The Hunt for Humanity: Prologue

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Prologue

There is a story every child in my township knows verbatim by the time they reached the age of five. It is a story no child should ever have to know.

            It is the story of the Turpis, who came to Earth in a massive fleet of metal ships larger than the size of a small continent. Their rusted black hulls broke through our atmosphere like a barrage of meteors as they rained a fiery terror upon our thriving world.

            When the ships reached the upper level of the stratosphere, the Turpis clambered out of their metal husks and spread their mutant wings for flight. Together, their numbers swept across the sky like a plague of locusts, casting a shadow upon the Earth darker than night itself.

            Chaos spread quickly throughout the world as the aliens wreaked havoc on the once untouchable and advanced cities of Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, and New York. Though their original goal was to conquer, the aliens’ discovery of warm hearts beating inside our chests lured them to their first taste of human flesh—a craving that would soon become insatiable.

            In less than a week’s time, the entire planet was transformed. Where a thriving, peaceful population of over ten billion souls once stood was now a graveyard. Ninety percent of the world’s population was completely, and utterly, obliterated.

            That was three hundred years before my birth.

            Then there is the story of war.

            One hundred years of sacrifice and bloodshed at the hands of boys and men only to be concluded when a great hero defeated the alien leader in the Battle of Europa.

            When the War finally ended, there was nothing. No story, no hope, only desolation.

            Two hundred years of invasion and battle has left our planet decimated. Beauty and life were replaced with famine and disease. Lush forests and vast oceans of blue crumbled to ash and made way for a sprawling, endless desert of sand.

            For one hundred years, the Earth remained a husk, unable to be mended. Its shell vacant and decayed, it was unwilling to support human life for much longer. Those without money or means to leave prayed they could someday leave. That they could spread their wings and fly away to the sanctuary mankind built in space—Azylo. Named for the Latin word “asylum,” meaning a place of refuge and wealth. It is where mankind fought back against the Turpis, where the wealthy and elite continued to thrive after the War ended. It is a place of great longing, a place where dreams were made.

            Though I am a child born of Earth, with no money or power to my name, I know I have to make it there. I have to get to Azylo. If I don’t, something in my heart tells me my own story will end short, just like the billions before me.

Original work by Ashley Danielle LeTourneau