392 Days by Christopher Hivner
by Christopher Hivner
I saw metallic wings in the sky, watched them move up and down pushing the cold air in circles. They were huge, each bigger than a school bus. The body they were connected to bulged like an engorged tick, the slick surface seeming to move in waves.
The machine flew over my neighborhood, rising and descending in the sky, traveling in no particular pattern. The people of the town left their houses to gaze at the silver bird.
“Look,” someone shouted. A hundred heads turned in the direction of a young girl pointing a finger to see a string of flying machines on the horizon.
“What the hell are they?” my next door neighbor asked in a hushed voice. But if I gave them a name they would be real and I didn’t want them to be. Their energy was placid but sinister. I didn’t know what they were but was positive we were all in great danger.
“I think we should run,” I whispered under my breath. The only person who heard me was the little girl who had seen the “flock” approaching. We locked eyes momentarily before she turned and stumbled down the street. She disappeared around the corner. Her parents never even noticed, still staring into the sky. I never saw the girl again.
I was compelled to stay against my own advice. It would be nearly a year until we realized only the children had escaped.
The silver birds kept coming, from some recess in the sky they emerged, gliding over our town as though it was a summer field of wheat and we were mice. They dropped down, swooping with their wings peeled back, plucking one of us from our spot, flying off with their prize.
It’s been 392 days since they appeared. Our sky is filled with soaring mechanized birds that wait for us. We who remain stay in our houses, venturing out only for food, wearing disguises, moving slowly among the shadows. Sometimes when I think I’ve finally gone insane, reaching for the outstretched hands of my dead parents, I remember that young girl who ran. I tell myself she made it and is all right, living in a place where the flying machines don’t exist. She’s found new parents and friends to start over. I know this to be true because if it’s not real then I’m already dead.