The field was vast and barren except for the long rows of human heads sticking up from the topsoil like cabbages. Blake stood perfectly still enjoying his fifteen minute break, his helmet’s blast visor in the down position. He switched on the built-in drinking fountain inside his protective enviro-suit to quench the thirst he had worked up in the heat of the wasteland sun.
His radio sounded a loud, crunchy broadcast tone. Then: “Brains!”
“Yes, sir. Sexton out.” Serving the new space zombie overlords was so grueling that he no longer felt like bowling in his free time. He sighed, grabbed his pickaxe, and moved along to the next head. This one bore pockmarked cheeks and haggard eyes the color of slugs. Like the others, the head stared blankly in a persistent vegetative state. Blake didn’t really consider it killing these people when he cracked open their skulls and vacuumed out their brains to produce food for his masters. They had ceased being truly alive before they even reached the plantation. They barely reacted to his stimulus, but he could always tell when he hit brain by the way their eyelids and mouths twitched.
He brought his arm up to strike, but the head looked right at him. “Get your act together, mister. This is no job for a man with a bachelor’s degree.”
Blake dropped the pickaxe and staggered back. He hadn’t recognized her at first because her head was shaved. “Mommy?”
Her face grew red; her brow furrowed. “You should seriously think about getting a real job, Blake Carter Sexton. I didn’t pay for five years of college so you could go around collecting gray matter for some undead alien regime.”
Cowed, Blake blubbered, “But… but I…”
“No buts! Clean your room or no dessert!”
Blake sat up, startled and sweating. Frantically, he looked around. He was in a hospital bed. “Oh, thank God. It was all a dream.”
“No,” said a doctor in a long, white lab coat, making marks on a clipboard. “You’ve been awake this whole time. I’ve been studying you quite closely. It was just one of your hallucinations. For, you see, you are completely insane.”
“Well,” Blake said, looking at the bandage on his writhing left tendril, “at least I’m not human.”