I’m the epitome of a Gen Z.
I love to watch boomers fight with Millennials. I love food, memes, and joking about depression. So when I saw a battery-operated fidget spinner with a picture of the Sombrero galaxy on it on sale for 50 cents, I just had to buy it.
I was just wandering a Target, looking at the dollar aisle. It was mostly full of weird phone accessories that were probably a giant rip-off. In fact, the fidget spinner was probably a rip-off as well, though I didn’t really give a crap for 50 cents. It was pretty.
I checked out using 5 random dimes I found in my purse and decided to head to McDonald’s, despite the guarantee of a stomachache. As said before, I love food more than I love my health and body. I had to walk, since I wasn’t rich enough to have a car and the last time I tried skateboarding I broke my nose and got a cut on my forehead that had to have 16 stitches. I still have a scar and it ain’t pretty.
I ordered a cheap cheeseburger without pickles, because eww. The restaurant had a cheap TV on the wall by the menu, broadcasting news about nothing but politics and sports players that got caught on drugs. I couldn’t have cared less. I liked news better when it talked about actually important things, like the military and, you know, weather.
The sun was setting and the sky was almost completely hot pink when I left McDonald’s at about 6 p.m. Traffic was slowing down and fewer jaywalkers roamed the roads. This was good news, because it was less likely I would get hit by a car and more likely that my little 9-year-old siblings would be tired out from being energetic demons for 8 hours straight.
It’s funny how fast things can change.
By the time I got home, it was 7:30 and completely dark out. I hoped I hadn’t worried my mom too much, but it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world for her if I didn’t come back. I was her least favorite—too reclusive for her tastes. Her children were like wines for her, and I was the cheapest, most bitter wine off the shelf, while Mom preferred the sweet wines that my siblings were.
Sure enough, when I walked through the door, she greeted me and went back to watching some Food Network show. My father was probably drunk somewhere and my siblings were all half asleep on the living room floor, despite the fact that there were tons of couches and chairs scattered throughout the house. Brats.
I decided to hide in my room like I did every night I had the chance. As I hung my purse up on the wall, I remembered something.
My purse was huge and I couldn’t find it, so I ended up having to dump the contents on my bed to find the fidget spinner. Once I found it, I didn’t bother to put the contents back. I’d deal with it later.
I read the instructions on the back of the package and discovered that it charged just like a phone, USB cord and all. I didn’t need to charge it, though, because it was pretty much already charged. It had a button in the middle and I gingerly pushed it with my thumb.
It was beautiful. The speed was impeccable so it blurred exactly right, making it look like a picture perfect galaxy. Watching it nearly made me dizzy.
After three minutes of watching it, mesmerized, I heard the scream.
“Annaliese, get out here right now!” It was my mother, screaming frantically. With how she overreacts, I thought that I’d probably tracked mud in or something and she was pissed at me. But no, she wasn’t pissed at me—the reality was so much worse.
Her baking show had been interrupted by a newscaster frantically trying to speak, jumbling his words together and constantly glancing around him as if waiting for something to pop out and attack him. And maybe he was. Shrieks and crashes in the background were nearly blocking him out as he spoke.
“Minneapolis-Saint Paul area is being evacuated after an attack by… by something unknown, something big and something very, very angry… it is unknown where these things came from and why they are here, but they are murdering anything they come acr—” A scream that sounded very close to the newscaster cut him off. He got even more panicky.
“They are murdering anything they come across,” he continued. “The military is evacuating the Twin Cities and then is going to strike back and hopefully eliminate the threat.” Another scream, another crash, and then a gurgling sound. Now the newscaster was in a panic-induced craze. “Screw this. I’m out of here,” he muttered, and ran from the camera. Seconds after he left, something flew by the camera—more like through, really—, knocking it over so that nothing could be seen, but it was clear what happened to the newscaster by listening to the agonized wail that cut off as abruptly as it had started.
My hands flew up to my mouth. My mother had tears running down her face and the kids seemed to be in shock. Erin sucked her thumb—something she hadn’t done since she was five—and Eric rocked back and forth while clutching a teddy bear.
After a few minutes of the four of us doing nothing, I finally took the initiative and spoke. “We need to get out of here. Now. Before the military bombs us.” Eric was the first to nod and ran to his room to get a few things, presumably Superman pajamas and a few of his favorite toys. Erin followed close behind him, but Mom stood there, not even crying anymore. I tugged on her arm.
“Mom, we need to leave, now.” She didn’t answer. I gently slapped her cheek. “Wake up. Let’s go.”
“Go where?” she whispered, snapping out of it. “We have nowhere to go. And what about your father? Who knows where he is.”
“We’ll figure it out once we’re gone, and screw him. He hates us anyway. Get some stuff and let’s go!” I was yelling now, and the kids were peeking around the door at me. I relaxed slightly.
“Annie? Can we—can we go now? Please?” Eric begged. Erin still sucked her thumb.
“In a minute, guys.” I ran to my room to grab my purse, but then realized that I’d dumped everything out. After hesitating momentarily, I grabbed some clothes and a picture of my late twin sister Nina and zipped them up in a tiny suitcase.
I ran back into the living room to see that my mom had finally come to her senses and had grabbed some stuff. I opened my mouth to speak but before I had the chance to say anything, I heard a huge crash and the sound of a shattering window. Then the car alarm went off. My mom swore.
Then the roof over the kitchen caved in in a spot. Another spot caved in, and another. Each time, a massive claw as sharp as a knife poked through. It was directly over us now, and we all cowered in fear.
And then it got in.
It was an ugly copper color and seemed to be made of some kind of hard material, like it had an exoskeleton. Its legs weren’t legs, just giant claws that resembled a praying mantis’ legs. It didn’t seem like it had any eyes or ears, yet it had a giant nose and mouth, almost like the snout of a wolf.
It started with my mom, who was sobbing now. It casually reached out and flicked the tip of its claw across her neck. It immediately opened and blood poured from it like Niagara Falls. She collapsed seconds later, her hands helplessly trying to keep her throat closed.
I screamed. Erin screeched and nearly made my ears bleed. Eric, however, just stood there, his eyes wide and his teddy bear on the floor.
The gigantic creature took out both of them with one claw. I tried to scream but had no voice. I sat down, knowing I was next to die. But it showed no interest in me, like I wasn’t even there.
Instead, it walked into my room, taking the walls with it. It made straight for my bed, bending down to sniff the clutter on top of it. Gingerly, it picked up the fidget spinner in its wolf jaw. Although it had no eyes, it seemed to glare at the tiny fidget spinner before throwing it at the window, cracking the window and breaking the toy.
My face was soaked from the silent tears pouring from my eyes when the thing came back into the living room, destroying more walls and furniture. It made a hole in Mom’s favorite couch as it walked right past me, ignoring me yet again.
That was the last thing I saw before I, and everything else I cared about, got blown up and ripped to shreds.