AntipodeanSF Issue 308

By Robert W. Caldwell

There had been alien invasion stories for years. Martians who weren't smart enough to think of germs, flying saucers landing, or pods that replaced humans, and even plants. When the invasion actually happened, it was with a whimper, not a bang. 

People began to put white earbuds in their ears. No one knew where they came from. Each company thought that their competitor made it. Not being very enamoured of technology I didn't get one. After a while I noticed that people had become placid. I walked around a store. Few people were shopping. I went to the register but the clerk just stood there staring into space. I scanned my items and swiped my card. 

I walked out onto the street and saw what looked like enormous buildings that had not been there before. I saw hundreds landing. Few people were reacting. Some ran around screaming. Others called out, trying to get people to act. 

I ran to one of them, a blonde woman. “Let's go to the army base,” she called out. She tried to recruit others while I followed her there, only succeeding in adding an old man to our group. 

We got to the base, walked right past the security guard and searched the premises for weapons. We were unable to find an armoury but we found a museum. We grabbed some machine guns from an exhibit, but they of course were not loaded, so we searched the back room and were able to find ammunition and one working tommy gun, and with help from the old man, who was a veteran, got the other guns working and loaded. 

We walked out onto the street. Space ships had landed everywhere and towered above even the tallest buildings. We saw one of the elephantine creatures and charged it, firing away. It merely reached down and picked us up with its rough hand, held us against its soft body, and cuddled us. I now know the creature was a she. The blonde woman screamed. I struggled kicking with my feet, and hitting with fist but to no avail. 

The alien took us into a ship and let us go. She said something and then sat down. “Wow,” said the old man. “I have picked up and held cats and I always wondered what it was like for the cat.”

“Let's search for a way out of here,” said the woman.

“I concur,” I said. “By the way, I'm Maurice.”

“I'm Lisa,” she said.  

“I'm Lucius,” said the old man. 

We walked around exploring every room. The aliens watched and occasionally made a chiming noise that I now know is laughter. I yelled as one of them picked me up with a warm hand and pushed me against its chest. I struggled to get away, hitting and kicking. The only result to my struggle was the alien making musical noises to the others and the others making soft noises in reply. 

So that is how we all became pets. We lounge on the pillows provided by the aliens. 

I say, “I learned their language but whenever I talk to them they look amused and say how cute that is. Can't they tell that we are intelligent?”

“Well, look on the bright side,” says Lisa. “At least they didn't kill us all.”

“But what about all my hopes and dreams?” I ask. 

“Well you can still go out into the city,” says Lisa.

“But it is like being in a doll house, our masters looking in and smiling in that funny way they do — wiggling their ears.”

“Well I for one like this life,” says Lucius. “Just eat and sleep. Not a care in the world.”

One of the aliens comes toward us and lays down a plate of food.

“What do we have today?” I ask. “Ostrich and watermelon, Zebra and artichoke, beef wrapped in the alien’s bafflebutter.” But then I smell it. “Oh great. Hippopotamus and broccoli.”

“I kind of like it,” said Lucius. “At least I don't have to fix it myself.” He walks over with his bowl and scoops up a large portion.

“I wonder why they think that's what we would normally eat?” asks Lisa.

“It's about what appeals to them. After all, they sometimes serve us their goo stew,” I say.

“And sometimes they serve us something shaped to look like their mytag, or dipong, or chito, or something else that they eat,” says Lucius, taking another spoonful.

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About the Author

robert caldwell 200Robert grew up in Birmingham Alabama. Diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as an adult he is a self-advocate who speaks at conferences, serves on the Autism Support Alabama board, and serves on the Alabama Interagency Coordinating Council.

He has two cats, a yin and a yang, Bandit, a large black male, and Trouble a small white female. Unfortunately, they don't get along well.

He is a photographer, collects old photographs, and has a green thumb. He grows carnivorous plants, pitcher plants, sundews, and venus fly traps.

You can find his books on Amazon which include stories previously published on Antipodean.

Issue Contributors

The AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50Our weekly podcast features the stories from recently published issues, often narrated by the authors themselves.

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Meet the Narrators

  • Laurie Bell

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    Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia and is the author of "The Stones of Power Series" via Wyvern's Peak Publishing: "The Butterfly Stone", "The Tiger's Eye" and "The Crow's Heart" (YA/Fantasy).

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  • Marg Essex

    marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

    She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.

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  • Tim Borella

    tim borellaTim Borella is an Australian author, mainly of short speculative fiction published in anthologies, online and in podcasts.

    He’s also a songwriter, and has been fortunate enough to have spent most of his working life doing something else he loves, flying.

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  • Sarah Jane Justice

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  • Alistair Lloyd

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  • Sarah Pratt

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  • Ed Errington

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    His efforts at wallaby wrangling are without parallel — at least in this universe.

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  • Barry Yedvobnick

    barry yedvobnick 200Barry Yedvobnick is a recently retired Biology Professor. He performed molecular biology and genetic research, and taught, at Emory University in Atlanta for 34 years. He is new to fiction writing, and enjoys taking real science a step or two beyond its known boundaries in his

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  • Juliette Cavendish

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  • Michelle Walker

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    As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I recognised it was definitely God who opened up the pathways for my husband and I to settle in the Valley.

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  • Mark English

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    All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his

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  • Geraldine Borella

    geraldine borella 200Geraldine Borella writes fiction for children, young adults and adults. Her work has been published by Deadset Press, IFWG Publishing, Wombat Books/Rhiza Edge, AHWA/Midnight Echo, Antipodean SF, Shacklebound Books, Black Ink Fiction, Paramour Ink Fiction, House of Loki and Raven & Drake

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  • Emma Gill

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