by Emmanuel M Arriaga, July 2014

Marcus pulls into his driveway, the rain coming to a drizzle as he opens the door to his car, a quick run leading him up the walkway to his house. Opening his mailbox, the action in sync with his keys hitting the doorknob, Marcus shuffles inside as the door slams shut behind him. The exhausted millennial worked IT for a small company, a stressful job that involved long hours and on call support. Pulling out his smartphone, he glances at the time.

“I guess gaming is out,” Marcus says.

He remembers needing to log in to do work in an hour. Pulling off his coat, he lazily hangs it in the closest as he shuffles through his mail, his legs taking him into the kitchen. A letter with just his name on it and no return sender catches his eye as he dumps the rest onto the counter. Moving to the fridge, Marcus tears open the letter as he pulls out a single piece of paper, the words causing his heart to skip a beat as he reads the first line.

Your life is in jeopardy, do everything you see below without question or hesitation.

1. Don’t turn around, you can’t see them but creatures are following you that will kill you if they realize you know they’re there.

2. Grab a protein shake from the top shelf of the fridge and close the door.

3. Start drinking it and walk out of your kitchen, make sure to not glance around!

Marcus resists the urge to turn around as he reads the words, something in his gut telling him to play along. Grabbing a protein shake, Marcus closes the door to the fridge, opening the top as he holds it to his lips, his eyes glued to the paper.

4. Walk upstairs and get changed, you have 3 minutes and then you need to be out of the house. Don’t panic, but be quick!

5. Drink the Protein shake, just holding it to your lips is drawing suspicion.

The words cause Marcus’s heart to race, his mind questioning whether this was a well thought out prank or something unnatural. Downing the shake, Marcus pulls out his phone again as he makes note of the time, 7:37pm. Heading upstairs, he gets to his room, his eyes going to the clock on his counter as he sees the time read 7:38. Crap! Marcus thinks to himself as he glances back down at the paper.

6. Grab the jeans on top of your hamper and the shirt from the first hanger in your closet, set the letter face down on the counter, you have one minute to get dressed!

His eyes shoot to the hamper as he slams the letter face down, the terrified man almost running. Moving to his closet, he quickly undresses as he pulls on black jeans and a grey t-shirt. Forcing himself to calm down, forcing the breath through his lips, he carefully finishes dressing as he picks up the letter, his eyes going to the next line.

7. Complain about needing to do work soon, make it believable!

8. Walk out of your room and down the steps, forget your jacket you don’t have enough time.

“I can’t believe I have to work tonight!” Marcus says.

With a fake sigh his heart continues to race, the man almost running out of his room. Quickly descending the stairs, Marcus glances to the paper again.

9. When you get outside, run towards the road as fast as you can, they’re onto you!

Marcus bursts through the door to his house as he breaks off into a sprint towards the road, the rain drenching him as he sees a man with a large otherworldly gun standing beside a black SUV.

“Get down!” The man yells.

Marcus falls to the ground, a roar emanating from behind him as a powerful weapon’s blast tears through the invisible creature, splattering its innards across the front entryway. Marcus crawls forward as the man motions for him to get into the SUV, another blast from the powerful weapon tearing through a second creature causing it to flicker into the visible spectrum. Marcus catches sight of black hide, terrible claws and bulbous eyes as he climbs inside, the gun wielder directly behind him. Glancing back, the front passenger greets Marcus with a grim smile as the driver floors it.

“Welcome to the resistance my friend.”