Katie Byrnes, Grade 10, Korowa Anglican Girls School
Finalist in the 'Word Zone 2016' competition
They came from the sky, in shining silver machines that created strange shadows over the world. Earth’s inhabitants sent envoys to communicate with Them. Few came back, but the ones who did could express only horror at what they had seen. They wanted to take the blue planet for Their own, They had weapons of mass destruction poised ready to obliterate all life if they couldn’t have it, and, perhaps the worst of these tales, They tortured and killed any of Their own who dared to be the slightest bit diverse. This was the story that terrified the Earthlings the most, the one that left them quaking in their boots and woke children up screaming in the middle of the night. For who could be more different to Them than the children of Earth?
For months, the sinister nets hung in the sky, waiting for another innocent to wander into Their waiting claws. It was the fear of Them that did the most damage, causing chaos in the cities below. Earth’s food sources were no longer being tended, people were sure that the end of the world was approaching, and no one knew who to trust. Earth was, in short, annihilating itself.
Until one day. Whispered tornadoes tore through the lands, the story becoming more and more distorted as it travelled peripatetically from person to person. Soon everyone knew, more or less, that They had finally arrived on Earth. They landed their machines in the meeting place of Earth’s leaders, a dark, sordid cluster of terror.
Hours were spent trying to communicate. Hours were spent in a frustrated clamour of two completely different tongues, one fluent and advanced, and one only a little short of unintelligible grunts. The two species were the antithesis of each other, and eventually, with a flip of his hand, Their leader led them back to Their ships.
Perhaps the machinery malfunctioned, perhaps one of Them pressed the button too early. Or perhaps, this had been a suicide mission all along. They made it a few inches off the ground before Their chemically engineered weapons fired, destroying them in an instant, and wiping out all life on Earth with Them. Nothing was left but rubble and rock.
An age passed, an age of ice and frost- an apocalyptic winter. All winters must thaw, and this one was no different, but it wasn’t flowers that surfaced from the melting ice.
Pushing Their way to the top of the destroyed Earth, They rose like cockroaches. No longer the intimidating, world-crushing species They once were, but instead They had been stunted, brought back to the start of their existence as if being given a second chance by some divine deity They hadn’t yet used as an excuse for violence and stupidity, Mutated beyond recognition, They survived their own destruction, and emerged as a new race. The human race.