Peter was sitting on the floor, munching cheddar Goldfish crackers and watching cartoons when his father stumbled through the door.
"Well, hello my boy," Jeremy slurred, staggering towards the boy, "ain't it time for bed little one? Where's yer momma? I need a little somethin'." He grinned a dopey, lopsided grin. His eyes practically glowed red through the slits of his eyelids. The stench of alcohol radiated in waves from his body. He reached out to hug the boy.
"Mom's in bed," said the boy as he pushed away from his father's embrace, "and you're stinky."
"Stinky!" He laughed heartily, "we should get you to bed, too, buster." He tried picking up the boy but instead found himself sprawled on his back staring up into his son's innocent eyes.
"It's not bedtime, Daddy, it's morning." The boy gave him a bright, sweet smile. Jeremy suddenly felt very ashamed, but quickly swept the thought away and smiled back.
"Morning?" He rolled up on his side and glanced out the window to see the warm golden light of the morning sun filtering through. "Well how 'bout that." Peter giggled at his father and turned back to the television. As his eyes swept past the window, he thought he saw a glint of light off in the distance.
"Well, well, well," said a voice from the hall, "look who remembered he has family." He swiveled his head around, lost focus, concentrated, and she finally she came through the haze. Sherilyn was standing in the mouth of the hall wrapped in a red terry cloth robe, looking more bemused than angry. Her dishwater blond hair was thrown into a messy bun atop her head. Her ice-blue eyes pierced his heart making him yearn for her body with a stronger desire.
"Hey baby. I been missin' you." He was attracted to his wife whether she was dressed up for a night out, or disheveled from a good night's sleep. He struggled to his feet and tried to give her his best bedroom eyes. A bit of drool escaped his mouth and splashed on his rumpled lapel.
She rolled her eyes, folding her arms across her chest. "I know we have an open door policy, but, still. You should really call."
A man appeared behind her wearing only light green briefs. He placed his hands on Sherilyn's shoulders. "Who the hell are you?" he spit at the drunk man. He was tall, muscular, with broad shoulders, olive skin, dark eyes and a thick five o'clock shadow.
"This is Jeremy," she said, waiving her hand impatiently in his general direction, "my husband." Her tone implied she'd spoken of him numerous times, and probably without kindness. While their marriage was good overall, she had long ago fallen out of love with him. He was boring and didn't give her the adventurous life she had so imagined. Rather, she had become a stay-at-home mom of a child with whom she could never quite connect. Over time her feelings for Jeremy, and sometimes even for Peter, had curdled. She never wanted kids—that was Jeremy's dream—and she had acquiesced early on. The pull to feel some sort of excitement in her dull life led her to many extramarital affairs. She had fantasized many times about leaving their dusty, rural homestead and disappearing into the world. Instead, she presented her husband with divorce papers.
Jeremy just stood there dumbfounded. He couldn't quite comprehend what was happening. "uhh..." is all he could manage to utter. His ears were humming and his head started to pound. His wife gave him a caustic look, frustrated by his lack of short-term memory.
"Jeremy, this is Paulo, my new boyfriend. This is our second date." Paulo wrapped his arms around her, slipping one hand through the fold of the robe, cupping her breast. She closed her eyes, a small moan of pleasure escaped her lips. He grunted in return and started kissing her neck. She dropped her head back and to the side exposing her slender neck and smooth shoulder. Paulo pressed his pelvis into her backside. Sherilyn felt as though their bodies were so in tune they were humming. She glanced at Jeremy, the corner of her mouth curling up into a self-satisfied sneer.
"Hey!" shouted Jeremy, "get yer damn hands offa my wife!" Jeremy felt sick to his stomach. Anger boiled into his face, turning it bright red.
Peter was used to the drama between his parents and long ago learned to block it all out. His mind was squarely focused on the TV chatter between two anthropomorphic animals. He noticed low humming noise just perceptible among the den of TV babble and grown-up squabble. He lifted his eyes to the window and gasped.
"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" Jeremy didn't notice notice Peter tugging at his suit flaps and took a step towards the couple. "What the hell is going on here? Get yer hands off her and get out of my house!" He screamed, jabbing a finger in the general direction of the front door.
"Daddy, Daddy, something's coming!" yelled Peter. He rushed to the window, turning to see if his father was following. However, Jeremy was still too preoccupied with his mother and her new friend to notice. The boy put his hand up to the glass.
"I won't ask you again. Get. Out. Or I'll... I'll," he struggled for the words and looked down at his hands as if they held the answer. He didn't know what to do. He'd only been in one fight his entire life, and it was over almost as quickly as it began, with Jeremy sprawled on the pavement holding his throbbing stomach. A single punch is all it took. Paulo was probably five inches taller than Jeremy with at least twice the amount of muscle on him. Jeremy briefly glanced down at his own ever-expanding paunch.
Paulo stepped out from behind the woman, "or you'll what?" he sneered. Jeremy observed that Paulo was visibly aroused and he promptly retched all over the carpet, falling to his knees. "Ah, Jesus dude. Cover up." He suddenly felt very inadequate. That's when the impending divorce made it to the surface of his thoughts. He sighed a weary sigh and glanced up at his wife. She was giving him a stare that landed somewhere between pity and annoyance. All at once he felt very heavy and very tired.
He slowly made his way to his feet and looked at Paulo. "Fine," he said, "I'll go." Instead of turning to leave, however, he made a clumsy lunge towards Paulo, who instantly reared back and punched Jeremy square in the nose. He tumbled backward and sat hard on his butt. "Ow, fuck,' he screamed, "you broke my fucking nose!" Blood was pouring from his nostrils, drenching the front of his shirt and tie.
"And I'll break your fucking legs if you don't get out of here," Paulo barked, shaking the punch from his hand.
"Paulo," Sherilyn cooed, "I told you he does shit like this all the time. He's nothing but a stupid, weak-ass drunk. He forgets things." She kind of giggled at this but quickly covered her mouth with her hand.
"Daaadddyyy!" screamed the boy, just as the house exploded in a brilliant white light. A deep humming rumbled through the house, growing louder and higher pitched with each passing second. The sound reached an ear-splitting crescendo. With a loud CRAAAAACK the roof was torn completely from the house and flung into the backyard and field beyond. Shingles and insulation rained down upon the four humans.
An aircraft like nothing they'd ever seen hovered above. The low humming returned as they gazed in awe up at the craft. The hull was a deep, metallic blue, almost black, very slick and smooth. A small hole opened and a slender, black, cylindrical tube descended from the hull. The tube scanned the area with a red laser-like light, searching the house.
"What the fuck..." breathed Paulo. He took a step back, reaching his hand back for his girlfriend. A bright blue laser shot out of the tube and struck Paulo, instantly turning him into a pile of ash on the scorched carpet. Sherilyn screamed and turned to run, her heal barely touching the carpet when the laser shot out obliterating her instantly. Jeremy looked down to see his son clutching him tightly, quietly whimpering. He bent down and grabbed Peter in a tight embrace, covering his head.
"I got you, buddy." The laser rotated in his direction. This is it, he thought. "Shut your eyes, son." He closed his own eyes. A warm, pleasant sensation enveloped his body, he felt his son pulling away and he tightened his grip. But his son was moving upward, his grip slipping as if he were holding a stick of butter instead of a boy. He opened his eyes to see his son, naked, floating up towards the craft. He was reaching out to him, looking scared and confused. "Daddy" he whispered before disappearing into the craft. "Peter!" He gasped.
The warming sensation continued. He felt drowsy and relaxed, his nose no longer painful. He realized that he too was naked. His rumpled suit reduced to tiny shreds all over the carpet and debris. He started to involuntarily nod off as he felt himself lift off the floor towards the cabin. He struggled to keep his eyes open. He rose slowly towards the hull, bathed in a soft, violet glow. The world slipped away beneath him.
As he neared the entrance to the hull he saw a man, nearly identical to himself, working a small remote control from inside the craft. Then the world went dark and silent.
First published on September 9, 2005 on DeviantArt.