There was a painful silence inside the former freezer of Factory 9.
Both Raphael and Gabriel looked at each other, than the floor. Gabriel even lifted his right foot up silently, but got it snagged on the mound of blankets they called a bed. He felt as if talking about the Earthbound might make one appear right beneath his feet.
“Remember Tin One, lower your volume. We’re not the only ones here. Not by a mile,” Raphael said.
“Ugh, Raph, are you even going to try and answer the question for him?” Gabriel said.
“What? Why? Why don’t you explain it, Gabby?”
“You know you’re going to complain about the way I tell him, so you might as well do it.”
“It does not matter how the information is communicated, the data is essential for this unit’s survival,” Tin One said.
“Oh yeah, of course it is. I would want to know what was going the hell on if I woke up to a really messed-up world.” Gabriel said.
“Don’t swear, Gabby.” Raphael said.
“Well then tell him. You’re just sitting there pretending to read a comic,” Gabriel said.
Raphael played with black zipper of his sweatshirt and rested his head against a rusty shelf. Tin One’s vision wanted to focus on the pictures taped along the wall behind him, but it couldn’t. It needed to listen. This was important.
“We don’t know what they are. We probably won’t ever figure it out. I’m not even sure we had the time to process it when they appeared. They were called the Earthbound, because, well, they came out of the ground.” Raphael said. He stopped, and glared upwards with a couple of dark eyebrows.
“How should I describe them, or the way they look or whatever?” Raphael said, asking the metal ceiling.
“Don’t bother, there are some of their skeletons left just outside the factory. We’ll just show him sometime,” Gabriel said.
“Yeah, that’s true. So the Earthbound showed up and basically started eating everyone they could get their hands on. Millions of people died nearly instantly. The army attacked them, and there were battles in the streets and everywhere else. The Earthbound were stronger than the military. We eventually had to rely on nuclear weapons. They blocked out the sun, killed most of the plants, and made it rain all the time. We were essentially screwed either way. Either they attack and eat you, or we could kill them and and poison the planet. Unsurprisingly, humanity took the most destructive option and that’s how the world got the way it is.” Raphael said.
“Are the Earthbound still active?” Tin One asked.
“I think so, there aren’t many left though. I remember mom and dad saying a bunch of them had gone back underground, which was lucky for us,” Gabriel said.
“The high level of radiation in the environment is a product of humanities countermeasure?” Tin One asked.
“Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Also, when the Earthbound died they let out some sort of pink gas. It made the bugs grow huge and our bodies change. A bunch of people mutated from it all too.” Raphael said.
“It was almost like they wanted us to kill them,” Gabriel said.
Gabriel, Raphael, and even Tin One stared at each solemnly. More thunder and howls of wind shook the foundation of Factory 9. The air was think with mildew and sweat. Gabriel chewed the corner of his lip anxiously.
“It’s a trap!” He blurted out awkwardly, breaking the eerie silence.
Tin One didn’t move.
“What you’ve never heard of Star Wars before? Return of the Jedi?” Gabriel said.
“I have no memory of either film in my memory,” Tin One replied.
A slamming sound echoed somewhere in the kitchen. Gabriel stepped away from the door and scrambled over to the lantern tucked into the room’s corner. He clicked the thin knob on its top and the white halo of energy faded like a frightened firefly.
“They’re coming down here, don’t speak,” Raphael said.
To catch up on previous parts of Factory 9 hit it here. I hope you’re enjoying it. Thank you for reading my work. Feel free to comment. Thanks!