Through the weeping household stalked a small black cat—just past kittenhood, and more gamine than gangly. She darted past the skirts of a grieving wife as the woman buried her face in a... [+]
The alien captain, a huge man-like creature with scaly skin and a pointy tail, demanded surrender. The captain had a disintegrator gun which could destroy them all with a flash of fire so hot it was unimaginable. The mayor had no choice but to surrender the town.
The town’s priest and doctor met late each afternoon at the doctor’s office to play chess. Graying men, they’d sip wine and wonder at the changes in their lifetime.
“It’s the lack of faith,” the priest declared as he captured the doctor’s knight.
“It’s the misuse of science,” the doctor argued when he took the priest’s bishop.
They agreed to disagree and drank more wine.
The stars in the sky were soon replaced by laser lights over neighboring towns, and the flowers had a fine dust of rocket burn-off on their petals. Yet the priest and the doctor still managed to meet at the doctor’s office for their daily game.
“People are crying to God for help,” the priest confided.
“People are crying out for medicine,” the doctor sighed.
There never was enough wine to recapture the magnificence of days gone by once they discussed the current unhappiness.
She was the pride of her family. With beauty as natural as Venus, her smile took you to another world. Her laugh ranged from soprano to tenor, yet it was always gentle and lady-like as was everything else about her. Kind to a fault, she constantly searched for ways to serve her community. Every male from age fifteen to fifty-five was in love with her, but she didn’t know it. She was so unconscious of her beauty that even the women adored her. She was pure grace.
Her rape and murder caused the greatest public outcry the tiny town had ever known.
The aliens ceased investigations when it was shown that one of their own had committed the crime. That’s when the town began to quietly fight back.
The rebellion was benign - at first. “I’m sorry, did I do that, it was a mistake...” accompanied with a look into the aliens’ eyes that was not quite defiant but did not match the apology spoken. Shadows seemed to pass over corners, and the aliens became nervous.
The priest and the doctor continued to meet at the doctor’s office each day. They no longer played chess. They drank less.
“God is more important than ever,” the priest insisted. “We must protect their faith.”
“Health is everything,” the doctor retorted. “We are the only educated men in town. We must save -”
The doctor stopped speaking. The two men suddenly knew. Each read the message of the future glowing in the other man's eyes. They shook hands. They raised their glasses high. They drank their last glass of wine knowing the primary rule of survival: do not make those in power angry.
The aliens canceled all social gatherings. Winter came, and the small sabotages continued. Furious, the aliens raided private homes. They interrogated and whipped young men but gleaned no new information. The response was several alien soldiers murdered, their blood seeping black onto the snow.
Everyone was ordered into the street, and the disintegrator gun was paraded before the town. First came the speech, then the trumpets, and then the blast which brought hands to ears and smiles to alien faces as the town’s beautiful church crumbled to dust.
The aliens had read the Bible and laughed. They knew that vengeance really belonged to the one with the biggest gun. What they didn’t know is that not everyone’s religion involved a church.
Three nights later more alien soldiers died. Their blood was frozen around them where their throats had been cut. Winter as an accomplice had shrouded the murderer’s tracks. The only evidence was the words “We Shall Overcome” written like ink in on a page in the snow.
Again, the people were forced into the street. This time the town’s mayor, sheriff, and priest were marched onto a platform. The alien captain came forward.
“You were unimpressed with our disintegrator gun,” the captain said. “All you understand is blood.” Pulling out a sword, he slit the mayor’s throat. Blood spurted and the crowd gasped. Next, the captain methodically slit the sheriff‘s throat. He reached for the priest but before he could grasp the man’s hair the priest stepped forward. The priest’s eyes quickly found the doctor in the crowd.
“Do not forget!” the priest called. The doctor, his eyes filled with tears, folded his hands and bowed his head. The priest smiled.
The priest was still smiling as he fell onto the platform.
There were no more attacks against the aliens. Subservient now, the townspeople recognized the creatures with the scaly skin and pointy tails as their masters. After a time, the aliens slowly relaxed their discipline on the town. The snow melted, spring came, and social gatherings were allowed once again.
Whispers of a secret spread to those who would listen. Those who wished it true believed it. Those too afraid denied its possibility. Thus, it was only a twenty-two faithful few who came to the doctor’s office on that sunny Easter morning.
They came dressed in their best clothes. Some carried flowers. All wore a face blessed with rebirth.
Inside the doctor’s office, they sat and solemnly and watched the doctor break the loaf of bread into small pieces. They watched him pour his last bottle of wine into tiny glasses. When all was ready the congregation fell to their knees and the doctor made a sign of the cross over the bread and wine for the Eucharist Mass.
Chanting the liturgy, the doctor began to heal their souls.