David James moved up behind the skimpily clad, statuesque brunette and slid his arm around her waist. The girl, Emma Harris, flinched slightly and then appeared to relax as David whispered in her ear, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."
David allowed his hand to drift upwards towards the girl's naked breast. In his opinion one of the few good things about the approaching Sa'arm invasion had been the sudden appearance of flesh amongst the female population. A fashion change that he'd gone out of his way to take advantage of.
Emma grabbed the wandering hand and hung on to it whilst twisting away, "Listen buster," she announced fiercely, "that's mine and I don't care how high your CAP score is, it's staying mine." She then giggled, destroying any pretence at anger. The two of them had been seeing each other for a year now and as both had the requisite CAP scores they hoped to be extracted together.
"Yea," drawled David, "but you know you like looking at mine."
"Looking, touching, feeling and a whole host of other things," Emma agreed, "but not here and not now, OK?"
"Sure," agreed David reluctantly. Schools may have increased their tolerance towards public displays of affection but not that much. Changing the subject he asked, "What are you doing Sunday?"
"Nothing much," she answered, "What do you have in mind?"
"Fancy going to the mall?" he asked, "We could do a little shopping, grab something to eat and then watch a movie."
She looked at him questioningly, "No church?"
"No, Mom and Dad have given up on the place," he said. "They didn't mind so much when the sermons just went on about the Sa'arm being an abomination but now that they've started out against CAP testing and people leaving Earth it got too much. I think my CAP score's what tipped the balance, they just couldn't reconcile keeping me here to be eaten when I had a chance to get away." David shrugged, "I just try to keep out of it."
Emma hugged her boyfriend closer, "I guess I'm lucky," she said, "my parents never got sucked in by all that religious crap and when Mom died Dad practically told the preacher to go take a running jump."
David squeezed the luscious body against him, " Yes, well, enough of this doom and gloom. What d'you say about Sunday, fancy seeing a movie?"
"Oh yes," said Emma. "Do you want to invite the rest of the gang?"
"Not this time," said David. "I'm sure they want some time alone," he concluded raising an eyebrow.
The gang in question consisted of Navtej Singh -- who was known as Nuvi -- and his girlfriend Jessica Fling along with Adam Simpson and his girlfriend Kim Sui. These four made up the pre-pak family that Emma and David hoped to take with them if they were extracted.
Emma smiled, "I take it Nuvi and Jessie are finally getting somewhere?"
"I think she's finally beaten down his resistance." A grinning David agreed.
"Good," said Emma, "It's about time he stopped acting all prim and proper and got with the program."
"Amen," said David.
"And God is the sole arbiter of life and death not some 'alien' monstrosity who's very being is an abomination against his word!"
The dark suited man at the lectern absorbed the yell and rose higher; he was nearly frothing at the mouth he was that worked up.
"HE protected the faithful from the plagues of ancient Egypt, HE protected the faithful from the famines that followed and through time HE has protected us all from the works of the Devil!" Trevor Rawlinson screamed out, his arms spread wide to embrace the congregation.
Spittle flew from his mouth as the impassioned pastor stormed, "HE WILL protect us against the works of this 'alien' creature!"
"AMEN!" the gathered masses responded in unison, breathing in the hatred and vitriol pouring from the pulpit. Teddy Bainbridge, who at nineteen, wouldn't normally have been expected to be in church was drinking in the sermon as though it was the very waters of life. That he'd been CAP tested was one of the most carefully guarded secrets he had and that his score had been a mere four point seven was another.
The preacher lowered his voice, "But brethren, should we not feel forgiveness, as the good Book tells us right, for those who have been taken in by this foul abomination from space?"
"NO, I say, thrice NO!" The preacher paused, his eyes cast to the heavens. "No, they have been led from the light by their own greed and the love of this Devil's toys!"
'Yes, ' thought Teddy his mind skipping over the conflict between his own thoughts and the sermon, 'we should be the ones who are going not those geeks.'
Trevor cast his arms forward, "And YOU, yes you! The faithful have shown them the way, denying the 'alien' his prey. You the faithful will stand against this 'alien' monstrosity and show it the error of its ways." His voice dropped an octave, "and You the faithful will render the faithless bereft of life for their errors."
Teddy Bainbridge smiled viciously as he joined in the final "AMEN."
Outside the pristine white church that yell had sounded like the call of a wounded animal seeking revenge for its injuries and pain. Thomas Jefferson Shanklin shook his head in disbelief at what was emanating from his speakers as he sat in his vehicle. The investigative reporter had been watching this church for the last three months and the message had been becoming more and more belligerent each week. When he'd approached his editor about running an article he'd been shocked to find that their small church was a mere cog in a much bigger, as in national at least, machine that had the backing of several of the leading media tycoons, including his own paper's owner.
His editor had told him, in very direct terms, that if he wished to continue working for the paper he'd button his lip and go look for something that they could report on. So the story had remained untold but Tom had been unable to leave the problem alone, which is why, once again, he was outside the church with a directional mike peeping through the window.
Tom eyed his mobile phone, wondering for the umpteenth time about reporting what he knew to the local police department and, once again, deciding that nothing had actually happened yet and there was nothing the police could do.
David sat alongside Emma on the balcony of the food plaza slowly consuming a baguette and cola while indulging in one of his favourite pass-times, people watching. The change in dress code over the last couple of years had been nothing short of fantastic, as far as any normal hormone driven teenage boy was concerned. That it caused his own mother to wear next to nothing was a minor, though embarrassing, consequence which, when weighed against the visible benefits he found he could live with.
Beside him Emma was likewise looking at the crowds of nearly naked women and comparing them with what she saw in the mirror every morning. Whilst she was still self-conscious at appearing in public wearing so little -- which was a feeling familiar to a lot of small town girls -- she knew that to appear in anything less brief was to call attention to herself. An action that could have devastating consequences according to the latest rumours doing the rounds. That her figure and posture compared well with the majority of the competition made things easier for her to bear though she was shy enough to be worried that David was just being kind.
David nudged Emma with his elbow, being careful to avoid the naked breast, and indicated a middle-aged woman crossing the plaza beneath them, "Isn't that Fräu Humboldt?" he asked.
Emma followed his directions and giggled despite her own misgivings, "It looks like her," she gasped identifying the head of the languages department for their school.
Thirty feet below them a large, well-padded woman with long dark hair was crossing the floor wearing a grey wrap that was totally transparent making her lack of underwear extremely clear. It never occurred to the two teenagers that for a German, used to frequenting the nudist beaches of Europe, simply walking through a mall in such a wrap was a normal, everyday occurrence. That it put some of the younger girls, who thought being topless was brave, in the shade clearly increased the chances of the older woman being selected should an extraction happen.
Fräu Humboldt sat at a bench with another woman who, following a careful appraisal by David, appeared to be a younger version of the languages teacher. "Who do you think that is with her?" he asked.
"I don't know," muttered Emma.
"They look similar, do you think it's her daughter?" David asked.
"I didn't even know she had a daughter," said Emma, "I mean she's not part of the school crowd is she?"
"True," responded David quietly, "Maybe she's just visiting," he glanced at his girlfriend. "You know, over from Europe to take in the culture."
Emma giggled, the one thing her town didn't have was any sort of historical significance, "Yes, that'll be it. She's here to view our wonderful town."
David sat back and drained the last of his cola. Looking at the table he figured that they'd nearly finished, he glanced at his watch and did a quick calculation. "Fancy doing anything before the film, we've got about twenty minutes before we have to go upstairs?"
Emma pondered a moment, "Let's have another drink, it's cheaper than up there and then we can go straight in," she glanced over the balcony, "besides, I'm enjoying watching people."
"OK," replied David with a grin getting to his feet, "Do you want the same again?"
.... There is more of this story ...