by Derrick R. Lafayette
Have I gone mad you ask? Eating alien offal for 1,825 days will do
that. Piled on by the silence, the infinite void of all sounds, till
the night, where the scrape, scrape, scrape wakes me in a cold sweat.
The Brutes! Waiting to drag me away in my sleep, and throw me into the
colossal supernova of the sun! Wait, who am I talking to? The voices
have multiplied in my head, one in Brutes language, always chattering,
mocking me, over and over, teasing me, killing me… Have I accepted
insanity…no, not yet.
A whisper, into the loneliness of the vermillion space desert,
escaped my mouth. Words ‘Help me,’ encapsulated within the inaudible
message. My red sandscape cycled a handful of dust in response, then
disappeared. I turned back to my cave, full of small bones, and words
written in blood on the walls. It’ s been five years since I heard
another person’ s voice.
Five years ago…
“Have you ‘The Learned’ in custody?” a mysterious voice screeched
inside the elevator, sounding like a two-way transmitter tossed into a
I looked down, defeated, at the glass floor. A granite rainbow of
dying lights whizzing by in all directions. The elevator, traversing
vertically and horizontally in light pink and yellow tubes.
“He is in my custody, the last of them,” my captor responded, while
stretching his neck.
My captor’ s space suit, which is worn by most Brutes, had a tight
neon blue collar squeezing his neck. It’ s used to detect their emotion
through color. I don’ t know what blue means, but he had creamy veins
pulsating in his neck, like a peeled clementine. The elevator doors
opened vertically. Doomsday time.
A massive bio dome made of glass, octagon shaped. At my feet,
silver hexagon tiles that breathe color when stepped on. I’ m pushed
inside, unkempt, shackled on my hands and feet. A sea of Brutes before
me, hurling obscenities.
“We need no human assistance! Destroy the last of them!”
“The key will be found without them!!”
Had we known that these reptilian Neanderthals, with their curved
spines, four fingers, dark nails, bodies the size of an Ox, existed, we
would’ ve seriously reconsidered terraforming Mars.
“Order! Order! This trail for ‘The Learned’ is our attempt to show
civility. The War of Knowledge is over, we have won. The humans have
been eradicated,” stated the Judge.
The judge was an anomaly within The Brutes, the only one born with
a brain. A nine centimeters long brain, subpar at best. It protrudes
outside his skull, and thumps like a heartbeat. I can see him thinking,
“There is no civility here in my eyes! You’ ve poisoned us, sneak
attacked with thermal bombs. Magenta mushroom clouds killing us all!
Then desecrated not only The Temple of Sages, but the Library of the
Astute as well. Literature, maps, gestalts of the universe, supreme
tactics in lovemaking, cooking techniques, all whirl winded into a
cloud of cinders. Ancient languages never to touch another’ s tongue,
or bless another’ s ear. An entire history of genius destroyed in
seconds, crumbling faster than the pyramids in 2236!” I shouted back.
“War is war! Human! Be appreciative that we kept you alive.
Cowering inside a secret air-lock tunnel, while your colleagues burned
in front of you. What a waste that the last living human will be you,
known as ‘The Learned,’ but remember as ‘The Coward,” the Judge spewed
It’ s true, I didn’t lift a finger in the fight. By this time,
3010, we evolved beyond the use of violence or names. I felt foxlike
when they tried to smoke me out.
“Now, coward…where is the KEY!” the Judge screamed, brain throbbing
intensely. Thick black hairs rising on his crimson colored neck,
textured like that of a rhino, beneath the jiggly jowl of his oblong
My last sight before death; I scan every Brute in attendance. Shame
they all look the same, all birthed from one entity, the Queen Brute.
Red skinned when infants, crimson colored by elderly age.
“You can search all of Mars, and I assure you, you will NEVER find
A wave of curses, some Brutes even excrete a bright green substance
from the corner of their mouths. I believe it means they’ve become
“You stupid sack of meat and bones. I initially planned for a
firing squad to kill you, but that isn’t good enough.”
“Do what you will, but without the key, you won’ t be able to
terraform your planet, and the precious Queen Brute will die!”
In a sweep of movement, I managed to grasp the de-composition
pistol from my captor’ s holster. The absence of fear harpooned a
signal to my brain, which relayed to my index finger. Pull the trigger.
Farewell, Red Grove. I gladly welcome the pearly gates, despite my
doubt of all known religion. Goodbye.
Isolation introduced itself to me with open arms, stretching into
the horizon of crimson plateaus. Red dirt paths, treeless, by all
knowledge lifeless, countless dunes. How did they know? My
supposed-to-be death became a key to more life, as the de-composition
pistol turned out to be an instant-teleportation gun! There I was, 500
miles away from the bio-dome in the empty vermillion space desert.
I quickly patted my person, thinking an organ, limb, digit, may be
missing. Upon deducing that all my human facilities were indeed intact,
I resorted to basic survival. I walked forward. Strange shaped clumps
of dirt appeared to the left and right of my winding red trail. No
footsteps ahead or behind, there was only me, I screamed for
Within my view, a small cavity etched into the base of a mountain.
Further west, in the rosy sandscape, atoms defied gravity, swirling and
mixing ten feet from the surface. I witnessed the early stages of a
magnetic dust storm approaching my way. All throughout it, brown clouds
with streaks of lightning, circling at tremendous speeds.
Shooting agony conversed from one leg to the other, as I darted
down the trail. I was a polymath, not a sprinter, and my legs
understood that. Minutes later, I was panting, sitting on the ground,
next to those strange clumps of dirt. Strong gusts swept by, ahead of
the storm, pushing me in the wrong direction, and removing the top
layer of red dirt. Those strange shapes underneath were of human
remains. The top half of a skull, half an eye socket exposed. The
storms must’ ve erased the footprints. I stood quickly, and the hasty
awareness dawned. For every three footsteps, in every direction, there
were strange shaped clumps of dirt. A mass grave on the red surface.
How many fell for the teleportation trick?
Quickly clutched in my weak hands was the sharpest rock nearest me.
I used it to snap off two femurs, the strongest, longest bone in the
body. They shall serve as weapons. I do not know what lies in that
cave, but my feeble body will have to kill it. By all means, I will
also have to ingest it. Directly ahead was the ever-growing wall of
brown clouds, removing all visibility behind it. The dust storm
mutating into a weather organism I couldn’t identify.
My two feet found their place, standing my body upright, I bit my
lip to distract from the pain and sprinted even faster towards the
mountain. Faster, faster, against the wind, testing all my athleticism,
faster, faster. I must live.
Salvation! My shaking foot penetrated the shallow desert cave. I
vaulted my body inside, as the massive storm, which doubled in size,
whipped by at top speeds of 100 mph. I was swept in a small whirlwind
that catapulted me deeper into the rock shelter. Tumbling, tumbling,
spinning, vision blurred, hindered, shadows and the miraculous gray of
the cave walls meshing into one kaleidoscopes. Wetness developing from
my joints. Tumbling, rolling, finally I crashed, back first into a
smooth, flat rock, which stood six feet from the cave ground. I slipped
out of consciousness.
Twilight kissed my eyelids, and I awoke to see our brilliant,
beautiful, azure sphere, peaking its head halfway over the nearby
That was just a dream…
I woke up for real. Deep inside the cave, with a speckle of light
towards the east. I double checked my frame again. I was bruised, but
not broken. There was a dampness in my crotch, and I discovered that I
was lying in a puddle…a puddle of water. If there’ s water inside this
cave…some kind of life can spawn from it. I stretched my neck with
great pain and struggled to lift. I let out another curse that I won’ t
That small beacon of light must’ ve been the entrance, or exit,
depending on what lied ahead. Suddenly, smaller pulses of light
appeared all around me, pupil size, blinking, moving. A cave full of
Four verdant toes speckled by a slither of light exposed the
foreign creature to me. This must be their cave. My hand gathered minor
scrapes, blindly scanning the cave floor for that femur bone. IT LEAPT
TOWARDS ME! Full force, no bigger than a housecat, long, overarching
black whiskers. Soft green fur, tiny claws, and a less than
intimidating growl. It sank its teeth into my forearm, too small to
break skin. In a moment of barbarism, I sank my teeth into it and
ripped off its nape. Flesh tasting reminiscent of crab meat, I knew not
of this creature, but I knew I would survive the night.
Back where you found me, the broken husk of what I once was. What
of the bones and blood you ask? Well, it is from the Gols. That’ s what
I’ve named the previous inhabitants of this cave. Their blood was just
the right consistency of thickness and brightness to not only mark the
walls, but read it in the darkness. Over 500,000 words sprawled within,
detailing all human life before The Brutes. I shall name it ‘The Exile’
By now, the long-term effects of terraforming Mars are beginning to
show. The foundation of the ground feels more like paper than rock.
Strong smells of sulfur, and magnesium fill the air. The temperature
never alters between night and day. Despite the odd warmness, icicles
are created at the edge of nearby rock formations. I emerge outside for
a scavenger hunt. There is no more Gol to eat, as of 36 hours ago.
My legs, pencil thin, mangled by purple, and blue varicose veins,
wild unkempt facial hair, eyes completely sunken from the darkness of
the cave. Random scars from nights of lunacy, usually ending with me
conversing with a skeleton I created, still, I live.
A toenail bids me farewell, snapping off of the flat surface of a
plateau I’ve just scaled. From the view of the highland my eyes water,
as I behold a magnificent sight before me. About ten miles east, lies a
bio dome. Out in the middle of nowhere? I scurry towards the makeshift
greenhouse like a creature from the night. Four shiny gold 8-whelled
space rovers, licked by the distant sun, parked within the perimeter of
the bio dome. Upon closer inspection, I discover they are all empty.
The drivers must be inside. I investigate further. Like a decrepit fly,
I find myself a few feet high from the dome’ s bottom, spread forward
on the outside glass, peeking in. No eyes upon me, no security
detection, whatever or whoever’s inside must be dealing with matters of
the covert. I peer through the thick glass.
A clear oval tub of a gelatin-like liquid, three feet deep. Within
it, the breaking of a pink spotted egg. Five Brutes standing around
with perfect posture, typing frantically on floating tablets. The egg
splits open like a blossoming flower. Inside it is a translucent
worm-like organism, multi-colored veins splashed on both the worm, and
the interior of the egg. Three separate green hearts beating in unison.
It slithers out its shell, dragging a bulb like appendage connected to
what seems to be its buttocks. One Brute types in a command within the
tablet and it morphs the gelatin-like liquid into water. My old brain
kicks in, only one Brute is armed, and the other four are advanced like
the judge. Bigger brains, throbbing wildly outside the encasing of
their skulls. When one exits, I will sneak in, obtain the gun and
bargain for the rover.
Twenty minutes pass, and the worm-organism grows stubby arms and
legs, while the bulb on it inflates and deflates like lungs. By chance,
one Brute heads for the door. I change into stealth mode, skulking,
with an optimal strike point. The air pressure shoots out with a low
whine, coupled with the smell of chemicals, and to my fortune the door
is opened. I bash the Brute in the occipital bone with my aged femur
bone from long ago. He collapses instantly, and when I ruffle his
pockets I notice a great reduction in Brute weight. Have they evolved
so quickly? Regardless, my heart palpitates when my fingers curve the
double-trigger mechanism of his instant-teleportation gun. The air from
the door continues to whine, without hesitation I step into the
“You returned so quickly, did you gather the…” one Brute mumbles
without looking at who he’ s talking to. The words came out pleasantly,
with a poetic rhythm. Stark contrast from what I remember.
“Yes…I have RETURNED!” I scream, barrel pointed straight at his
“A human!” another Brute screeches and hides behind the oval tub.
Every wave of the pistol causes them to duck and grovel. As if it
was a paintbrush, changing scenery with each stroke. I’ d never known
them to behave this way. My pre-victory submerges into an unshakable
feeling of the bizarre.
“Are you Brutes? What thing is that behind you? Growing in the
“It is an incubator! Please, we are not Brutes anymore, we have
learned, evolved into intellectuals we have. We apologize for the War
against Knowledge. The extinction of all mankind.”
The bass and volume in my voice sends shivers down their spines.
They’ re not lying, perhaps…they have changed…as a people. I shake the
notion loose from my head, and inner barbarism surfaces.
“Are you scientists?” I question.
“Yes, we are!”
“You cower like a scientist alright, I believe you.”
I stalk towards the embryonic worm organism, barrel still facing
out. A bow in my legs like a space cowboy, jaw hanging open, licking
the top row of my blackened gums. The border of the tub reaches to my
navel. I look down as a clear, cylinder shaped antenna branches from
the worm’ s presumed head.
“This is a Queen Brute!” I realize loudly.
“Yes! Please! We located the key but was unable to terraform our
planet. As a result, the original Queen Brute died. We have studied the
remains of human technology, and discovered a way to birth another. I
beg of you!”
My index finger itches furiously, lightly tapping the double
trigger. I release a half grin.
“Well then! Good luck finding it!”
I pull the trigger on the instant-teleportation gun, only to
realize it’ s actually the de-composition pistol! The blast evaporates
the infant Queen Brute, and a splash of its translucent skin smacks my
lips. One of its tiny hearts splashes on a Brutes forehead, and slowly
smears down to his brow. My hand shakes from the realization of what
I’ve done, and I unleash a sinister laugh loud enough to fill the
entire bio dome.
“WELCOME TO MY WORLD!”
© 2017 Derrick R. Lafayette
Bio: Mr.Derrick R. Lafayette currently works in the IT field in
Midtown Manhattan although his passion lies in writing. Mr. Lafayette
is currently working on his third self-published novel.
E-mail: Derrick R. Lafayette
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