A to Z Challenge, short story

A is for Absent

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A to Z Challenge

April 1st – A is for Absent

Everything seemed normal until the day Alyssa was absent from class.

The day started off average enough; clear skies, Kyi’s mom rushing to school, cursing at idiotic drivers for driving too slow for her liking. But then he got to school and Alyssa wasn’t waiting for him in their usual spot. Now he was in class and her seat sat vacant for the first time since elementary school.

He wasn’t the only one concerned by her absence. A group of kids surrounded her otherworldly house guest, Pan, pacing around her desk, interrogating her.

“Just answer the question.” Mark, normally the class clown, slammed his palms onto Pan’s desk, sliding them across the surface and knocking her books off. “You freaks have been making people disappear lately. Now Alyssa’s missing. What did you do to her?”

Newcasters referred to Pan’s kind as Astrans but that was just a fancy word for aliens. These Astrans crashed landed across Earth in divine spaceships that looked nothing like the puny rockets Earth sent into orbit to upkeep satellites. Kyi remembered watching coverage of it on his portable netscreen. Metallic gold ships with no windows or doors, smooth paneling like the inside of a seashell that glistened in the sunlight like broken glass by the shore. The most impressive part was how Astrans simply walked through the side panelling and down a ramp to exit. No door needed.

Two kids pushed Mark away from Pan, preventing him from wrapping his hands around her throat. His eyes flickered between anger and hurt when Kyi stepped in front of the desk. “Chill.”

“You too, Kyi? You’re going to protect that thing?” Mark spat. Even with the two kids holding him back, he managed to take a few steps closer to the desk. “Alyssa’s missing! I haven’t heard from her in days.” His eyes shifted around the circle of classmates, searching for someone who cared enough to join him. Unfortunately, many avoided his eyes, not interested in starting a fight with an alien girl.

His eyes returned to Kyi. “Don’t you get what I’m saying? She made her disappear. Look at her for crying out loud.”

Kyi glanced back at Pan and shivered. When Pan first arrived in class, her complexion was silver and milky and she had strange beady eyes. Day by day, it changed, morphing into an exact copy of Alyssa’s. Now she sat, fumbling with her newly acquired fingernails, her dark wavy hair swinging from side to side across her bare shoulders as she stared at the approaching classmates with wide eyes. If he didn’t know better, he would have sworn she was Alyssa’s sister. When had she started looking so much like her?

He didn’t want to but he knew Alyssa would have wanted him to defend her alien friend. Except before he could, Pan’s eyes rolled into the back of her head, gibberish spilled from her lips causing classmates to back away slowly. Even the teacher finally took notice.

Pan’s neck bent backwards at an unnatural angle. “The destruction…destruction of mankind is near.” Her voice was quiet at first, increasing in volume as her neck twisted and turned. “Apocalypse…you will all perish.”

Somewhere during this disturbing message, the kids holding Mark released him to join the others hiding in the corner of the room. Mark slammed his hands on the table again, snapping Pan from her trance. “Is that a threat!?” He shouted, crazy enough to grab her by the shirt and drag her on top of her desk.    

She stared at him with wide eyes, as if she was unaware of how demonic she sounded moments before. “Not a threat. A warning.”

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