Mehdi raised another finger, and pointed it at one of the ten year old girls. Then came the whistle, the
splash of blood on the couch behind her, and the sound of the back of her head hitting the couch as she was knocked
back with the force. What follo wed were shrie ks, fro m the apparent mother, grandmother, and sisters. The thirteen
year old boy only stared. The two soldiers that had been sent upstairs came bac k down to the main floor.
â€œNothing?â€ Mehdi said, looking at them.
They shook their heads. â€œNothing,â€ said the one on the left.
Mehdi nodded, the fingers of one gloved hand on his chin. He didnâ€Ÿt think he could trust any of his men
completely. â€œOkay. Yeah, okay.â€ He put his attention back on the family. His eyes rested on the mother who was
now holding the dead girl in the crook of her arms. She was talking to the body in a different language. Mehdi, his
expression turning colder, said, â€œHey, be happy you still have most of your family left. Now, whoâ€Ÿs the next target
going to be?â€
No answer. He pointed his weapon and the mother looked up at him and screamed,
â€œNo? Well, do you have something to tell me?â€ The fingers of one gloved hand drummed against the side
of his leg, as he wa ited.
â€œThere is no humanoid here!â€ she shouted at him. â€œGo somewhere else and look for humanoids!â€
He nodded. â€œIt starts with one.â€ He took a step forward. â€œIt starts with just one. You saying no only makes
my job harder. You think youâ€Ÿre protecting your kid, but youâ€Ÿre not.â€ He knelt down, now just a few feet from the
mother and the rest of her family. â€œOne day itâ€Ÿs not just going to be a humanoid that moves like you or me,
understand? One day itâ€Ÿll be weaponized. It starts with one and then before you know it they overtake our world.â€
The mother stared at him with tre mbling lips. She shook her head, her dark eyes locked on his.
â€œThere is no humanoid in this household. And if there were humanoids do you think you can just go house
to house, and get every single one? What youâ€Ÿre doing makes no sense.â€
â€œWhat did you do, mother? Hide it and tell it to wait until we left? You hide it away in some secret place?
Do you think we wonâ€Ÿt be able to find it?â€
The motherâ€Ÿs face held firm, but it didnâ€Ÿt make a difference. Mehdi already knew she was lying. Years of
interrogations had made him adept at reading the signs.
â€œTake them all out,â€ Mehdi said. â€œMake sure you save the mother for last.â€
Ten of the fifteen soldiers opened fire, and thin red lasers punctured and split up the bodies of a family that
had lived on this street for ten years. The screams that came didnâ€Ÿt last long. The soldiers had to do little to get the
ones that attempted to run. It was effortless. Mehdi sto od up and turned toward the staircase, his mind on where the
mother mightâ€Ÿve told the humanoid to hide. And right there, standing near the bottom riser of the stairs with his
hands at his sides, was an eight or nine year old boy. His shirt was red and had a picture of a popular cartoon, The
Galaxy Kids, a show that had been a hit for the last seven years. He was looking down at the floor. His sobs broke
the silence left after the slaughter. Mehdiâ€Ÿs soldiers turned, aimed their weapons. Mehdi smiled.
â€œNow if you had come out here earlier you couldâ€Ÿve saved us so much trouble, little man.â€ Mehdi extended
his hand, and with a quick movement of his four gloved fingers, beckoned the boy in his direction. â€œCome over here,
little man. Iâ€Ÿm not going to hurt you.â€ A muffled chuckle fro m one of the soldiers with a weapon aimed at the boy
followed this. Mehdi ignored it. The boy hadnâ€Ÿt moved, and Mehdi made a different request. â€œPick your head up
boy, and look at me.â€
It wasnâ€Ÿt the first time heâ€Ÿd seen a humanoid, but still, he wanted to look into the boyâ€Ÿs eyes before he
signaled one of his men to take him out. Wanted to see how human the gaze looked. Felt. The boy, however, didnâ€Ÿt
look up at him, and instead kept his attention on the hardwood floor.
â€œIâ€Ÿm only going to ask one more time,â€ Mehdi said, and lifted and aimed his own weapon. â€œI want you to
look atâ€"â€ And the boy did, lifted his head and looked directly into Mehdiâ€Ÿs eyes before he could finish the repeated
request. What Mehdi saw looked anything but human, it was something, in fact, that he had never seen before. The
boyâ€Ÿs eyes, which shouldâ€Ÿve been brown, green, gray or even blue, were instead red. And before Mehdi could even
begin to touch the trigger of his weapon the boy dashed upstairs and a split second later was out of sight.
â€œWhat the fuck,â€ one of Mehdiâ€Ÿs soldiers whispered.
â€œUpstairs!â€ Mehdi shouted. â€œNow! Go get him!â€
The fifteen soldiers, comp rised of twe lve men and three wo men, moved past him and raced up the stairs.
As this happened Mehdi stepped toward the glass case that contained the Pulse-Ray shotgun, and before he could
even get his fingers on the glass he heard a scream. Seconds later one of the soldiers was thrown by some unseen
forceâ€"obviously the boyâ€"and made impact with the soldiers that had been working their way up to the top floor.
The triggers of the guns were inadvertently pulled, and nail thin lasers shoot from the barre ls and puncture the
ceiling. There co mes another shout from the top floor, then the sound is violently cut off.