Jon (Stan) Hjartbert


Tech Exec & Marketing hands-on guy pursuing his dream to learn the craft of writing. Currently working on a science fiction novel as well as a short horror novel.
No one knows where they came from. They showed up with the rain.

My name is Julian. I’m eleven. As I waited for my twin sister Cate to get back to the tree fort with the canteen full of water, I pulled the last MRE from the now-empty backpack, along with the little canister of water purification tablets. I thought we had two or three left, but I could tell from the rattle we were down to one. This would be our last night in here. At sunrise we’d make a break for the fence. Making a last stand here in the tree fort wasn’t how either of us wanted it to end.

Tomorrow would be our first time out of the tree together since…well, since all this happened.

When she got back we’d split the—I turned the green package over to see the label—vegetarian lasagna with eggplant and mozzarella. And then we’d try to sleep. Nights were the worst. The scratching. The clawing at the plywood roof. When we looked out through the slots in the walls, out into the dark, we saw the eyes staring up at us, occasionally blinking. If the moon was out, the ground would ripple, like water. It was them, moving in that weird way they had. Yeah, nights were bad.

I unfolded the note. I’d checked it so many times it was about to fall apart at the creases. Once outside tomorrow morning I’d bury the iTouch, its battery now dead. The note tells—in words only—where the iTouch is buried. Once it’s charged they can see the videos and pictures, hear the voice recordings. If Cate and I don’t make it, the iTouch tells what happened to us.