Serial Killers: The Seven Invasions of Earth in the 21st Century Part 2 by David Berger
- Serial Killers: The Seven Invasions of Earth in the 21st Century Part 1 by David Berger
- Serial Killers: The Seven Invasions of Earth in the 21st Century Part 2 by David Berger
- Serial Killers: The Seven Invasions of Earth in the 21st Century Part 3 by David Berger
- Serial Killers: The Seven Invasions of Earth in the 21st Century Part 4 by David Berger
Invasion II – The Cities
Although only the second of the Seventeen Invasions, occurring in 2064, it is perhaps the most unusual of all, in that no one ever saw a City builder or a City inhabitant. There are only three Cities: one on Death Valley in the United States, on in the Western Ghats in India and one on the Siberian steppes. It’s known from satellite images that there were originally four, but that one began to rise on a reef off the coast of Japan and sank in very deep water before it could constitute itself.
It’s been documented, also by satellite, that from the first moment of the appearance of the first City, in the United States, to its completion, was only six months. Considering that First City, as it’s now called, covers an area of nearly twenty square kilometers and some of its structures are nearly one hundred meters high, this is extraordinary growth.
Since the three Cities are nearly identical, it’s sufficient to describe, albeit very briefly, First City. Roughly rectangular, about four kilometers by five, First City is surrounded by a low wall, approximately a meter high. This wall runs all around First City, with only four breaks, which line up to the four entrances into the City. The first people who entered First City, U.S. Army commandos, were the first to experience the City’s strange beauty. It’s shimmering pale colors; its constantly changing light; columns, domes and roofs: all of these blended into each other and made up First City. There were no signs of homes, places of work, public accommodation, or any other signs of habitation. Occasionally, unusual sounds, almost constituting music, could be heard but always at a distance and never for long.
First City, as can be seen in thousands of videos, is an endless panorama of windowless buildings with small, low entrances, streets, plazas, towers, arcades, and on and on. But with no life in it whatsoever.
It was immediately discovered that the three Cities were made of plastic: Earth waste plastic, to be specific. By some chemical process, still only vaguely understood, waste plastic was converted to incredibly strong, translucent polymers. (Extracting samples of the substance of the Cities required diamond drills.) Whirlwinds of plastic could be seen constantly over the Cities: drawn by altered wind currents from all over the world to India, Siberia and Argentina. For each City, this went on for over six months, until it was complete.
There was some danger to exploration while the Cities were being built. Structures, sometimes very large ones, grew up suddenly from the ground; large pieces of plastic were flung around by air currents; small pieces constantly whizzed by back and forth. There was no indication that whatever force was building the Cities had any awareness of the drones, robots or people that explored it. At first, explorers went into First City wearing hazmat suits and heavily armed, but tests soon showed nothing much in the air but the expected PCBs, and no inhabitants. Once the building stopped, the explorers began to take less and less precautions till, finally, they set up a permanent camp inside First City.
It all became very routine. The explorers, their drones and robots, mapped, videoed and photographed the entire of First City in four weeks without incident and confirmed that it was uninhabited. Similar surveys of Second City and Third City were also done. It turned out that the three Cities had the same basic plan, with few differences. The towers of First City are taller than the towers in the other two. Second City has many more columns and pillars than the other two. Third City is twenty percent smaller than its counterparts, which are almost identical in size. The internal layout of each City is more or less identical, with streets radiating out from small central buildings scattered seemingly randomly around the City. There seems to be no central plan.
It was hoped that a nucleus or kernel of each City could be found: a place where each one started. Satellite pictures showed where they started growing, but no amount of probing could locate anything in the way of a City building mechanism or a seed. Various theories have been put forth about the origins and purposes of the Cities, but none of them is satisfactory or actually anything more than pure speculation. The Cities are here. People have even begun to live in them.
The final conclusion can only be that the Cities themselves are the invaders, and that they built themselves.
David Berger is an old guy from Brooklyn, now living in Manhattan with his wife of 25 years: the best jazz singer in NYC. He is a father and grandfather. He has been, among other things, a case worker, construction worker, letter carrier, high school and ESL teacher, a legal proofreader and a union organizer. Loves life, his wife and the world. Hopes to help the latter escape destruction.
David has been published by Verso with his graphic history of American bohemia: ‘Bohemians’, co-written by Paul Buhle and by DRABBLE for his works ‘Invisible Dude’and ‘Statuary’. His story, Ghoul Days, features in The Sirens Call ezine, Issue 45.
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Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the folk horror novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel, Reborn, and The Woodcutter, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused (all via Brigids Gate Press). Her dark poetry has been published in her collections Lilith Rising (co-authored with Shane Douglas Keene), Foundlings (co-authored with Cindy O’Quinn) and Metallurgy, as well as the HWA Poetry Showcase Volumes VI, VII, VIII, and IX and Black Spot Books Under Her Skin. She can be found supporting indie authors at HorrorTree.com via the weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases. She can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.