Glen looked down from his perch. He stood on an upside-down milk crate in order to adjust the butter which would not fit correctly on the top shelf. The girl was blond and very pretty, and about half of Glen’s age which would put her under thirty, but not by much. Glen ran his fingers through his gray and mostly missing hair and felt very old.
“Excuse me.” The woman repeated herself and she attempted a smile though it was a very poor attempt. “I would like one of those.” She pointed. Glen tried not to sigh as he stepped off the crate so she could reach around him. She was still trying to smile when Glen grabbed her. The butter went on the old tile floor, the woman landed on the butter and Glen landed on top of the woman.
She screamed. “What is wrong with you! I am a lawyer…” She did not finish the sentence as the margarine above their head exploded in a flash of blue-white light.
Glen grabbed the woman by the hand and dragged her around the corner, into the bread aisle. She still screamed, but sat and watched as the old man in her face vanished and a well built young man with a terrific smile appeared in front of her. He was dressed in chain armor that looked ancient, like something medieval, if not Roman, and he had the sword to go with it, slanted across his back with the handle sticking above his left shoulder.
“N-no. Ex…” The young man wanted to say “Excuse me” in echo of her words, but his stutter got in the way, and he had other concerns. Keeping low was a big one. The young man peeked around the corner of the aisle and whipped out the long knife that rested across the small of his back. He sent it flying with his left hand. It entered – whatever it was – and the thing shrieked, a thoroughly alien sound, and it collapsed.
“You missed.” The woman leaned over his shoulder. Her curiosity had gotten the better of her. “My fiancé is a doctor. Heart is on the left.”
The man in armor shook his head as he stood. The – whatever it was – was on the ground, its weapon having clattered against the dirty tiles. He pointed at the thing and then at the right side of his chest and smiled a smile that melted the poor woman. Her heart skipped a beat; but then he was gone and the old man came back. Curiously, he kept the armor, and in fact, the armor adjusted in size to fit the shorter man, belly and all. He took her hand to bring them close. The woman gave her hand without hesitation.
“Vordan have their heart on the right side,” Glen said. “But what the Hell is it doing here?” Glen picked up the alien weapon and held it in a way that suggested he knew how to use it.
“Vordan?” The woman looked at the green colored creature on the floor. It looked like it might double as a swamp monster. “Vordan.” She repeated and looked at the old man. “I would guess it is not from around here.” She smiled a genuine smile for the first time.
“Come on.” Glen pulled on her hand to move them to the front of the store, but the woman balked and yanked her hand free. One side of her lip turned up as she spoke. It was not a flattering expression.
“Who the Hell are you? You’re just a grocery clerk.”
“Actually, I work for a national merchandising company,” Glen said. He started to walk.
“But, wait! What is with that chain mail get-up? Who was that other man?”
“Later.” Glen turned to walk backwards. “You coming or not?”
The woman did not hesitate for long. She had on a soft summer dress and Glen imagined jeans would have been a better choice, but she had on tennis shoes instead of flip-flops so it was nothing for her to catch up. “Where are we going?” She asked above the screams that were beginning to echo around the super market.
“To find the rest of them,” Glen said. He thrust his arm out to hold her back while he let loose with a shot from that alien gun. There was one coming in the door, but it got distracted for a second when the door automatically opened. The Vordan collapsed and Glen rushed outside right over the body, keeping low the whole way to stay below the front windows. He scooted up against one of the big columns in the shopping center and the woman stayed right on his heels. He pointed.
There was an alien ship about the size of a tractor trailer in the parking lot, and three more Vordan hovered around the perimeter. One spotted him and fired. Glen turned and held up his cape between the woman and the blue-white energy beam, a cape that the woman had not noticed before. The shot hit the column, and while the façade melted, the steel beam at the center remained solid enough.
As soon as the enemy fire paused, Glen spun and returned fire. He did not appear to do any better than the Vordan. He missed all three and hit the alien ship. “Bad aim,” she said. Glen paused and looked at his gun as if something was wrong with it.
“Communications array,” Glen responded, absentmindedly. “I don’t want them calling in reinforcements.”
“Too late.” The woman tapped Glen’s shoulder and pointed to the sky. A saucer-like vehicle was closing in, fast.
“Cavalry,” Glen said as he clicked something on the Vordan weapon and turned to fire again. The Vordan that had been creeping up close turned on sight of the oncoming ship. They were running back to their ship. Glen shot the mechanism that would delay their ability to open the door, and in a few seconds, the saucer vehicle was overhead, emitting a greenish light that encompassed the Vordan ship and everyone around it for twenty yards. Both humans and Vordan in that section of the parking lot collapsed, and Glen grabbed the woman’s hand once more. “Come on,” he said, and this time she came without hesitation.
It was a few moments before the saucer was able to land, but it had to crush one car to do it. The only thing the woman could do was gasp. The saucer was much bigger than it appeared in the sky. A door opened in the side of the saucer and a ramp shot to the ground. A half-dozen armed people poured out and most headed for the Vordan and their ship, but three headed toward Glen and his lady follower.
“At least these look human.” The woman quipped, but Glen let go of her hand without responding. He reached out and hugged a big, African-American woman and she hugged him right back.
Glen smiled at the greeting but turned his head. “There’s another one by the butter.” He shouted toward the man who was examining the Vordan in an automatic door that kept trying to close, but opened every time it bumped the body. Glen kissed the black woman on the cheek before he let go and turned to the blond. “You’re a lawyer?”