They were burning bodies again.
Manuel averted his eyes even as the smell of burning flesh overwhelmed him. At least the bodies this time weren’t human, he thought, though the limbs on the bonfire seemed human enough.
He carried his groceries to the small apartment he was renting on the avenida. As he was unlocking the gated door to his unit, a Humvee bearing a troop of American soldiers carrying high-powered rifles swept by with their siren red lights streaking the darkened street.
So far, the military sent by the United Nations had been successful in liberating Manila from the invading alien forces. But there were still pockets of resistance throughout the city. As he walked up his apartment, he thought he could hear muted gunfire in a distance.
He put down his groceries of instant noodles and plastic bottles of Coke and turned on the apartment’s dingy yellow lights. He scratched the recurring rash on his arms, face and body.
Most Filipinos had welcomed the UN army even as they started hunting the aliens down in the streets. Disgust had powered the mobs, attacking those suspected humans who had helped the aliens called the makapilis— as well as any alien they could catch.
The aliens looked human enough, if disembodied sentient limbs that moved on their own could be considered human. The carriers were two arms connected together jumping forward like ape limbs. The mounts were two legs walking around on their lower torso. There was also the brains with the floating heads. And then there were…
Suddenly, he felt something on his face and he ran towards the bathroom. Looking at the mirror, he was aghast: a piece of reddened skin on his face was peeling off though he felt no pain. Slowly, he started pulling it off and he felt the skin begin to come off in one whole piece.
To his horror, he felt himself– his being, his consciousness— being peeled away together with the skin. And underneath, he saw alien eyes watching from underneath.