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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Dreamscapes

Galapagos one
Gordon Ray Bourgon

Q hid behind a fat willow, its bark scarred with ancient declarations of love and obedience. She watched Them arrive out of a smoky western sky. She ran a hand over her swollen belly.

We took position on Waterworks Hill and watched Their crafts descend upon the shallow, black water of the abandoned yacht club. The wind from their machines toppled broken shells of pleasure boats as though they were brittle leaves of forgotten trees. Some of us stood like beacons, arms high, fingers waving, forced smiles cracking dour faces. Others huddled, locked arms, pressed lips to ears and whispered soothing encouragements. Others tightened grips around wooden staffs and fist-sized stones, and stood in defiance and fear.
We knew they were coming.

The landings were completed in under an hour. In another hour, They began to leave their crafts and venture forth into our home They named Galapagos One. To record Their observations, we were told, They needed a name: something borrowed yet full of hope. Galapagos One.

All knew this day would come. Word was sent to the rest of the world, that we were the last of a kind. Bastions of adaptation in an exhausted, soon to be lifeless world. Our women were able to conceive.

Q watched them land, and I watched Q, with love, with something like pity. I was afraid of what I knew I had to do. I was afraid Q would not understand.
"Greetings, all, and thank you for the warm welcome!" They said to us in loud, electronic voices, voices that reverberated down your spine, down to your toes.
"Greetings, all, and thank you for the warm welcome!" Again, and nothing more. Except the same words, again, and again.
Then, like a colony of bees, They approached us on the hill with a sureness of movement, like they did not need our permission. They came with purpose.

They were all alike. They looked like slender, black seals that were able to grow legs and walk. Even their movements were as one. All of us were so different from one another; the contrast of our differences and Their similarities was striking. We adapted to our environment, and They seemed to want to control, assimilate theirs.

Some of us with staffs and stones became agitated and backed further up the hill, congregating around willows and other people just standing in confusion. We looked at each other, and at any woman who was expecting child.
These women soon herded themselves into a tight circle. They whispered to one another and huddled. Q, I noticed, joined them. I could not get to her in time.
"Greetings, all, and thank you for the warm welcome!"

The explosions came and the hill flew skyward in earthy clumps. Some of us, standing where the earth suddenly gave way, flew upward as well, and came back down in pieces.
"Greetings, all, and thank you for the warm welcome!"

A pack of us made its way to our pregnant women. There were cries, and muffled, controlled sobs, as if there was a collective understanding. I looked for Q, and finally caught her looking at me through the advancing pack. She smiled. I smiled. Someone gave me a staff, and smiled as well.

Explosions came closer and more frequently. We expected there to be nothing left of the hill in short order. But they kept advancing, in swarms, oblivious to the ground erupting all around them.
I found myself in our pack. My arm raised with the staff gripped tight in my hand. There was a whispered chorus of: "I love you. Peace. I love you. Peace," over and again, even when the beatings began.
I saw Q’s head smashed open. Saw her fall to the ground, buried under the fallen bodies of other pregnant women.
"I love you. Peace," I whispered.
"Greetings, all, and thank you for the warm welcome!"

The dead, pregnant women lay on their backs with their hands resting on their rounded bellies. We cried. We knelt and held the stilled bodies of our loved ones. More explosions all around us. You sensed the hill was about to collapse.
One by one we were prodded and stilled by spear-like staffs that buzzed when they touched us. I watched my friends collapse to the torn up earth. I waited my turn.

If we were dying, we all died separate and unique deaths. To our very last breath we refused to conform. We had no regrets. We would have welcomed any stranger that came to our home.
I heard a buzz and felt a quick, burning sting on the back of my neck. I fell forward, on top of Q. I smiled, and I waited to be carried off to a new beginning with my wife and my friends.

All around, the world as I knew it became almost musical with explosions, with the final gasps of us dying, and the constant and somewhat soothing words, "Greetings, all, and thank you for the warm welcome!"

© Gordon Ray Bourgon June 2009

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