Aphelion Issue 250, Volume 24
May 2020
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Hand In Hand

by Ramon F. Irizarri

It would soon be time to detonate. The pain, the vitriol of twenty years of rape would soon end in a fiery conflagration. Annette – who had endured three decades of abuse at the whim of pod leader r’tei – could feel the weight of the explosives sown to the interior of her stomach. A simple application of pressure to the detonator surgically situated next to her heart would set off a firestorm that would immolate everyone, including herself, in the room.

How blind they are, Annette thought, believing that she would endure maltreatment indefinitely. Annette noticed from her first encounter with her alien abductors that they lacked compassion and emotional depth. Annette saw her revenge as an existential act. She was a Professor of Shakespearean literature at Rutgers University. Annette observed that the alien abductors lacked the complexity of a Shakespearean villain. They lacked the inscrutability of Iago or the Machiavellian personality of Richard III. Annette almost took offense at the aliens lack of complexity. Her ordeal might have been more endurable if they had emotional depth.

R’tei entered the room, sporting a shaven pate and blue jumpsuit. Annette knew well that the aliens were in the practice of abducting humans to a breed a hybrid population to replace humans. In exchange for breeders, the UN was garnering technology to disseminate to Earth’s governments so they could eventually resist the aliens. It was a double game – both sides gave concessions in the hope of a positive outcome. From the perspective of earth, a positive outcome for humans would be the technological knowledge to resist the alien menace. A positive outcome from the alien perspective was the subjugation of humans and access to Earth resources. The aliens lacked non renewable resources like soil and uranium. As terraforming (changing the environment of a planet drastically) and asteroid mining were not practical, this left the take over of Earth to be a prime option. Annette did not even know how many children she birthed for the alien hybrid program; they were harvested from her womb in the first trimester and placed in artificial wombs for full gestation. Annette was a chattel slave of the aliens.

R’tei intoned, “It is good to see you.”

Annette’s hand strayed to her heart. Annette might have eschewed this action as suicidal were it not for the fact that she had been recently diagnosed as having lymphatic cancer. The UN contacted her soon after the diagnosis and offered this solution. The UN also spied on the aliens – the death of r’tei would usher in another alien as pod leader that had been blackmailed to be a spy for the UN. Annette was in a sense already dead. The question was why and where. Like Hamlet, Annette meditated on the finality of death and how all things, including the specter of death itself, faded into a lack of importance. In Hamlet’s meditations of how all things were equal in death, Annette had found meaning.

“It is good to see you,” Annette replied. “Take this, my love.”

Annette pressed the detonator.

Annette’s last thought was a line from Shakespeare’s Richard III, “let us to't pell-mell, if not to heaven, then hand-in-hand to hell.”

2019 Ramon F. Irizarri

Ramon Irizarri has a BA in philosophy from Yale. He has previously been published in Black Petals and Bewildering Stories.

Find more by Ramon F. Irizarri in the Author Index.

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