The Bright Side.

Peter Smith has just found out he has a month left to live due to a lethal brain tumour.
He has also just found out that in less than a month, the human race will become extinct and that he has been chosen to be one of six humans to survive the approaching apocalypse. And who has saved him? E.I.P.F, the Earth Inhabitant Protection Front, a group of intergalactic environmentalists who want to save just one species.
And so, whilst also keeping his deadly secret from the aliens, Peter embarks on a quest to rally the chosen survivors, whilst avoiding Government Agents, the secret services, Satanists, Velociraptors, and a manic depressive Tyrannosaurus .

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13. Chapter 13

 On a distant world, covered in fine white sand, there is a diamond. If a human were ever to gaze upon it's magnificence, they would describe it as being as big as the empire state building and as a wide as mount Everest. Creatures from all across the galaxy would travel thousands of light years, just to have a glimpse at this bedazzling sight. And when they were travelling home, snug in their stasis chambers on board, they would dream of just having one more glance at that wonderful sight. That is the sort of reaction Samson Monroe was having as he stared down at what was in his hands at this very moment. He gaped, goggle eyed, at the article in hand. Words failed to express his delight, how could the man willingly give it away like that? At the back of his mind Samson ran through the events, a wild eyed back packer had burst into the shop Samson partially owned with his sister and slammed the prized item onto the counter, “I need to get rid of this, will you take it?” he had asked. As soon as Monroe had seen it, he had wanted it with ever fibre of his being. “Sure.” he said, trying and failing to act relaxed and nonchalant. “Why'd you want to get rid of it?”

“Don't need it.” the man had said with an inane grin, “Don't need anything any more, the world's going to end! Didn't you hear?”

“Oh yeah, of course.” said Samson, who hadn't heard anything about the end of the world, nothing factual anyway. The man smiled triumphantly, and then strode from the shop. So now, Samson Monroe stared in subdued shock at the article in his hand. Nothing this exciting had ever happened to him before, after all, he lived in Ackerly, Texas, a town with fewer than three hundred citizens, it was, in his mind, a very uneventful place to live in. but now! Now, he couldn't believe his luck, he stared down at the limited edition, original cover and artwork, of Captain Wild Cat, issue #5, it was said to be the most rarest of all issues, having been taken out of publication after parents had complained about the love scene between Captain Wild Cat and Lady Cougar. Well what did they expect? Samson thought bitterly as he placed the comic delicately into his small safe beneath the counter. They're both cats and they were on heat! It had to happen.

Suddenly, for the second time in fifteen minutes, the shop bell rang. Samson could hardly believe it, hardly anyone bothered to even take a first glance at Monroe's Comic Emporium usually. The only people who ever bothered to come in these days, was Samson, his sister and Kevin who really, really fancied Samson's sister but was too afraid to ask her out. Samson watched as four individuals who certainly weren't town residents, walked into the shop. They were already partway through a conversation. “How did you know that guy?” one asked, he had a strange accent that Samson couldn't quite put his finger on. “Hmm? Oh, you know how it is, erm, what a lovely shop!” said a second individual wearing a deep sombre black suit, the man next to him wore an identical uniform, together they looked strangely like Mormons. “He did mention something about being abducted.” the first figure said inquisitionally. “And that's something I've been meaning to bring up with you guys. What happens to people who've been abducted?”

“Oh would you look at the time!” the second suited figure said desperately, sweating from joint anxiety and the heat of the Texan sun. “We'd better hurry.”

The four individuals suddenly approached the counter, “Good afternoon.” Lars said with a bright smile, “We would like to speak with a Mr Samson Monroe please?”

But the comic book shop owner's attention was fixed on the fourth figure. The woman was undeniably beautiful, the most enchanting figure Samson had seen since he had first lain eyes on Lady Cougar. “Erm?” Lars said awkwardly, “Hello?”

Samson snapped out of his reverie about Captain Wild Cat issue #987 with special return of Lady Cougar and smiled anxiously at the four strangers. “Howdy.” he said, “Erm, Samson Monroe? That's me.”

Martha rolled her eyes contemptuously, Peter sighed forlornly. Whilst Lars and Kurt beamed like monkeys who have just been given the keys to a banana plantation. “We would like to speak to you on a very important matter.” Kurt explained.

“Like what?”

Kurt and Lars glanced at one another, “Well,” Lars said, “It's like this . . .”

 

For centuries extraterrestrial life had been visiting Earth and abducting hapless strangers in the dead of the night. This greatly annoyed the members of E.I.P.F, and their annoyance only entertained the abductors further, which merely prompted them to increase their abducting rates over the years. For many years the main sight for maximum abducting pleasure, had been Ireland. But as the years progressed and more and more Irish citizens were abducted, the rate of alcohol dependence increased, and it soon got to a point where the Irish community were consuming so much alcohol, the sight of a three headed alien holding an instrument that could be described as anything other than 'Bottom-friendly', was quite dull in comparison to what a half a dozen pints of Guinness could produce.

And so the abducting community had moved their sights to Texas. And the Texan people seemed to welcome the new found fame. In fact, the abductions had become so much part of the Texan way of life, that if you had been abducted more than three times, you were automatically invited to join an elite club which past members even included one of the US Presidents. In fact, aliens had become such a staple of Texan life, that Samson Monroe wasn't horrified at all by the sight of Kurt and Lars' true forms. In fact, he took a photo on his phone and immediately posted it to a social network.

As he sat in the back room of his shop and listened to the two aliens explain Earth's chances of surviving the end of the month, Peter stood outside in the blazing sun, mopping his aching brow. The teleportation always made him feel sick afterwards, as if his stomach was made of rubber and someone had thrown it on the floor. Even now, and hour after he'd landed on solid ground, it was still bouncing up and down with a passion, and didn't seem like it was going to stop any time soon. The Texan heat was stifling and the sweat poured from Peter like a tap. He wiped his forehead and sighed, it was odd, he thought. Here he was with a crippling brain tumour that would kill him in a week, and apart from the gut wrenching after effects of teleportation and the ridiculous desert heat, he felt fine. He was expecting to be paralysed by headaches and migraines every hour, but no.

He was expecting to have black outs and memory lapses, but no.

In fact, as far as his lethal disease was going, it was far from exciting as he was expecting it to be. At this rate, the actual death would be the only exciting aspect of having a brain tumour. Occasionally he considered telling Kurt and Lars about his affliction, but then he decided against it. He knew what would happen, they'd realise he was useless in their grand scheme and dump him on earth to die with the rest of mankind. And that was what bothered him. Not the dying, he had resigned himself to the fact he would die on his eighth birthday party after the Clown his mum had hired had a heart attack in front of him. No it was the fact that he would have to die with every other bastard on Earth that annoyed him. And that was the reason why he wouldn't inform either Kurt or Lars about his condition until after he had watched the Earth burn with a smug smile.

After comforting himself with this thought, Peter re-entered the small comic book shop and made his way to the back room. Samson and his sister had chosen quite an idiotic place to open a comic shop. But neither of them could afford to move to a more populated area, even if Samson did sell his limited edition Star wars figurines, which he never would. Besides, it was the town they were raised in, and the other citizens purchased from their shop mainly from sympathy, or in a vain attempt to start a conversation with Samson's sister. And so the building they bought was small, and the back room was the smallest of the whole small building. They just about managed to fit a square metal table into it, and with even more difficulty, Samson, Kurt and Lars had sat around it. Martha leaned in the door way, watching in contempt at the three men discussing the upcoming apocalypse.

“So,” Samson asked, worriedly scratching at a spot on his chin. “What are the chances of the world surviving the end of the month?”

“Very high.” Kurt explained.

“The solar flare will cause the extinction of mankind, we predict, on the fourth of April.” Lars said.

“A Saturday.” Samson murmured sadly.

“Yes. A Saturday.” Kurt echoed with a bright smile.

“And you want me to survive and repopulate a new world?” Samson asked, hopes of interstellar travel burning in his eyes. Martha sighed with the contempt of a true born feminist. “Yes!” Lars said, with the eagerness of a true born idiot. “What important documents are we taking?” the comic book seller asked. The two aliens glanced at one another blankly, then at Samson. “Sorry?”

“You know, important historical pieces.” Monroe said, “Like, the Mona Lisa, the works of Shakespeare, or the entire collection of Captain Wild Cat.”

“Erm, well to be honest,” Kurt said awkwardly, he could sense the hope radiating off of the young man, “we only really focus on saving the inhabitants of Earth. Not really the items the humans make.”

You wouldn't have got a more crestfallen look, even if you had kicked a puppy in front of a six year old girl. Monroe seemed to physically deflate. “You mean?” he asked quietly, “We'd lose everything?”

“Well,” Lars said, worriedly glancing at the down heartened human, “I'm sure it'll be a terrible loss. You have some lovely paintings -”

“I wasn't talking about them!” Samson exclaimed, tears welling up in his eyes. “I was talking about the Captain Wild Cat issues! I mean, some of them are extremely rare! For example, issue #765, featuring the return of Radon and his plan to crash the moon into New York city! They only published six copies of that before the factory caught on fire and destroyed the templates.”

“Yes.” Kurt said nodding patiently, “But at least you'll survive!”

“Like I care about that!” Monroe spat, “My whole life's work will be lost!”

Martha sighed once more, and then left the three to it. She could only endure the dealings of men for so long before questioning whether they deserved to continue existing. As she was walking away, shaking her head in disgust, Peter approached. He wasn't as bad as the others, there was something in him she could relate to, a cynicism towards the world. But that didn't mean she liked him. Her antipathy towards him was just as ripe as it was when she first laid eyes on him. “How's it going?” he asked, wiping the sweat from his temples. She shrugged non-committally.

“About as good as it's going to get.” she said, “Personally I don't think the chances of mankind's survival are that high. I mean, look at what's carrying on it's legacy. Some KGB reject, a sad comic book nerd whose only ambition in life is to get a paper cut from some first edition, limited edition toilet paper substitute, and you. A sad, dreary, hopeless excuse of a man who probably only agreed to take part in this, because there was nothing on television.”

“And you.” Peter said sourly.

“Yes.” Martha said, reciprocating the sourness, “Someone's got to inject some sanity into this situation.”

“What? Some megalomaniac who has delusions of grandeur, like some abused heroine from the middle ages?” Peter retorted.

The Irish woman opened her mouth to deliver a snarled, insulting comment, when they interrupted by the door bell. Peter and Martha both stared at the doorway in horror. They retreated back, hiding themselves in the corridor between the back room and the shop floor, Martha pinned Peter against the door to the toilets. “What do we do?” he hissed.

“We'll have to get the geek!” she responded, not aware that her thighs were rubbing up against Peter's. He was aware.

“But he's with Kurt and Lars!” he gasped.

“Damn. Then you'll have to deal with them!”

“Me? But I don't have an American accent!”

Kelly rolled her eyes wearily, “Fine.” she conceded, “I'll help.” she stepped away from Peter, who deflated slightly and rearranged himself to a respectful state, then stepped out to the shop floor. Three people stood in front of the counter, a tall, beautiful woman wearing a smart skirt and blazer, with a white blouse. Beside her stood a large man, a tooth pick between his teeth, being industriously chewed upon, a Stetson was perched on his head. He had Texan written all over his large features. The final figure was a thin black man with a worried expression and a thin layer of sweat on his forehead, but Peter was unsure whether this was caused by the heat, or by the company of the two people with him. As he entered, he was sure he heard the woman snap: “Let me do the talking!”

But as he appeared, they all wore smiles,but of varying degrees. “Hello.” the woman said with a smooth, crystal cut smile and an equally smooth accent, “My name's Delia Wedgwood, is the proprietor of this building in?”

“Err,” Peter said.

“We'd quite like to speak to them, it is a matter of high importance.” at the mention of importance, the Stetson wearing figure nodded emphatically, giving the danger of throwing his hat off.

“I'm afraid they're not in.” Martha said brusquely. All three strangers raised their eyebrows.

“Oh, you're not American.” the woman commented, her eyes narrowing.

“Do you have a Visa?” the black American asked.

“Do you know when they'll be back?” The Stetson-figure asked in an accent that Peter was surprised to discover was not Texan. “They're on holiday.” he blurted out.

“You're English!” the third stranger said with a naïve smile. The woman however, narrowed her eyes even further, until it would be a surprise if she could actually see anything. “English?” she mused, “And an Irish woman?”

“Hey where'd they go?” the middle figure asked conversationally, but the woman tugged on his sleeve, “It's them sir!” Lacey exclaimed, “With the aliens!”

Peter gasped in shock, even Martha breathed out a sigh of surprise. “Them?” Seamus asked frowning, “Nah. What would they be doing here in . . . oh yeah, that's why we're here. Hell, get them!”

Peter and Martha scurried back down the corridor as the three Americans hastily drew their guns. The pair burst into the back room, “What's the matter?” Kurt asked.

“Americans!” Peter exclaimed, “Out there!”

The two aliens frowned at one another, “Well yes.” Lars said slowly, “There would be, this is America.”

“They've got guns!” Martha pointed out.

“Well yes.” Kurt said, “They would do, this is America.”

Suddenly, Hank Seamus burst into the room, brandishing his gun in one hand, and keeping his disgusting yellow hat on his head with the other. “Ah ha! Well I've got you -” he paused and frowned as he stared at the five people in front of him. “Well which of you are the aliens?” he asked.

Kurt and Lars smiled and stood, “That would be -”

“Aliens?” Peter said loudly, cutting off Lars, “What Aliens?”

“Don't play dumb with us!” Anna said stepping into the room. “We know that there are aliens here! You've been going up and down for the past week, now we want to know where you come from and what you're doing here!”

“Well I'm from Norwich.” Peter offered lamely.

“Hargraves, get in here!” Lacey demanded.

“Hey, I thought I was in charge?” Seamus said venomously. For just a second, Anna looked slightly nervous. But then rallied magnificently, “I was merely pre-empting your orders sir.” she said without missing a beat. “Oh.” Seamus said nodding. “Okay. Hargraves, get in here!”

“Erm, I don't think I can sir!” Jack said nervously, it was already a bad day. He was in the middle of the Texan desert, with a gun in his hand, and Hank and Anna seemed to have got themselves wedged in a very small room. Monroe was pressed up against the cabinet, with Martha pressing against him, whilst Kurt's chair pinned the pair together, whilst the alien himself was pinned between the chair and the table with Peter on his left side and Lars on his right, who was pinned against a wall. Seamus and Lacey offered the only way out, but they were blocking it with their bodies, both pinned uncomfortably against one another. The only way they would all be able to leave, was if the American's filed out backwards. But neither seemed about to do so. “Okay.” Seamus grumbled, rearranging his tooth pick, “Which of you is the alien?”

“None of us.” Martha stated.

“I really think -” Lars started.

“One of you must be!” Lacey snapped.

“We'll be here all day if -” Kurt began.

“By orders of the President of the United States, I order you to answer, which of you is a damn alien!”

“We are!” Kurt and Lars exclaimed loudly. Peter had never seen the pair angry before, they weren't angry now, but they weren't their normal irritatingly optimistic selves. Their eyes were darker and the finely combed hair was slightly out of place. “My Krivnisky you humans are vexing at times.” Kurt muttered.

“You two are aliens?” Hank asked with a frown. “But you look like Mormons!”

“That's what I thought!” Samson said happily. He was silenced by the glowers everyone gave him.

“Why do you want to know?” Lars asked politely, regaining his optimistic demeanour.

“We're top government officials.” Lacey said smartly.

“What?” Peter said grinning, “Like Area 51 or something?”

Hank grinned proudly. “No.” Lacey said with a frown, “Area 52 of course.”

“Daddy will be proud.” Seamus said with a smile.

“Now we're going to take you all in,” Lacey said, waving her gun at the five, “we have some questions we'd like you to answer.”

Kurt glanced at his watch, “Oh, I'm afraid we don't actually have time to be taken prisoner by government officials.” he said, with absolutely no hint of sarcasm, “We have lots of things to do, deadlines to meet.”

“Wait a minute!” Lacey said with a whine, “We have guns! You can't tell us what to do! It should be the other way round!”

“Sorry.” Lars said. Then, Kurt tapped his top breast pocket and the five figures vanished. Hanks stared dumbfounded at the empty back room, that had just one second ago had been filled with five odd people. Two of which being aliens, who had never seen before. He shook his head sadly. Hargraves popped his head over Hank's shoulder, “Oh dear.” he said, “The President won't be happy.”

Seamus spat his toothpick out, “When is he ever?”

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