'We Are Not Alone'
Encounters in the Dark
The road ahead towards Otterburn was a pitch, menacing, black under a twinkling canopy of stars. The truth is out there! The thought struck me from nowhere as I drove home alone. My heart leapt in blind panic as I found myself remembering that chilling episode of "The X Files," the one about alien abduction which I'd seen earlier that evening. Wishing I'd stayed at my friend's for the night, I became painfully aware of my solitary condition.
But, perhaps... I am not alone!
Suddenly, huge lights appeared from directly above. A brilliant single beam shone over me as I pulled at the wheel, but it wouldn't respond. My hands felt numb, frozen to it. The lights dazzled me, descending slowly, brighter than ultra violet, obliterating the darkness. I desperately sought sanctuary but there was no escape.
Why me? What do they want? What would Mulder and Scully do?
Ask the aliens, ask them, directed an inner voice.
"Who are you? Where are you from?" I cried but my questions, unheard, trailed away on the midnight air.
I thought it best if I remained in my car. Out on the road, they might squash me like some unimportant bug. Or even worse they might exterminate me with more ferocity and sink plungers than any respectable Dalek. The car offered some protection at least.
I was alone with my thoughts:
They have me now. They can do anything. Their spaceship will home in on my car and devour it and they will obliterate its skid marks as if it was never here.
Now my mind raced in blind panic too as the UFO continued to hover above me in the night sky. Enveloped now in an unearthly, green mist, I resigned myself to my fate as a strange whirring noise assaulted my ears. The tune from "Close Encounters of the Thrird Kind" came to mind and I felt a sudden urge to hum it...
"Deedee deedee dee... deedee deedee dee..."
Waiting for the inevitable, my brain went into overdrive. Warp factor nine, in fact. Time stood still as they closed in on my vehicle. Supposing I'd gone looking for them? I'd never have found them, would I? Not in a million light years. I always wanted them to come for me when I was a kid. Many a night, I would hang out of the bathroom window, begging them to come and take me away... away from my parents and my horrid new baby sister.
"Come and get me!" I would scream. "Whisk me away through the night skies across the Milky Way and beyond... just like Peter Pan... the second star on the right and straight on till morning! Show me worlds without number and stars without end!"
But now they're here for real and I'm just scared... funny that. Perhaps they've come for me before and have implanted a chip in my mind so I'd forget. It happens a lot you know, they'll freeze your watch with some magnetic field and make time stand still so you lose minutes, hours - sometimes even days until they eventually release you and then you carry on as normal as if nothing ever happened. It's possible my kids are only half human - now that would explain a lot.
I am at their mercy now. I will be their guinea pig. They will inject me with chemicals unheard of, examine the very substance of my being. They may hold my body captive, but they will not have my mind... my thoughts. No, I won't give them that... not if I can help it. But they will mark me, tag me with some electronic device. I shall never be free of them, even if they release me. They will extract my eggs, clone me or even breed some strange new hybrid from my D.N.A. Not the sort of genetic immortality I had in mind.
"Take me to your leader," I muttered under my breath but it sounded so clichéd, so ridiculous.
"Well, what shall I say to them, then?" My thoughts raced again... "Klaatu barada nikto," worked well for the leading actress in one film but I can't remember which one and no one knew what it meant anyway. Is communication with an extra-terrestrial even possible? I'm having enough bother with people on this planet. All those Hollywood movies about close encounters now seem so absurd.
What about the clergyman who was zapped by alien invaders in "The War of the Worlds"? Where was his God then? And then there's "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Will they snatch my body and replace it with some innocent-looking vegetable to re-populate the world with their own kind? Or perhaps they will pair me with another human being and transport us away faster than the speed of light to lay foundation to some experimental world in a galaxy far, far away. A new Adam and a new Eve in a new Eden. I quite like that idea if they let me choose who can be my Adam. I've got someone in mind actually, so go ahead - beam us up, Scotty!
I do worry about those transporter things though. Take Captain Kirk and Company; what an enterprising lot they are! They always step out of the transporter room so cool and confident, never bothering to check that their important little bits and pieces are still in the right places.
More unanswerable questions bombarded me:
Supposing they aren't very friendly these aliens? But surely they must like us if they've come all this way to see us? It'll be a big relief if their opening gambit goes something like: "I'm Buzz light-year and I come in peace," But maybe that's a bit over-optimistic of me. Remember that gold plaque we sent out into space on Voyager 2? Well, it bothers me a bit, that does. At any point in the future, an alien life-form far more advanced than our own civilization might interpret it as an act of aggression. And what have we gone and done? We've included a little map pointing out just exactly where we are! Dangerous stuff eh? But too late, we've advertised our presence in the universe now and must accept the consequences for all eternity. Maybe this is them now and I've been selected to be ambassador for the entire planet... Ooooh, heck!
As I continued to contemplate boldly going where no man had gone before, I noticed a figure approaching through the fog.
"This is it," I gulped. My martyrdom - or worse, for the sake of all humanity, seemed imminent.
The figure was about six feet tall; two arms, two legs... very human-looking, in fact. Torchlight illuminated his face, which to my surprise had two eyes, a nose and a mouth just where they ought to be. This was certainly not the face of E.T. and he didn't appear too desperate to phone home. A pink, five-fingered hand instructed me to wind down the window.
He greeted me with a familiar Yorkshire accent and a great big cheesy grin. These aliens can be such masters of disguise!
"Sorry missus, road ahead's closed. Military manoeuvres all week. We apologise for any inconvenience."
I could clearly hear the rotating blades of an army helicopter now, almost overhead, and echoing voices in the distance, giving orders. Familiar sounds and lights all distorted in the grip of a fertile imagination.
"Of course!" I exclaimed, "There's a military base just at the end of this road! How silly of me!"
Do you think perhaps, I've been watching too many science fiction movies?
Do you believe there is intelligent life on other planets?
A Very Close Encounter
Are We Alone?
Is There Anybody Out There?
© 2014 Stella Kaye