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Salomé's Locket

A Family Heirloom That Transformed Our Reality

By Jennifer Vasallo Published 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 8 min read
Photograph by Jennifer Vasallo

It has been thirteen years since the invasion. We were out manned, out gunned, and out willed. The Metataurians were a force to be reckoned with and it was clear that they weren’t leaving until their mission was complete. At first, there were peace talks with all the major governmental figures of this planet, but this was merely a façade. The Metataurians did not intend to actively partake in peace talks. What they wanted was a distraction. They needed to buy enough time to build their ‘reeducation’ camps while the humans of the world bickered and argued over fickle matters, as they usually do. Once they arrived, they treated our planet like their new home. We did not know it at the time, but prior to invasion, the Metataurians had run various espionage missions on our planet. During these missions, they concluded that we were a society of hyper connected creatures who did not know how to use our interconnectivity as a force of good. They knew our digital connectivity had the potential to create bonds, but more importantly, they quickly realized that it could be used as a tool to create wedges among the people of this planet. They knew we hated each other for things like gender identity, culture, race, religion, sexuality, political ideologies, etc. They knew that we had weaknesses. They knew some of us were gullible. They knew we were greedy and self-preserving; they even knew that we were quick to hide behind the anonymity of a digital screen. Like every dynasty from the past, with the knowledge of our weaknesses, they did not hesitate to extort it.

Their campaigns were phased out in a very Cesarian way—divide, conquer, and subjugate. The first wave consisted of deep cover espionage. They created online chatter that was geared towards disrupting our social spheres. They infiltrated us with misinformation, distrust, and created chaos amongst the different societies of the world. Once they knew that we were weak enough, they made their entrance and welcomed phase two. They touched down on July 29, 2129. Much like September 11, a day that the history books say, ‘lives in infamy’, their arrival was truly something you’d never forget. The people here thought this would be an opportunity to learn from them, use their technologies, and colonize the rest of our galaxy, but our government officials couldn’t house these beings. They didn’t know where to begin. Some countries had reservations about the Metataurians; others wanted to welcome them with open arms; some wanted to kill them and experiment on them. All the while we were arguing and not coming up with any real solutions, the Metataurians covertly built their camps. Once these camps were built, they moved into phase three. Phase three was the most brutal of them all. In what felt like a blink of an eye, thousands of golden space crafts invaded our world. It was evident that these beings did not come in peace. These factions touched down, and in neatly organized, militaristic style formations, they broke into every single house, apartment, and townhouse, on our planet. Families were ripped apart from one another. The elderly were taken to a field and killed in a way that was reminiscent of the Cuban firing squads, and the babies who were too young to work were thrown into the depths of the freezing Antarctic. For those like me, who were of working age, we were forced into ‘reeducation’ camps.

I remember the day that they came for us. I was 20 years old then. I was lying in bed, watching television, and listening to my grandmother, Lazara, singing her lullabies to my four-year-old brother, Antonio. This night, my mother was working the overnight shift at the bodega and my grandmother was taking care of us. It was an average night, so you can image how shocked I was when I heard the marching footsteps down the hall. Something about this sound made me uneasy. Before I could even completely process what was going on just down the hall, out of fear I grabbed my favorite family picture, pulled it from the frame on the mantle, grabbed by grandmothers’ heart-shaped locket heirloom from atop the piano, and began to put on my favorite Assata Shakur t-shirt and combat boots. I heard the online rumors that the Metataurians were invading homes, but I did not want to believe it because I genuinely thought they were here to help. It wasn’t until they were knocking down our door that it hit me—the rumors were true! I did not have time to pack, but I knew if the rumors were true, it would surely mean death for my abuelita and my little brother. I ran into my brother’s bedroom, warned my grandmother of what was waiting for us, and before I could even act, my grandmother looked at me with tears rolling down her face and said, “if the rumors are true Salomé, you must run before they sequester you. Find your mother, warn her, and survive mija. I will take care of your brother.” I was yelling, begging her to come with me, but she insisted that I leave. She knew that she could not keep up, and that if she and Antonio could not make it out, at least they would not be holding me back. I cried hysterically and kept on begging, but she insisted that I leave. I gave her a tight hug, a kiss on the cheek, and as I was jumping out of the window to run down the fire escape ladder on the side of the building, I saw the Metaturians entering our apartment. I knew I should have run, but the shock that overcame me in that moment caused me to freeze. From the fire escape window, I saw my grandmother holding my brother tightly. I saw him being pried from her arms, saw them branding him, and putting him into a cage. I saw them tasering my grandmother to the ground; I saw her fighting them; I saw them dragging her outside to the ally where she faced the firing squad. I saw my grandmother die. I wanted to scream, I wanted to fight back, but I knew that if I did anything rash, that I would be taken. I held my tears and once the coast was clear, I ran down the stairs, and followed through on my grandmothers dying wish. I ran to that bodega in hopes that I would make it to my mother before the Metataurians did.

After what felt like an hour of running, I made it to the bodega. I was frantically looking for my mom, and after searching the storage room, my heart sank to the pit of my stomach. I found her in the back room with a gaping wound in her chest. This wasn’t a wound made by human guns. It was a wound which looked foreign to me. The skin around he wound looked as if it were melted rubber. She looked like one of those old commercials that were supposed to dissuade teens from smoking pot—she was a melted, rubbery, lifeless version of herself sans the couch. She was gone. At this point, there was nothing that I could do but keep moving. I crept through the alleys, trying to carefully make my way out of the city and into the countryside. I didn’t even make it past the Brooklyn bridge. As I was crossing, I felt my body floating through the air. Defying the laws of gravity, ascending, and enveloped in this clear digital netting. I soon realized I was superficially lifted into one of the terrestrial jets. When I made it onto the jet, I was tagged, bound in electrical handcuffs, put into a secluded pod, and taken to a ‘reeducation’ camp. When I arrived on the camp, I was plucked from my pod, put on a conveyor belt, and microscopically latched in place. I could not move, but what I did see was a conveyor belt filled with preteens, teens, and young adults making their way through a motorized labyrinth. As the sterile labyrinth continued to unwind, it came to a stop, and I arrived at my destination—a room of my own.

Much like the rest of this undisclosed location, my room was bland, devoid of color, and within minutes, an effervescent screen popped up from under the floor in front of me. From out of the screen walked a majestic, holographic Metataurian. She looked regal and called herself Synosia. She described herself as the Caretaker of Ingenuity and she informed me that after running a diagnostic while on the conveyor belt, it was decided that I belonged to the group of Ingenuity. It was explained that this group was comprised of quick witted, headstrong intellectuals, who showed propensities for creating. I had never known myself to be of the sort, but I dared not question it for fear of retaliation. Synosia told me that from here on out I would be escorted from my pod to the workstation where I would put together advanced Metataurian weaponry in the morning and attend ‘reeducation’ lecturers in the evening. For ten years, this was my life—from my workstation to my pod, and from my pod to the ‘reeducation’ lectures. Monotony kills the spirit, but vengeance fuels my motivation.

Throughout my time in this camp, I figured out a way to covertly steal spare parts from the Metataurians. I watched their routines and schedules and I plotted. Each night when I finished my tinkering duties at my workstation and was dropped off inside my pod, I would pull out my grandmother’s locket and the picture that I kept hidden. This was my ritualistic melancholic motivation session. With the parts that I stole from the Metataurians by day, by night I would tinker and turn my locket into a powerful weapon. Something so small and inconspicuous, and yet, I managed to give it the capability of voice activated regenerating minutia bomb. See, after so many years of working with Metataurian technology, I learned a thing or two. For years I kept watch and tinkered. Biding my time and waiting for my moment. Finally, after years of waiting, that moment came while I was working my shift on March 9, 2139. The comfortable Metataurian guards that were usually watching our group went out for a shift change and I decided this was my chance to take them by surprise. I ran through my workstation, rallied up as many Ingenuity members as I could, and together we crept through the corridors, past the med bay station, and into the command center. Not a word was communicated to the Ingenuity members beforehand, but it was as if they knew that this would be their opportunity to act out on what we had all been collectively thinking. One by one, we killed any Metataurian that crossed us. I set off my locket bomb again and again until we finally rallied enough people together to overtake most of the camp and disengage our tagging devices. When we made it to the control center, I found myself staring straight into the eyes of Synosia. She was bombarded by a collective of ravaged, restless, vengeful humans. All of us firmly set on working together and destroying the oppressive regime. In one last display of calculated impulsivity, I set my locket off one more time, and the brightest purple hue emitted from it. I let go all the rage I had felt for years and killed Synosia with my innovative Huma-Taurian locket. After that day, the humans of Ingenuity were able to claim and lock down the camp from future invaders. This is why we fight, Celeste. We fight for our existence; we fight for the family members who are on other camps; we fight, together, for the future of our species.

Short Story

About the Creator

Jennifer Vasallo

Educator by day, writer by night. Millennial. Lover of literature, films, taking pictures, surrealist art, cafecito, cultura, travel, making memories, and my familia. Join me on this wild ride we call life from my perspective🖖🏼

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