There were no warnings, no premonitions or underlying unrest. The day they came was an affair of love and innocence, of laughter and guileless dreamers. It was sunshine and rain, warm winds and citrus-laden fragrances. Orange trees towered, verdant leaves rustling in a gentle breeze.
Allyn recalled that day clearly, remembered her mother’s warm smile as they held hands. Soft laughter and childish giggles came back to her like a ghost rising from distant waters. It was a waking dream that haunted her, pleasnt whispers darkened by black horrors. She pushed the thoughts away, her grib on the mop handle tightening.
Dead memories were useless ones, better left buried and forgotten. As she pushed the mop across the floor, her expression even, the small female let her thoughts shift to her present. To the world, a hust without beauty, and the Wall, towering, encasing the city and its people.
“There you are!” The light-haired, mousy female started, turning on her heel to face the woman striding across the room. She blinked as the older girl neared, gaze wide as the white labcoat snapped behind the taller woman’s back. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”
Allyn wrung her hands on the wooden body of her mop, teeth worrying the inside of her bottom lip. She watched the woman stop in front of her, gaze unwavering as the other asked, “Do you have any idea on what’s happening today?”
Allyn shook her head. The other girl sighed, manicured hand combing through black hair. “You’re a lost cause, Al. The government’s here. A whole load of ’em.”
Allyn adjusted her grip on her broom, freeing one hand before she signed, ‘Why?’
“A new shipment’s in. From what Tanaki told me, the soliders are…” Allyn blinked as the older girl glanced behind herself, an uneasy feeling settling in her stomach. When the woman turned back to her, voice low, Allyn knew the next words were said in fear. “It’s damage control, Al. Theta’s taking over the station.”
Allyn’s lips parted, eyes wide and disbelief sharp. Omega-IX was a minor research base, rarely acknowledged by the higher powers. If Theta was taking control…
She didn’t resist when the older woman took the mop from her. Allyn let herself be led away as the other said, “I know what’s going on in that head of yours. Stop panicking. Nothing will happen. The army is here.”
She sounded as sure of herself as Allyn felt. The smaller curled her hand around the one holding hers, cold and sick to the stomach. The government was here and Theta was taking control of Omega-IX. Her insides rolled, bile burning at the back of her throat.
She stop them in the hall, not entirely sure how she could express what was going on in her head. Allyn knew something was up, she knew it had to do with what had happened ten years ago. If Theta was here…
Her thoughts shifted to that day, ten years ago, and how life itself had ended in a single day. She could remember how the sky darkened, how the air had turned cold and oppressive. She remembered when they came, swift and silent.
No compromise had been issued, no middle ground offered. Humanity didn’t stand a chance, the young and the old, men and women, had fallen to the enemy’s wrath. It was that memory that rose, unbidden, in her head as they made their way to the auditorium. The higher-ups were already there, hands folded behind their backs.
As she and the older girl took their seats amongst the others in the crowd, Allyn noticed the glass wall erected behind the officials.
Behind the glass was a line of chairs. In each sat a person, their faces obscured by a bag. She didn’t hear the higher-ups speaking, but she did see when they removed the bags and revealed who their captives were.
Not even a child could mistake the hellish, krimson eyes or the pallid skin of a monster in their mist.
Allyn’s heart stopped. Before them all was the enemy, their stony silence more horrifying than the blade a doctor held. Vampires, some called them. Demons, many hissed. Whispers echoed.
But Allyn knew.