpering voice, “Please don’t hurt me.” I gasp over and over like a sontra. 'Any moment I'm going to be electrocuted. Finally, it touches me and I’m able to release the cry building up inside me but it doesn't hurt. It pulls me out of the locker with no effort. Holding me by my shirt behind my shoulders like a scruff. I stay curled up, whimpering. I can't think I'm so terrified. Wrapping my arms around my face, tears pour down it dripping off my chin onto the floor. For a second the alien watches this then tucks me in the crook of it’s arm. For a second I think it might still claw me but then with a few sniffs it covers me with it’s other claw and walks towards the exploded chunk of the building.
The metal is cool against my face and it’s a little dimmer. Slowly I release the breath I was holding, literally unable to fight the sense of security I feel. 'But I’ve always needed someone bigger and stronger to protect me. I can't control it.' In the back of my mind I know I should be terrified but other than a sick-to-my-stomach feeling I’m surprisingly calm. I squint as we step outside then gawk through the aliens claws at the spaceship illegally parked right outside the school. It’s mouth open to swallow us. “Wait!” I gasp, suddenly remembering something important, tapping on the aliens metal armour to get it’s attention. To my surprise it actually lifts it’s claw to look down at me. I flinch away from the blacked out gaze of the alien, “M, my parents. I should at least leave a note.” I gesture like I’m writing with pen and paper. I shiver anxiously while I wait for a response. He turns his head to face forward again and keeps walking. I sigh, at least I tried. ‘Sorry mom and dad, I know you’ll be worried to death.’ Then suddenly I’m scrabbling to hold on to him as the alien leans forward, picking up a discarded backpack. He offers it to me silently. 'Oh my gosh we just communicated!' I think. Eyes filled with aw, heart swelling, I quickly dump the useless books out of the backpack leaving only a notebook. I fumble with it, hands shaking worried he’d cut me short because he got tired of waiting. Opening the notebook to an empty page I dig for a pencil. Finding one after an agonizing moment I hastily scribbled. ‘Mom, Dad, I’ve been taken by the aliens,’ who knew so soon after we saw it on the news, ‘I'm sorry I didn’t fight,’ Sorry I never fight and that I'm such a burden on you, maybe now you can mourn me and be happy, even have another kid. ‘They killed my bully’ I scribble ‘my bully,’ out continuing with, ‘Someone right in front of me. I love you and I’ll do everything I can to survive,’ They’d want me to do that right? I look up, noticing the alien looking, ‘can he read what I’m writing...ah well it doesn’t matter.’ ‘One of the aliens is treating me nicely, even letting me write this letter so, I’ll be okay. Love you bye,’ my hand trembles harder as I sign my name. ‘Sylvester.’ I tear the paper out and then freeze, ‘What do I do with it?!’ The alien takes it from me and lifting his head goes into the spaceship. I look around quickly. 'This might be the last time I see earth. I look at the smoking hole in the side of my school and the empty roads stretching out around us, ‘where’s the police and fire department? Are they on their way or do they know that they’re outmatched, no military or helicopters either.’ Before I can protest, he dumps me in the arms of a different alien and runs back into the school. My heart is racing, the new alien sniffs me and I cringe curling away from it, hiding my face. For some reason I feel like that pleased it. ‘I’m uncomfortable. I don’t care about pleasing this one, it's not the one that saved me.’ When the alien that captured me comes running back on all fours, I reach for him. 'These aliens are obviously bipedal.' He rises onto two feet and then as he doesn't reach for me I realize he’s not going to take me back. A silent conversation seems to go between the two aliens and then suddenly I’m walking away. Foreboding hits me so hard my stomach twists itself into a knot. I struggle reaching for the alien, he’s not even looking at me, “No!” I scream. That got his attention. I feel tears streaming down my face as I get pushed down into the other aliens embrace, “No!” ‘I want you.’ I think , ‘I don’t know why but without you… “I’m scared!”The other alien lifts his claws, one hovering over my neck and I flinch. I can smell the ozone-like electricity in the air, 'This is it. This is going to hurt really bad.' Sobs racked my chest. Suddenly my alien is snatching me from the others arms with a growl I hope was aimed towards the other alien. I turn towards him burying my face in his chest, sobs easing until I’m just hyperventilating. He covers me with his claws like before, I grab onto one, refusing to let go. My eyes are closed tight but I sense him looking at me, I feel it’s metal chest press against me and relax in what I’m assuming is a large sigh. The alien I had thrown my lot in with sniffs me, then as the door shuts slowly behind us, walks me deeper into the spaceship. 'I really hope I made the right choice.'