Invasion Past: a short story by INVADER VEX

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None of them knew the color of the sky. We had been born looking up into the shrill face of a machine, never knowing the world as it really was. The throng of bodies that constantly surrounded me yelled and scraped the walls with their raw, skinless, chaffed hands. While the younger cried and screamed, the older ones issued insane litanies to some unknown being, screaming for the release of death. We were a group of about two hundred, but the vast room we wandered in was hardly large enough to support us.

As one child died, another took his place, bringing us a new one once every week or so. Unfortunately, there was no way to dispose of the others, and there were likely centuries of decay that so surrounded us. For the most part, we stayed away from that side of the room, but we had to eat.

I was only one of the hundreds, but the creators had chosen me for something I did not yet understand. While the others were pious fools, believing that death was the release from the great trial of life, I realized that something was amiss... The mechanizations of the room were complex and almost godly, but were clearly built by man. The equipment working imperturbably and without flaw, this was no work of nature. We were put here for a reason... I just wanted to know why.

The days and nights passed like millennia, and more and more of us started to fall ill and die. We had no language, but we all shared one, hive-like mind. We were restless, tired, and scared. More so than we had ever been. The machinery that gave us light and water began to grind to a halt, like some monstrous beast, resting from it's work. There were no new children to come out of the Room, and we began to dwindle. By the time I had reached the age of ten years, the Age of Enlightenment, the machines stopped working entirely, and a door opened for the first time.

While the others seemed to give it no attention, I trudged in, sodden with fear. It was there where each and every one of us had been brought into this world. We had all seen it, but none of us knew what it truly was: An enormous machine with a slowly deteriorating corpse of a man floating in a tank at its center. Appendages of all shapes and sizes jutted out of it's spherical body, and many were stuck in a flesh colored lump that sat on a table.

It was the most monstrous thing I had ever seen, with human bones broken and reassembled into its new form. A human skull with a single metallic eye sat on the creature in a disturbed and awkward fashion. It was clearly the last effort by a failing mechanism to form one last of its horrible creations. I walked around the room, surveying it. I located a small hatch in the side of a wall, and crawled through it. After what seemed like hours, I saw a light. Not a light like the ones in our home, but one that glowed like billions of them. It was larger than life, and seemed like it was just begging to demolish itself.

It was hot and dry, and there was a strange grey celling that seemed to go on forever. In the distance, there was dry nothingness, with the occasional blemish on the horizon of this strange place. This new place reeked of sadness and devastation.