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The Lies I've Told to Keep You Safe

Matt Dovey is very tall, very English, and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. He has a scar on his arm where he made a break through the chain-link fence, and he promises he will be back for you, too. He promises, just wait until nightfall. He now lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife & three children, and despite being a writer he still hasn't found the right words to properly express the delight he finds in this wonderful arrangement.

His surname rhymes with "Dopey," but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He was the Golden Pen winner for Writers of the Future volume 32 (2016) and was shortlisted for the James White Award the same year. He has fiction out and forthcoming all over the place; you can keep up with it at mattdovey.com, or follow along on Facebook and Twitter both as @mattdoveywriter.

I'm sure they're not a threat. Their ships probably need to be that big to travel so far across the stars and the spaces between. They don't mean them to look so dangerous.
They must be friendly. You wouldn't be able to build such things if you couldn't work together as a society.
Of course you're not a burden to me. You're my wife, and I love you just as much as the day we married. I stay because I want to.
Yes, you're right. I can see how the ships look like the black skeletons of birds, burned and splayed across the sky. No, no, it makes sense. I just had to squint my eyes first to see it, that's all.
We've not surrendered! It's just--it's an agreement to work together, for the betterment of humanity. They're going to help prepare us for galactic civilization.
They'll not make us leave home for the camps. I won't let them. We won't need to go.
I know you couldn't manage without me. I need you, too. Really! You'll never be without me, I promise.
The camps are for the best. It's just more efficient this way, and we need to learn to be a little more efficient for when we're out in space. We'll be looked after better in the camps, I promise. I know it doesn't look friendly with all that fencing and steel, stones underfoot and glaring light from the monitoring ship above, but they wouldn't want to harm us. We're working together.
Just hold my hand and walk forward and it will all be okay.
They've not stolen Megan, no! She volunteered. I don't know where you heard that rumor of people being taken prisoner.
She'll be fine. They've taken her to see their planet, like an exchange, that's all. She's living a better life now.
Go back to sleep, my love, my lover. I can't hear any noises outside. You must be dreaming them.
I'm not leaving you, I promise, I promise. I'm just going to visit Megan. I'll be back before you know it.
You'll be fine without me.
You'll be fine.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Author Comments

Sometimes the title comes to you in a moment and it all flows out from there. I wish it would happen like that more often, to be honest; it's a lot easier than my usual approach of pulling teeth over a draft for weeks then remembering I still need a title.

- Matt Dovey
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