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The Invitation

“Are you kidding me? Please tell me this is one of your stupid gags.”

“I’m not making this up. Why would I?”

“I don’t know. Is it even safe? I was hoping you weren’t serious.”

“Of course I’m serious. We’ll have to hurry if we’re going to make it. They’re on a tight schedule.”

“But we’re supposed to have the neighbors over for dinner tonight!”

“Frank and Eve? You don’t even like the Rosens.”

“I’m not sure I want to go. I mean… you’re really not kidding?”

“No! Come on, we don’t have time for this!”

“I don’t know what to bring.”

“Nothing, anything. I don’t think it matters.”

“What do you mean? You said this wasn’t a one-way trip.”

“It all happened so fast. One of them mentioned terminal events, time dilation, regrowth rates, and some other stuff I didn’t understand, so I don’t think so. I don’t really know. There. You wanted the truth, you got it, but are you really going to turn this down?”

“No. I don’t think… No.”

“Then come on! Wear something comfortable. They said we’d be gone a while.”

“Are my sweats too casual, do you think?”

“The designer ones? They look good, wear those. We’ll probably just end up naked in some cryo-chamber anyway.”

“Can they even tell what’s good looking or not? Does it matter?”

“Not from what I saw, but it’s just going to be you and me for a while.”

“But why us?”

“Well… They landed in our backyard, why not us? Someone has to go. We’re healthy, young, and available, but we have to hurry! I can see them out the window, pacing. They’ve got a lot of stops to make, a whole ship to fill.”

“Do you think we should leave a note?”

“You’re joking, right? People will know soon enough. I mean, it’s kind of hard to miss the end of the world. Even if it is supposed to be temporary.”

“Fine. But I need my stuff.”

“Leave it. We have to leave everything and go, right now.”

“Ok, ok, just give me a minute. What does one pack for little green men, anyway?”

“Nothing! You just go.”

“My bags are still full from the trip to Aruba. Hang on, it will only take me a sec to get them.”

“I swear to God, Sarah, I’ll leave without you.”

“No you won’t, I’ve got your handheld.”

“Damn it, they’re moving. You have to hurry! They’re going next door to the Rosens!”

“What did you say? I’m in the bedroom, I can’t hear you. And do you want to bring the book on your nightstand?”

“It’s ok, I don’t think they’re home. Wait, she’s there, the wife is there. His car is gone though, so it won’t be enough. They wanted one male and one female.”

“What about your electric shaver? Or that merino vest I bought you last year for Christmas? It might be cold.”

“Let me just go out and talk to them. Maybe I can get them to wait.”

“Honey? I asked what you wanted to bring.”

“Honey? Adam?”


J.R. Johnson grew up in a particularly pleasant syncline of the folded Appalachians. She now lives in Ottawa, Ontario.


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