In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This September 12
231 Rue Claire Street
It is somewhat sentimental that I think about my Papas now, after all these years. Almost as if I were still with them. And in many ways they are, which I shall reveal at some point, perhaps now to your confusion, but later to your delight. For I offer not a devilish vision of the future, but one of hope and prosperity. For God does not offer dakness into our world, without light and even though our freewill may constrain the darkness about ourselves at times, it is not our will, but ultimately that of the Creator through all his angels on earth that darkness is dispelled.
Now that I talk of angels, I do not mean the written ones you may read in a church book, but the humans who do good things for one another without expectation of recompense or desire for it. I talk of animals who only seek to comfort us in our loss and sadness, loneliness and despair. I talk of those angels who do not wear wings, but positive thoughts and good words.
In those dark days of the War Valentine and I were like angels to our mothers, and they to us. We thrived on the love they gave us, and they thrived on the love we gave them.
Portamente never saw the Invaders, and for that we can think our fathers who worked slavishly to overcome the monsters who sought total and complete destruction of human life as we know it. They could care less if we lived or died as a species, no more than they had cared for the life of those species that had once thrived on their own now dead and lifeless planet.
It is ironic that science which is held up to man as a kind of candle to God, is no more than a tool, and as such can be used unjustly and darkly in many ways, and so these creatures of giant intellect used science not to spread goodwill through the Universe, but to subjugate and control that which was to them, lesser.
In later days you will have such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung who delight in the terrorizing of their own peoples, but in our days such men were more withdrawn and in the shadows, though they existed then as well.
Even though Portamente was a quiet town, it was not quiet.
We had the Wire and it kept us posted of events not only in Madrid and the rest of Spain, but in neighboring Europeran and Middle Eastern Countries.
Mama had contact with America through Papa's friend, Benjamin. And Mama Amy had contacts in Russia and China as well. So we were well informed of the battles going on.
Oh yes, the Invaders were indeed trouncing mankind furiously day after day, but the horros of that war also grew the courage of the common man and they sought in ways so imaginative and heart breaking to stand up against the monsters, that I'm sure had the Invaders known the resistance that would eventually mount against them, they might have hesitated in their quest for conquest.
But alas, resistance is one thing and turning the tide of battle is quite another.
So it was that a week later a great shadow fell over Portamente and many of our friends and neighbors ran in dismay, fearing that the demon Invaders had struck, when in fact it was a different kind of demon arriving.
I knew it was him, even before I looked up. I could feel his proud eyes sternly looking over our village, making sure it was secure and safe.
I ran upstairs to tell Mama and she and Amy, were already gathering our meager luggage in preparation for leaving. It seems that Mama is also intimately connected with Papa, something I didn't understand much in those days, but now, smiling as I do, know only so well as a mother myself and a wife.
The Master of the World glided slowly over the city as we came running out into the street along with many another citizen. I looked up again and my heart caught in my throat. The great ship was no longer a shiny bright gold, but blackened in many places and scarred as if great claws had rent its sides.
We kept running until we reached the beach and the Master of the World settled halfway in the water, and halfway on the beah.
In moments the cockpit door had flung open and Papa threw himself down the descending ladder, even before it touched grouna and ran for us.
I ran faster than Mama and he caught me up in his arms, hugging me, crying and kissing me, and then enveloped my weeping, smiling, crying Mama who held him so tight and myself in the middle that I felt like I might burst. But I said nothing, for I felt so safe, so secure at that moment that no amount of pain could disturb me.
Papa ran back to the ship and opened the midhatch, lowering its ramp so we could climb into the hold more easily.
Wells and Amy were kissing behind us. Valentine and I went "Uhhhh!" Making faces. Kissy kissy stuff we thought was yucky! But it made us laugh and smile. It made our Papas and Mamas happy, so we could live with that small transgression on our lives.
Wells and Amy were last aboard.
Jules withdrew the ramp, and then closed the hatch, double sealing it. It was noisier than usual, but it worked.
He gave me another close look of affection and then threw me up on his shoulders. "I have missed you so much, my little girl." He declared, dancing with me on his shoulders, singing.
Wells and Amy began clapping their hands and Jules did a one legged dance that caused me to jostle on his shoulders like a cowboy riding a bucking pony. I laughed and cried out for him to stop, only to laugh harder.
Finally, the tumbled me off his shoulders and set me down next to Valentine. His eyes widened.
" We have only been gone a short time and you two are almost the same size. Mon dieu!"
Valentine giggled. She had a crush on Jules that I knew about and her mother, but no one else. Amy looked on approvingly. I think every woman loved Jules, for he was so exuberant of spirit. An artist, a genius, an inventor and a warrior of the highest kind and a marvelous person of kind words and good thoughts. As I said I don't any woman would have turned him down if he put his attention on her, but he never had eyes for any woman than Mama.
We sat down in the comfortable sofas that were anchored into the viewing room of the ship. Jules finally relaxed enough to speak more than laugh.
"Much has changed, I'm afraid." He said finally.
Mama frowned. "How so? Have you not defeated these monsters in Spain?"
Wells rubbed his bushy beard, then shook his head. "It is not Spain alone that they have come to. But our whole world."
Amy and Mama both gasped in horror, clutching at each other for support.
Jules nodded. "I'm afraid this will not be so easy as we had hoped."
"When we finally reached Madrid, there were three Invader Mechanicals moving into the main streets, leveling buildings and flash frying citizens. The people were brave. Matadors rode bulls to ram the legs of the Invaders hoping to tumble them to the ground, only to be incinerated for their efforts, and not even budge the Invaders a fraction."
"That's horrible." I cried out. My fist jammed into my mouth.
Papa took me up onto his lap. "My Julyanna Flower, it is not all bad. The people are not without their merit. They did not stop the Invaders, but their hearts are so big, that they will not in the end be subdued by the monsters, no matter how many transgressions they make."
Wells leaned forward, his hand still clutching Amy's, like two teens in love. "I agree. We managed to destroy the three Mechanicals, but I have since learned from Italy and America that there are many more there, and that the Invaders are not killing all they come in contact with."
"But that's a good thing." Amy cried out. "Perhaps they have found some kindness in their hearts after all."
"No." Jules said, shaking his head.
"We saw what happened to those they did not kill."
Jules went on. "They were enslaved."
Now the horror of those words may seem not so much to you, who have always had your freedom, but the idea of being the chattel of some alien monster is not an easy one to take, and as you shall soon learn in another story, the enslavement was not what we thought at all.
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