I walked into the apartment. I could feel a tension in the apartment. The lights were off. I had just found out that Elder Gree was dead. Vino had sent me home and told me to lay low. He told me that I had to talk to my brother but I had to make it soon. It was clear we were in danger.
There were no lights in the house as I made my way slowly to my room.
"How is Vino?" a voice said.
I jumped at that moment. I turned to see Shin sitting there. He was sitting in the darkness. He looked over me. Our eyes connected and there was this very heavy tension in the air. Shin's eyes almost seemed to constrict me when stared at me. There was suspicion. There was hatred. There was just a very a negative energy from him.
I stopped midway into the room and stared at Shin, "How would I know?"
"I heard a friend of mine say that he saw you with Vino earlier."
Vino had been laying low. It had been a few days since we found Elder Gree's body. He communicated with me through the ear piece in my ear. We met often and mostly just talked about ways to get my brother to defect. That was what Vino called it. Defect. He said it would be hard because Kaden was really into the Antlien lifestyle. He said that I had to get Kaden to think of things my way.
The problem with getting to Kaden however was that fact that Shin was always around...watching. Shin seemed more suspicious than ever. He never left Kaden and I alone long enough. When Kaden and I were alone it felt like Shin was lurking somewhere close...listening.
"You have people following me?"
"Of course not. Why would I do something like that?" Shin asked all of a sudden.
His eyes almost stabbed into me.
I shook my head, "I don't know what your friend told you, but I don't know what you're talking about. I wasn't with Vino. I haven't seen him in a very long time."
"Really because Vino defected against the Antlien government. Were you aware?"
I shook my head, "No."
"He's an outlaw. He's one of the most wanted men on the Space station right now. You wouldn't happen to know where he was would you?"
"No. I don't."
He didn't believe me. I could see it in his eyes that he didn't believe me.
"I'm sure. Well you'll let me know if he contacts you won't you?" Shin asked me.
I nodded, "Sure."
'Because Billy, treason is taken very seriously by us Antliens. Many are put to death by the Judges. There is no trial like human goverments. Antliens kill defectors immediately. I thought I should just let you know, since you are in our home what our laws are like. They would apply to you as well, you know? It's very important you know these things. It's important you know that you'll be killed for working defectors. I just thought I should you let you know that..."
My heart was racing. Was he threatening me? I was scared. I was so fucking scared. Shin was being so suggestive. It was almost like he was trying to tell me that I would be killed for working with Vino. I wondered if he noticed how heavy I was breathing when he said it.
He noticed something because he quickly added in, "Why the long face, Billy?"
He was playing with me. His eyes were tracing me up and down at that moment. Where was my brother? I couldn't take this. Shin slowly made his way towards me. I stood there in the middle of the room as Shin slowly started to walk around me making circles. The way he looked at me made me think that he thought I was so inferior. He just kept staring, watching and grinning. He was enjoying this.
Just at that moment my brother walked into the house. Kaden seemed happy. He always seemed happy. He had walked into the house smiling and when he saw us and turned the light on by speaking he noticed both Shin and I standing there.
He raised a curious eyebrow, "Why are you guys standing in the dark?"
Shin and I exchanged looks. I didn't say anything. I was still on edge from what Shin had told me. My palms were sweating. My heart just wouldn't stop beating. It felt like it would come out of my chest. I was in danger here. I was in serious danger. Shin was on to me. He had to know that I was still working with Vino. He probably just didn't know what I was working with Vino on.
Shin smiled acting as though everything was normal, "Me and your brother were just bonding actually."
Shin had walked up to Kaden and kissed him. He kissed Kaden on the lips. It made me shiver seeing him do it really. I hated to see him all over Kaden. I hated the idea of having Shin around period.
Kaden was staring at me even when Shin kissed him though. He didn't look worried but I would definitely say that he had a look of slight concern on his face. His eyes were trying to read me. I wish I could have just screamed out what Shin had just told me but after seeing what happened to Elder Gree and those other people I realized that these Antliens meant business. I wasn't trying to put anymore tension in the open.
"Is that true?" Kaden stated.
Kaden was looking at me when he said that. I wanted to tell him that Shin had just threatened me. I wanted to tell him what the Antliens planned on doing. Instead of talking though I looked over at Shin. Shin's eyes were staring back. He was ready. He was almost daring me to say something.
I nodded, "Yes. Getting to know Shin."
My voice was weak . I had tried to sound as regular as possible but I think it still came out somewhat shaky. Kaden smiled weakly back at me.
He walked over to me. He put a hand on my shoulder.
"Thanks for trying. Shin explained to me that you've been possibly having some negative influences in your ear. I just hope that you aren't hanging around anyone like that anymore."
I looked over at Shin. Shin was clever. He was trying to make my brother worry about threats to me when he was the actual real threat.
"I don't," I nodded.
"Are you happy here?"
I nodded at that moment and smiled, "Yes. Of course. It's...paradise..."
I was lying. I was lying because I was scared. I had to admit. I was too scared. Kaden seemed to believe me this time. A part of me realized that I had been very convincing at that moment. Kaden smiled at that moment and leaned in. He gave me a hug.
"That's so important to me that you're happy."
He rubbed me on the back. That was always the thing about Kaden. He was always so touchy. He held me probably a minute longer than he should have. I noticed Shin looking on. Was that jealousy I saw in his eyes? Shin was definitely noticing how long Kaden tended to hug me as well.
Shin seemed to want to pull Kaden's attention away, "He is a big boy now, Kaden. I told you he will get used to it here. Who wouldn't. This place is perfect. You don't have to keep worrying about Billy. Isn't that right Billy? All the negativity has been taken care of."
By taken care of he meant killed.
I nodded weakly, "Yes.
"Good...because the judges would like to meet you?"
I swallowed at that moment. I could feel this heaviness in my arm.
"Yes. I've been telling them so much about you. They are really nice people. You'll love them."
Kaden smiled at me. He patted me on the shoulder and then went on to having a conversation with Shin. I watched from a distance just seeing how happy Kaden was here. He smiled so much more here than he did on Earth. It was clear.
It was the middle of the night when Vino snuck through my window. He usually climbed up the building and came to visit me in the middle of the night when all the lights of the space station were down. He said it was easier for him to maneuver his way to see me then.
I told him about what Kaden said. I told him about the judges wanting to meet me.
"Did he say why?" Vino asked.
Vino looked worried again. Ever since Elder Gree and the others were killed he seemed very stern and serious. He was always about business. It was clear that he wanted revenge. However motivated he was to defect against the Antliens had tripled. Right now Vino was a man with a mission.
"No," I replied shaking my head, "I was thinking maybe I'll make a mistake. It could be dangerous. God knows what they want to ask me."
"Wait. You should go."
"Are you serious?"
I was confused.
"Yes. Go. Shin has been all over Kaden. There is one place that Shin won't follow Kaden too. That is the capitol building. Let Kaden take you to go see the Judges. It'll be good. You'll have time to talk to him. One on one. Feel him out first. Maybe he is too far gone. However, there is still a chance that Kaden might help us."
"He seems happy. I don't know why he would help us."
"He'd do anything for you. He has feelings for you."
I rolled my eyes at that moment, "Kaden does not have feelings for me."
Vino shook his head, "Yes he does. I know this for a fact."
"Because I know how it looks when someone has feelings for you. I realize it everyday."
I looked at Vino. Vino was staring at me. There was this suggestive glance in his eyes. I hadn't noticed it before but I noticed it now. Vino wasn't just staring at me. He was staring into me. It was like he was trying to see deep into my soul on something deep.
I stumbled on my words, "Vino what are you saying..."
"I'm saying I know for sure that Kaden has feelings for you. I can relate because I feel the same way he does."
I swallowed my spit at that moment.
"I never knew that."
Vino nodded, "It's ok. Your so stuck on Kaden noticing you that you haven't given it the time of day. You don't even see me. I'm invisible to you. It's always Kaden this, Kaden that."
"I'm sorry I---"
"You don't have to apologize," Vino stated before turning around, "It works for the mission. This is a good thing. You know?"
Vino was cold when he said that. It was almost like he was calculating. Whatever emotions he had towards me seemed to be completely put on the back burner. The only thing that really mattered to him was this mission.
"Right," I stated weakly.
Truth was I wanted to understand him more. I wanted to understand what Vino was feeling. Vino had dropped a bomb like that without even blinking an eye. Maybe that was the Antlien thing. It just seemed so completely normal and everyday to him. He had no problems.
"Well I should go," Vino stated.
I had been staring at him. I had been staring at him and wondering things.
"You'll keep in contact?" I asked.
"Be careful. If Shin is suspicious of you then so are the judges..."
"It's beautiful isn't it?"
We were at the capitol building. Kaden had been walking with me. Vino was right. Shin didn't come with us. I had been making small talk with Kaden the entire way to the capitol building. It was worse than what I thought. He had fallen in love with this place. He had fallen in love with these aliens. Kaden was quickly becoming completely integrated in their society and nothing negative came out of his mouth about the Antliens. He was completely taken by them.
"It looks like all the other buildings," I told him, "Just a little taller."
"Wait until you see the inside."
"You sound excited."
"I've been wanting to share this with you. They never let me," Kaden replied at that moment, "I think they didn't trust you...you know, because you are human. But I guess you've been living among us for a while so now they have that trust."
I smiled weakly, "Right...trust."
I was sure it was the opposite of trust actually. I was pretty sure these Judges were suspicious of me. Keep your enemies close. I was sure they were just trying to keep me at arm's length.
Kaden literally was so happy that he held my hand and pulled me into the building. We walked past guards. It was the first time I really saw guards at any building. They were armed but not with any weapon that I had ever seen before. They had these little florescent sticks in their hands. I wasn't sure what they actually did but by the way the guards at the front of the building held them I figured they had to be weapons.
"Amazing isn't it..."
Kaden looked around. White halls. All white halls. I looked at Kaden kind of confused. What the fuck was wrong with him? My brother literally was making it seem like I was about to step into some beautiful art gallery or something. There wasn't a piece of art in sight. Everything was the plain, haunting white. It was just like every other building. The only difference was this building was more crowded. There were people walking around busily. None of them seemed to pay attention to me but a few of them were waving at Kaden as though recognizing him. Kaden greeted them with a smile each time.
"It's interesting," I replied to Kaden.
"Each floor governs a different sector of Antlien society. It's the perfect socialist model. The top floor is where the Queen is. I haven't met her yet but they said one day I will get the chance to meet her."
Kaden thought the Queen was person. They lied to him!
"Yeah. I heard she's beautiful. I really would like to see. Right below the Queen is the reproduction floor. That is where the new Antlien children are conceived. The Eighth floor is where I work. It's the Intelligence floor."
"Like CIA kind of intelligence?"
"No. Silly. They just store records. Come on."
Kaden got me into an elevator. It looked like a human elevator except it was made out of glass and located on the outside of the building. Truth be told I was a little scared of heights. I found myself moving closer to Kaden on the elevator.
I could feel my nerves fill up my chest at that moment. It was everything going at that moment. It was more than just us being on a glass elevator that rose up on the side of the building. It was where we were going. We were going to meet the judges. All I could think about was just how nervous I was. All I could think about was the fact that I didn't know what to expect. What if they were going to torture me for information on Vino?
"I know you're scared of heights."
"It's more than that."
Kaden looked at me. The elevator was going up. All of a sudden I found myself pushing the stop button on the elevator. We were stuck mid floor all of a sudden.
"What are you doing? The judges are waiting on us. You don't want to be late."
"I don't want to go...at all."
Kaden gave me a weird look, "Billy what now?"
"You said they store records on the 8th floor. Have you ever thought what they were using those records for?" I asked at that moment.
"Documenting history. I explained this to you already."
I shook my head, "Do you honestly think they don't have something like a CIA? Do you think that the intelligence they gather is just because. One thing that I say about the Antliens is they are efficient. They do everything for a reason. I don't see them going through trouble to gather history on humans just because..."
Kaden looked over at me. He was about to press the button on the elevator to keep going, "You sound crazy..."
I stopped him, "But what if I'm not crazy."
Kaden laughed shaking his head, "You've been talking to the wrong people little bro. They got you sitting here tripping over conspiracies and what not. These are good people..."
"No Kaden. I am a good person. You are a good person. Shin is a bad...bad person."
"He's my husband."
"No he's not," I replied quickly.
Kaden stopped, "You've been talking to the wrong people little bro. What was the guys name that you get your info from? Vino. You know that guy is an outlaw right? Him and his friends are lying to you. They got you sitting here tripping over conspiracies and what not."
"I believe them. Kaden I don't have proof," I stated shaking my head, "But there is something bad going on."
"Bad like what?"
I knew I shouldn't say anymore. Vino had told me to feel Kaden out for a reason. I did feel Kaden out and when I felt Kaden out it was a fail. Kaden clearly was sucked into this lifestyle too much. Kaden wasn't budging. I should have let that be a sign to fall back completely. I should have let that be a sign to maybe go even slower. I didn't though.
I was going full steam ahead. I looked at Kaden. I had to tell him. I had to put all the cards on the table.
"They are planning an invasion."
"Vino knew about it and so did someone else named Elder Gree. There is a reason why you haven't met the Queen. It's because the Queen isn't a person. It's a machine. That conspiracy is real and they are going to use that machine to destroy the Earth. Kaden. It doesn't make sense but I need you to trust me. I can't go see these judges because they want to see me for a particular reason. They KNOW that I KNOW."
Kaden looked over at me. He saw how serious I was. He looked like he was about to respond.
He reached his finger to the elevator to take it off hold. He didn't believe me. He didn't believe me.
He had pressed the button on the elevator but it was the button to make the elevator go back all the way to the top floor! I looked at Kaden. He seemed very serious at this moment. I wanted to hug him though. I wanted to hug him because Kaden wasn't forcing me to go meet these judges. A part of him seemed to understand where I was coming from at least.
"You believe me?" I asked.
Kaden looked like he was in deep thought.
"I need to see for myself."
"The Queen," Kaden stated.
We rode the elevator to the top floor at that moment. As we got off the elevator two guards immediately stopped us.
"Let us through," Kaden stated.
"This area is restricted."
"The judges sent me up here," Kaden replied.
"This area is restricted."
"Not for me it isn't. Haven't you been notified? I was sent up here by the judges! It's important. Do you know who I am?"
The two guards looked at one another. They looked confused and a little intimidated. I watched the one guard start buzzing. He was using that native language. The other one buzz backed.
Just at that moment the one to the left nodded, "I'm sorry for the confusion sir. You are free to go."
I followed behind Kaden at that moment. I was shocked. I tried to keep a straight face. I tried not to look suspect even though the two guards looked back at me. They clearly were suspecting something foul but I feel like a part of them were also intimidated by Kaden.
By the time we got away from them I was dying to find out how he did it.
"What the hell was that?" I asked him.
Kaden looked at me and smiled, "Everyone here thinks I'm a big deal. I think it's the reason that I find it suspicious. It's like they are being a little too sensitive for me. If all I'm doing is helping to update their encyclopedias then I shouldn't be a big deal right?"
I nodded, "Right."
"It's a little off..."
I was shocked. I was shocked that Kaden had been suspicious of the Antliens as well. I was shocked that Kaden gave me his hand at that moment. I put my hand in his as we walked down the white hallway.
The white hallway was long and full.
When we got to the end of the hallway there was a door. Kaden's footsteps were slow but not as slow as mine. I think we were both nervous. We both didn't know what to think at that moment.
"This is where the Queen stays supposedly?" I asked him.
"Yes. That's what they say..."
I shook my head at that moment.
"Are you scared?"
Kaden nodded, "I'm scared to know the truth either way this goes..."
"We'll do it together."
We were holding hands. It was so normal for the two of us just to hold hands as if nothing even mattered. We held hands as if it was the most natural thing in the world and to us it was. To us, nothing really mattered but the other person. I knew Kaden wouldn't like what was on the other side of that door. I knew something was wrong about these people and it was about time I proved it to him.
It was time to meet the Queen.
Kaden looked at me and I looked at him.
What we saw on the other end of that door would change our lives forever.
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