Alex Albright, 21-year-old Anthropology/Sociology double major, contemplates the sort of paper she could publish on the monster aliens that invaded earth and killed all her loved ones.
It would be about the little things, Alex decides, her head under her desk as one of them moves around her room in the dark. Writing sticky notes, taking photographs, setting alarms. That’s the sort of edge this paper could really bring to the table – the human connection. The sort of tendencies that span galaxies and exist in spite of an urge to exterminate all other sentient life. She could watch them from afar and note them giving each other high-fives with their tentacles and playing cards.
I mean you can't blame her for staying at school up in Vermont. When word first hit the college’s online forums, when the army was still trying to get it together, people started leaving and then never came back. She called her parents; they didn't call back. The city had already been vaporized. Where was she going to go?
And they - I mean, they – hadn’t been around these parts for so long. Only a couple weeks after the touch-down they had left, and she had gotten lonely and then accustomed and then sloppy. She turned lights on at night. She played music out loud.
Mostly, though, she knows it will be her watch alarm that does her in – every midnight exactly, just to remind her to take stock of her supplies. It was eleven forty-eight when she heard the footsteps outside her room, she has been trying to count the seconds.
It touches the bed that used to belong to her roommate. Alex remembers this, mainly: that they had a fight about whose turn it was to buy the milk and cereal that week and then Alex saw her get devoured on the lawn in front of the chapel. It was to say the least an unusual start to her spring term.
She thinks about her pocket-knife, on the bedside table feet away – she knows there isn’t time; they are so quick. She thinks about her parents because she misses them a lot of the time. She thinks about her dog and her old boyfriend. She thinks about the garden she was going to start on the football field.
And then there is a quiet beeping.
It looks down, where a small electronic device wrapped around one of its appendages is glowing. It taps something. The beeping stops.
It walks out and closes the door.