Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
The invaders had left automated sentries in charge of the human race. They’d really cleaned Earth up. All animals, vegetables, and water were being managed expertly for maximum freshness and yield. They left the precious metals in the Earth alone. They weren’t nearly as valuable to the universe as they had been to us before the invasion.
We’d been kept as a slave labour force. Every single living thing on the Earth was a commodity to be exported besides us. Because feeding us plants or animals would literally eat into the aliens’ profits, we were only allowed to eat each other. They’d really done a good job. Human meat had never known such diversity of preparation. Pudding, steaks, burgers, crispy-fried, protein bars, gelatin, even a type of ‘skin salad’. Those of us old enough to remember the old ways were horrified. What scared us most is that the children didn’t seem to mind. They accepted it as reality and ate their fill.
We planted the seeds, tilled the fields, harvested the crops, and loaded them into the produce ships. We raised the animals, fed them, cared for them, and herded them into the meat ships. We diverted the rivers into small dams that led gushing into the water ships.
The horrible thing was that they aliens weren’t raping our planet. They weren’t squeezing it until it dried up and broke. They were carefully managing the output so that Earth could produce enough to feed entire planets but would always replenish. The irony was not lost on us.
We were here eternally, eating ourselves and keeping the process going under the threat of punishment from the machines left to keep us in line.
The machines that were now coming over the hill and questing for us. To our left, a gout of flame found an empty silo where the seniors were hiding. With a chill, I realized that the machines were probably programmed to start with the elderly but they’d leave the children. I hoped the tale of our tiny rebellion would be spread as myth amongst the survivors.
The juice of nectarines ran down my chin, mixing with the blueberries I had eaten earlier. All of us huddled in the darkness, reeking of fruit and vegetables. Today would be the day we died but we all had a belly full of what was worth dying for.