Sept. 9, 2015
There. All of the windows had been washed, laundry folded, and floors swept. Cara eyed the gunk around the edge of the sink and picked up the toothbrush and began to scrub it furiously. But the pit of her stomach still felt like an acid bath, and she glanced at the clock.
"I still have time," she muttered, and continued to scrub the sink.
She paused to turn the radio on, and caught the final seconds of a really great song. Then it cut to a news break.
"Figures," she said, rinsing the toothbrush in the sink. Reports of the alien threat were rolling in. The ships had been in the sky for nearly 12 hours. All attempts at communication had failed - the last had failed catastrophically, with a beam of lavender light destroying the envoy aircraft. There wasn't any debris, just a puff a purple smoke. No known survivors.
Then the countdown had started - it had taken the world’s most brilliant minds to determine that's what was happening. Even with that breakthrough, they hadn't been able to actually speak with any of the alien crew.
Cara opened up the cabinet that held all her plastic storage containers - three tumbled to the floor and she began to pull them all out of the cabinet.
Lids over here. Containers over there. Wait - this lid doesn't fit any of these. Why do they even make bins this size? I never use these. I swear the damn things are designed to warp after two uses to force you to buy more.
Live coverage of the countdown filtered through her thoughts and she sighed. They would not be going back to the rock music. Cara did some quick calculations on her fingers and then sighed again.
She touched her earring and a small supersonic vibration tickled her ear. A voice crackled over the line dripping with syrupy excitement.
"Why if it isn't Cara-who-only-calls-her-mother-when-she-needs-something?"
"Hi, mom," she said. "I called on your birthday, too."
"Oh, please, honey, just get to the point," said her mom.
"Well, it's the Humphries. They decided now was a good time to invade Earth," she said.
"Those little shits" said mom. Her mother sighed and Cara felt a pang of dread. "If I get rid of them you have to come and visit me."
"MoooOOoom," Cara groaned. "You know how nauseous teleportation makes me."
"If you want to take care of it on your own, be my guest," said her mom.
The countdown continued on the radio. Just a minute to go.
"Fine, I'll visit," she said.
"Great, I'll put you down for this weekend."
"Jesus, ma - I was going to clean the apartment this weekend," she said, trying not to look at the spotless apartment she had just binge-cleaned.
"This weekend or find a new planet to slum in, young lady," said Mom.
"Fine, this weekend. Thanks," said Cara.
"Love you, Cara-bear," her mom said and the line went dead.
The countdown was under twenty seconds when the sky turned an alarming shade of beige, and every tenth ship vanished. Cara could hear the unmistakable lilt of her mother's voice over the radio as she took the Humphries to task for their unwarranted invasion in their native tongue. Mom was informing them that they should feel lucky they were only being decimated for the obscene lack of protocol when Cara flipped the radio off.
With that done, Cara flipped open her laptop to check her Facebook page.