Author: Irene Montaner

I take one last look around the beauty aisle. Combs, hairbrushes, face creams and cleansers, body moisturisers, shampoos and conditioners, bath foams, hand soaps – empty racks by the way – ear buds and cotton pads. And then, black ragged plastic bags where makeup used to be on display and a paper that reads ‘Item temporarily not for sale’. No foundations, concealers or mascaras. Damn it! Whoever thought that makeup was not an essential.

A mirror still shows between the makeup stands. I glance at my reflection. The purple beneath my eyes no longer passes for dark circles. And I’m already sporting a mauve sheer glow on my skin. I clearly have two options here. Commit to lockdown and hide. Or show my true colours. My people are still far away. One point two light-years away, to be precise, and at their cruising speed of twenty-five percent the speed of light it would take them another five years to reach Earth, give or take a month or two considering the time spent in deceleration and approximation manoeuvres. And there are only four hundred seventeen thousand fifty-nine of us on site carrying out different undercover experiments and investigations on the human folk. A lot, I know you’re thinking, and you hadn’t even noticed. Until now.

“Mwahaha,” I laugh as I glide on my tentacles along the stranded corridors of the supermarket. The few cashiers on duty scream and run, just like everyone else who had ventured outside on this sunny day to shop for groceries. I make myself comfortable at the customer service booth and begin my broadcast. “This is a call to all earthlings. Stay home, stay safe. That’s what your authorities are telling you. And that’s what we, the people of Rigel, will tell you. Because we, Rigelians, are the new authority on Earth. Do not fight, do not fear. Stay home, stay safe. And we may allow the few survivors of this pandemic to live a quiet life of servitude for the rest of your days. Mwahaha.”

I delight in the unfolding chaos. People circling around, not knowing where to hide. Children crying and cars crashing. A few ones getting out their guns and aiming at me and then panicking because they realise that bullets don’t get me – they’re actually being refracted by my personal and transparent defensive shell. Smart, ha! It takes approximately half an hour Earth time for the folly to be over. No more shootings or yelling. All is quiet and there’s no one around. At least no one alive. Time for the next step in the first phase of Rigel’s plan for Earth domination.

I close my eyes and synch my brainwaves with those of my comrades. I transmit coordinates, details of my situation and the information we’re allowed to share at this stage. The message spreads quickly through every country and continent. Confinement becomes even more real. The future is here and the future is purple. Rigellian purple.