I never expect much conversation at breakfast. Maybe the occasional “could you pass the butter knife” or possibly a “have you finished with the newspaper”, but nothing more complicated than that. After fifteen years of marriage, there’s not really much more to say over coffee and toast.
I can honestly say I never expected to be greeted with “honey, I’m an alien from another planet and I’m here to spy on Earth for an impending invasion. Oh, and we’re out of milk.”
I thought she was joking. In honesty, she’s never been the type to crack a joke. About anything. That’s one of the reasons I fell in love with her — she was always so serious and committed to her sociology degree.
It wasn’t until her skin started to shimmer that I realised she might be telling me the truth. It looked as though a disco ball was trying to break out of her. Her skin still looks like that, although now all the colour has faded away into sort of sparkly grey. Even if that hadn’t been enough to convince me, the third arm she grew from the middle of her chest would have done the trick. I’m not ashamed to say I screamed.
She told me that she came to Earth almost a century ago (apparently I married a much older woman) and had been waiting for the ‘right time’ to tell me the truth. It turns out that the right time is 7.14am on a Thursday morning as I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. She also told me that she’d always intended to break it to me slowly and give me time to digest the information, but it was too late and we needed to go.
“Go where?” Even as I asked, I was hoping the answer was ‘to work’.
Which brings me to now. I’m currently sitting in the cockpit of what I can only describe as a spaceship, while my alien-wife pilots us away from the Earth.
It’s going to be destroyed in a few hours. The Earth, that is. Did I forget to mention that fact? Total annihilation. Extinction-level event. Ragnarok. End of life as we know it.
I can see other spaceships — a lot larger than this one — heading in the opposite direction to us, towards the planet. There are some sounds coming out of the radio. I don’t speak alien, but I can recognise cheers of excitement in any language. There’s something joyous in the sound and it makes me smile.
“It will be over soon.” She’s still changing, and her voice is rougher than it used to be. She couldn’t pass for human anymore, but I’m less repulsed by the antenna and the single eye than I should be. She reaches out her third hand to me, and I take it.
I squeeze her hands tightly, all three of them in my own. I feel my skin stretch and shudder, and when I look down, I can see that my own skin has begun to sparkle. The words on the radio are starting to make sense now — it’s a battle cry — and my wife looks as beautiful to me as she did on the day I met her. My third hand is covered in scales, and the nails are growing into claws as I look.
As I watch out of the window, I can see the orange-tinted planet that I recognise as my own. My wife continues to steer us in that direction, and my tail twitches in excitement.
I can’t wait to go home.
Kim McGreal lives in the UK with her husband, daughter, and two cats,
all of who like to make her life an ongoing challenge. She loves the
challenge of flash and micro fiction, but still secretly hopes to
write an actual novel one day. She usually fails to write happy
endings, and is a big fan of zombie apocalypses, caped superheroes and
fairytales. She can be found on Twitter @kimsfic or on her blog: