MY ESCAPE FROM A HOME BELOVED was of sheer and unqualified necessity. My people and I have been overtaken by a scorpion race of alien malefactors whose intent towards us is not one of beneficent intervention, but that of utter conquest.
If it were only the mere subjugation of a weaker species, we might have acquiesced, although begrudgingly. However, the terrifying reality enjoined upon us proved to be the conquerors' brusque insistence that their insatiable hungers be satisfied with our quailing flesh. These interlopers, these transgressors of a most cruel and avaricious sort, have invaded my world.
Alas, my escape from this nightmare -- from which there will be no awakening -- has been conjured up in my mind. I grieve that kith and kin do not possess the incipient mental devices of escapism that I have owned since the womb. How and why I differ from them is a story I need to tell you, but time is no more.
We have all been jailed; however, I suffer less than they. These very real horrors are deftly slid into a compartment of my mind, locked away tightly, key jettisoned.
Damn . . . damn these invaders from Earth.
The story is based on the 1950 short story "To Serve Man", written by Damon Knight. The title is a play on the verb serve, which has a dual meaning of "to assist" and "to provide as a meal". The episode is one of the few instances in the series wherein an actor breaks the fourth wall and addresses the viewing audience at the episode's end. The episode, along with the line "It's a cookbook!" have become elements in pop culture.
If you happen to read this, what is your reaction to the concluding statement of "The Conquered" that the invaders are from Earth?
I do welcome your thoughts . . .
Wow! This is incredible!
the cows went out to play today sunny, warm the month of may
they ate and rested in the field they didn't know their fate was sealed
That was a great twilight zone "to serve man" maybe we're being farmed by energy vampires. The older I get the more disturbing it all seems and I have no answers. I thought for a long time there would be some explanation for our existence but nothing seems to make sense. So since I have some time left to live I escape into my imaginary worlds that I create because this one seems to have been taken over by the mammals, reptilians and the insectivores who are oblivious to their hopeless situation. I'm not sure about the Yetis.
The older I get the more disturbing it all seems and I have no answers. I thought for a long time there would be some explanation for our existence but nothing seems to make sense. -- Nancy Drew
Good thought re: our retreat into imaginary worlds, Nancy. I appreciate hearing your perspective, especially from one who likes sci-fi!
I awake in a place that, clearly, is not home.
As I look about in a blurry daze, the expected trappings of bed, chair, and scuffed, dirty walls have disappeared during my wretched slumber. All the familiar has slid away, swirling downward, but not swallowed, into an eerily black vortex above which my stiffened body floats unaffected by the devouring maelstrom. My immediate surroundings are an atmosphere of greenish hue that is a most peculiar expanse of sky. Emerald. Iridescent. Extraordinary. Suspended amidst the shimmering splendor of these undulating waves of a surreal firmament is a golden sphere -- a moon. The gentle but steady rays of illumination it sends forth warm me. I find this puzzling: the celestial body is not a star.
I continue to have no control over my body, yet I am not uncomfortable, nor do I sense any imminent danger. Something has changed regarding the direction put upon me. A force -- what I would imagine to be a tractor beam -- draws me upward and away from the strangely silent but malevolent whirlpool below. Coming into focus at a distance seemingly close, but probably an infinite space away in light years, is an incredible edifice of glass, porcelain, and adamantine steel, a veritable temple of a night's vision, most likely dedicated to some constellation's mercurial god. Opalescent double doors of immeasurable height, hung upon hinges of gold, begin to open in protracted slow motion. Blazing from within this celestial palace is a brilliance like that of Earth's noonday sun. I gaze directly upon its supernal glory; in the manner of a dream, I am unharmed.
I startle as there emerges from doors now fully opened the likes of which nightmares are made . . .
A stream of congealing blood-red water gushes with ferocity through the newly opened doors. With frightening abandon it rises and falls sharply, wildly, to the accompaniment of an unidentifiable, shrill blast. This cacophonous herald blares forth like shrapnel from outsize trumpets played by a dozen rampant jackals, goose stepping in strident march tempo upon a trail of stars. Their hideous aspect in this unfamiliar role of court musicians is repellent yet singularly alluring; I cannot look away, much as I wish. I am sick. As the wash of roiling waters loops round and round the monolithic plank of stars, it disappears suddenly into a crevasse torn into the fabric of this swirling, greenish sky.
As though nonexistent for the din of the screaming trumpets, I perceive a harmonious but somber backdrop of a passacaglia pouring luxuriantly from some impossible, heavenly pipe organ, rising steadily, from pianissimo, to piano, to forte, to fortissimo . . . FORTISSISSIMO! At the zenith of this divine explosion of purest sound, the jackals and their brassy salvos implode. Gone, swept forever into the abyss. I wince, attempting to cover my ears. I cannot raise my hands from my sides.
My innards melt away, like those of a snail, from this insane and deafening sound attack. Oh, man! My life is over!
I haven't much time . . .Conflict is on the horizon, moving ever closer toward us. Our being a peace-loving people does not mean that we are weak and ineffectual. Yet, by comparison to the powers that are to be, we shall constitute their easiest prey. We are no match for their kind.What is this alien force -- so fearsome and implacable -- that marches in relentless asymmetrical rhythm: triplet, crotchets, quavers, crotchet? I shudder that such uncommon and foreign a meter should, nevertheless, bring NEMESIS unfailingly to his quarry. Perhaps I ought not to register any surprise at all. My only palpable emotion at this time is fear, a terror that engulfs every bit of me.The red dust that enshrouds their military machine has reached us, parching our throats, infiltrating our lungs. The carrying wind is bitter and cuts deeply to the core.The descent and ascent of their chromatic war chant fills me with horror as I contemplate the formidable and merciless aspect of these damnable creatures, they who advance slowly but deliberately toward the termination of our race. I hear the brassy salvos of their ordnance. Yet again, the protracted cacophony of mechanized warfare.Nemesis is angry. No mercy.None . . .
Does it not stand to reason that the destruction of one's own home should prompt one to seek out new worlds? The Metalunans did so eons ago, yet the attitude displayed toward their newfound hosts, while not entirely benevolent, was closer to humanistic than that shown us miserable humans by the Martians.Why do I refer to ourselves as miserable humans? The decimation of the human race by an alien force cruel and invincible has given rise to such sentiments of despair. The degradation that precedes the most unspeakable of protracted life-terminating procedures would make the tortures invented by human history's most notorious villains appear little more than those devised by schoolyard bullies.I regret that I have survived the initial attack.