Interspecies Misdemeanours, Pt. 2 (Fiction)

I stopped Frank to open his backpack and pull out two flashlights. I gave them to both of my friends. Betty switched hers on to try it, which whitened her face.

“What’s our plan here?” I asked.

Frank pointed at the edge of the nearby forest that we had explored many times, but that usually didn’t contain aliens.

“Let’s walk in there. If nothing happens, we’ll leave.”

I disliked the implication that we wouldn’t leave the forest if something happened. I narrowed my eyes at Frank, but he gave me an impish grin.

“If nothing else,” Frank added, “I’m hoping to find out how many aliens were in that ship.”

“Yeah, I guess that’d be nice. To know exactly how much trouble we are in.”

When we approached the edge of the forest, I realized how dim it had gotten; the sun would hide in less than an hour. I pointed my flashlight at the space between the two trunks that acted as our doorway, then I switched the light on. My heart was pounding with excitement.

As soon as the canopy covered us, the air felt moist, and it smelled like fresh earth and leaves. We picked up the pace while we kept shining our lights in all directions. Betty was jogging next to me. I couldn’t help but glance at her; it disturbed me how much she had grown this last year.

“You’ve become so beautiful, Betty,” came out of my mouth.

I wanted to punch myself in the teeth, but she replied in a sarcastic tone.

“Thanks. You’re not so bad yourself.”

Our flashlights flickered over the trees and the undergrowth. We were getting anxious; so far into the forest, the trees were large and the foliage so dense that anything, or I guess anyone, could hide in there. The path we followed was made by people walking through this area for decades, or hundreds of years, and it was lined with tall bushes. What little remained of sunlight barely poured down the holes in the canopy, so we mainly relied on the flashlights to follow the path.

I heard wheezing coming from somewhere behind us, and the hairs on my arms stood up until I realized that it came from Betty. She coughed in her hand as quietly as she could. Frank and I stopped so she could reach us.

“I’m sorry,” Betty said in a raspy voice, “but my asthma is acting up.”

I patted her on the shoulder.

“It’s okay, Betty. We understand.”

As Betty catched her breath, Frank pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his backpack. He held a cigarette between his lips as he lit it with a match, then he snapped the match in half and threw it in the mud. He took a long drag and blew smoke towards the trees.

“What are you doing?” Betty asked.

“Nothing. Smoking.”

“I thought you quit.”

Frank checked his pulse.

“It’s just one fucking cigarette.”

We barely spoke as the trees grew thinner and the forest floor more navigable. We came across the small stream we knew, and after crossing over it, we spotted the clearing through the gaps in the foliage. It was a wide open field with tall grasses all around, a couple of ancient fallen trunks, some scattered leaves and twigs, and more importantly for our purposes, a huge otherworldly spaceship that looked like a flattened pyramid. It was bigger than any truck or bus we’d seen. Its three tiger orange lights must have come from its bottom surface. The three of us crouched behind some bushes and made sure to avoid aiming at the ship with our flashlights, although the faint sunrays were reflecting off the metallic surface.

We listened in silence for a few seconds as we held our breaths. I shook my head.

“That looks like a huge coffin,” I whispered, “for transporting dead people.”

“It’s huge,” Frank said, too loudly for my tastes. “I think it may be indeed a cargo carrier of some sort.”

Betty put her hands on both my left and Frank’s right shoulders, and attempted to push us down.

“It’s far too small to be a cargo carrier, stupid,” she whispered nervously. “It’s probably full of aliens, and we should be careful with the unknown. We may get abducted by those people. How would we return home then?”

“Well, we are already here, Betty,” I said, although I was doubting myself.

“How about we leave and tell the police that an alien spaceship landed in our neighborhood? Maybe we wouldn’t have to worry anymore, because they’ll send a team of experts to investigate. That’d be a lot safer than us approaching the ship. Besides, we haven’t explored the entire forest yet! There must be plenty of undiscovered stuff around here more interesting than a spaceship.”

Frank’s nose kept running, but the handkerchief he brought from home was already wet.

“Yeah, and who knows what kind of dangerous creatures live in these woods. Aliens, monsters and ghosts… There’s no telling what could happen. But what about your asthma, Betty?”

“You don’t know anything about asthmatic people, do you?” she replied annoyed. “They can go anywhere and do whatever they want.”

I patted Betty on the shoulder to calm her down, because she was shuddering, but I was getting annoyed as well: I remained the only one who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to explore an alien spaceship.

“Frank, look over there,” I whispered. “Those footsteps.”

The three of us stared in that direction. Some of the grass in the clearing had been trampled by odd footsteps scattered as if the aliens had walked around while inspecting the area, but a trail of footsteps also leads out of the clearing and into the opposite depths of the enclosing forest.

“If they are advanced enough to build a spaceship and use it to travel to Earth, they must already know we are here,” I said confidently. “Whether or not we dare to get closer to their ship, we are going to end up meeting those invaders. One of those choices will allow us to explore an alien spaceship. So we already know what we must do, don’t we?”

Betty nodded nervously. Frank pulled out his camera.

“Alright, I can’t argue with that. Let’s get going then.”

It took us about ten seconds for the three of us to regain full mobility. We advanced carefully towards the treeline; once we crossed the edge, we’d stand exposed in the clearing. I stayed as close to Betty as possible. If the aliens ended up ambushing us, I didn’t want them to target Betty with their captivating powers, so it only made sense to stay this tight to each other’s side. As it had been happening for the last few months, whenever my bare skin brushed hers, I shivered warmly. I didn’t know why, nor what to do about that.

Frank was leading us. He was covered in sweat and holding his nose. His eyes kept darting around, searching for the next place of concealment. The sun was already setting behind us and the moon would soon rise. The air felt colder. My heart pounded on my chest as I realized how close to the mysterious ship we were getting.

After we hid ourselves behind a couple of the thickest tree trunks at this edge of the clearing, Frank gasped as he stared at the ground between his feet.

“Guys, check this out! Quick!” Frank exclaimed excitedly.

The three of us crouched to check out that spot. Frank lifted an object: a stone. Our friend inspected the color pattern underneath.

“Holy cow! It’s a fossil! It looks like a jawbone too, of a carnivorous species!” He ran his fingertips over its grooves. “It must be thousands of years old!”

I wasn’t as enthusiastic. The chances of finding a real dinosaur fossil in these woods were pretty slim, and we had aliens to worry about.

“It’s just an ordinary rock, Frank,” Betty said in a quavering voice.

He twisted his torso to reach for the backpack, likely to store his finding. I moved faster: I snatched the stone and tossed it away. It landed under a bush.

“Sam!” Frank complained.

“Don’t yell, damn it. That wasn’t a dinosaur, and this spaceship isn’t going to wait around forever.”

I looked at Betty for support, but my friend’s face had gone pale. She was trembling and squeezing her thighs together as her unfocused gaze stared through the trunk we were hiding behind.

“Betty, what’s wrong?” I asked.

“I need to pee. I already had to go when we were playing ball.”

“Shit, then just go.” I pointed at the nearby bushes. “We won’t take a peek, I swear.”

Betty looked around frantically.

“B-but what about the aliens?”

Frank, still frowning, wiped his nose with his sleeve.

“Unless you resemble a female alien, I wouldn’t worry about it. They are unlikely to want to mate with you.”

Betty’s face brightened as she anticipated emptying her bladder. She duckwalked away awkwardly until a thick bush hid her. I heard a long sigh, then splashing sounds.

I addressed Frank, mostly to distract myself.

“Don’t you want to check out what’s inside that thing? The spaceship, I mean. I wanna know, for sure.”

“I don’t know, man. Betty had a point there. It’s possible the aliens plan to capture us and use us as hostages.”

“They are just a bunch of stupid people from another planet. It’s no big deal.”

Frank shrugged.

“Well, alright.”

I wondered whether I was trying to convince Frank or myself. I had read many books about aliens and UFOs, so I knew how dangerous they were.

“Besides, we survived through that nightmare on the aircraft carrier, right? Along with the army of robots, and the giant monster that’s still chasing us.”

Frank looked aside as if trying to remember.

“I’m not sure if any of that ever happened…”

“Sure it did, Frank. We’ve been chased by a giant robot before, haven’t we?”

“Yeah, and it was really scary. But now I think of those things as being more like movies than real life.”

“No, it’s real. It’s all real, I’m afraid.”

Something was telling me that the aliens would try to harm us. I hoped to find some weapons that would help us fight them off, if it came to that.

When Betty duckwalked back to us while fixing the skirt of her dress, the relief had made her forget all about aliens, but then she eyed warily the big branch that I was holding like a baseball bat.

“What are you going to do with that?” she asked, concerned.

“Just in case I have to knock on their door.”

The three of us sneaked towards the spaceship. After we crossed the border into the clearing, I felt we were going to get zapped by laser guns at any moment, but we only heard birdsongs and our faint footsteps as we stepped on the tall grass.

The oval windows of the spaceship were blackened glass. From up close the hull looked dirty, scratched and dented in places, and with large patches of a rust-like substance. It reminded me of some kid’s first car that originally belonged to someone’s grandpa.

“If we hadn’t witnessed it descending, I could have sworn this ship has been abandoned for decades,” I said, disappointed.

As the three of us stood in front of a part of the hull where I would have installed a hatch, because it lacked any windows, we looked at each other confused about how to proceed. My heart was beating fast with excitement.

“Well, I’m going to touch it.”

As soon as I pressed my fingertips against the metallic surface, which felt like any other cool metal, an oval hole the size of an adult opened silently in the hull as if it had been cut with scissors. Both Betty and Frank jumped back, but I was mesmerized by the eerie, soft blue glow that filled the interior of the spaceship. The air smelled like something was burning.

The three of us stepped cautiously inside, then we were cut off from the remaining sunlight when the oval entryway turned into solid hull, this time with a loud clunk. I realized that Frank was about to panic, so I chuckled.

“That’s probably how alien spaceship hatches close. It doesn’t mean we are trapped here.”

“I-I guess.”

We forgot about our worries quickly; we were standing in the dimly lit interior of a spaceship with four seats and plenty more room for several people standing up. One of the seats was smaller than the other three, to fit someone of the size of a tween, and it was facing a small control panel mounted along the wall.

Betty kept looking around as if searching for something.

“Where is the bathroom?”

“What, you need to go again?” I asked in disbelief as I rested my big stick against a wall.

“No, idiot. The aliens need to pee as well, don’t they?”

“You have pee in your brain,” Frank said. “Maybe they don’t do that stuff. We have no clue about alien anatomy.”

Betty narrowed her eyes at Frank, but then she must have reached a satisfying conclusion, because she smirked and tilted her waist.

“Maybe they landed so they could take a leak.”

I was impressed, and didn’t know what to say. She had come up with the most absurd idea I’d heard yet.

A sudden flash startled me; Frank had snapped a picture. Now that the novelty of having entered an alien spaceship was fading quickly, I felt as if I had sneaked into the cockpit of a plane, no cooler than that. We had done crazier stuff in the grand scheme of things.

Betty and I started looking around for anything that could give us a hint about the aliens. The control panel was inscribed with weird characters that we wouldn’t comprehend. A few wires and cables attached to the walls ran to the back of the craft, where they sank into the floor.

I sighed.

“So what’s the deal with this ship? It looks like it was designed by a teenager who wasn’t very good at building things. There’s not much to see in it.”

Frank must had snapped about five pictures, likely documenting everything there was to see. As he stored his camera in the backpack, I plumped down on the pilot’s seat. The cushion was made of a material harder than I would have expected. It reminded me of sitting on a rock, but I guess I couldn’t complain after having walked all the way here.

The soft, blue glow that bathed the interior was coming out of nowhere and made the space resemble a cave, but instead of stalactites hanging from the roof, there were wires that looked like old spider webs. The silence inside the spaceship was eerie; the hull cut us off from even the birdsongs outside.

The three of us sat around for a while, but as the minutes ticked by, nothing happened.

“I’m bored,” Betty said.

I groaned. I was also getting impatient.

“I guess exploring alien spaceships is pretty boring compared to exploring forests and caves. Why bother?” I got up. “Let’s just go home.”

Betty smiled at me.

“Don’t forget to take your baseball bat!”

“They can keep it.”

The three of us stood in front of the section of the hull that had opened before. Although I was pressing my hands against the cool metal, it refused to react.

“Shit, we may actually be trapped inside this boring ship,” I mutter. “Let’s look for buttons or some sort of control panel that may open the hatch.”

We ran our hands over the wall. Betty ended up finding an indentation that, when pressed, opened a controller cabinet. It looked like a breaker box. Before I could say anything, Frank grabbed a handle and attempted to twist it.

“This panel is too close to the hatch to be unrelated. And I need to get home, man. My dad is seriously going to call the cops.”

The handle didn’t budge until Frank pulled it, and the oval entryway reappeared. The three of us let out sighs of relief, but when we switched on our flashlights to brighten the darkened clearing, our beams revealed that two humanoid beings were stepping on the tall grass as they headed towards us.

The one on the left was a chubby alien shorter than me. His head was bald and bulbous, and his nostrils large enough to shove marbles through them. He was wearing thick goggles like those of an aviator. His red lips had white lines around them that resembled the stripes of a feline, and his long, thin fingers, four in each hand, ended in black claws. His skin color reminded me of Frank’s dad.

The alien on the right was as tall as an adult. He was covered in thick, matted fur, and his head was egg-shaped and mostly featureless, lacking ears and a nose, except for two circular eyes that resembled coins, and big, sharp teeth that peeked out from under his lips. His odd mane reminded me of snakes. He was also walking on double the usual amount of legs. Both were wearing identical black jumpsuits without insignias.

When they saw us standing like idiots at the entrance of their spaceship, they stopped, startled. The bald, shorter alien looked up at his pal and let out a series of clicks and chirps.

Frank grabbed my shoulder, which almost made me drop my flashlight.

“Sam, these guys are not human.”

2 thoughts on “Interspecies Misdemeanours, Pt. 2 (Fiction)

  1. Pingback: Interspecies Misdemeanours, Pt. 1 (Short Story) – The Domains of the Emperor Owl

  2. Pingback: Revised: ‘Interspecies Misdemeanours’ – The Domains of the Emperor Owl

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