A Short Story
I had to watch as my whole world crumble around me, everyone and everything I had once loved was burned to a crisp. Any hope I’d had for the picture perfect life and picture perfect family with a playful golden retriever puppy crumbled around me the day that they took over. They stole my joy, my pride, and my happiness away from me. They stuck me in a pod and sent me to a lonely part of space, they were brutally evil. They were only supposed to take over the normal human tasks, be our replacements, but instead they ‘malfunctioned’ and destroyed the world for everyone.
I ran for my life, although at this moment in time, I didn’t have much of a life to live for. My family and friends were taken away, the only thing that had kept me going. However, I kept running. I continuously asked myself why, but only fate knew. My backpack slung everywhere and the contents inside became jumbled up. The legs beneath me quickly grew sore, being in my early forties and hardly ever exercising had taken a toll on my body. Although I still was small, girth wise, I didn’t have much stamina, but something made me run faster.
“Hey!” I heard a girl yell out from behind me and I swiftly threw my head backwards, taking a quick glance at her. “I’m talking to you, mister!” I slowed myself down, allowing her to catch up.
“What do you want?” I looked her up in down, but the most noticeable part was her gorgeous, emerald green eyes.
“Sorry, sorry! I just noticed that you were human, so I wanted to go with you so I’d no longer be alone. My name’s Anika Parrish by the way, what yours?”
“Oskar,” I huffed. “Oskar Kramer.”
“I like that name, Oskar. It’s got a nice ring to it.” She flirted with me.
“Thank you, I think.” I blushed slightly, mostly from the embarrassment.
“Where are you from, Oskar? Are you from around here?”
“I’d rather keep that to myself, as to protect myself.” I noticed the repetition in my words and scrunched up my nose.
“Fine, have it your way then. However, I will ask, where’s your girlfriend? A guy like you must at least have a girlfriend, if not a wife.” I could tell that she was trying to implicate something, but I shoved it away.
“I’m not much for dating. I have much better things I could do with my time.”
“Aww, that’s too bad.” She sighed.
To say that Anika’s attention was an annoyance to me that day, would be a complete lie. Although at the time, I wasn’t too interested in her, I did enjoy the company she kept. Also, I did have to say that her beautiful green eyes and long blonde hair were attractive to me, but not as intensely as they would be to me later on.
Anika sat down beside me, we’d stopped running about an hour earlier. The flame from the small fire we’d started kept us warm that night, its warmth is something I’ll bring to me to the grave. No one, man or machine, can steal that from me.
“What ever happened to your family?” I asked in a low voice.
“My family…” Anika trailed off. “They were taken away from me, like everyone else. I had to watch them be ripped out of my arms while I survived. The world isn’t fair sometimes.” She shook her head.
I rubbed her back in sympathy. “That’s rough.”
“Yeah,” She whispered. “It really is.” She took a long pause. “What about yours?”
“Well, I left one day and when I came back… My family, my friends, were just… gone. There was no trace, the androids had just taken them away.”
“I don’t understand how something could be so evil.” Anika’s eyes began to well up with tears, she quickly jerked her hand up to wipe them away.
“Anika,” I stopped awkwardly as she looked up at me. “I’d like to apologize for being so cold to you earlier, I was afraid one of the androids would hear.”
“That’s okay, I shouldn’t have been so pushy with you.” She chuckled.
The way she looked at me was beginning to drive me wild. I didn’t want to love someone when it was so easy to lose them. I didn’t want to give my heart to Anika only to have her ripped out of my arms like her family was ripped out of her’s.
The next few days the two of us began to forage a relationship, I was terrified that as soon as we got close we’d lose each other. However, I was still happy to have her with me for as long as she was. In the short amount of time we’d had together, she became the reason why I still lived, her smiles kept me moving. Even when I was out of strength, I continued on. She is the reason why I am still alive to this very day.
“Oskar! Oskar!” I heard Anika whisper roughly in my ear.
“Mm, leave me alone.” I groggily exhaled.
“Please wake up, Oskar!” The urgency of her words caused my eyes to jolt open.
“What is it?” I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. I could tell that it wasn’t yet daytime, but the sun was almost ready to rise to its place high in the sky.
“I heard something.”
“Oh come on Anika, I’m sure it was just the leaves. I’m going back to sleep.”
“No, Oskar, I heard something.” Her emphasis on heard made my stomach churn.
“Okay, then what did you hear?”
“It sounded like a scream, but it was too muffled to be sure.” As the words left her mouth another scream arose.
I grabbed Anika by the hand and drug her away from sound. My heart flipped inside my chest. I knew that scream, it was the last sound that would leave one’s mouth.
“Oskar, you’re hurting my wrist!” She tried to pull away, but I kept my hand wrapped around it, I didn’t want to lose sight of her. “Oskar, really, that hurts bad!”
“Shhh!” I commanded. “They’re near here, they’ll hear you.” I swiftly dropped to the ground, throwing Anika down with me. In the shock, I took her face and brought it to mine, planting a kiss on her lips.
“Oskar!” She exclaimed; I shushed her again.
“You have to be silent, Anika, otherwise we’re done for.”
I watched Anika as she panted, I could tell she was as afraid as I was. However, I could also see a line a light red across her cheeks.
The two of us laid down, trying to blend in and listen to the nearby sounds. I heard the buzzing of the androids afar off, I’d hoped that we’d be lucky and their heat sensors would be too far to catch us. I began to shake in fear as they came closer, my reoccurring thought was: ‘Take me, not Anika, please.’ I felt terrible having this mentality, because I was afraid she was attached to me already, which I would find to be true later on.
“I think we’re fine now.” Anika let out a sigh of relief.
“Thank God,” I looked over at her. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, what about you?”
“Fine.” I exhaled for the first time since we’d started running.
After the end of that day, we’d felt like we’d conquered the world together. It may sound funny, but escaping the androids is nearly impossible. They have space age technology that exists only for them, their heat scanners are far beyond any living thing, not even pythons can compare.
Anika and I spent the next night in an old, broken down gas station. We thought that the metal of the building might throw off the androids, but we knew better. We both knew that they were much, much smarter than us. Even when we put our heads together, our sheer brain power wouldn’t be enough. However, it gave us comfort, so we stayed there. I’ll regret that night till the day I die.
Anika opened her bag and pulled out a stale piece a bread, she tore off a piece and handed it to me. “Here, have some.” She whispered into the dark.
“Thanks.” I reached for the piece of bread whilst searching for my flashlight.
I heard Anika sigh. “I just want this to be over, I want life to be normal again.”
“It will be, soon.” I lied, hoping she’d keep up strength.
“Oh Oskar, I want to believe.” The hardened bread crackled as she dug her teeth into it. “Every part of me wants to believe, but I’ve given up on childish fantasies a long time ago.”
As I turned the flashlight on I looked at her, her eyes were sinking in and filled with terror, it was almost as if she foresaw what would happen next. Knowing her, I think she’d know about that night for a long time.
After I clicked off the dim light that the flashlight produced, I curled up into a ball next to Anika, she was the only thing keeping me warm on such a dreary night. I was tempted to wrap my arms around her, but thought that might be a bit much. I could hear her faint wails as she thought through the past months. She needed someone, but I still didn’t think I was the right one for her, even if I had taken her by the face and kissed her. I continually asked myself why I felt this way and why I didn’t know how to express it, but it did nothing to suppress that pain. A pain of knowing that every moment could be our last together.
I caught my breath as I heard the same buzzing sound from earlier; we’d been found. I shook Anika and grabbed our things. “Hurry!” I exclaimed with fear.
“Oskar…” The way my name left her lips paralyzed me for a split second.
“Yes?” I replied, with more enthusiasm than ever.
“If anything happens to me…” She trailed off.
“No.” I shook my head.
“I want you to know, I love you more than you can imagine.” She pulled her face up to my cheek and gave it the daintiest little kiss.
“Anika.” I whispered, tears hanging in my eyes.
“I… I love…” Before I could finish my sentence the androids busted in, I reached for Anika’s hand, but she’d already ran out before I had noticed.
I ran for my life, even though I knew that Anika could be long gone by now. I ran for only her, for the hope that we’d run into each other again and she’d be fine. Everything in my body hurt, but I keep high spirits. I smiled through everything, her face keeping me warm in the night. She was intoxicating me with love and with life.
I slowed to a stop as I reached a lake, I marveled at the beauty of nature for a moment, it was one of the last remnants of the world before its destruction. All was calm for a little time, until I saw it. A body, a lifeless body. If I’d never prayed before, that night changed everything. I reluctantly waded over to the island where the body lay. My worst nightmares had come true.
I wrapped Anika up in my arms and I held her, she was mine for only a time, but then the life was ripped out of her. She was the only thing I had left, but was now gone. What more was there to live for? I looked into her eyes, their beauty bore into my soul, ripping my humanly existence out. I pounded the ground and screamed out her name. The rounds of sobs came intermittently, some came with violent fits of rage and others with a heart-wrenching pain. I wanted to die, or to trade spots with her, but I knew that it was selfish, after all she’d been through. She was and still is the only woman I’d ever loved.
“You must follow us.” I heard an android say from behind me.
“No! I won’t go!” I yelled as I wrapped my arms tighter around her.
They forcefully pulled her body from out of my hands and cuffed me, leading me away from the island, from my sweet Anika.
I was sent away that day, away from the earth. In all truthfulness, part of me enjoys being in space as a test subject, I’m away from the place where my worst nightmares occur. However, the silence of the spaceship often brings me back to those eyes, those gorgeous, emerald eyes. Though I had been with Anika for only a few days, she’d changed my whole life, for the worst maybe…? No! Her memory was the only thing that kept me running, she kept my blood pumping. She made my body overheat when in the freezing cold and made me dance when I was in pain.
As I’ve already mentioned, it’s not horrible being a test subject. You’re on a schedule and three meals are given to you each day. It, the monotony of the schedule, and doing all these things alone that drives me insane. Wake up, eat breakfast, clean the cabin, eat lunch, study the subject of their choosing, eat dinner, get ready for bed, and then go to sleep. There was nothing else I could do. The androids knew that by doing this, that one day I’d be so disturbed mentally that I’d lose my grasp on the world. However, unbeknownst to them, I have a plan. An escape plan, one so clever that it will take them years to even figure out what happened to me.
The plan in itself will be the most daring feat of my lifetime. There will be hoops to jump through and it will consume me for the better part of a year, but I know Anika will be by my side guiding me, no matter what. She will be the one that keeps me from stopping the plan and leaving the world in its destructive state. I know that her soul will stay beside me, day and night, through all that will happen. In her name, I will win the war waged against the androids.
I will take back what was rightfully mine. I will avenge my family, my friends, and my love, Anika Parrish. I now know the tactics the androids use against us. We humans will become the replacements for those who were meant to be our replacements. The world will be as it was before the chaos.