"Run! Now!" I could feel the Weatherby lighten as each shell dispersed, but they weren't stopping; escape is the best option in hell on Earth. I grabbed her hand. She stared blankly. I pulled it hard. The mindless horde followed as we stumbled down the boulevard. These streets were empty now. The homes and shops, too. Led the girl to my basement apartment below the mob's view. She's crying. The way her black hair shielded her glistening opals, I could tell she really had no clue. Her visage was soaked through — lost, broken and frail. I handed her a tattered rag, sighed and told her my tale. Jennifer looked so pretty the day they destroyed her. Bracelets from oyster. Pleated skirt, lacy embroidered. My eyes strained through the glaring radiation of light as they desecrated my wife, her head invaded and spliced. The monsters were rumors at this point, still faded from sight, a shadow fiction, crazy and trite, the very idea that aliens might stray into sight, taking human form and tasting our life. That day I witnessed it, splayed on my side, Jen prone in its arms, as it released a glowing discharge, captured her brain and her spine. Her hazel-ish eyes went faded and blind. She stared blankly. I grazed the back of my hand on her face. And I cried. Jennifer looked so pretty the day I shot her and laid her to die. Their faces are empty. The zombie masses showed no emotion, no hunger, no yearning, no stress, strain or hopeful convulsions. So when Amber first saw Zach, the boy she had been with, sauntering down the street with no purpose or interest, she rejoiced. I grimaced. She had to learn for herself, even after explaining the rules: • The humanoid monsters were aliens, using our brains as a fuel; • the electrical charge of conversion caused the radial hue; • the people weren't people any more, graceless, consumed; • and the zombies were, well, zombies, controlled by what their creators bid do. Amber wouldn't eat for three days after that sighting of Zach. She put her head on my shoulder, her weight on my shoulders. I couldn't keep fighting them back. Every day comprised an attack. The vacant police stations were short on munitions. and the aliens were driving us back, engaged in a war of attrition. We mostly watched, stayed in the backstreets and scavenged for food. We mostly watched, as the aliens began to build their own habitat new. Amber was on watch the night of the first explosion, disturbing my sleep. Then, a car alarm heard through the trees; we emerged from beneath. Turned a corner to the hordes were unleashed, masses ebbing and flowing like murderous seas. That's when we saw them, the aliens, facing off, cursing in screams. Brother and brother battling, radial light releasing and bursting at seams. The zombies fell limp with their masters, horde after horde. We walked through the scourge of the war, wondering what had triggered disaster. One alien lay prostrate under a tree, unable to move. Its stomach was bleeding. Amber aimed her revolver without hesitation, but first I wanted a reason. "The energy that kept us sustained for our mission also created the schism because what we didn't know was that humanity's fuel has always been its hateful ambition." Amber fired.