The Nanny by Devin Vandriel

The Nanny
Devin Vandriel

At night the cockroaches took little bites out of my flesh.

But this was the way of the things back when the world was engulfed by war, for the second time. They called it World War Two. I was a child. Then the unexpected happened. They came from the stars and every night sirens warned of incoming spaceships – the city would go black not from the fear of the bombs but form the terror of the search lights, scanning the city for people.

But things changed.

I remember the first time they came during the day. My father yanked my mother and me into the shadow of a tall tree, trusting its branches to hide us. The bark scratched my arms and pulled at my shorts. My mother pressed me back, as if she were trying to push me into the safety of the trunk. A searchlight passed us again and again. Like an irate mad man pacing back and forth, but with each pass coming closer. My father pulled me close and whispered that he loved me. Then he kissed my mother on the cheek.

And ran.

My mother pulled my face into her stomach, turning me away.

My father didn’t scream as he was taken. My mother never spoke of that day, never spoke of him again—

Hungry clicks drew me back to the present day.

Sally blinked up at me, her large dark eyes full of life as she reaches for me with four of her tiny baby tentacles.

I smile, and I pick her up. As I set the little creature on my hip, she wraps her tiny arms around me and snuggles adorably into my chest. The suckers on her tentacles grabbing onto my skin, adding to the bruises already covering my arms and neck. She was getting stronger. And her nibbles getting more painful as her sharp little teeth poked through her gums.

Pushing myself from the only chair I walk to the window and stare out at the dark void of endless dark space. There used to be a little blue dot of a planet that was my home. Growing smaller and smaller until it wasn’t visible anymore. Still, I looked for it. Hoped that one day when Sally was all grown up, they would take me back there.

Behind me a shallow beep followed by the sliding of metal-on-metal signals that it’s mealtime. It would be the same thing as always. Raw vegetables and fruit for me. And a knuckle sized chunks of unidentifiable raw meat for Sally.

Every once in a while, a wet death rattle would shatter the silence. The sound of it dampened by the space stations thick armored hull. For a moment I wonder just how big these creatures get, and what exactly they eat when they grow up.


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