Galt’s Shift

Posted on November 3, 2011 by Tiffany KW.
Categories: Uncategorized.

When Tilden picked up the baby, he held it all wrong.  I wanted to snatch Akin from his arms and prevent potential injuries.  My skin was pale, and his was tan, but he could have been one of mine.  I had three before the war.  When they Awakened me, I had none.  He looked so perfect on the surface — even cried like a baby.  That’s when we saw it.  The fat, gray slug in his mouth, reminding us he was one of them.

Traveling with kids is never simple, but Akin seemed better about it than most.  But the afternoon when Tilden died, I felt the kind of fear that comes from realizing you’re in too deep.  That the choices you’ve made were the wrong one.  That no matter how prepared you thought you were, it wasn’t enough, could never have been enough to handle the pure alien-ness Akin exemplified.

Back before the war, back when I was a kid, I had heard of something called a Changeling.  My grandparents had come from Ireland and had brought their stories with them.  A baby that could talk the way Akin did just wasn’t natural — in fact, it was pretty much impossible.  My grandpa had told me stories about the folk when I was kid.  He taught me never to speak their name, and never to trust them or bargain with them.  Most of all, he taught me never to let them touch me.

I felt repulsed by Akin’s ability to speak.  It was unnatural to the point it made me feel sick that the aliens would do something like that to a baby.  And I had held him against me!  Carried him through the jungle!  Let him sleep next to me!  Now it was too late.  My grandpa didn’t tell me what happened if someone was touched by a Changeling, but it has to be horrible.  I don’t want to die.

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