Like I promised, Chapter one of Let There Be Dark!
Cue 20th Century Fox music …. Ba-da-da… Ba-Da-da-da-da-duh-da! Wah-wah-way-wah….Wah-wah-way-wah….duh da da dummm…. Tssss…..
Prelude to Darkness
In the infinite blackness of space the giant awakens.
He has journeyed for centuries, alone in his spherical ship, crossing galaxies in search of knowledge. Even with the technologies available to him in his ship, the universe itself is too vast, he fears, for him to explore it in his lifetime.
When the cosmos were young he began building his cosmic ark, his thirst for knowledge so voracious that he built his ark in the span of mere centuries, aware that within that time he would have learned much had his ship been built already.
His greatest regret was if only had he done it sooner, he would have glimpsed the birth of a star, the beginnings of a black hole. But the universe works in the span of millennia, not minutes and once he began his travels he felt relieved, because he wasn’t missing too much. He had seen planets at war and the destruction of worlds, infants sent across galaxies to become immigrant saviours of their adopted planets. He watches constantly, but tries his best not to interfere.
But what he sees at the planet below is different.
As his ship gets in range of the planet he senses something amiss. He knew from his records the planet was civilized, and usually brightly-lit. But the side of the planet away from the sun, nighttime, was too dim. There should have been a plethora of city lights, not the faint flickers of dying lights that he sees now.
His legs, a few feet off the floors of his ship, glides smoothly to his control deck and his fingers, all twelve of them, are busy flicking switches, hitting buttons and the deck, silent with only the vacuum of space, begins to flood in with the sounds of people screaming in terror. He knows he must act.
His ship stops beside the planet’s twin moons, dwarfing them in size. The lower hatch of the ship opens, followed by a stream of powerful gases emanating along its sides. He hovers out the hatch, his arms outstretched, his body steadily descending to the planet. His spacesuit protects him from the harsh coldness of space. He has no need for a helmet or an oxygen mask. He can hold his breath for long stretches at a time.
As he kisses the planet’s atmosphere and breathes its air he thinks, what can one do to help a screaming planet? His eyes squint against the darkness.
He is above a major city in ruin, vehicles overturned amid smouldering wreckage and the streets littered with shriveled bodies, drier than raisins, skin as harsh as shorn coconut shells.
The corpses bring out the worst fears in him. The way the bodies are.
Could it be? Them?
He was hoping it wasn’t because if the rumors were true they would always leave a planet dead and empty in their wake.
A body, its skin blue and mottled, bursts through glass and falls one hundred feet, landing hard and wet against the ground, the shattered shards of glass embedded in the body, through the pores of the skin, some right into the crevices and sockets of its eyes.
The giant breathes in the smoke and squints hard against the dim flames and the shuffle of panicked footsteps grab his attention. There are two sets of footsteps. The first set of footsteps is hurried, desperate, running away from the second set of footsteps, which are more deliberate, confident.
For the second set of footsteps victory is only moments away. A part of him wants to save them but the other part of him wants to observe and study them. Every planetary observation for him has become just another ant colony in a glass case, each planetary denizen just a different species of ant.
But, as always, the heart wins and he lands, the first six toes touching the ground, followed by the next six.
The second set of footsteps catch up and pin the first set to the ground, and their overpowering fingers touch their prey’s faces, caressing them gently, grating their dried skin against their victim’s faces.
The victims are unrelenting in their struggle, punching, forcing their way and trying to get up, but in spite of the attacker’s emaciated bodies which by all consideration would seem weak and frail, the attackers have a mean right hook, left hook, upper cut, and a choke hold that pins their victims, the first set of footsteps, back to the hard ground.
The attackers close their eyes anticipating the same way someone is ready to jump from a great height. Their bodies slump onto their victims, which makes the giant believe, maybe, the victims are miraculously saved by a stroke of good fortune.
No such luck.
The victims, the first set of running footsteps push aside the slumped bodies of their attackers and rise, their bodies filled with renewed vigor, their eyes, however, are blank, devoid of any fear, or even happiness. They notice something large watching them. Turning their heads at the same time in military precision, the large, fifty foot tall being observing them is just in the way.
They form a squad and march toward him. From out the shadows and darkness more join the march, hundreds of them, all with the same blank stare, they now form an army, and even more appear out from their hiding places, soon the army becomes a legion.
The legion charge after him, the fifty-foot giant, warrior ants against a benevolent goliath. Knowing he’s outnumbered he runs away, hoping to gain enough momentum to jump and fly back to his ship, but their speed is overwhelming, and their huge numbers jump and pin him down.
Some grab his arms, holding down his wrists like nails, some lock his knees in, but he struggles and thinks, not yet! No! I cannot yield. He balls his five fingers and thumb on one hand then the other into fists, raising his knees like a drawbridge rising out of water, and the legion, like blue sand flow down and off his knees and tumble and pile on one another.
With a sudden jerk of his arms he breaks free and the blank-faced legion are thrown into the air. He stands up while they latch on to his legs and his back. He kicks as much of them away as he can, scattering them like an explosion of blue.
You can’t escape, the legion tells him in his mind. The legion, they speak through thought, and in a flash they reveal all of their plans to him, fragments of visions of all there past invasions flood his mind. As if just to taunt him and to frustrate him, to let him know of the futility of his actions, they tell his mind:
We are done with this planet.
We always feed on a planet’s life energies until there’s nothing left.
The giant grabs his temples, wanting, needing them out his mind, he almost feels like ripping off his head, like never existing, a headache the size of the moon. Scanning his mind, they find something most pleasing.
The giant screams. Not that planet, please.
Oh yes, that planet is very suitable. Take us there.
Never! I won’t let you!
He runs one, two, ten paces; his giant strides gain enough momentum, enabling him to leap into the air. The blue legion, or at least the ones fit enough, chase after and latch on to his legs, the cold breeze of the dark air blowing against their faces. They touch his calves and his spine, piercing their fingers into his skin. A transfer.
About twenty of them enter his body and mind, this great powerful goliath, and their hosts, once gentle blue creatures, all twenty of their bodies release grip and fall out of the sky, while the other thirty still latch on to him as he enters the upper atmosphere, then space itself, trying to fight it, their parasitic possession.
He is great and strong. His knowledge will get us there.
And his beautiful ship.
Shut him up.
The thirty blue people overtake his mind fully, suppressing his thoughts. Accessing his brain, they realize they have hit a veritable cosmic jackpot. A powerful being at their disposal. A ship larger than a moon.
With the giant now under their complete control, the giant guides them to the ship’s control deck. The thirty blue people drop on the control panel, little people in a big ship, leaping over buttons and levers as the possessed giant starts the ship’s engines.
Below, on the planet, their host bodies, a bipedal species with mottled blue skin and diamond-like eyes are preparing for their next move.
A nomadic species of demonic parasites, they have their own limits. They only are able to possess their hosts through touch, going from planet to planet draining its peoples of their life energies.
Their blue hosts, entering vehicles, travel to various hangars across the continent, and enter the spacecrafts, large crafts enough to hold thousands.
Establishing a mind-link with the team in the giant spaceship, they begin launch. Once the passenger crafts enter space, they are lead by the giant ship, with the possessed giant at the controls, while the other twenty are studying the ship, enjoying with devilish glee at the amount of information they have at their disposal. They dim the lights, finding the ship too bright.
Deep down inside, the giant struggles. A small part of him wants to get out and break away from their mind-grip. He has to tell the other planet they are in danger, but they silence his mind. Shut up, they tell him. He tries to swim his way out of the sea of voices but they pull his mind and his will down, deep, deeper into pure darkness.
The giant ship and its accompanying set of spacecrafts set their way to a new solar system, a galaxy away, to its third planet from the sun.