It was a long time coming. There were always crackpots who believed in aliens. Government may have funded some research into it, but it was rich crackpots who funded my mother. Lo and Behold though, the research the team my mother was on was producing distinct voices. Our messages were coming back with answers, and then messages that they were coming. We conversed about medicines, religion, and about our planet.

Now the minority wasn't about believing, it was about what they wanted. They were calling the people who feared them crackpots. The rest of the world was wrong about that too.

I noticed the changes in my mother. So it wasn't quite so sudden a break for me because of that. Dad broke the day she left. When she said convert or be left behind I knew what she really meant. I packed a bag, grabbed my dog, watched my dad sit on the couch and knew he wouldn't come with. I ran.

I don't know how he didn't see it. Or maybe he was pretending so hard he forced himself to believe everything was alright. It was like he ignored the coldness that was becoming her. She came home later. She began talking in monotone and never about work anymore. She used to burst with excitement about all she was finding. She would paint colorful pictures of the future and of what they were like. Her excitement made me excited; it was every science fiction dream, right? Until she slowly stopped talking about it. She would say she was tired, or that it was a long day with so much information, then it became confidential with the government. She was pulling away from me and my dad. Even on weekends, even on my school projects; it was like we didn't even live together. Even our dog Shelby would go up to her for pets and be denied.

It was the day she took off her cross that I knew. It wasn't that our family was that religious, but that cross was my grandmothers. It wasn't what it represented, it was what it was. I asked my mom about it and she told me it didn't fit with their religion. She sat me down and told me about their "religion". It was probably because she had been pulling away so hard that it sounded extra bat shit crazy, but it was bat shit crazy.

It was like losing her to a cult - and she was already lost before she even left. I'm still not sure where she is. Maybe they killed her too, or maybe because she converted they did allow her to live. That's what they said when they came. I'm not hopeful of this. No one has escaped from the ships yet so it's not totally known what goes on in them - but a few have escaped the pods that come to the ground to take us to the ships. They talk about drugs, tubes, about how we are fuel. They talk about death, fear and the end.

We, humans, definitely did not go down without a fight. I'm still here to fight. Well I might be running, but I'm running to stay alive. I fight when I can and if I found anyone else I'd fight with them. I have Shelby who I keep by my side and she is great at sniffing out trouble. She steers me away and I keep moving at all times. I learned quickly that staying still will get you caught. It's best to run, to keep moving. Besides, the food always runs out.

"Shelby?" I coughed. Something felt off. I suppose I should say more off than usual. The air was thick with smoke. I glanced around. Well fuck. I touched my head, sure enough, blood. My hands were covered with it. I stood carefully, keeping stock. Nothing seems to be hurting besides my head. My vision swims and I try to brace myself on the counter. "What the hell happened? Shelby!" The German Shepherd bounds over to me from somewhere else in the house. Her hair is wet and gummy but I feel her all over with soft coos. No blood and she seems healthy. She sniffs my head and licks the wound. A concussion is no laughing matter but there is nothing to do for it. There is no power, there is no ice. My only real options is wipe it off, and um, not fall asleep I think. Crap, I don't have enough first aid for this.

"Ouch. I know, what happened?" True the house was a little ransacked when I snuck in here last night, but it had been abandoned and probably searched for whatever people or goods were in it. It definitely didn't look like it had just been hit by an earthquake. All I remember is going to sleep. Did I wake up? Did I dream waking up? Everything is knocked over but my bag only has a few cans and containers of chips in it anyway. Water is on the floor from what looks like a few busted pipes. It hurts to try and think. I check my watch, "God I hope that's not right." But it probably is. I hoped to get out by five am, before it got too bright but there is definitely a glow outside and my watch is reading ten. At this time I don't notice that my watch has long since stopped ticking.

A series of loud pops brings Shelby to me. Her nose is in the air but she doesn't growl. "Come on, let's go Shelby."

I move towards the back of the house where I had covered all windows with blinds, boxes, cardboard - anything so no one could look in. I peel back the patio door's towel - "Shelby. Something big has happened," I breathed. The world suddenly had far too much fire. I could see bright orange at the horizon. There must be a big fire there and it stokes up my adrenaline. We have to get out, I am not sure how fast fire travels but the smoke already permeates the air. The earthquake must have hit hard or something. I'm vaguely aware that there is not supposed to be earthquakes here but let's bare in mind the world is going to Hell shall we? I just assumed it was aliens causing the earthquake.

It's hard to see anything but the orange glow, smoke, and what must be the sun's rays trying to get through the clouds.

I can't wait. I am only a day away from my goal. It's a stupid goal, but I had to see if Chris was still at his house. A long distance relationship was no big deal with technology and cars but as the world has gone to hell I need to try to find him. I'm not sure he will still be there but maybe. I am only a few hours walk from his city.

I eat some bread for breakfast. It's hard and probably not healthy for "hiking" but it'll do. I give some to Shelby and apologize for her. She's a little skinny and it's not fair. She's the reason I'm alive after all, but we keep moving.

It isn't long into our walk that Shelby's ears perk up and she growls, swifty herding me from the street to the back - I squeeze between two wood fences and she follows me. The fences open up to a little colvert between the rows of houses. I glance at her - she keeps her eyes to the street … then trots down the colvert. I guess we are going this way. I don't normally like narrow spaces. There isn't a lot of escape routes, but if the streets are not safe it's the only way. Shelby knows. Stopping for lunch is only because we happen to find a rabbit stuck in some fence. Looks like someone had tried to build a makeshift bunker around their house. The house is blown in two. I hate doing this, but it's amazing what you will do when you have to. I break the struggling rabbits neck and cut up half to give to Shelby. A small fire is safe enough for now because the whole air smells like smoke. I'm feeling pretty confident that I won't be seen.

"C'mon Shelbs, almost." I heft the bag onto my shoulder again and we keep walking. Chris is a smart guy, but he tends to like to be a homebody and his house is very secure. I'm sincerely hoping that he decided not to move on. He also lives in a city, so he didn't need to move in the same way we had too. They want people, and they are easy to find in a city. We lived in the country, every house is a precious commodity of … well, whatever we were to them.

We arrive at his apartment later than I wanted too. Some due to our late start, but also because Shelby kept me dodging and off course for awhile. I feel like I'm all dead weight. It must be due to the concussion but I feel like today has lasted forever and I've walked twice as long as I usually do. Even now my internal clock is saying sleep yet the dusk and glow remains as if its only early evening. Yes, I've finally noticed my watch is broken. None in any house I've stopped at seem to be right.

I am trying to keep my heart rate down, but lately she has just been looking up and whining. I've noticed a lot of dead animals, a lot of stuck animals - as if they've lost all sense of direction and eyes. Dead animals are a slight byproduct of the Hell we are in, but I've never seen anything like this. There hasn't been any wind either. The smoke has just gathered heavier and heavier making breathing harder. Just my luck I'll die of lung cancer before aliens.

His apartment is key code in but the electricity is obviously off. Luckily some ground floor windows have already been broken for me. I sneak in with Shelby. Now, technically Chris lives on the third floor of the twelve story building. However. Chris's father built the apartment building and let Chris run in as part of a partnership. Chris kept an electronic office in the basement that is absolutely tricky to get to. You need to go through the actual office - that door is busted down so easy for me. Then there is a utility closet. Good sign, that door is intact. Everything inside has been raided or broken, but the hidden half door behind the panel of the shelf is still good. I take one last glance around making sure no one is looking and open the door and call Shelby to jump in first. She does no problem.

"Chris!" I call out as I crawl through. It's dark. "Chris?" I turn on my flashlight. The place is empty, and you can tell he's swept through it for usefulness and abandoned it. I smile to the writing on the wall.

"I'm at my parents house if you find this, Love You"

"Well, the cot is still here, and he left me two cans of ravioli, water, dog food and a first aid kit. We are going to keep him Shelby." I feed her and refuel myself. "Hope it's safe to sleep." Don't even ask how long I slept but I'm pretty sure it was a day or more. I ended up raiding most of the apartment building and staying another day just because I was so tired, I stayed in his safe spot just in case.

Two days later found me at his parents place, just across the city in an old brownstone style home. I'm not sure why he would have left his safe hole for his parents house, but I assume it had something to do with his father's paranoia fed cache of weapons. I knocked on his door, Shelby wagging her tail beside me. She always did like Chris.

When he opened the door I felt like my lungs had collapsed and my legs turned to jelly and every emotion I had put to the side to survive bubbled out so I was laughing and crying and somehow everything in between. He hugged me close, turning me into the house and shutting the door quickly.

"Good God I am so glad to see you alive. When they said your house had been bombed but they didn't find any bodies I hoped - but then everything just got worse and worse and worse."

I nodded, sniffling inelegantly. "What are you doing here instead of in your hole? That's so safe!"

"I stayed there until they left the city, but I wanted the weapons. I was going to go back, actually, but after this latest stunt I kind of lost hope and decided to bunker up here." I finally noticed a weapon was perched at several windows, others were boarded solid not only with wood but metal. The hallways and all had been cleared of furniture, furniture strategically placed in the other exits.

He left my arms and I numbly watched as he bolted the door not only with locks, but thick metal bars that looked out of an ancient castle

"Wait, what are you talking about the latest stunt?"

He looked at me, "I suppose. Have you been anywhere with a visual lately? Also, damn Lexi, what happened to your head?"

"No, I've been grounded. I avoided heights. I'm not so good at sneaking around that they wouldn't be able to see me at vantage points and I didn't even go up the stairs into your apartment. As for the head, I don't know. Two days ago or something I woke up to it. The day of the earthquake."

"Lexi, that wasn't an earthquake."

He took my hand and started guiding me up to the top rooms. "What do you mean? Chris? Chris what do you mean?" I asked multiple times but he didn't answer. Finally as we reached their attic he paused.

"Lexi, I don't even know how this is possible or what really has happened but...I assume they moved the planet. Somehow. Just, you need to look Lexi."

He pulled the attic stairs down and I crawled up, feeling chills. The attic was set up with the most weapons, his bed things, and food. I heard Shelby struggle in the back of my mind as he carefully lifted her to carry her up the attic ladder too. I stared at the blanket that covered the window, suddenly scared.


He lifted the blanket the covered the window and opened the balcony and gestured, "You're safe. They haven't been back in days."

I stepped out and gasped as I looked around. Yes, the world was on fire. Buildings in the distance, the haze of smoke was thick. However, now I was taller than I was before. I could still see the sun above me but now I could see the other golden dots in the horizon that were almost masked by the flames, or maybe, it fed them too. "What are those Chris?"

He just came up next to me. "When it finally gets darker you'll see. We don't have the same stars, Lex. I don't know where the fuck we are. I think they are suns, or planets."

"What do we do?" I whispered, suddenly cold despite the heat that has been bothering me for two days.

"I don't know Alexis, I really don't."

Thank God I have Shelby, and now Chris but I knew it was not a rebellion anymore. It wasn't even survival. It was just a clock that no longer worked and time was gone - our time - was gone.