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Guardian Cries of Planet Earth

The Expanse of Humanity is carried by our Screams.

By Kali MailhotPublished 2 years ago 7 min read

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.

The war between galaxies left thousands floating endlessly through the vast domain. Their corpses reaching singular coordinates never once tread by the foot of human kind. Their cries of agony went even further beyond the imaginable distance. Everyone I know continues the lives of peaceful ignorance, all thanks to the martyrs of human kind.

The news of our success came late at night. My baby sister was already tucked into bed, and my parents seemingly not bothered as ever by the ongoing events of war, in favor of battles fought within their own daily hectic life. I turned off my desktop and listened to the mute hum of the dead of night. Occasionally crickets chirped, a dog barked, the wind carried through the trees which cast shadows against the light let in from my window. As I stared out into the dark streets, my face was hit suddenly by a brisk wind, so cold it felt like it sucked the breath right out from my lungs. As my throat caught, I erupted in coughs and shook away the shuddering feelings of a cold night.

The next day, the news of all those lost to the space was accompanied by the release of new information from the space research centers. As the depths of space pulled in both casualties and those still clinging to life, scientists picked up a sound never heard before from a black hole near the site of the war. They figured this unclassified sound couldn’t be a result of the war, as it would take thousands and thousands of years for those gravitational waves after the war to reach our detectors on earth.

Yet soon after - people started reporting hearing a strange sound in the quiet spaces of their surroundings in through the night, underneath the creeping blanket of stars. Open windows letting cool breezes in carried more than just the sound of wind howling. It even seemed to permeate the buildings, as you could press your ear onto the walls and hear the vibrations of the sound with great clarity. My parents became concerned with my little sister as she sat awake each night, unable to sleep - listening to this strange sound with large, round eyes, curled up in a corner at the top of her bed. As for myself, I found it easy to close my eyes and let myself be carried away to distant dreams by this sound, as if I were floating to the source of the sound.

Vast crop fields, rural roads skirting dark forest edges, lakes covered in fog, concrete walls of underground parking lots - those spots are where the source of sound was first reported to be coming from. They silenced the nature around it as critters stood alert and listening. First it was a curious thing - a sound like a slowed and skidded recording of door creaking, warped to a low tempo. Now and then, the sound increases in the volume it speaks, the intensity of it curving up suddenly, then droning off.

Now, the dread creeps up on all of us each time the sound returns - for its wailing began to sound like the low, distant, wails of humans; a symphony of agony and torture as they cry for home. It came to a point where you could not retreat from it, as every night the sound started, the intensity would grow with each waxing and waning cycle of the sound - like someone repeatedly circling around us on a slow, deadly rollercoaster.

Clear night skies became something to be feared, as the slight light provided by the stars molded giant, monstrous shapes from the dark with human morphologies; over-stretched in their limbs, necks, and extremities. But it didn't matter - we knew peace, and the figures of night with their moaning wails were just that - and nothing more.

As fearsome as they were, we started to yearn for these figures to appear during the day, so as to take place of the occasional UFO spotted. The UFOs dotting our blue skies were signs we were still being hunted. They stood still in the sky, watching - but never coming closer, zipping away before the figures of night took their place.

Earth fought in a galactic war to protect our way of life. Great explorers pushed back on the advanced alien populations which were revealed to secretly be preying on us through our advent of warp travel. Now, those great explorers, thought lost to the abyss of space, stand over our planet, caressing the sky-scape with their over stretched arms, wailing a symphony of despair. I imagine this to be the story of our time, every night as I slowly drift off to their sounds - and let myself be carried away.

"Tom?"

"Tom."

"Tom, wake up. Wake up."

"HEY!"

I jolted awake with a sharp exhale and immediate inhale, feeling as if I just surfaced from a deep sea dive, pressure equilibrating between my lungs and the air around it. As I came to, I realized I fell asleep on the couch last night, and I looked into my dad's eyes as he firmly gripped my shoulders. His brows furrowed and mouth hanging open, he exclaims - "Why are you messing around like that? I thought there was something wrong with you."

Whatever he might have witnessed, I had no idea was happening - until the following week, when I nodded off in class.

The sounds of my classmates giggling and whispering carried into my head, pushing away the sleepiness of my daydream. When suddenly - I heard the same moaning sound that has bewitched our planet through night. They are here - during the day! I jump awake, eager to look for where that sound is coming from.

Several pairs of eyes on me, with curious expressions - some hidden behind their phones recording... me, apparently. "Oh - He's awake! Heeheehee!" The joke is done, as they sheepishly return to their private circles. I know I drool in my sleep, but do kids need to be so cruel about it? I look around the room and exchange glances with the girl beside me - a look on her face I've only seen once elsewhere before, as her widened round eyes remind me of my little sister's while she listens to the strange sounds of night.

"No, he's baa-ing! Like a goat!"

It's break later that day, as I pass by classmates laid out among the cement half-wall that traces the pathways outside the building entrance. Some sit and pluck grass while others huddle around the one person's phone - the one who uttered something about goats.

"Oh, there he is. Yo, Tom. Tom! Earth to Tom! Come over just for a second please?"

They yell after me as I pass by. Didn't plan on making new acquaintances today, but it's rude to not respond to calls to action.

"How about my time in exchange for snacks?" I rebuke.

Haaa-ha. Then a long pause. Dead stare. "Oh - he's serious."

"Sora - you've got anything in your bag for goats? How about that hay stuck on your shoe?" The perpetrator chides, as the girl from beside me in class looks up from her collection of mutilated grass.

"Actually, we feed our goats licorice on our farm," she pushes past Mr. Perpetrator. "So you're in luck. Do you want some?"

What young man would ever turn down candy? I mean I would have preferred a slushie, but this will do.

"Well if it means I'm a goat, then I guess I'm a goat." I grab a few long pieces of licorice from the bag in her extended hand, and chomp down on them with satisfaction.

"Really!? So you really do wanna be a goat huh? I guess I'm right then." This guy is starting to tick me off.

"What's this idea? Are you trying to herd me into some animorph cult?"

"That's what I was going to ask you." He shows me his phone, which plays the video they took of me when I nodded off in class earlier.

"Ohhhhhh-uhhhhhhhhhh."

The low hum of wailing moans plays from the phone speaker. I watch speechlessly as I transfix my gaze onto the video, which focuses directly on me - clearly where the sound of the night is coming from.

"Must have been some wild dream, huh??"

"Beehhhh- luhhhhh... Behhhhh-luhhhhhh."

"You know that sounds like to me? BAA-aaa-aaah!!"

"Are you going to go on about this all day Aaron?" Sora disrupts my fixation with her question. I snap back and glance into the eyes of all the spectators.

"You probably don't even know what you were dreaming about. It's okay, don't let him bother you."

Too kind. But I am just as curious as Aaron the perpetrator - now I remember, in that waking moment I felt the same suffocating feelings in my lungs, like I was in a vacuum of space.

In that moment I look up to the sky - and spy a UFO spying down on us.

"Right Tom? It was just a dream. How could you recall it..."

"Bestla!" A spectator announces themselves with their sharp exclamation, followed by a push to their glasses up their nose with a single index finger.

"Um..sorry?"

"Um! That's what he's saying. It's pretty obvious. Like that character in the new show about Vikings. Maybe he stayed up too late watching TV and got immersed in the characters. I would know - it happens to me all the time!"

"I wouldn't know - haven't gotten around to watching that," I chime in.

Feeling a bit of a collective snub, the spectator with her round glasses turns away in a single step. Off to cast about her unwelcome theories elsewhere, I suppose.

Bestla.

I sit in my room with an idle mind - unable to turn away from that word. It gnaws at me, and I can't seem to escape it. I punch it into Google and find it's more than just a fictional Norse character.

Bestla.

Gliese 581 d.

Mother, frost giant.

One of the likely candidates for an Earth-like planet.

I shudder as a cold suddenly overwhelms me. These words haunt me even more. I shut my laptop and look out the window. Another UFO spies our landscape, in the reddening sky of a sunset. I feel assurance knowing that night is coming soon.

Only this time, I feel like something is pulling me in with every darkening hour.

Sci Fi

About the Creator

Kali Mailhot

hobby poet always looking for new things to write about.

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Comments (4)

  • Erin Hensley2 years ago

    I really liked the thread of auditory imagery that ran throughout. Nice job!

  • There are so many magnetic nuggets to mine in these few words. I find I want to get to know Tom, who I believe is on Earth, but maybe not! I haven't written in this genre since high school. No, I take that back. My fiance and I wrote a sci-fi play, in the style of Star Trek, in college. For a graduate class, I designed a working "transporter." I mention this because this first chapter has the flavor of the expected becoming unexpected, throwing the reader for a loop! Good job. I hope you take a moment to read my offering.

  • Steven Dean2 years ago

    Good story, with nice world building and characters that have some dimension. Good job! Check out my story too, please.

  • Jori T. Sheppard2 years ago

    Ooh I’d like to see this as a book someday. Hopefully you have the drive to write it. A lot of effort was put into your work and it shines. Best of luck to you in the challenge

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Kali MailhotWritten by Kali Mailhot

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