I was Earth-born, but I was rescued at a young age. I lost most of my family to Versinon, except for my Grandfather. He managed to escape. Wrought with concern, he gathered a team of Backsliders to find me before it was too late. I was brought to Vaylok before I was barely a year old. Grandfather raised me for many years before he passed away.
He was a smart man. In fact he often told stories and I listened, carefully, to every word. He read to me from an old book he found back on Earth; a forgotten book that he pulled from the rubble of a fallen place. When he passed away the book went into my possession. I fear that I don’t read it often enough.
I learned from Grandfather, wanting to be just like him. He was strong and very proud, and kept to himself; a quiet man. But he had stories to tell when asked. And of course…I always asked. I asked about my family. And so, Grandfather told me he was the only family I knew. Raising me from birth, for Versinon killed my mother and father. I never knew them. My mother and father were Backsliders too. When I was born, they were captured and held prisoner at a remote enemy base. Grandfather and his unit came to rescue us, but they arrived too late. My father was killed during an interrogation and my mother was captured in an attempt to escape. They executed her before she could tell Grandfather where she hid the baby. Grandfather and his unit scaled the base, destroying many Humanoids. They searched up and down for the baby, but could not locate me.
Then he and his men heard a terrible sound. It sounded like a Monster; a terrifying thing that roamed the base. It hunted for men to eat. He said that it waited outside for he and his men to leave. So Grandfather stayed back inside of the base. He radioed for help – for a ship to come – but they told him it would take time.
“What did the Monster look like?” I asked.
“Terrifying,” he said. “It had the face of the Devil. It stood tall and crooked, made of something Black. Its eyes – vacant, purposeless.”
Pure evil, he would tell me. Pure evil.
Then he said that from inside of the base he heard a baby cry. He knew it was me. The sound came from a back room; I was tightly wrapped – slid within an air duct. Mother hoped Grandfather would rescue me, because she knew that if we were caught – we would both be killed. He pulled me from the duct and made his escape when the ship arrived. The Monster chased him and his men, snatching up two officers and crushing them between its black hands. Then it scooped up another man, swallowing him whole. Then another, and another…
Grandfather kept running toward his rescue ship. It arrived just in time. The Monster nearly knocked the ship from the sky as it hovered away. Grandfather remembers looking out the ship’s window – there it was, colossal and deadly. Screaming out with a sound forcing men’s ears to bleed.
But it did not knock him from the sky that day. Grandfather escaped with me in his arms. Safe and sound.
I remember when his heart finally gave out. I was 18 years old. Grandfather was the only family I had. Then I lost him.
From that point on, I joined the Backsliders, picking up where he left off. I didn’t realize what a messy job it would be. Nor did I realize how corrupt the system really was…
But he knew.
Copyright 2011 Trista DiGiuseppi