I told Zeke everything that had happened to me. I told him about seeing my family being taken over, the moment when I first discovered that aliens existed, and how I felt after the insertion. Most importantly, I told him how I escaped.
“You see,” I started, “Star had told me to disappear, like I was supposed to. So, I knew I was already better off than I could have been.”
“So, what did you do?” Zeke asked.
“It’s like this.” I said.
And I began my story.
After the hospital, we went back to my house. I was eager to see my family, even if they were aliens now. As we walked, I used all of my energy to keep from revealing to Star that I had a plan that would, hopefully, get rid of her. It wasn’t the greatest plan, but it was all I had. If the body-snatcher knew about it, I doubted that it would work. We walked through the front door and I was filled with relief. There was my family, still alive and looking completely normal. Are you sure they got taken over? I asked myself.
“Hi.” My mom said. “You must be Star Above The Ocean. For the moment, we are the Dean’s. You can call us Mom, Dad, Sarah, Leo, and Katie.” She gestured to each member of my family as she said their name. “And of course you know that your name is Nicole.”
“Of course.” My body smiled. “It’s nice to meet you all.”
“Here,” Leo said, or at least, his body did. “I’ll show you to your room.” When did he get to be so polite?
He walked with my body down the stairs and to my room…my room.
“I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here.” He said, grinning.
“I’m sure I will.” Star answered, reciprocating the smile. She closed my door and flopped down on my bed. We were alone. I decided that it would be better to act now, rather than later, in case I slipped up and she found out my plan.
You know, I thought, addressing her, living as a human isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Oh really? She replied sarcastically. What would you know? You’re just a child.
Well, that was insulting. I am not! I’m fifteen! You know that! Wow. I did sound like a kid. I cleared my thoughts and tried again. Anyways, I’ve been human all of my life. What could you, an alien, possibly know about humanity?
Well for starters, there’s colour, warmth, hearing, scents, taste, and best of all, sight! What else is there to know? She asked.
This was going to be easier than I thought. Well first of all, there’s war, murder, rape, school—
What’s school? Star asked.
How could she not know what school was? Only six hours of hell every day. Okay, maybe I was exaggerating…just a little. I told her about the worst parts of school that I could think of. I went on to list all of the horrible qualities that humanity had. Things like as stoning people to death and racism made her feel nauseated and I knew that my plan was working. I also shared with her the worst memories I had. I had to relive the feelings of the moments with her, but knew that it would be worth it in the end. Putting my dog down; feeling his heart stop beating. The feeling of depression. Seeing someone get hit by a car. My aunt dying of cancer. The pain of my jaw surgery. Each memory I shared with her weakened her resolve to stay human. I started to show her a part of the movie Saw V that was particularly nauseating—leaving out the fact that it was a movie—when she stopped me.
“Enough!” she yelled out loud. She switched back to thoughts. Enough. You win. I can’t do this, I can’t be human. It’s too…awful! I’m going back to the hospital and I am telling them to take me out! You can be someone else’s problem!
The joy of victory was short lived. Wait, someone else? I asked.
Yup, she replied. They’ll take me out and put someone else in you. Maybe they will be able to erase you. I could feel the smugness radiating off of her. This was not part of the plan.
I tried desperately to think of a way to stay human after they took Star out, but to no avail. We reached the hospital while I was still scrambling for a plan, and my body lay down on a table. Take me out! It directed the surgeon.
Wait, I thought, and my eyes closed again.
“So they put another one in you?” Zeke interrupted and I gave him a look. “Sorry,” he apologized. “Please, continue.”
When I woke up, I was still laying on a table. I opened my eyes and looked around. Wait a minute, I thought. I opened my eyes. I did! I sat up and took in my surroundings, ecstatic that I was in control again. I saw that I was alone in a room; they must not have put another one in me yet. I couldn’t hear or see anyone nearby, but I did see a window. I ran to it and looked down. I had to be at least three stories up so jumping was out of the question. There was, however, a tree not too far to my right. I decided quickly that I had a better shot of reaching the tree than making it out through the lobby, so I opened the window. The darkness of the night blinded me at first, but my eyes soon adjusted. I climbed out onto the sill and reached for the tree, but couldn’t quite touch it. I would have to jump to it. The thought didn’t appeal to me; I had never been one for heights.
I gathered up all the courage that I could muster and jumped for the nearest branch, clamping my mouth shut so that I wouldn’t scream. I managed to grab onto it and I swung my legs up. I stood up and slowly made my way down the tree. Shit, I realized. I’m wearing a hospital gown. I would have to go home for some clothes, and I didn’t like that idea of bringing myself to the very I was running from.
When I reached my house, I ran to my window. Thankfully, my window was the one had been opened from the outside the hundreds of times I forgot my key. I opened it as quietly as I could and snuck in. I looked at the clock on the bedside table. 2:37am. Good, everyone should be asleep. I changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and pulled my duffle bag out from underneath my bed. I filled it with some clothes; sweaters, long pants, a coat, anything I thought I might need. I knew I couldn’t pack too much though, my space and strength were limited and I wasn’t sure how long I would be on my own. I snuck upstairs and grabbed a few water bottles, food, and some fruit.
That will have to do for now. I thought. I couldn’t push my luck and stay any longer. I was just about out the door when I saw something silver glinting in the corner of my eye. I looked to see my car keys hanging up beside the door. I wasn’t legally old enough to drive yet, but my dad had taught me and I had already bought a car. I grabbed the keys and ran out the door, closing it behind me.
Being outside scared me, it made me feel too exposed. I ran to my car and threw my bag in the back. I started my Civic and, while driving away, I looked in the rear-view mirror and felt a twinge of sadness for the home I would never return to.