Sunday, 27 June 2021

'Gods and Men' by Alastair Millar

When The Things arrived in their ships of pure energy, we thought Them gods in bright chariots.

But like gods, They did as They would; at best we were playthings, at worst an obstruction, usually an annoyance. Within a year, we had been dispossessed, skulking among what remained of our cities, trying to survive Their capriciousness.

Jenny and I were scavenging again. It was a risk, one of Them had been seen that morning, but the group needed to eat and we’d come prepared. The sack writhed in her hand as we scooted from rubble to ruin, making for a convenience store where I’d seen canned goods the day before, unlooted only because so few of us were left.

We’d got in, and were standing there panting, smiling at the tins on the shelf, when one of Them came straight through the plate glass windows, six feet long, landing on all fours.  

We froze, because movement attracted them. The rat-like head swivelled, uncertain. We held our breaths, but as it started to turn away a mewling came from the sack, and it twisted back. This time the sensory plates glowed and it saw us.

We dove in opposite directions, but as she hit the ground Jenny let the cat out of the bag, and it furiously took advantage of its chance at freedom. Leaping forwards took it towards the Thing, which reared up, screaming, and fled. Like all gods They were flawed, their inexplicable ailurophobia all that gave us a chance to live through encountering Them.

In time, inevitably, we would come to worship Bastet; today, we were just glad to eat.

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