A Christmas Invasion by Hazel Dains
We're so excited. Here is the very first installment of our short stories from the Space-y Christmas contest. First up is author Hazel Dains, who has prepared for us an epic and heart-felt space invasion story. I hope you like scary scaly aliens. Check out her full author spotlight at the end of the story. Enjoy!
Adults pushed and prodded Lyon towards the platform of a rocket that carried everyone in his settlement. It was supposed to take them all to a distant planet where the Mundas couldn’t track them. Lyon had no intention of going with, even as he was being pushed towards the open gate onto the airfield. He couldn’t leave behind the only home he’d ever known. He couldn’t abandon the house that his family had owned for generations. Even if it meant certain invasion by the terrifying monster race of aliens. Even if it meant death.
“Papers, please,” one of the guards asked with his hand open.
“Don’t got any,” Lyon said.
“What do you mean?”
“My parents didn’t leave me any papers.”
“Orphan?” the guard asked unfeelingly.
“Yes, my mama, she’s—”
“No time for that, son. Step to the side.”
Lyon did as he was told and stepped to the left of the entrance unsupervised. He knew this was his chance. He had to get back to his house. He’d rather die there than on that spaceship to nowhere. He took a few casual steps back from the guards and from the crowd assembled before them and then bolted. He ran as fast as he could, across the open tarmac towards the settlement, not looking back for a second to see who was shouting at him. He ran farther and faster until the shouts dimmed, and he knew he was in the clear. The tarmac of the airfield turned into a blue-grass field. No one had ever told him why the grass on Jipher was blue.
"He couldn’t abandon the house that his family had owned for generations. Even if it meant certain invasion by the terrifying monster race of aliens. Even if it meant death."
His settlement, Rignum Kitis, came into view. It was a small town stretched over a wide flat plain and guarded by fields of bluegrass on all sides. There was nothing particularly special about the town—or the entire moon for that matter. He often wondered why the Mundas cared so much about the land and why they wanted to take it back. Didn’t they have their own planet? He knew they did. It must just be for greed. Or just for fun.
Without stopping, he ran past terrified refugees leaving their homes and dodged startled looks and the odd shout, ‘Hey, you’re going the wrong way!” or “Forget something?” Avoiding eye contact with the worried hustlers escaping invasion, he continued through the streets of the almost abandoned town and headed towards his family’s house.
It was an impressive place, a square stone house with eight rectangular windows in the front, a double-wide door painted burgundy, and an iron gilded fence lining the blue lawn in the front. Every time he looked at it, he saw his mother standing at the front door with her arms open to receive him. At first, he smiled at the thought, and then a single tear trickled down his face. How could he leave this place? How could he leave her?
The answer was, he couldn’t.
The day after he’d run from the rocket’s platform, he heard a deafening noise of a machine starting up, and then a windstorm picked up and rocked his entire house. He knew that the rocket was leaving the moon with all the people that he’d ever known. He ran towards the living room window at the front of the house and looked up at the deep-blue sparkling sky that was being rudely engulfed by the trail of smoky-grey jetstream. They’re gone. I’m alone, he thought.
Day One of isolation went by with no troubles. Lyon found things to do around the house that distracted him from the quiet of outside. He closed the curtains and turned on the TV all day just so that he could hear the sound of another human voice.
A good day, he thought. No problem at all! Didn’t miss them. And no aliens. This is gonna be a cinch!
Day Seven of isolation was agonizingly long, with the quiet beginning to taunt him. He wasn’t sure what he expected to feel, being abandoned and all. And he had chosen this, hadn’t he? Regret, despair, and loneliness were creeping into his soul and weakening his desire to do anything.
Ok, I’ve had enough now. You can all come back! God, I’m such an idiot! Why didn’t I just go?
"The exhaust from their ships’ engines took over the skies, and the moon shook as all thirty ships landed on the airfield just five miles from Lyon’s house."
Day Eight of isolation broke the spell of his torrential despair, as an immense purple and red thundercloud hung over the sky. Or at least Lyon thought it was a thundercloud. In reality, it was an army—the Mundas had come. The exhaust from their ships’ engines took over the skies, and the moon shook as all thirty ships landed on the airfield just five miles from Lyon’s house.
Lyon was not going to be brave. His plan was to hunker down and stay in his house. He knew that, from everything he’d been told about the Mundus, he’d have no chance. Death was coming for him one way or another.
Day Eleven. Lyon had expected it to be all over by now, given that the Mundas had landed a whole three days before. He knew they were still there because noise had entered the streets again. Lyon was curious, having never seen one in real life, and so he looked out his window onto the streets and saw that they resembled man-sized crocodiles, which at first terrified him, but then as he watched them more closely, his terror abated. They were walking in groups, hand in hand, skipping, and playing games together. Weird. They don’t look like murderous monsters to me!
He stood by the window all day, watching the crocodile things walking around. He saw that some had a tie-died army-like jumpsuits. Those guys were walking in front of family units pointing at houses on his street, stopping in front of some of them, while the jumpsuited aliens talked and pointed. They were much more interesting to watch than the TV.
Day Twelve. A knock at the front door. There were no more people on Jipher so it had to be an alien knocking! Why are they knocking? Do they know I’m here? How? Questions clouded Lyon’s mind as he scrambled to get out of bed and answer the aliens at his door. He opened the left side of his double doors and bravely peered out onto the front porch where one tie-died army crocodile stood, with a family of four behind him. The crocodile looked down at him with a grin and began to speak his language.
“Hello there, Liber boy,” said the Mundi. “My name is General Kindum. I have a family of four here that needs a place to live. Would you kindly see them in?”
"He just stood frozen in the doorway, half expecting one of them to eat him right there."
Lyon had never had a conversation with a Mundi before and had no idea how to respond or what to think. He just stood frozen in the doorway, half expecting one of them to eat him right there. But none of them did. They just stood there staring at him and waiting for him to respond. Finally, the lady standing behind General Kindum came forward and kneeled so that she was eye to eye with Lyon.
“Oh, poor dear,” she said, “you must be scared to death. You’re too young to have seen one of us in the flesh before, right?”
Lyon managed to nod his head but didn’t move otherwise. The kind Mundi woman stood up and motioned for her husband to come forward. He did so, bent over just like she had, and opened a bag full of treats: cakes, donuts, a tray of cheeses and meats, and a fresh loaf of bread. The food smelled like nothing he’d ever had before, like it would be flavourful and comforting.
“Could we come in and share this meal with you, to start?” said the husband.
“What’s your name?” the woman Mundi asked.
Lyon bravely whispered his name to the large crocodile in front of him.
“Lyon, let me tell you about Christmas,” the woman Mundi said.
Meet Hazel Dains
After years of suffering from writer's block, Hazel has finally discovered the secret to unleashing the writer within her. And now she can't stop!
Hazel lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two small children. She doesn't find it very hard to find inspiration for her next story, staring out into the wild fields in her backyard. The possibilities are endless.
Hazel has many exciting projects on the go, including her debut novel The Danger of Exposure, out in 2022.
Follow her on social media @HazelDains or visit her author website www.hazeldains.com.