My parents were declared brain dead two weeks later. Jack didn't even make it that far and slipped into an inescapable coma within a few days of Caspian leaving.

The doctor called personally. He was very friendly—Dr. Peterson, a younger man who had recently finished med school—and encouraged me to say my goodbyes to my parents before they were taken by the void. I had done nothing but stare blankly into space since Caspian left, trying to piece my life back together. Everything had gone awry so quickly when it seemed to be going so well.

Time stood still. Alezae Moore was an orphan with nowhere to go. I couldn't afford to keep the house with my low wage job and neither of my parents had any surviving family members. That meant I would become a ward of the state and be picked up by some random family for two years until I turned 18.

I sat up on the couch and gazed out the window impassively. I'd expected such a thing would happen after the way Cas had violently muddled their minds. Still, it was painful realizing I would never see my mother's eyes roll in mock frustration when I kicked off my shoes in the middle of the kitchen or see dad smiling at me over his newspaper in the morning. They were hooked up to respirators now. Dead.

The police couldn't wait to get their hands on me for further questioning. I had been vague and unresponsive when the paramedics took my family and Jack away, stunned into silence. Caspian had violated me. Ever since the incident I'd been having strange stomach cramps.

I rose from the couch stiffly and went upstairs, shuffling silently down the hallway to their abandoned bedroom. I nudged the door open to see it was still in the same state of mild disrepair they had left it, with the bed unmade and a few articles of clothing on the floor. I sat down on their big bed and flopped down on the mattress as the tears began to stream down my face.

"I'm so sorry," I whispered in a hoarse voice. "I'm so sorry."

But there wasn't time to dawdle if I wanted to avoid the police dragging me kicking and screaming to an orphanage. I searched for small things I could bring with me to remember them by and had settled upon mom's favorite necklace and dad's green tie when I stumbled across a diary in the drawer. Curious, I took it out and wiped the tears from my eyes. It was very weathered and bound by string.

I flipped open to the first page.

May 5th, 1977

Violet was born today. Kevin told me about the pact his family made with a strange creature—he will come for her when she turns 16. We see him lurking in the woods sometimes but I will never let him take my baby girl. He hates when we bring her to the lake. He's afraid of water.

My eyes widened and I quickly moved on to an entry a few years later. It was mom's handwriting and she kept one hell of a diary.

January 3rd, 1987

We see him watching her from the trees sometimes when she plays outside. He can camouflage and Kevin thinks he can change shape. We don't know what it is. Kevin's mother doesn't talk about it. She wants us to give Violet to him when the time comes but I don't think I can. I have a plan.

"Caspian?" I whispered, moving on to an entry one year before I was born.

April 20th, 1992

There's nothing we can do. We don't want this fate for Violet. Kevin and I are bringing her to the lake to put a stop to this, and the creature will be drowned, too. Forgive us, Violet. We never wanted to hurt you but being taken by this monstrosity is a fate worse than death. We love you, sweetheart.

I threw down the diary like it was on fire and got to my feet, pulse pounding. Holy shit. Caspian had been following my family since before my parents were even born. He'd forgotten that when mom and dad drowned him in the lake and his hibernation wiped his memories. He had been after a female daughter and I knew dad didn't have any siblings at all.

Violet had been next in line and mom couldn't bear the thought of her being taken away by him. She and dad drowned my older sister to keep her out of Caspian's grasp and when he came looking they did the same to him. That was why mom hated the lake—she remembered what she had done and she was worried Caspian would reanimate and come after me instead.

My ears rang. He had come after me. He waited until I was 16 and…

"Fuck!" I hissed.

I ran to the bathroom to rummage through the drawers, carelessly tossing things on the floor in a frantic search for a pregnancy test. I'd felt something pulsate through Caspian's finger when it slithered inside me and I had tried to block out that memory to the best of my ability. I found a test in the bottom drawer and frantically took it. Could pregnancy tests detect alien offspring?

It was a tense wait. I paced the floor and kicked things out of my way, tapping my fingers on my arm. Why would Cas do something like that? How could he be so nonchalant about possibly leaving me pregnant and alone? My heart thumped weakly in my chest when the ten minutes passed.

It was a newer type of test and the results were agonizingly clear: 'PREGNANT' had appeared on the screen in bright red letters. A mournful wail escaped my mouth and I sank to the floor with the test in hand, grabbing a fistful of my hair. My parents were dead and the alien I had raised from an egg for an entire decade had impregnated me with his goddamn finger and disappeared without a trace.

"I'm here, Alezae."

I looked up and jumped at the sight of Caspian standing in the bathroom doorframe in his alien form, long arms relaxed at his sides. His pupils narrowed when I scuttled through the wreckage on the floor toward the opposite wall, terrified beyond comprehension. Some of those spider things could potentially bite me and turn me into a vegetable like they had done to my parents.

"Get the hell out of my house," I stammered.

Cas knelt down fluidly, frowning. "Why are you upset with me? I returned to check on you and discovered your parents did not survive the ordeal. I would never leave you alone."

I coiled back like a snake waiting to strike. "I'm pregnant! You killed my family! The police are going to bring me to an orphanage and you'll never see me again, Caspian. This is what your stupidity has done."

"I wasn't positive the pregnancy would stay," he said, brightening. "It's very encouraging that two weeks have already passed with no negative effects. I didn't mean to kill your parents, either. I still don't understand the full extent of my abilities and they were unfortunate bystanders. But now they're all out of the way and you and I can leave this place to be together forever."

"Out of the way? What the hell is that supposed to mean? They were trying to protect me from you this entire time! You were preying on my older sister when she was my age!"

"Details, details. I don't remember those things and I don't care to." He inched forward a bit and broke into a lipless smile. "No one else will come between us. Your mother won't interrupt, your father won't ask questions, and Jack won't put his hands on you any longer. You're mine now."

I shrank closer to the wall, suffocating under my fear. "But… you said you wanted me to be happy. None of this makes me happy in the least."

"You'll be happy," Caspian said confidently. "I promise."

Car tires in the driveway roused both of our attentions. Cas perked up even more when he heard a door slam and he extended his hand to me. I glanced at it, trying to decide if becoming an orphan pregnant with an alien baby was better than traveling with said alien. There was knocking on the door and I hesitantly reached out to take Caspian's three-fingered hand so he could pull me to my feet.

We snuck out of the backdoor with my car keys in hand and the alien led the way. He scanned my dark backyard to check for any signs of lagging police officers and I was quite frankly surprised that multiple squad cars had come out. They would find my mother's diary and realize why I ran away.

Caspian resumed his human form when we were in my car and I quietly slipped past the police cars to hurdle down the road away from my house. I was trembling like crazy. My parents were gone. I'd left everything behind, even my cell phone. Jack had been dead for over a week. Now I was running away from the authorities with the alien I had rescued from Allie's Bathtub.

I glanced over and noticed he was fully clothed. "Is that a new trick?"

"Yes. Being struck with nudity during each transformation is a bother." Cas shifted in his seat and his eyes zeroed in on my stomach. "So… you're carrying our offspring?"


"How exciting!" he exclaimed. "I will have not one but two Alezaes to my midst."

"Babies aren't a joke, Caspian. They're demanding and really hard to take care of, and I'm sure one that has an alien father is going to be even worse." I looked at him irritably and was surprised to see him looking reticent. "I'm only 16. Now I don't know if I'll ever graduate high school or go to college. We should just go to Planned Parenthood and be done with the drama."

Cas stiffened. "You mean…?"

I nodded, not sure exactly where I was headed. A new state sounded nice. "Yes, an abortion. You technically raped me with your finger probe thing so I never had a choice. I don't want a kid and neither of us has a job anymore. It's probably better if—"

"No abortion," Caspian interrupted.

"You can't tell me what to do with my body."

"I can and I will." He looked at me with a frightening glare. "No abortion. You and I will be very happy with our offspring. Your education can come later."

"No, my education can come now. You're the one in the vulnerable position, Mr. Alien. I could stroll down there this afternoon if I wanted to but you can't function on your own for ten minutes."

A tiny white spider crept up onto the steering wheel between my hands. It blinked its sole eye at me and I nearly swerved into oncoming traffic. Okay, the threat was received.

It disappeared and Caspian sighed happily. We were heading aimlessly toward the border state but I had no idea what was going to happen. I glanced at the alien smiling peacefully in the seat next to me. We would figure it out somehow. Everything would fall together.