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  • ZahliaBreaux

Dominus Terra Pt. 1

It was a day like any other in Townsend, Nevada: dry, still, and quiet. Townsend was a small, sparsely populated desert town just near the border of Arizona and Utah. There were only three stores that saw any business, and they were all run by the same family. There was Tayler Petrol, a convenience store with four gas pumps, Tayler Grocery, a market that rarely had any fresh food, and Tayler Clothing. Most of the other buildings around town were abandoned because of the lack of business, most of which had Tayler to blame. At Tayler Petrol, there was usually only ever one person on shift at a time, and that person was usually Allison.

Allison was a quiet, shy girl who typically kept to herself. There wasn’t much talk around town, but if there was one thing everyone could agree on, it was the fact that Allison at Tayler Petrol is one peculiar girl. She never initiates conversation with patrons of the store, she has no friends in town, and she lives on her own. What town did Allison even come from?

As usual, Allison arrived at Tayler Petrol to begin her opening duties, which included turning on the lights and stereo, counting the cash drawer, sweeping the front end of the store inside and out, and pulling out merchandise. Allison didn’t mind the sweeping duty, as she was able to do this and let her mind wander, and Allison loved to wander. Like always, she begins sweeping in front of the checkout counter, around the shelves, and out the front door while she hums along to the soft rock playing over the stereo. She props open the door and makes her way across the sidewalk and around the pumps. Just as Allison walks far enough away to tune out the stereo, a breaking news announcement interrupts the music:

“Breaking: seek shelter immediately. A hyper-intelligent extra-terrestrial life form has made contact with Earth and has communicated that it has only malevolent intention. It is unclear what their motive is, but heed our warning and seek shelter immediately until further notice. Move quick, seek shelter.”

The warning “move quick, seek shelter” played constantly, replacing the rock music. As Allison made her way back indoors, she heard the announcement. Unsure of the message, she shrugged it off and continued her daily duties. Just as she finishes taking merchandise outdoors to be advertised, another breaking announcement airs over the stereo, this time with sirens in between messages:

“Within moments, this malevolent outside life form will be entering Earth’s atmosphere. Seek immediate shelter.”

This message seemed to have gotten Allison’s attention, so she begins to drag all outside merchandise back indoors. Just as she’s pulling it all indoors, she notices a rumbling under her feet. Merchandise on the counter begins to clatter and move closer to the edge, eventually falling to the ground. The lights above begin to flicker and buzz, causing them to blow out. Allison feels as though an earthquake is approaching, so she leaves the store and runs outside, but just as she exits, a gust of wind knocks her off her feet, sending her plummeting into a gas pump over twenty feet away.

As Allison struggles to catch her breath, she notices what is left of Townsend disintegrating into the wind. The few cars that scattered empty parking lots were beginning to slide across the asphalt, eventually being swept away into the wind. With sand sailing through the air in every direction, it’s becoming impossible for Allison to see around her. As she grasps onto the gas pump, hoping to stay put, she begins to scream in panic. After moments of constant screaming, Allison pauses to catch her breath. Upon pausing, she thinks…no, she knows she hears someone else screaming. Her instincts kick in and she tunes her ears to the other screams. This isn’t the scream of another adult, or even a child. This was the scream of a newborn infant.

The moment Allison realizes they’re the screams of an infant, she waits for a lull in the gusts and darts across the lot, latching onto broken pieces in the building’s facade. Trying her hardest to keep her ears tuned to the screaming, she follows the sounds of the cries which lead her to an empty dumpster plastered to the ground behind the store. Inside the dumpster, she finds no trash, no recyclable material…only an infant wrapped in a delicate, pink blanket. She dives into the dumpster, embraces the baby in her arms, and jumps back out of the dumpster, into the storm. As quickly as she can, she runs back towards the front of the store and indoors.

Just as she begins to think she’s safe indoors, the ceiling above her begins to rattle, eventually turning into a steady shaking. Soon enough, she entire roof of the building is lifted up and sent away into the storm. Allison crouches her body over the baby, trying her best to protect her from the dust and debris sailing through the air. The walls of the building begin to fall around Allison and the baby, hurling bricks and metal shards straight into Allison’s body. As Allison draws in what she thinks may be her last breath, she falls to the ground and blacks out.

And with a loud, thunderous bang, everything is calm once again.