by Michael A. Kechula
The grassy knoll was damp on Christmas Eve when Harry peered through his night scope, selected a target, then fired.
The target’s head exploded.
“One shot, one kill,” he muttered as he scooted back down the hole, slid the grassy lid over the top, and threw the locking latches. Then he ran like hell through the polymer tunnels of the Doomsday Shelter, the complex he’d designed back in 2075, back when the U.S. government expended 22 trillion dollars to construct a global network of interconnecting, subterranean shelters designed to save the population in case of all-out alien attack.
Reaching the rocket sled, he pressed the ignition. As he sped at mach 8 through the tubes from the hills of Virginia to his base in Australia, he waited for the inevitable 3.5 Richter scale quake the Martians generated to retaliate after each night’s kill.
The bastards were smart enough to take over the Earth and liquidate its entire population in three days. But they’re incredible idiots when it comes to geology. I designed this complex to withstand 15.5 on the Richter scale. One day they’ll find out, but by then I’ll be long dead.
I still can’t believe I’m the last human on the planet. Damn good thing I was inspecting the underground storage terminals seventeen miles below the Great Barrier Reef when they struck. Otherwise, I would’ve been evaporated along with the rest.
Bowing his head, he said a prayer for the masses that had died during the Martian siege.
Back at his base under the former city of Sydney, he drew another line on the kill chart. An automated voice reminded him this was number 1,083.
He had enough ammunition to kill another 100,000 of the bastards. If he continued to assassinate them at one per night, he figured it would take a little over 273 years to reach that number. On the other hand, if he upped the nightly kill to ten, he could take out that many in 27 years — if he killed a few extra on holidays. His New Year’s resolution was to increase his nightly kills to ten.
With a bottle of whiskey in one hand, and a candy cane in the other, he flopped on a sofa and sang “Jingle Bells.” He sipped the bottle until he passed out.
On Christmas morning, as he’d done every year since the Martians imposed the final solution, he checked under the false fireplace.
“Thank you, Santa,” he said, reaching for the dozens of gifts he’d wrapped for himself. “Next year, I hope you drop a female down the chimney. I’d even take one of your elves, if she had the proper equipment.”
He grabbed enough ration packets to have a luscious Christmas dinner, and took his rocket sled to Tuvalu, one of the Pacific islands not yet occupied by Martian hordes.
When he exited the camouflaged polymer tube on Tuvalu’s white sandy beach, he thanked God for the coconut he spotted near the tree line. It would make a wonderful dessert. Though he had a stash of well over a billion rich, packaged desserts from every nation, there was nothing like eating something fresh. Especially when lying on a fabulous, sun-drenched beach cooled by gentle, Pacific breezes.
Staring up into the sky, he thought he saw something heading in the direction of Tuvalu.
Must be one of those Martian supply ships. Their settlement teams are probably getting closer to Tuvalu. I’ll have to find another place to come out for fresh air.
Then he noticed the flying object didn’t have the silhouette of a Martian freighter. He hoped it came from Venus or Saturn, and that it carried an invasion force to wipe out the Martians. Anything would be better than those genocidal bastards.
Suddenly, the object turned and headed toward him. Grabbing his rifle, he raced toward the exit. Before he could reach it, something struck his back and knocked him to the ground.
“What the hell is this?,” he hollered, picking up the cold sphere that’d downed him. Geez! A snowball! What the hell’s going on?”
Another whizzed past his ear. He raised his rifle, but it fell from his hands when he saw eight reindeer pulling a sleigh.
“Harry, you son-of-a-gun. I’ve been looking all over for you. I’ve been trying to deliver something to you for the past three Christmases.”
Santa pointed to a block of ice.
“Well, don’t just stand there. Take it! Quick! Shove it into your shelter. It’ll take twelve hours to defrost. Here’s the instructions. Get moving. Those lousy Martians are liable to lock onto my sleigh any second. I don’t know when I can make it back, again. Have a Merry Christmas.”
Santa jumped into his sleigh, and was gone in a flash.
Harry snapped out of his stupor and pushed the block of ice to the entrance tube.
When he returned home, he read the instructions.
Her name is Glixa. She’s not from this galaxy, but she’s female. It’s the best I could do under the circumstances. She’s about twenty Earth years old but has the mind of a child. She has powerful, primitive instincts, including the one you want most.
Merry Christmas. Santa.
Harry couldn’t wait to defrost her.
When she awoke, her four hands reached out. Gently pulling her to him, he whispered the same question into each of ten holes burrowed into her head. She nodded. Taking his hand, she guided his fingers to seven apertures in her outermost tentacle.
“Mmm. One for every day of the week,” he said, kissing her first set of lips, then the pair just above.
She quivered and sighed.
“That’s lesson number one,” he said, gazing deeply into the orange eye in the middle of her forehead. “Before we move on to lesson two, do you mind if I call you Eve?”
He thought he heard the most charming, girlish giggle.
Copyright © 2007 by Michael A. Kechula