That First Hour
A WHEN THEY CAME STORY
By Kody Boye
That First Hour
A WHEN THEY CAME
by Kody Boye
Copyright © 2017.
All Rights Reserved.
Edited by Tiffany
Cover design by Kody
Boye and Tiffany Woodbeck
Formatted by Kody
Without limiting the
rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication
may be reproduced, stored, or introduced into a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronically, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the proper written
permission of the copyright owner, except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a work
of fiction. People, places, events and situations are the product of
the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living
or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.
THAT FIRST HOUR
first hour was the worst.
On the night it all
began—when I was just eleven years old—I sat on my back porch
practicing chords I’d just learned on my guitar when I looked into
the sky and saw what appeared to be a shooting star. Lone, white, and
resembling a firefly in the dead of night, it broke through the upper
atmosphere and trailed across the horizon as if it were an angel cast
down from the Heavens.
“Dad,” I said,
setting my guitar on the step beside me.
“I see it.” My
father stood at the grill, cooking hamburgers and hot dogs for the
evening meal. “Pretty cool, isn’t it, Son?”
Nodding, I continued
to watch as it plummeted throughout the upper atmosphere, both
impressed and somewhat leery over the event taking place. Though I’d
been lucky enough to see shooting stars before despite the bright
lights of San Antonio, Texas, I’d never seen one that close.
My mother stepped
out the back door, drying her hands on a dishtowel. “Is that a
I couldn’t reply.
Neither could my father, who’d seemingly lost interest in the food
cooking in front of him. We were both so transfixed by the star that
we couldn’t open our mouths to speak, let alone utter a coherent
At one point, it
looked like it wouldn’t stop falling, and though normally not one
to be paranoid, I swallowed the lump in my throat. I turned to look
at my parents and said, “Maybe we should get away from the house.”
silly,” my mother replied with a laugh. “It’s just a falling—”
Her face paled, her
mouth dropped open.
I turned and stared.
At that moment, I
realized it wasn’t a shooting star falling toward our house.
It was an aircraft.
Shaped like a chrome
disk and bearing many flashing lights along its edges, it came to
rest in the sky above our backyard. The nearby trees shifted as it
descended, whipping leaves from branches and knocking a bird’s nest
to the ground.
father said as he stepped off the porch and took hold of my
shirtsleeve, drawing me back several steps to stand beneath our back
porch’s awning. “Get in the house.”
“I said: get
He wasn’t able to
A blinding blue
light pierced through the night and struck my father dead center,
illuminating him like a dancer upon a stage.
A short moment
later, he rose into the air.
My mother screamed.
I cried out.
Within seconds my
father was gone—sucked into the glowing nexus of the disk’s
“Call 911!” my
mother screamed. “Call 91—”
She, too, was struck
by the light at her place on the porch—and though she tried to
flee, she couldn’t free herself. Instead, it lifted her into the
air just like my father.
As she rose into the
blinding light, she screamed, “Jason! Run!”
I bolted into the
house, too scared to watch her disappear and too panicked to consider
the implications of what my flight would mean for her survival. Heart
hammering, I burst through the back door, grabbed my cell phone off
the tabletop, and dialed the three numbers I knew might save my
“The number you
have entered cannot be reached,”
the operator said. “Please
check the number and try again.”
“No!” I yelled,
pulling the phone from my ear and scrambling to redial. “No no no
The sound of a
trumpet—unlike any I had ever heard—blasted through the air.
Pictures fell from
I turned, tears in
my eyes, and stared as the aircraft began to rise.
“NO!” I cried,
running back toward the doorway.
A second trumpeting
blast cut through the night.
I cried out,
stumbled, then fell, landing with enough force to knock the wind out
The ship rose, my
parents somewhere within.
Tears burned at my
eyes as the aircraft slowly began to make its way out of the
I feebly reached for
the phone lying nearby—believing that something, anything,
could be done so long as I got a hold of the right person.
But 911 was down.
What was I supposed
to do if I couldn’t get a hold of the police?
I had just started
to regain my bearings and was rising when I saw a pair of yellow
lights appear in the backyard.
a hyena at the San Antonio zoo—cut through the silent night,
chilling the blood in my veins and causing the hairs on my arms and
neck to stand on end.
It stepped beneath
the porch light, revealing its full form. Tall, emaciated, with a
loped gait and a sloping jawline, the creature resembled a werewolf,
but looked to be more like an upright-walking Coyote with glowing
I froze—unable to
breathe, unable to move.
Again, it laughed,
opening its mouth to reveal two rows of dagger-sharp teeth. It flexed
its knife-like fingers as it lifted a foot and took another step.
breathed, grabbing my phone and pushing myself upright. “No… this
can’t be real. It can’t be. It—”
giggling cut me off before it lunged through the back door.
Dashing into the
living room, I tore around the corner and took the staircase as if it
were the last thing I would ever do, pounding on the wooden steps
with enough force to make the planks shake and the railing vibrate.
Right on my tail, it gave chase, maneuvering the stairs with lupine
ease all the way up to the second floor. I felt the brush of air as
it reached out to swipe at me just as I threw myself into the bedroom
and slammed the door shut.
The door buckled as
the creature slammed itself into it.
I gasped, stunned,
and took several steps back, staring in mute horror and terrible
fascination at the one thing that separated me from a world of
All at once, it
I was convinced I
was having a nightmare—that I’d fallen asleep on the couch while
waiting for my father to finish dinner. It was all just a dream. I
would wake up to my mother’s gentle voice and eat dinner with my
family while the world continued to turn normally.
Except it wasn’t a
It was real.
The doorknob began
My breath caught in
I hadn’t even
considered locking the door.
Glancing at the
window—at the road outside which lay illuminated by streetlights—I
realized there was only one thing I could do.
I threw my body
against the door before the monster could fully twist the knob and
only pushed myself away when I heard the lock click.
creature—desperate to gain entry—jiggled the doorknob.
I bolted toward the
When the monster
realized that it could not gain entrance, it smashed its entire
weight against the door. Flimsy, old, thin enough to push on one side
and see the wood bow on the other—it wouldn’t take long for the
creature to gain entrance, and when it did…
I couldn’t think
Fumbling for the
latch at the window, I tried, desperately, to find purchase upon it
as I worked to free myself from the confines of my room.
The door splintered.
The creature shoved
its head in.
I thrust the window
open and crawled onto the roof just in time for the door to cave in.
I began to scale the roof. I struggled to guide myself along its
slanted surface and nearly stumbled to my death. In the room behind
me, the creature charged the window, slamming its fist through glass
and attempting to squeeze through the tiny compartment. I almost
tripped several times over the course of the next few minutes. Had it
not been for my near-perfect balance, I would’ve fallen to my
At the edge of the
roof, I peered at the latticework below me and tried to determine if
it would be strong enough to hold my weight. My father had always
threatened to ground me if I ever tried to climb it, though whether
that was because it was unstable or just because he didn’t want me
crawling on it I did not know.
Right then, I didn’t
care. I had to get to the ground.
After casting a
glance over my shoulder to see the monster still struggling to free
itself, I took a deep breath. I took a deep breath, then slid onto my
butt before flipping onto my hands and knees and sliding the first
foot onto the latticework.
The monster broke
through the window as my hands left the roof. Unable to find
purchase, it slipped, stumbled, then fell, only barely missing me. It
hit the ground with a grisly crack.
I looked down. Its
body twitched, its eyes flickered, its black tongue slipped from its
mouth. Then the light in its eyes went out and it stopped moving.
Convinced I was
safe, I climbed down with a speed I could’ve never possibly
imagined and planted my feet on the ground. My heart threatened to
burst out of my chest, my thoughts racing as I stared at the dead
What had happened?
Where were my mother
and father? What had taken them? What was this thing
lying dead at my feet?
All those questions,
with absolutely no answers, assaulted me. Though I wasn’t normally
prone to crying, tears stung my eyes. I was completely and utterly
A scream rent the
Lifting my head, I
scanned the road.
In the distance,
another disk-shaped aircraft tore across the sky, skimming the tops
of houses and knocking free the brickwork chimneys that fed from
their fireplaces. Debris sailed through the air, making a cacophony
of sound as it hit the ground.
Lights similar to
the ones from before lit the night.
More of the monsters
stepped into the street.
I had no choice.
been standing in bushes, in front yards, beneath the awnings of other
homes—gave pursuit. Their footfalls slapped against the asphalt and
caused every nerve in my body to alight in flames. It was like I was
running the triathlon of my life—and, if I wanted to be honest with
myself, the triathlon for
my life. I couldn’t afford to stop for anything.
My lungs burned, my
legs throbbed, my feet felt like there were thousands of tiny glass
shards buried within them.
however, did not slow. They continued to laugh, and giggle, and
I reached the end of
the neighborhood street and was forced to choose to go right or left.
As I considered my options, I stopped, turning to see the monsters’
bright eyes staring back at me. Then I saw another light—distantly,
beyond the pursuing creatures. It took but a moment for me to realize
it was a car.
turned—and seemingly aware of the danger, retreated to the sides of
Waving my arms over
my head, desperate for the driver to take notice of my plight, I
they would stop and save me. There was little to no chance of me
surviving on my own, especially not with monsters giving chase.
down the road at a speed of at least eighty miles an hour—came to a
screeching halt as the headlights showered my body.
A split second
later, the window rolled down and someone screamed, “GET IN!”
I couldn’t tell if
it was a man or a woman. At that point, I couldn’t have cared less.
Someone had come to my rescue, and if I didn’t hurry, I was bound
to end up dead.
toward the white car that was stained with blood, I flung the
passenger’s side door open just as the vehicle started to move.
“Let me get in!”
driver—a young woman with curly red hair—replied.
I cast a glance over
my shoulder to find that the monsters were once again giving chase.
Without an ounce of hesitation, I thrust myself into the passenger’s
seat, then leaned out, took hold of the door, and slammed it shut as
the car began to speed down the street.
“What are those
things?” I asked as I turned my head to regard the creatures.
“Beats me,” she
replied. “Hey—are you ok?”
“Are you hurt?”
“Was anyone with
“My parents,” I
“Where are they
I couldn’t help
it. I broke into tears.
The woman turned her
head to look at me before reaching forward and adjusting the dial on
doing?” I asked.
“Trying to find an
emergency broadcast station,” she replied.
I fumbled with the
radio as she continued to race through the streets, not sure what she
was seeking. It was likely she had gone through the same thing I had
and was trying to find shelter. While I maneuvered through the
radio’s many stations, catching tail ends of people’s screams and
news reports on the events taking place around us, I came across an
emergency station. It repeated the same thing over and over.
county… are advised to seek refuge at the… high school. Military
support and evacuation are awaiting your arrival.”
asked. “Evacuation? What’re they—”
happening,” the woman said, her face blank as she continued to
maneuver throughout the streets.
“What is?” I
reached out to grab her shirtsleeve. “What’s going on? Tell me!
I blinked. Aliens?
Had I heard her right? Had she said aliens?
“What do you—”
She made a sharp
turn and headed down the long road I knew led to the local high
obvious?” She laughed. “We’ve made first contact with beings
from another world. And they’re not friendly.”
“I don’t under—”
“Neither do I,
kid. Neither do—”
She slammed on the
brakes as a series of cars came sailing out from another street.
screamed, smashing her hand on the horn. “Don’t you dare cut in
One of the ships
that’d taken my parents appeared at the edge of the road.
“Oh no,” I said.
“Hold on,” the
red-headed woman replied. “This might get bumpy.”
After reversing, she
angled the car toward the curb, then hit the gas. We flew onto the
“Are you sure this
is a good—” I started.
I watched in horror
as a single beam of light struck a car, then ejected the inhabitants
from their seats before pulling them into the light.
“Let me do the
driving,” she said.
nodded, reached to grab my seatbelt, and buckled myself in. “How
much farther until we reach the school?”
further,” the woman replied. “Hey… I forgot to ask. What’s
responded. “Jason Parks.”
DeMira. Sorry we couldn’t have met on better terms.”
“You saved my
life. Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me
yet. We still have to get to the school—and even if we make it
there, it doesn’t guarantee we’ll be safe.”
“But what about—”
When have they ever been reliable?”
respond. I didn’t know what she was talking about. From what she
said, it sounded like we wouldn’t
be safe, regardless of the guns and ammo and armed men and women that
would surely be there. But how was that possible? How could we not
I shook my head as
she continued to drive—not wanting to think or even care about what
she’d just said.
At the speed we were
going, it took mere moments for us to cross the distance between one
side of the street and the other. By the time we reached the high
school, all hell had broken lose.
Men and women stood
outside the building—children and the elderly screaming and crying
for someone to let them in. Nearby, a contingency of soldiers awaited
them, directing traffic and the people within to park their cars and
trucks along the sides of the road. It was pure chaos. I wanted
nothing more than to throw myself out of the vehicle, but I knew I
had to stick with Emily DeMira if I wanted any shot at staying alive.
As we pulled up
alongside a tall black man in military fatigues, Emily rolled down
the window and asked, “Where do you want us?”
wherever you’re able to,” he replied.
Emily did as
instructed—cautiously aiming the vehicle up the road before
maneuvering the small white car into an unoccupied space at our
right. She killed the engine, but didn’t bother to withdraw the key
from the ignition.
“I’m not gonna
need this where I’m going.” She popped the driver’s side door
open. “Let’s go.”
The humid night air
assaulted me when I climbed out and followed Emily DeMira down the
sidewalk, back toward the school.
As I peered into the
sky to see even more lights streaming down in the distance, I
shivered and thought of what could go wrong if they noticed the
congregation of people standing there. I distinctly remember telling
myself I couldn’t think about that—that panicking would do me no
good. I straightened my posture to keep from looking small and
We approached the
throng of people along the edge of the street as a series of yellow
buses spilled out of the nearby depot.
“Listen up!” the
black man bellowed, cupping his hands over his mouth to amplify his
voice. “I said: listen
No one seemed to
listen. They kept screaming, crying, demanding
answers to their myriad of questions
He reached to his
side and withdrew a pistol.
At first I thought
he was going to shoot at something—a monster, an alien,
as Emily DeMira had put it—but he aimed the gun into the air and
fired into the air toward the empty side of the street. I exhaled as
the crowd fell silent instantaneously.
“Now then,” the
black man said. “My name is Captain Frank Henshaw. I’m here to
tell you that San Antonio is falling, and we—the Texas National
Guard—are here to transfer you to a designated safe zone just
outside of Fredericksburg. Now, if you could please line up and board
the bus, we can—”
The crowd surged.
Henshaw fired once
The throng of people
and children first.”
said, pushing me forward.
“But what about—”
behind you, kiddo.”
gestured me toward him with a wave of two fingers. As I approached,
he clapped me on the back. “Where are your parents, Son?”
I bowed my
head—unable, and at that moment, unwilling,
“I see,” the
black man said. “Get on the bus and seat yourself near the front.
I’ll keep an eye on you.”
“You… you will?”
Henshaw nodded. “Now
I climbed on-board
and seated myself at the very front—watching, and waiting, as other
women and children boarded. When Emily DeMira stepped into the bus,
she settled down beside me, nodded, and said, “I’ll stick with
“You don’t have
to,” I managed.
“We Texans got to
stick together. Right?”
I took a moment to
consider what she said, then nodded.
It didn’t take
long for the first bus to fill up, nor for the one after it, or the
one after that. Eventually, the four were filled to the
brim—including standing space. Even though there were still people
amassing out and around the school zone, there was no way the four
available busses would be able to hold any more people.
aboard shortly after I took note of it. He gave me a stern, resolute
nod as he beckoned for the driver to close the bus’s door.
managed. “What about the rest of the people?”
“They’ll have to
make their way there on their own.” He crouched beside me. “You
Tears streamed down my face in the moments thereafter. “They took
The aliens. Whatever’s in them.”
the army man said, reaching forward to set a hand on my shoulder.
“Yours weren’t the first, Son, and they definitely won’t be the
“What are they?”
referring to the invaders as Them.”
The captain stood
and bellowed. “Let’s get out of here!”
The bus surged and
the people inside shuddered while it made its way up the street.
As we moved through
the streets of San Antonio, toward a destination I could only hope
was safe, I leaned back against the plush brown seat and stared out
at the world beyond. I watched as more of the ships descended upon
the city, sparing no mercy as They took into Their folds those
unsuspecting people who’d just been trying to live their lives. I
tried not to think of my parents—of my mother, my father, of the
home I had left behind—but it was no use.
The more I thought
about it, the more reality began to set in.
They had finally
come, and with Them, had brought a world of destruction.
Our world was about
to change—and, I knew, for the worst.
Want more of the
world featured in That
Journey forward six years after the alien invasion has begun in When
They Came, book
1 in the When
They Came Trilogy, coming
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About the Author
Born and raised in
Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye began his writing career with the
publication of his story [A]
Prom Queen’s Revenge at
the age of fourteen. Published nearly three-dozen times before going
independent at eighteen, Boye has authored numerous works—including
the short story collection Amorous
Diary of Dakota Hammell,
the zombie novel Sunrise and
the epic fantasy series The
Brotherhood Saga. He is
represented by Hannah Brown Gordon of the Foundry Literary + Media