by Alicia Hilton
This is the space station in the galaxy of your nightmares, the last bastion of Earthly civilization. There is the hatch. You have permission to approach.
Not so fast! Engage reverse thrusters, slow your speed!
Yes! Connection achieved. You may breathe a sigh of relief.
Stop shivering. There is no need to fear. Leave your weapons behind. Follow me, through the airlock, each step brings you closer to humanity.
Do you hear the voices? Your hosts eagerly await your arrival. Yes, it is safe to remove your helmet. Breathe deeply, the air is fresh and clean, scrubbed and purified by ultra-fabulous extraterrestrial technology.
Goodness, your complexion has a greenish tinge. Follow me into the command center, and I shall serve you a refreshing beverage.
You do not like the metallic taste? It is a nourishing solution, perfectly concocted with electrolytes and vitamins blended with blood from your enemies.
Which enemies? Do I see a smile on your face? Tsk-tsk, all the promises you made, your talk of regret and forgiveness was fake? Don’t you feel ashamed?
Would you care for another glass? There’s plenty more in the fridge. Step back and I’ll check.
Yes, just as I thought. Two jugs left. Would you prefer parental unit or significant other? I hear your former lover has a spicy flavor.
What’s the matter, feeling a bit queasy?
If you must vomit, use the waste tube! Don’t spew bilious fluid on the floor!
How revolting, what a horrific stench, you humans really do have an inferior digestive system, and your lack of self-control is pitiful. Have you learned nothing from your interactions with my species?
Oh well, a little hurl isn’t the end of the world.
What’s the matter, you don’t appreciate my sense of humor? You’ve become a dreadful bore; I don’t know why I keep you around.
Ah, now I remember. There’s no need to cry. Wipe your tears and give me a kiss and cuddle.
Very nice. Doesn’t physical connection make you feel more secure?
Of course, I am happy to oblige with another kiss, mouth open. The texture of your tongue is so unique.
Take my hand, darling, and I shall lead you to a little slice of paradise.
Duck your head, watch the protruding pipes, as we pass through sick bay, don’t be distressed by the whistling sound and the screams, it’s only memories of the missiles that blasted your dreary old planet.
Not much further to go, be patient, darling. Why are you sweating? Suffering from a bit of the old PTSD?
No, that’s not your parental unit yelling, it’s just a recording.
Look, at the end of the corridor. Do you like your special surprise? I knew you would adore them!
Yes, I am aware that the androids are missing their genitals. Lovely lower abdomens, perfectly smooth and unblemished.
Recline on the cot and close your eyes. You need a little push? Of course, I’m happy to oblige.
The manacles are for your protection. The slightest flinch could result in utter disaster.
You want a last kiss before your nap? Of course, how could I refuse a final request?
Lovely, your tongue tastes of recriminations, so savory. Do you recall the last words you said to the ones you once loved? The final meal you consumed that did not come from a tube?
Portobello mushrooms and red wine? Fascinating.
It’s time. Yes, we mustn’t tarry. They are waiting. Open your mouth. Breathe deeply.
I know the gas has a strange flavor, but it will pass, along with your struggle. Embrace the dark. Do you see stars flickering?
With a bit of patience, everything passes, even radiation.
Alicia Hilton is an author, law professor, arbitrator, actor, and former FBI Special Agent. She believes in angels and demons, magic and monsters. Alicia’s recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Akashic Books, Best Indie Speculative Fiction Volume 3, Daily Science Fiction, Demain Publishing UK, DreamForge, Vastarien, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volumes 4 & 5, and elsewhere. Her website is https://www.aliciahilton.com. Follow her on Twitter @aliciahilton01.