Excerpt for Animal Planet by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Published by Dan Mazur at Smashwords

Copyright 2017 Dan Mazur

The last thing I remember was a bright, blinding flash of light. It was followed by a loud rumbling noise and then mass destruction. I found myself buried beneath a pile of rubble unsure if I was caught in an earthquake or something far more sinister.

As I struggled to rise to my feet, I was greeted by a pair of unusual looking beings. “Well, look who decided to wake up after all of these years!” Years? And who or what were those things? “Where am I?” “Silly human, you’re on Earth.” I was too disjointed by everything to engage the beings in any further dialogue.

My body ached from years of being buried underneath rocks and debris. I had almost forgotten how to walk as my limbs felt like they weighed a ton. All I could see for miles around me was barren land. This was not the Earth I remembered

As I started to orientate myself to this strange new world, a spaceship was landing behind me. The ship’s landing was so muted that it never made a sound. A ray of light engulfed me, pulling me inside the ship. The next thing I knew I began travelling at a supersonic speed.

I didn’t have time to survey the inside of the spaceship as we promptly reached our destination. The entire trip was about a minute long, if that. The spaceship was met by a boisterous, cheering crowd. I didn’t get a good look at the gathering that had assembled for our arrival. Everything was such a blur. So much had happened in such a short span of time.

“Look out below!” a voice called out from above. It was an odd looking creature wearing a makeshift pair of mechanical wings. The crowd dispersed as the winged visitor’s machinery spewed smoke and sparks all over the place. He then proceeded to land directly on top of me.

“Sorry about that. I’m trying to work out the kinks. Just need to tighten these bolts and.....hold on!” Hold on to what? “Whoa!!!!” The creature tinkered with the mechanical wings as we bolted high up into the sky. I tried not to look down but my curiosity got the better me. The world below looked nothing like I had ever seen. There was a lot of open space with pockets of these odd beings spread throughout the land.

After a surprisingly smooth landing, the creature spoke to me, “Before we get you settled in for the night I thought we’d stop by The Rocket Cantina for a couple of drinks.” “What’s going on? What is this place and who or what are all of these creatures?” “Hasn’t anyone told you yet? You’re the ‘Chosen One.’ You’re the one who’s going to defeat the evil aliens who attacked us.”

After everything I had been through, I needed a good stiff drink. My new friend talked a blue streak as I sat there feeling numb. We stumbled out of the bar after one too many drinks. My head was spinning from everything I had been through the past couple of hours. “I have your sleeping quarters all set up. Try to get some sleep. Tomorrow’s the big day Benjamin.” Wait. How did he know my name?

Thankfully the creature only lived a few minutes from The Cantina. I could barely keep my eyes open as I headed off to bed. “Goodnight Benjamin” he whispered. I decided to ask the creature how he knew my name. “It’s me, Rusty. Your pet hamster. Well, at least I was before all the bad stuff happened.” “Rusty?” I was in shock. “I’m not sure if you still have coffee on this planet but brew up a pot because I have a lot of questions.”

“A few years ago, the humans discovered a new planet in the solar system. Soon a nation of extraterrestrials started to communicate on a regular basis with the people of Earth. They declared they were a peaceful species but we were wrong. They wanted to destroy Earth and rule the universe. The aliens relentlessly bombed the planet, nearly obliterating all forms of life. Only some animals and a handful of humans survived.”

“Mankind had been bombed to the verge of extinction. Yet for some reason the surviving animals began to mutate, to evolve. Perhaps it was from all the radiation. We began to walk upright, were able to think and speak, and after a while, we started to rebuild as much of the planet as possible. Apparently I’m the hybrid of a number of animals. We’ve all become humanoid beings.”

“We live in constant fear of another alien attack. They persistently intimidate us hoping we’ll surrender. I built a series of robots called “Spectators” to protect the planet from another invasion.” “But why was I chosen? I’m not a warrior. I’m not athletic and have never been in a fight my entire life.” “I recommended you because of how you treated others, including animals. You’re a good and decent human being.”

“I’m deeply flattered but how am I supposed to fight an entire alien army all by myself? And what about....” While I continued to incessantly ramble I noticed that Rusty had fallen asleep. I should probably turn in as well considering I have to save the universe tomorrow. I carried Rusty over to his bed as he began to snore in my arms. I looked down at him, smiled, and turned out the lights.

I woke up the next morning and laid in bed still trying to make sense of everything. Clearing the sleep from my eyes I walked into the kitchen to see a full breakfast. “Ah, good morning Benjamin. You’re going to need your energy if you want to save the planet. I’ve prepared some eggs, French toast and pancakes all for you. Oh, and I built something for you to wear in battle. Come take a look.”

“I thought I saw some other humans when I first landed. Why aren’t they going to battle with me?” “They already did. Let’s just say it didn’t end well for them. They were no match for our alien overlords as they decimated and left physically and psychologically broken. You’re our last and only hope.” “Well, how do I look?” I asked after donning my battle armour. “Like the man who’s going to save the universe.”

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I have to admit, I did look pretty cool. The armour was light and flexible yet sturdy. And it was equipped with a bunch of really impressive gadgets. “You’ve really outdone yourself this time Rusty.” “Thanks. I just hope this suit doesn’t fall apart like the others.” Well, that wasn’t exactly reassuring.

“Who’s that in the picture with you?” “I’d rather not talk about it” Rusty replied, his voice trailing off. “C’mon Rusty, you’re my best friend.” “Okay. That’s my wife Joey. During the last alien attack she was taken prisoner along with a group of others. I felt so helpless. I don’t know how to fight. I’m not a soldier. I’m only a mechanic.” I could see that this mission was a very personal one for my good friend. I wasn’t about to let him down

We boarded the latest contraption he had created. “And away we go!” Rusty exuberantly shouted. “We’re not moving.” “Silly me. I forgot the keys.” “Okay, let’s try this again. Hold on!” The bucket of bolts that he had put together could not have moved any slower. The machine sputtered and started to overheat before we finally took flight. “Where are you taking me?” “To see the King. You’ll like him. He’s one cool cat.”

The King’s castle was located in the middle of the ocean. I was awestruck by its opulence and architecture. “Did you build that?” I asked. “I only build machines” Rusty responded as parts of our spacecraft continued to fall off. “The King is a benevolent leader. He is fair and just. Everybody is equal in this world but we needed somebody with the wisdom and resources to lead us into the future.”

“Who dares enter my Kingdom?” the King shouted. “It is Rusty the Mechanic Your Majesty. I have brought ‘The Chosen One’ with me. He’s going to liberate our people once and for all.” “My apologies. I tend to get a little cranky when I’m hungry.” That was their King? A big, chubby white cat? “Ah, Sir Benjamin. Welcome to my Kingdom. You are the gallant knight that will bring us salvation from our oppressors!” “Yep.”

I was launched into space with such great force that I had to grab onto a star to stop my ascent. Everything that this alien race had designed and built was light years ahead of anything that ever existed on Earth. Much to my surprise, the body armour that Rusty had built for me was still functional. I glanced at my watch and saw that I only had 27 minutes to complete my mission. Now was not the time for sightseeing.

I was able to evade the aliens’ security system as I boarded their mothership. A loud rumbling sound shook the ship and the stars around me. It sounded a bit like thunder. Drops of rain began falling down on me only it wasn’t rain. It was some type of acidic liquid and it was burning holes in my armour. A series of blinding lights began illuminating the black, cold expanse. The sense of urgency I felt had been replaced by sheer panic.

I battled through my fear and carried on. My suit was fitted with a pair of special goggles that allowed for me to see through walls. I scanned the ship in search of the captives from Earth to no avail. My heart sank as I began to lose hope when I heard some muffled voices coming from large container. I got to use my laser guns to open the door and free the captives. “Get to the escape pod!”

Ten minutes to go and not a single alien. I was feeling pretty good about myself when an army of marauding aliens encircled me. I was severely outnumbered. They began closing in on me as I pressed every button I could find on my suit. Rusty really should’ve included a manual on how to operate this thing. I pushed a green button and that catapulted me out of my armour leaving me clad in nothing but my boxers.

Luckily for me, the escape pod had returned to pick me up. On our trip back to Earth we saw a giant missile fly past us. A few seconds later there was a massive explosion. The alien compound was soon engulfed in flames. It looked like one giant fireball. The aliens had been destroyed. Everybody aboard the ship cheered and hugged one another. I did it. I saved the world. Not bad for a bank teller from California.

When I landed on Earth I was celebrated like a rock star. The citizens who had been held captive by the alien horde reunited with their families as they tearfully embraced. I looked over to see Rusty and his wife locked in a passionate kiss. I shook some hands and kissed a few cheeks before making my way through the revelers. “Hey! Where are you going?” someone called out to me.

“Go and enjoy the celebration with your people Rusty.” “You don’t have to go. Stay here and celebrate with us. You’re a hero!’ “Maybe next time. Can you make me another suit of armour?” “Yeah sure. But why?” “I have a feeling that my work here isn’t completely finished. For the first time I feel like my life has a purpose. And that purpose is to protect your...our planet.”


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