Author : Jacqueline Brasfield
I was 18 years old when they’d captured the first howlers.
Mom and I stayed up to see the first footage of them flash across the TV screen on the 11 O’clock news, blurry images of hollow-eyed men and women wearing orange jumpsuits, their arms hanging limply and obediently at their sides. I felt a pang of disappointment. From all her stories I expected them to be fierce, savage, proud creatures struggling and straining at their chains. I expected them to be warriors. They looked no more savage than my science teacher at school. Mom said I shared a connection to them. I didn’t know what she meant.
On the screen, three figures stood proudly at a podium adorned with microphones from various news agencies. My mother spit down at her feet when the camera panned over their faces – two men, one woman, all impeccably groomed. One of the men wore a military uniform decorated with medals, and it was he who spoke to the camera.
“We’ve prepared a small statement regarding the hybrids and then we’ll move to your questions.”
My mother spit again and took a long swallow of gin straight out of the small glass bottled held in her hand. I’d never seen her drink before.
“It is with great pleasure that we can confirm we have successfully located and retrieved all of the hybrids. The last remaining rogue tribes were identified and brought into protective custody for their integration into the United States Military Evolutionary Hybrid Unit. The success of the device used to free these hybrids from their condition continues to prove effective and provide a stability and peace of mind these individuals will not have ever known. All of them have been offered training and assistance and the opportunity to serve this great nation, and we can confirm we have 100% uptake on this offer. The public is safe once again – if not safer. We believe these hybrids will make the finest soldiers in the history of the United States military forces. My colleagues and I will take your questions now, on the understanding we cannot reveal information that is classified.”
Immediately, a flurry of questions came from the mob of journalists off camera. My mother turned off the TV before I could hear any of the replies.
“Why’d you turn it off?”
She sat there in the dark for several long seconds before answering me.
“Because they’re lying, Ben. About everything. All the stories I’ve told you. All of their history. Does any of that suggest to you that they would willingly give in to slavery and bondage? That they would agree to serve those who rape the land, and poison the water and kill the innocent?”
I opened my mouth to speak, to tell her no I did not think they would, but she was quick to interject.
“And do you think they’ve really caught all of them?”
She looked over my shoulder as she said the words, eyes fixed on something behind me. And that something began to move, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up like orderly soldiers.
I turned quickly to look behind and stood frozen at the sight before me. A woman more bone than skin prowling forward on bare feet. Her movements were alien and animalistic and savage. She spat haughty words at me in Russian that I didn’t understand.
I thought her the most beautiful thing I’d seen in my life.
“Meet the resistance Ben,” my mother murmured. “Meet Katja, your mate.”