THE RED STAR PAST MARS By Patrick Christian
It was dark and cold. Her sweaty brown hair clung to her face and her breathing was labored. Sandra felt her heart pounding and anxiety made her muscles tight. The metal table was foreign and her kidnappers were not of this world. Only yesterday, she was walking her dog in the field behind her house, and the fragrance of lilac filled the air. That’s when they got her...
Sandra threw a stick into the long flowing weeds. “Go get it!” The puppy took off. Then, the dog immediately ran out of the brush and jumped into her arms. “What’s the matter, Loki?”
Sandra held the terrified puppy. She was dumbfounded. Then, in the weeds, she made out the form of someone lying face down. The thought that she had might’ve just found a dead body scared her. The wind blew through her fine red hair as she approached.
The body was humanoid, with two arms, two legs and a large head with long spiny quills pulled back on it, like a ponytail. Its skin was green and it had three long fingers on each hand. It wore a black skintight suit and a facemask. The creature was sprawled out, as if dead. Sandra didn’t know what to do. She wondered if it needed a doctor.
Looking back now, as she lay strapped to a cold table, Sandra knew she should have run away and never looked back.
The alien was, in fact, dead. Unfortunately, the other aliens were not. Sandra didn’t consider there might be others in the area and she certainly didn’t hear them when they grabbed her from behind and knocked her out.
The next thing Sandra knew, she was in a small metal cell with ten other people. They stared at her as woke up. “Good morning, dear,” said Winnie Mitchell, an old woman in a red flowered dress.
Sandra saw despair on their faces. “Where am I?”
“We’re on their ship. In outer space.”
“What do they want with us?”
“I don’t know, child. They take people from time to time. You are the newest arrival. I assume they let them go … or kill them,” Clara noted sadly.
“They took my grandson a few hours ago,” added Ted Sinclair. “We were walking in the park.”
“We must escape,” Sandra said.
“One kid tried to run, but they shot him with a laser gun. He was just a boy,” Ted added. “Since then, we sit here and wait. I’ve been here two weeks. I’m the longest.”
Sudden footsteps in the hallway caused them to turn in fright towards the door. Sandra watched nervously as a huge green creature, seven feet tall, peered into the cell. His face was like a boar, a long snout and two huge teeth protruding upward. His eyes were black and lifeless. The creature produced a key from his belt and pushed it into the locking mechanism.
The door popped open and the alien lunged. Ted screamed and tried to get away, but the creature subdued him with blows to the head and dragged him out into the unknown.
Sandra noticed the creature dropped the key as he fought with Ted. She snatched it off the floor and unlocked the door. “Come on! We can find a way out! Maybe we’re still on the ground!”
The others stayed huddled in the corner. They refused to move. They hid their faces like a child hides from an abusive father. She wondered what they had seen that scared them so much they would rather stay in this cell.
When the alien returned, Sandra hid between two huge canisters. Again, he stopped in front of the cell. But this time, the creature threw something in and walked away.
Sandra snuck back to the cell and saw the people fighting over a large piece of meat on the floor. The meat slid off of the bone in different directions, each person ripping flesh off of it, like wolves.
As she peered closer, she saw it was a human arm, and she vomited. “This is all they give us!” Winnie called out. The captives lost concentration for a moment, then returned to their feast. Sandra watched the macabre dinner. Even the animals they lock in cages back home hesitate before eating their own.
Suddenly, a hand touched her from behind. Sandra spun around and was surprised by a little boy. She pulled him to her breast and held him tight. She tried to hide the horrific scene in the cell, but she knew that the boy had seen it.
The little boy motioned for Sandra to follow him. She wondered how long he had been hiding on the ship. Dull blue lights lit the hallway and a buzzing sound came from control panels on the walls. The smell was unbearable, like vinegar and rotting flesh. Sandra was about to find out why.
She followed the little boy into a dark circular room that contained a large machine with blinking lights. Tubes extended out of the machine and ended near the floor at the most awful sight.
Propped up in large silver bowls at the bottom of the machine were human beings without arms and legs. Their heads were bent back and tubes in their mouths extended down their necks, making their necks bulge. They were alive and their eyes followed Sandra and the boy across the room. The limbless humans were in different stages of bondage, but most were fat with fleshy rolls bulging over the sides of the silver bowl. Every once in a while, a greenish-brown substance slid down the tube and fed them, whether they liked it or not. They gulped harshly, cringing in 3 pain as alien food filled their stomachs. Sandra gasped in horror. They’re being fattened up.
The limbless people followed her with sad eyes that seemed to beg her to kill them. If she knew how to stop this madness, she would, but it was too late. Survival was her only concern. Without saying a word, the boy pulled her away. Tears fell from the eyes of the wretched humans as they left.
The next room was filled with loud buzzing machines that looked like water heaters. The boy pulled a steel grate that opened to an air duct and Sandra followed. Fifty meters down the shaft, the boy opened a ceiling grate and they fell to the floor.
Sandra looked around at what appeared to be a small dirty storage room. She saw a thick wire attached to a metal band that looked like a dog collar. There was a pile of cloth with a makeshift pillow in the corner. Scattered about the room were pieces of metal and rubber gaskets. Sandra peeked into a food bowl near the bed. She gasped in horror as she saw a finger in a pool of blood. “My God. This looks like a kennel. Are you their pet?”
Suddenly, Sandra heard a noise. She peeked through the door, and her gag reflex almost gave her away. She saw aliens speaking gibberish around a table that held the bloated body of a limbless man. Tears streamed down his face as he begged for mercy. The alien with the laser paid no attention. The man screamed as his flesh was sheared off and eaten in front of him. When he finally died, the aliens stopped eating.
Sandra watched in horror. Sweat dripped off her head and saliva crept from her mouth. She couldn’t take it anymore. Frightened and without courage or reason, she screamed. “Arrrgggghhh!”
Sandra didn't say anything as the aliens dragged her down the hall. The boy just watched and waved good-bye, untouched by the aliens.. The aliens slammed Sandra down onto the metal table, ripped off her clothes and fastened steel belts around her waist, arms and legs. Then she realized what was about to happen. “No, no, please! Please! Please don't!”
The alien looked Sandra in the eye and smiled as he sawed her arm off. Blood poured from the wound and was cauterized by a small blowtorch. In a matter of minutes, Sandra was limbless and exhausted. The alien carried her to the feeding room. The boy stood to the side, a metal collar around his neck and the wire leading to another alien’s hands.
The alien put Sandra in a silver bowl. Other limbless humans sat in similar bowls all around the machine. She saw Ted. The alien took tubes from the machine and tilted Sandra’s head back enough that her mouth opened. He shoved the tube down her mouth and into her stomach.
It took two months to fatten her up. The next time Sandra saw the boy was when she was on the table, waiting for the aliens to start their feast. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t save us,” she whispered.
The little boy kissed her on the cheek as the alien with the laser approached. He waved goodbye as the alien cut into Sandra’s flesh for the last time.