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Deep Down Inside - Part 01

Written by circes_cup :: [Monday, 20 August 2012 07:46] Last updated by :: [Friday, 07 September 2012 18:19]

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Deep Down Inside

by Circes_Cup

Note from the author: Although this story is not complete yet, it is already long. As with many longer stories, it takes its sweet time getting to the "main attraction" -- a pace which some readers may find frustrating. However, I encourage you to stick with it. I think you'll enjoy the whole experience much more if you read the story in its entirety rather than skip to the "hot" part. This is my first shot at fiction -- hope you enjoy it!


 

Synopsis: Vicky, just like her friends, is unwanted and miserable. But she does what she can, and focuses on being a good person deep down inside. One fateful day, when some lazy aliens decide they need someone to do their dirty work, the girls experience some profound changes-- deep down inside.

 


 

PROLOGUE

 

Eight-year old Vicky climbed onto her father's lap, brushed her fiery auburn hair out of her face and gazed up at him. "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?"

"No, sweetie. What's that?"

"I want to be the queen of the whole wide world."

"Really?" he chuckled. "That's a pretty ambitious goal."

"But it would be so much fun!"

"The world is your oyster, honey." She always remembered him saying that, even long after he died.


 

PART I

 

Vicky's hand quivered as she held the cell phone in front of her, the unread email displayed in bold at the top of her inbox. Her cell phone didn't have room to display the entire name of the sender, only "Campaign for Cale...", but Vicky knew the rest. It was the Campaign for Caleb Daniels, and they were writing her today to tell her whether or not she had gotten the job -- a job Vicky had wanted more than anything.

It had been a long road to this point. In college, she had decided that she wanted to make a difference with her life, and majored in PoliSci. After college, the job market wasn't good, so she stuck around and got a Master's degree in the same field. Someday, she hoped, she could be an elected politician -- even perhaps get elected to the House or the Senate. It was a dream, admittedly, but at least it was something.

However, although Vicky had enjoyed her undergrad years, the Master's program had not been good to her. And her thesis topic, "Mechanisms by which Dictators Achieve Dominance Over a Citizenry", had been a really dull diversion from what Vicky had originally intended to do. Vicky wanted to be involved in US politics, not an expert on how thugs and warlords in Africa and Central Asia manage to stay in power.

Toward the end of her graduate studies, Vicky and her friends had begun to apply for jobs with political campaigns. She knew that pay would stink and the hours would be horrendous, but she had come to accept all that as the price one pays for building a reputation -- and for making a difference.

However, the last two months had been a rude awakening. What Vicky hadn't anticipated before applying for these jobs was that even these awful, low paid, entry level jobs would be hotly contested. It turns out that campaign hiring managers could have cared less whether she had an advanced degree or not. And what was worse, it seemed like many of employers cared not a bit about qualifications as all. Most campaign jobs seemed to go to people who had prior relationships with the candidate, even if they knew nothing about politics.

After a number of rejections, Vicky had begun to wonder whether she would ever have a political career whatsoever. But then Senator Daniels' campaign had sent her an email several weeks ago saying that they were reviewing her resume. The Daniels campaign was the one for which she had been holding out hope. He was a strong incumbent candidate, a local New Mexico guy who might have been inclined to hire someone from his home district. Then came a phone interview, and then a promise that they would email her a final answer one week later -- today.

Holding her breath, Vicky depressed the button on the phone and the email came up. All she managed to read was "We regret to inform you..." before the tears clouded her eyes.


 

Vicky trudged sullenly into the grad student dining hall, scanning the cavernous space for Tammy, her best friend. Vicky found her at their usual table.

In their appearance, the two girls had much in common. Both were slightly pudgy, but not obese. Add to that a pimply complexion, greasy hair and no "chest", and they were not exactly the splitting image of a male's sex fantasy. Moreover, their faces were somewhat awkward. Tammy's face was somewhat angular -- nose a little bit too big, ears a little bit too pronounced. Vicky's face was perhaps the opposite, flatter, with a prominent forehead that did not give her a very feminine appearance.

"I got a rejection from the Daniels Senate campaign today," Vicky said grumpily.

Tammy pensively fiddled with a side of mashed potatoes. "Yea, I got mine too". In undergrad, Vicky and Tammy had been the same PoliSci Master's program. And they had experienced similar frustration in their job searches. Thesis defense was only two months away and both girls had nothing to show for it but frustration and a big pile of student loans.

"This sucks," Vicky said. "How is it that women like us don't stand a chance of getting a job on a political campaign, when we have advanced degrees and actually care about the world? I mean, we actually do some serious volunteering at the women's shelter. The other students that already have jobs -- What volunteering have they done? When was the last time they cared about anybody?"

Vicky got up to get some food. By the time she returned, tray in hand, Jared had joined them. Jared was regular attendee at their table and probably the best looking guy that had ever given the girls the time of day. He was a good find all around - sincere, well rounded, a decent PoliSci student and a steady volunteer at the shelter, which was how he had gotten to know the ladies. Sadly, Jared was a juicy enough find that he was already spoken for, an attractive sophomore with the strawberry blond hair, flat tummy, and skinny legs having stolen his heart. The fact that Jared's girlfriend was comfortable with him spending much of his remaining social time with Vicky and Tammy was just another sign of how the girls were seen as not viable for a guy like Jared. Why would he ever be interested in either of the girls at this table?

Arriving at the table, Vicky could see that Jared had already been briefed on the girls' dilemma. Jared was also applying for campaign jobs and had recently been hired as an associate policy advisor on the Daniels campaign-- the very campaign from which Vicky had received her rejection. Associate policy advisor was an awesome job, and it would probably lead to something on Capitol Hill or even within the administration in Washington.

"You know," he said cautiously, "I think I've got the inside track with Daniels himself." He paused, and turned to face Vicky across the table. "Maybe I could get someone there to take a second look, at both of you."


 

Tammy hesitated once she reached the door, her hand momentarily suspended in mid-air before knocking. It was 1am now, and her neighbors had been blasting music for three hours, and Tammy knew she had every right to tell them to turn it down. But knowing and actually doing are different things, and now that she was at their door, she wondered whether she really needed to do this. No, she told herself, you have to say something. There is no reason you should have to show up with bags under your eyes on your first day of work just because your neighbors can't be considerate. Get a backbone, Tammy. Stick up for yourself for a change.

Knock, knock.

She could hear voices on the other end, then a pause, then footsteps approaching the door. The door opened to reveal Steve, his blond hair tousled and his button-down shirt wide open. Steve was one of the hotter guys in Tammy's limited universe, a fact that was driven home to Tammy as she ran her eyes across his muscular chest, hard abs, his pronounced jawline and that adorable if somewhat annoyed expression on his face.

"Somethin' up, Tammy?"

"Well, I uh hate to bother you, but I'm starting a new job tomorrow. Could you guys turn it down a bit, or go somewhere else?"

By now, others in the room were starting to appear in Tammy's field of view. Another guy, apparently Steve's roommate and clearly every bit as hot, had shifted slightly on the couch to see what was going on. And Amber, Steve's bitch girlfriend, had approached Steve from behind, resting her chin on his shoulder and wrapping her sinuous arms around his waist. Thin wisps of blond hair descended from a perfectly framed face highlighted by dazzling blue eyes and a standoffish little pout. Tammy couldn't stand being around Amber: her waist was small, her tits were big, she had it all, including the attitude.

"Tammy, come on," Amber groaned. "We got kicked out of my place and there's nowhere else to go."

"But you could keep it down, maybe?" Tammy replied tentatively.

"Tammy, if you want this place to sound like a library, why don't you go to one?"

"Because I shouldn't have to show up on the first day of a job..." Slam. Amber had reached over Steve to grab the door, and, with a dismissive shove, had closed it in Tammy's face.

Tammy hated this. She hated confrontation. She hated the feeling of humiliation that came after a confrontation when she lost. And she hated Amber's fashion magazine looks. And as much as she could understand it in her head, she hated Steve for dating her.

Raising her fist again to the door, Tammy took a deep breath.

Knock, knock.

"Go away, Tammy." It was Amber and Steve in unison, followed by an intimate giggle.

"Come on, guys, this is important."

"What are you going to do about it," she heard Steve call. "Beat us up?" Tammy could picture him in her head, his taut, slightly freckled skin stretched over an Olympian's body worth of muscle.

No, Tammy thought, savoring his delicious body in her mind, I don't want to beat you up. I just wish you could make love to me, she thought, choking back a tear. I just wish I was hot enough to make it worth your time.


 

Vicky took a deep breath as she rested her hand on the doorknob of the door that said "New Mexicans for Daniels". She had spent too long this morning trying to decide whether she should wear the white top or the grey one. Now, it seemed like a stupid question. She took one look behind her at Tammy, who's face betrayed just as much nervousness, and turned the knob.

"We're here to report for our first day or work," Vicky said to the receptionist. "We were told to ask for Mr. Cuthbertson?"

"Oh, I see, well, let me see if I can find him."

It was not until 45 minutes later that a man by the name of Cuthbertson appeared. He led Vicky and Tammy into a conference room, had them sign a few papers, and then looked up with a disinterested gaze.

"So, I hear that Jared got you these jobs?"

"He asked the campaign to reconsider our applications, yes," Vicky replied, bristling somewhat at the suggestion that their appointment was unmerited.

"OK, fine. Consider yourselves reconsidered. Welcome to the campaign, for what it's worth."

"Uh, thanks," Vicky replied uncertainly.

"You two are around to basically do whatever we need you to do. There are no defined responsibilities. You OK with that?"

"Uh, sure," Vicky replied, glancing at Tammy for support.

"Well, today, what we need you to do is coffee. So, have at it. There's a Starbucks across the street. Ask the dozen or so people in the war room what they want."

"And then what?"

"Yard signs. We need you to assemble them. 500 of them."

"500 yard signs?" Vicky asked. The irritation in her voice was palpable. One Hundred and Fifty thousand dollars in student loans -- for this?

"Vicky, be nice..." Tammy enjoined.

"Yes, yard signs," Cuthbertson responded, firmly.

"Can't a volunteer do it?" Vicky was perhaps a little bit more indignant than she should have been, but she did not spend 6 years in PoliSci classes just to get stuck stapling yard signs together.

"No, we're out of volunteers. That's how campaigns like this work. Daniels is a don't-rock-the-boat incumbent. He isn't exciting enough to attract any volunteers, but there are plenty of special interests willing to write him a check to keep him in office. That means we're short on volunteers and long on money. That means we pay you to staple the fucking yard signs."

"Fine," Vicky retorted.

"If these responsibilities are not for you, just let me know."

Vicky swallowed and closed her eyes for a moment. "Yard signs sound great," she said as cheerfully as she could. "And after we're done assembling them, where are we taking them?"

"Here," Cuthbertson's finger jabbed a spot on the wall map. Artesia, perhaps 175 miles away.


 

"Yard signs?" Jared asked, leaning against the door of the storage room in which Vicky and Tammy worked. "I thought they were going to put you on media outreach or get-out-the-vote strategy."

"I guess they put us on the shit work instead," Vicky laughed dryly, squeezing her staple gun with a "clack".

"Well, I'm sorry ladies. I tried to help, and it doesn't look like I did a very good job."

"That's ok," Vicky smiled without emotion. "As you said, you tried. You stuck up for us. And we really appreciate it."

Tammy gathered her unruly blond hair back in to a pony tail and cast a look of exhaustion over the stacks of yard signs in the room. It was late in the afternoon, and they had been stapling and stacking for hours. "I hate to say this," she sighed, "but I need to get going soon. I forgot to mail my rent check and I need to drop it off in person before the office closes."

"No worries. I can finish this bullshit up," Vicky smiled. "But you owe me one."

"Of course I do," her friend replied she unfolded her legs on the floor, brushing staples and wood dust off of her legs.

"Here, I'm leaving too," Jared offered his hand to help her up. "I'll walk you out."

 


 

The sound of Vicky's stapler echoed off the walls, but no other sounds returned to the room in which Vicky worked. Glancing at her watch, she was surprised to find that time had drifted: it was already 8pm. Propping open the door a little bit further, she glanced around the office for another sign of life, but found none. Quiet buildings always made Vicky a little nervous. To her, they felt a little bit like dark alleys.

Vicky continued assembling the signs, hoping to be done soon. She managed to contain her fears about the emptiness of the office-- until the silence was abruptly broken.

"How's it coming?"

Vicky gave a start and she wheeled around to see Cuthbertson's bulky frame in doorway. The suddenness of his appearance unnerved her.

"I'm ok, I guess."

"You getting those yards signs out soon?"

"We're driving them to Artesia tomorrow."

"That's good," he said, entering the room.

"I'm surprised to see you here so late," Vicky said. "The others in the campaign said that you preferred coming in early rather than staying late."

"I thought I'd stick around a little bit, to.... check on you."

"Yeah, OK" Vicky replied nervously.

"So, how are these yard signs coming?" Cuthbertson slowly lowered himself into a kneeling position on the floor next to her, as if to inspect.

"Uh, fine, like I already said."

"You know," Cuthbertson continued, kneeling down on the floor next to her, "I like you a lot more than your mousy friend. You're both actually pretty unattractive," he said as he reached out to tuck as wisp of hair behind her ear. "But your friend is a complete pushover. You at least have some spunk in you."

"I don't know what to say," Vicky stammered, scooching herself away from him by a few inches.

"You don't have to say anything, honey." Cuthbertson said, his hand reaching behind her head and forcing her forward into a kiss. Vicky tried to push him away, but he was bigger and, although no athlete, stronger too.

"Please, no." Vicky pleaded, but it was useless. Events turned into an agonizing blur. Her button-down shirt was soon open, with some of the buttons having been ripped clear off. Her jeans and panties had been forced down off her hips and were wrapped around her knees. Removing them from there was giving Cuthbertson some trouble, and Vicky used it as a chance to try and struggle to her feet. But Cuthbertson's hand was quickly on her throat, "Keep struggling, or do anything else and it will be last thing you do."

Vicky collapsed to the ground amidst whimpers and sobs. She saw Cuthbertson jam some yard signs against the door to be sure it stayed closed. Before she knew it, he was back with her, on top of her.

"You don't have the kind of curves I look in a woman, but you'll do." He rasped throatily. Vicky made one more motion at resistance, but soon she felt him violently thrust inside of her.

Her mind went terrifyingly blank. She could hear her own cries and sobs -- as if from far away -- as the agony started.


 

Zorlock and Zilbreath stared absently out of the side window of their space ship as the countless miles went by. Their mission on behalf of the minerals exploration council had been dull-- seek out planets with potentially useful chemistry, prepare them for mining, move on. And as if this alone wasn't enough of a pain, one of their thrusters had blown out in the worst possible place, and now it would take them three weeks to get home. Add that to the fact that a decent cup of coffee was not to be found for at least 30 light years, and it was all in all a bad trip.

They were now approaching a blue/green planet, third from its sun, and the chemistry sensors were chirping away. Magnesium, oxygen, carbon-- in any other week, this would have been an exciting find. But after what Zorlock and Zilbreath had gone through, it elicited only a groan of dread. Preparing a planet for mining meant subduing or eliminating the natives, and even worse, taking weeks to catalog the minerals under the surface, the whole damn roster of them. "I can't believe we have to catalog all this crap," Zorlock said, "it's going to take forever. And there are six billion natives to subdue first. Even that could take all afternoon."

Zilbreath leaned back in his chair, a furrow across his wide, green brow. As the guy in charge, he couldn't just ignore the fact that this planet existed. "We have to do something."

"Maybe we blow it up?" Zorlock offered. "That way, nobody will ever know it was worth mining."

"No, that will drain the batteries on the ship."

"Maybe we just ignore it?"

"No, there's too much already in the computer"

Zorlock paused, now lost in thought as well. "Do we still have any of those organism control modules on board? The ones we use when we need to convert a few natives into lab assistants?"

Zilbreath cocked a green eyebrow and looked at him. The devices were used almost exclusively for getting a little bit of extra help around the ship. Grab a few of the local organisms off the surface, stick the device inside, turn it on, and you've got an instant lab assistant, rock handler, sample taker -- whatever you need. "Those modules? We should have four or five of them lying around. Why? What are you thinking?"

"The technology on this planet is so primitive, we don't need to hang around and subdue it. Just stick the modules in a few of the natives and have them take care of everything. We can leave now and still have the planet fully under control and catalogued before our mining crews ever manage to mobilize.

"You know, Zorlock, you aren't always as dumb as I thought you were," Zilbreath said appreciatively. "Penetrate their databases and if you can find somebody on the planet who knows something about how to subjugate a population."

Zorlock's hands were a blur on the keyboard, and it was only a moment more before he made a satisfied grunt and turned to his crew mate. "Got it. I found someone at this 'University of New Mexico Las Cruces' who has spent 10 percent of her life studying this very subject."


 

Vicky stared absently out the passenger side window as the countless miles went by. The pain of her rape still burned between her legs. But the bruising and bleeding down there was nothing compared to the damage inflicted on her spirit. An unexpected tear made its way down her cheek, but she brushed it away before Tammy noticed. She was actually glad for the long drive; it might give her time to think.

The drive from Las Cruces would normally take about three hours, and since they had planned on leaving at 1pm, they had hoped to be in Artesia by 4pm. But that schedule only works if you don't spend the first 45 minutes of your trip trying to attach the U-Haul trailer, full of 500 fucking yard signs, to the back of the car. That schedule also assumes that Tammy will be on time--which she wasn't-- and that Vicky would not have to run back to the apartment for the GPS that she promised she would bring. After all was said and done, 5pm found the girls only just getting underway, with the early orange streaks of dusk beginning to creep across the April sky.

The late start was unfortunate. The drive was monotonous to begin with, and it only became more monotonous as a moonless darkness set in. The headlights cut a swath of light in front of the car, illuminating bugs, highway signs, and clumps of grass along the sides of the road, but leaving everything else in nameless blackness.

"Tammy, do you have a minute?"

Tammy only chuckled in reply. "I think I've got three hours."

"I'm trying to figure out why some people act like thugs."

"Uh, ok," Tammy replied uncertainly.

"When I was studying dictatorships, one of the things I kept coming across was the nature of violence. Thugs are often violent not because they want to be, but because they are establishing a relationship of power. It's not about defeating an enemy. It's about showing everyone who's boss."

"Alright" Tammy said. "And where are you going with this?"

"I'm just saying, sometimes the victims of thugs are not actually the people who resist the thugs. There were just people in the wrong place at the wrong time -- whoever was in the way when the dictator wanted to make an example out of somebody, to make statement."

"Vicky, what exactly are you getting at?"

There was silence in the car for a minute. The thwip-thwip of tires crossing ridges on the pavement seemed to measure out the time of their conversation.

"OK," Vicky said, screwing up her courage. "After you left last night, in the campaign office?"

"Yes?"

"Something really bad happened."

"What kind of bad?"

"It's kind of embarrassing," Vicky said, the tears already running down her cheeks. "It involved Cuthbertson."

Tammy slowly pulled the car to the side of the road, the sound of gravel now under the tires.

"What kind of bad?"

"Tammy, he, uh.... he....."

Tammy wiped a tear from Vicky's face.

"Did he touch you?"

And hearing the question, Vicky broke out in uncontrollable sobs. "He did a lot more than touch me."

"Honey," Tammy offered, "I'm so sorry." Tammy reached over to hug her, and Vicky felt her sobs simply overpower her.

They stayed at the side of the road a long time -- perhaps 20 minutes or an half an hour, Vicky didn't know.

She was very grateful to have Tammy's comforting embrace, but also became increasingly conscious of the still night that surrounded the car.

It was too quiet in a way, just as the campaign office had been the night before. Not a single vehicle drove by them. And the stillness and darkness seemed to pressing in on the car. Even though Vicky sobbed into her friend's arms, it seemed to her that collectively, they were extremely alone.

Perhaps she was lost in sorrow, perhaps she had her eyes closed. But either way, she didn't notice the lights until it was too late.


 

The lights from above started faint, but soon were blinding. The reflective markings on the side of the road, the scrub grass in the periphery, even the road itself--all of it disappeared under a deluge of an alabaster-white, blinding glare.

What followed seemed to pass as in a dream. Car doors opened, seatbelts were unbuckled, seemingly by unseen hands. Vicky felt herself floating and moving, like a swimmer caught in a riptide. But she had no idea how or where she was moving, and the fear that came with a riptide was nothing compared to the mortal terror Vicky felt now.

The next thing she knew, she was in a brightly lit room, bathed in bright florescent light. she found herself sitting in a hard metal chair, her hands drawn uncomfortably behind her back. Her hair, too, had been drawn back in a tight pony tail as if her captors viewed it, too, as an appendage that needed to be bound. Tammy was there too, also seated, also bound. Vicky tried to say something, only to find that a strap had been applied around her chin and over the top of her head, holding her mouth shut.

The girls stared at each other in helpless, silent panic. After what seemed like an eternity but was probably only several minutes, the doors "whooshed" open. What entered through them only added to the girls' panic: horrific green and purple creatures, with five legs and the eyes, walking like clumsy, deranged insects. They spoke a loud and incomprehensible language, like the sound made by quickly turning a radio dial without ever stopping on a station. Vicky had no idea what was being said, but if they could have comprehended, the dialogue would have put them at no more ease.


 

"Morning kids," Zorlock said facetiously, knowing they did not understand. "so glad you volunteered to help us with our little project."

Zilbreath exited the room briefly and reemerged with a box of what, by all appearances, was a bunch of mismatched electronics-- something you would expect to find in the garage of a computer geek or the back room of a TV repair shop. He unceremoniously dumped the contents of the box over the table in the center of the room-- objects of all shapes and sizes, some beeping, some with lights flashing on an off, one vibrating, several sprouting feet or wheels and starting to wander away. Zilbreath began rummaging through the pile with three of his legs/arms. Meanwhile, Zorlock had retrieved some type of viewing scope, like a three-eyed pair of binoculars, and standing about foot away from Tammy, trained it on her body.

"I'm not sure where to stick the module," Zorlock conceded in a tongue incomprehensible to the girls. "The organisms appear to have a cavity in their mid-section for the processing of food. We could stick it right above that, shrirking their cavity by a bit."

"That will work fine. They won't be dining much anyway from now on. The modules will also need an energy storage area," Zilbreath said absently, as he picked out two round, tennis-ball shaped devices and set them aside. "Maybe see if they have mammary glands."

"The creatures have two small mammaries each," offered Zorlock as he peered through his scope.

By now, Zilbreath had scavenged four tennis-ball sized modules from the pile, three with blue bands around them and one, slightly larger, with a purple band around it.


 

Vicky tried to steal a panicked glance at Tammy but found that her head was bound in place. More unintelligible alien chatter ensued.

The other alien sauntered over to a console on the wall, spoke into a tube -- microphone? -- and began adjusting a dial. Each time he adjusted the dial a notch, a short sound, like a spoken phrase was emitted from the wall. And some of the phrases, although still incomprehensible, at least sounded somewhat like languages of earth. Vicky even thought she heard German or Swedish. She noticed that the alien was watching the humans intently with each adjustment of the dial. After several additional adjustments, English emanated from the console: "which of you is the leader?"

The girls looked at each other with rapid and panicked glances. The alien at the console clearly noticed the reaction, clearly understood that the console had delivered a message that had been understood by its audience. Vicky and Tammy continued to glance at each other in sheepish terror. Why did these horrific creatures want to know who the leader was, and what special punishment lay in store for that unlucky person?

Seeing no progress on the question, the alien seemed to grow agitated, pushing a button on the console that produced a repetition of the question, this time louder. "Which of you is the leader?" no response. The alien pushed the button another time, again producing the question in still louder form, "WHICH OF YOU IS THE LEADER?" The alien backed this last utterance with a scowl that would have sent a grizzly bear packing.

Sensing that their captors impatience was rising and time was running out, Vicky slowly raised her hand -- raised it as much as she could, given the constraints. She wanted nothing less than to volunteer, but in a weird way, in the small circle of Tammy's and Vicky's friends, Vicky was as close as they had to a leader. She had sometimes been their organizer, their spokesperson, and the person encouraging them to be strong and assert themselves. And in this awful situation, perhaps that made her a leader again.

The horror that ensued was unlike Vicky anything could have previously imagined. The alien grabbed one of the tennis ball-sized modules and pushed a single button. The ball instantly came to life and several frightening protrusions emerged from its depths -- blades, pincers, other unknown metal extensions. Having identified herself as the leader, Vicky had expected the alien to apply whatever tortures he had in mind to her first. But the alien instead approached the terrified Tammy, holding the metal ball in front of him. Several of the ball's blades pointed themselves towards Tammy's belly while the ball began to levitate in thin air.

Vicky could hear Tammy sobbing, and could see the girl's delicate blond hair matted to her face by tears and perspiration. Then, the levitating ball slowly, coldly advanced towards her on its own. It ripped away the shirt around her abdomen and slapped two of its blades together like hands coming together for a single clap.

Immediately, in a swift, seemingly thoughtless motion, it plunged the blades into Tammy's belly. Vicky's heart stopped in terror, but somehow she noticed that Tammy wasn't screaming, or even apparently in pain. The machine proceeded to slowly separate its two blades, creating a window into her stomach, like two hands holding drapes apart to see the view. Somehow, there was no blood. After the hole in her stomach was opened to about the size of a tennis ball, the module plunged forward, like a man barging into a room. Once inside, the blades seemed to retract and follow the ball in. Moments later, Tammy's stomach was closed back up with nothing but a shredded shirt and look of shock on her face to show for it.

The alien moved on and before Vicky knew it, he was standing in front of her with another ball -- this one larger, the size of a grapefruit, and with a purple band.

"Now, for the control module," he growled. The ball's blades pointed at her abdomen. Vicky looked on in mute stupefaction as the ball flew towards her, pierced her, and opened a hole in her stomach. But strangely, the process was painless. She watched the ball enter her and then saw the blades receding behind the ball, somehow leaving reunified flesh in their path.

"We'll leave you two extra balls," the alien barked at the girls. "Go ahead and stick these things in a few of your friends; the more the merrier."

And that was the last thing Vicky remembered.


 

When the two girls awoke, they were seated on the ground next to their car, its engine still running, its lights still on. They were alive. There was no blood.

Tammy finally broke the silence. "I just had the most horrifying nightmare," she said. "At least, I hope it was just a nightmare." The two looked at each other. "Maybe we should just finish the drive," she volunteered.

Tammy's comment about it all being a dream gave Vicky a glimmer of hope. But as Vicky stood up she felt the tickle of the cool night air against her bare abdomen. Her eyes, as well as Tammy's, travelled to the midriff of her shirt, which had been shredded, and a renewed feeling dread settled in on both of them.

Out of the corner of her eye, Vicky noticed something else -- the two spare metal balls, lying on the ground.

"We'd better grab that stuff", Vicky said, emotionless. She didn't know why she wanted it-- just an instinct. But Tammy seemed to agree, and before long they were pulling the car back onto the road with the two balls cradled in Vicky's lap in the passenger seat.

For remainder of the drive, there was no talk, only a deathly silence.

 

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