Although the sight of the two aliens had rendered me speechless for a moment, I had to reply to my friend’s idiotic comment.
“I don’t know what you mean, Frank. They look perfectly human to me.”
Frank shook his head, then gestured wildly towards them.
“What are you talking about? That guy is covered in fur and has four legs!”
The short, bald alien clicked and chirped to his pal, who grunted back. Then they started trodding towards us slowly but with purpose.
The three of us froze. Before we knew it, it was too late to escape through the oval entry of the spaceship. We retreated further into the dimly lit interior, until my back hit the side of one of the seats. The two aliens stepped through and stood there bathed in blue light as they stared at us. The furry alien’s eyes glowed like a cat’s.
My mouth was dry, and I felt dizzy. The hairs on my nape stood up. I couldn’t tear my gaze away from the aliens, but I think the three of us friends were frozen in place, unable to move or speak.
I could barely make out very wide but narrow eyes behind the tinted lenses of the bald alien’s aviator goggles, but I could tell he was glaring at me. His face was a mess of either wrinkles or scars, or a combination of both.
“Is this your spaceship by any chance?” the short alien said in a raspy voice that could have belonged to an old man.
I heard Betty gasping, but I was relieved. Of course, these guys were so advanced and civilized that they had to speak English.
“Wait, doesn’t this spaceship belong to you?” Frank asked, bewildered.
I lifted my hand to shut my friend up.
“Yes, it’s our spaceship,” I said. “We came here from Alpha Centauri. It’s a planet far away, beyond this galaxy.”
The bald alien’s eyes narrowed even further, and his obscenely large nostrils flared.
“No, it’s not. This spaceship is ours, and we landed here with it a short time ago. Which means that it doesn’t belong to you, and you shouldn’t be wandering into other people’s property!”
I was startled by how hostile he sounded, although his intimidation factor was lessened because he was looking up at me. The tall, furry guy merely stared at us with his coin eyes as if he were a bystander, but we needed to pacify the shorter one, who seemed in charge.
“Okay, okay,” I said, trying to sound confident and mature. I stuck out my hand so the bald alien would shake it. “I’m Sam.”
The short alien’s expression remained grim. I looked down at his four-fingered right hand, which ended in long claws, but he didn’t move it. More importantly, I recognized a gun holster attached to the belt of his black jumpsuit. I couldn’t tell what it contained, but it wouldn’t be candy.
As my blood ran cold, suddenly the tall alien stepped forward and shook my hand firmly, which hurt my wrist a bit. The handshake felt like shaking a dog’s paw, if the dog had human-like fingers. I could barely dare to look up at the alien’s furry face, which lacked a nose and ears. His mouth opened wide, revealing rows of pointed teeth and a tongue covered in tiny hairs. He was so close that I could feel his body heat, and he smelled like a mix of rotten meat and something sweet.
“It’s bad manners to leave someone hanging,” the tall alien said with a deep, gravelly voice that sounded like a bear growling.
“Ah… Much appreciated.”
I never thought we’d encounter such an extraterrestrial creature, let alone speak to it. The excitement of the discovery trumped my initial fear. That’s how young and adventurous I was back then.
“So, who are you guys?” Frank asked nervously, but with a determined look.
“You three are avoiding to clarify why you entered our spaceship without permission,” the bald alien said, “but I’ll answer you: we are extraterrestrials, as in from another planet, and we developed advanced technology, which is how we ended up coming here.”
“W-what’s your name?” Frank asked.
The bald alien sighed.
“My name is Krayt X-9.”
“What a stupid name.”
Krayt X-9 gasped and snapped his head back, appalled.
“Can I call you Krayt?” I asked.
“I don’t care what you call me,” the bald alien grumbled. “Who the hell are you humanlings supposed to be?”
Frank pointed at me.
“This is Sam. He’s the best friend I’ve ever met.”
“I don’t care,” the bald alien said. “You all look dumb.”
“We look dumb?!” Betty snapped behind us, then she pushed Frank and me away to step between us. “You two are the ugliest people I’ve ever seen!”
The taller alien, who was twirling a lock of fur from his left hand with his other one, stared at Betty through his round, flat, shiny eyes, and answered calmly.
“Every species looks ugly to everyone else.”
Betty seemed to have taken the aliens’ hideousness as a personal insult.
“That’s not true,” she insisted. “Cats and dogs are beautiful, but you two are like space cockroaches.”
I wanted to bonk my attractive friend in the head. We were already trapped in the spaceship of these two alien freaks, which made me sick and anxious, and I had a gut feeling I wouldn’t like what would come next.
Betty pointed angrily at the furry alien.
“You in particular look like a cross between a deformed monkey and a bear.”
The furry alien shrugged.
“Not the monkeys,” I said.
When Betty pointed at Krayt X-9 next, her finger trembled.
“And you, I think you’re the most repulsive looking thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I mean, I know it’s rude to say that about a person from outer space, but I gotta be truthful here.”
I put my hand on Betty’s shoulder and begged with my eyes for her to shut up, then I cleared my throat to address the aliens.
“In any case, don’t pay much attention to Betty’s insults. She has a good reason to despise aliens, having lost one arm because an extraterrestrial bit her in her youth. Back then, no one in the neighborhood understood how dangerous the world truly was.”
“Your species can’t regrow limbs,” the furry alien said nonchalantly. “Anyway, I am called Yash.”
“Sam is right. You two don’t seem dangerous, even though you are hideous.”
The bald alien seemed about to complain, but Frank spoke over him as he eyed both aliens nervously.
“You’re crazy! Didn’t you hear my dad? The aliens killed a guy with a hammer!”
“That’s just a story,” Betty answered. “And even if it happened, these two haven’t done anything to me besides damage my eyes with their ugliness.”
I shifted closer to Betty and whispered into her fleshy ear.
“The short one has a gun. A ray gun, probably. It could kill you in a second.”
“If we let him.”
“Why did the three of you humans come here?” Yash asked.
“We were exploring,” I said, trying to sound calm.
Krayt X-9 shook his head.
“Exploring? You mean spying on us?”
“This planet has already been thoroughly explored,” Yash said.
A chill ran through me. It was true. We weren’t tourists. This wasn’t an ordinary trip, but a mission. Still, I raised my hand to pacify the aliens.
“No, no, we weren’t spy on you! We saw your ship flying into the forest, and we figured that we could come and take a peek. You know, to figure out if there was something interesting inside.”
“What, to steal?” Krayt X-9 insisted with contempt. “Very appropriate, coming from a species that descended from apes!”
“They think we are animals,” Betty whispered in my ear, which made me shiver. “My mom says that sometimes human beings look like animals to other people. She also said that some of her relatives are part cat.”
I didn’t have time to consider her comment. I steeled my gaze and spoke firmly at the aliens.
“We aren’t thieves. We’re explorers, scientists, who want to learn more about your culture. You are confusing us with the kind of people that those Nazis or Communists are.”
Krayt X-9 snorted with disdain.
“Whatever. Now you idiots have realized that there’s nothing of interest in our ship. Is that correct?”
Betty and I nodded. Frank shrugged. I wasn’t sure what we had expected to find. Possibly something expensive.
“Then,” Krayt X-9 continued, “I’m sorry you wasted your time with such a pointless task. I suggest you leave immediately.”
“Why did you land, though?” Betty asked. “I bet I know why.”
The bald alien scowled at Betty.
“Oh, I’m sure you do.”
“Don’t you dare say it,” I warned her.
“You two needed to pee,” Betty said.
My face turned red. Frank looked away, embarrassed.
Krayt X-9 frowned as he blinked repeatedly, then he took a deep breath.
“What a preposterous notion. We did away with those means of disposing waste long ago in our evolutionary line. Your species is the one who is always handling pee and shit.”
“I’m afraid that’s true,” Yash said. “Humans have to carry their own excretions.”
“So why did you land, then?” Frank asked, curious.
“We were just tired of spending so much time sitting in our ship,” the furry alien answered. “We wanted to stretch our legs for a bit.”
“A momentary peace that has been ruined by three stupid humans breaking into our ship,” Krayt X-9 added.
“I don’t think you should talk about us like we’re animals,” Betty said in a quavering voice.
“You are animals, but most importantly, your species is a bunch of monkeys. You all descended from the ape family. You have no rights to that pretense of intelligence when you can’t even speak properly.”
Betty gasped. When she recovered, she lowered her head and clenched her teeth as she glared at the bald alien.
“We don’t need to explain ourselves to you. And you are not very polite.”
I stopped facepalming and took a deep breath.
“We didn’t break in, we just opened the hatch. You two aliens are the ones who didn’t lock your spaceship.”
Krayt X-9 fixed his narrow gaze on me.
“Don’t you understand how entering a ship that doesn’t belong to you can be interpreted as a violent act?” he asked, sounding increasingly irritated.
I shrugged as I tried to look unconcerned. These two aliens scared me, but I hated when people told me I couldn’t explore some cool place, even a boring spaceship like this one.
“We thought that maybe you guys had landed because you were lost, so we came over to see if you needed any help. That’s all.”
“Now you are just changing your story.”
Someone rested a hand on my shoulder, which startled me. It was Betty. The little of her warmth that I felt through the fabric of my shirt made me tingle all over. But she had put her other hand on Frank’s shoulder, so she hadn’t intended it as an intimate gesture.
“Hey, it’s already gotten late, and the five of us have become friends,” Betty said in a conciliatory tone. “So we can sleep inside the spaceship until tomorrow morning, right?”
“What?” Krayt X-9 asked in disbelief, his raspy voice turning high-pitched. “Of course you can’t!”
Frank’s face lit up with excitement as he smiled at Betty.
“That sounds amazing! If only we had brought a picnic basket, so we could have lunch inside the spaceship.”
Betty let out a noise as if she had suddenly remembered something. She grabbed the backpack, which was hanging from Frank’s shoulder, and she opened it.
Krayt X-9 got nervous and took a step forward.
“Hey, what are you doing? What are you pulling out?”
It was the box full of sandwiches. Betty opened it, and the scent of bread and jam made me salivate. She stretched her arms holding the box towards the crabby alien as if presenting a gift.
“We offer you a meal!” Betty said sweetly. “I suggest you two eat quickly before your sandwiches spoil.”
Krayt X-9 stepped back as he grimaced at the food offerings.
“Don’t push that disgusting human garbage towards me.”
Betty gasped, then hung her head low. Tears started accumulating along her lower eyelids.
My blood was thumping in my temples. Frank’s dad was right: these aliens were dangerous. If Krayt X-9 wasn’t an alien and he didn’t have a gun, I would have punched his stupid face. I grabbed two of the sandwiches and chomped on them, stuffing my mouth.
“Don’t listen to this prick, Betty!” I growled, showering her with crumbs. “He’s from another world, he lacks manners, and he doesn’t know that one never rejects a sandwich from a girl! They are delicious, see? I will always be glad to eat your sandwiches!”
I shot Krayt X-9 a challenging stare. He looked away in disgust.
Yash turned his furry hands up.
“Our digestive systems can’t process human food.”
I couldn’t complain about the furry guy, so I calmed down a bit.
“Say that, then.”
“What do you eat instead? Poop?” Frank asked mockingly. “Nevermind, I forgot you guys don’t poo like normal animals. You just poo in a special place.”
Krayt X-9 barely deigned to glance at Frank.
“I’m going to ignore you from now on.”
This was a problem, though. If these aliens couldn’t handle our sandwiches, we lacked bargaining chips for them to let us go peacefully.
“Sorry, sorry,” Frank said. “But now that we’re here, can we make some sort of deal so you explain how this technology works?”
“You don’t listen, do you? And what kind of deal could you possibly mean, humanling? Your species has already invaded our ship and tried to steal from us!”
I lifted a hand to pacify the bald alien.
“There was no stealing going on. Listen, we are big enough to admit our mistakes, and I apologize if we caused you harm by trespassing on your spaceship. I also forgive you for making Betty cry.”
Krayt X-9 snorted at me contemptuously.
“Apologize? We are not interested in such a cheap apology, and we have no interest whatsoever in hearing you admit that you made an error.”
Frank had wandered back towards the control panel installed on the wall, in front of the smallest seat, which I guess belonged to Krayt X-9. My friend was running his fingertips over some weird gauges.
“Hey, do not touch anything!” the bald alien complained.
Frank shrugged in a way that suggested he wasn’t intimidated by the warning.
“I’m curious about what kind of power source this ship uses, and whether it’s nuclear or solar. Where are the solar panels? I would love to examine them in detail, and find out how they are able to produce enough electricity to power this ship without relying on fossil fuels. Not that there’s anything wrong with fossils.”
Krayt X-9 snorted.
“As if we were primitive beings without manners nor intelligence! Fossil fuels! Don’t bother me with such nonsense. We aren’t going to tell you anything about how our ship works. You humans cannot be trusted with advanced technology! You would endanger the safety of everyone else.” He points at the long stick I had rested against a wall. “And what is a part of a tree doing in my ship?”
I nearly grimace, but I maintain my composure.
“That’s called a walking stick, and it was given to me by my parents as a gift because they know that I am fascinated by nature and the outdoors.”
“Your parents gave you a wooden toy. That doesn’t mean you can bring it inside our ship.”
“No, it’s a walking stick, and it’s made out of wood. It’s harmless and won’t hurt anyone. In fact, it has helped me get around while I was exploring this forest. If you want, I will show you how I use it. I have trained with it for years now, and my dad taught me how to care for it properly.”
Frank had knelt to rummage through his backpack. He pulled out his camera and started fiddling with it.
“At least we can go home with pictures of aliens! A few shots will suffice. Nobody will believe us otherwise. Betty, can you pose next to the furry guy?”
Betty was already approaching the aliens reluctantly when Krayt X-9 let out a noise of indignation. Yash lowered my friend’s hand as he was about to snap a photo of the bald alien.
“Can’t let you take photos, sorry,” Yash said. “We aren’t even supposed to be here, nor be seen by human beings. It’s how it works.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“According to whom?”
Yash turned towards me and shrugged.
“It’s due to the quarantine thing.”
“Quarantine? What are you talking about? Is there a virus going around?”
Krayt X-9 snorted and shook his head.
“Yes, exactly that. This whole place is just a festering virus.”
“Are you aliens going to get infected by the viruses we have, like it happened to the Indians? If so, you might want to be careful. There are diseases in this world that can kill a person in a matter of minutes.”
“No, you moron. You human beings are the virus! They put the quarantine in place because your species is as violent and irrational as they come, and the Coalition can’t allow you to leave your nest unless you get your shit together. Which you never will! You’ve been like this for hundreds of thousands of years.”
I gasped. He had hurt my pride.
“You’re wrong. We have evolved a lot in recent centuries, and we are much more civilized than you think. We may not have become as bald and wrinkled as you, but we’ve improved in many ways! For example, we haven’t had a war in a few years.”
Krayt X-9 rolled his eyes.
“So why did this Coalition send you here, then?” Frank asked as he rubbed his chin.
“We were just taking a break,” Yash said.
I glare at the short alien’s tinted goggles.
“You act all uppity, Krayt, but you two are probably criminals who came down to our home to steal from us.”
Krayt stared at me coldly as he stood motionless, except for the slightest flicker in the muscles under his skin.
“What the fuck did you just say to me?”
“Cool it. You are going to make Betty cry again.”
“I’m fine,” Betty said.
I stepped forward and jabbed a finger at the bald prick.
“I know all about you aliens. You’ve been kidnapping humans and doing weird experiments with their butts for years! And you call us uncivilized? I’m sure you have dissected many of us for fun!”
“The extraterrestrials who kidnap humans are another group, and they aren’t on our side either,” Yash said. “Don’t lump us together with them.”
I was considering the furry guy’s words when I realized that Krayt was glowering at me as if he was containing himself from strangling me.
“Let me tell you something about your species,” he said carefully and coldly. “Years ago I was part of a team that descended to this planet so we could study its soil and figure out why it’s so toxic. Your soil is garbage compared to the other planets we know about. Suddenly we found ourselves being shot at by uniformed men, and two of my crewmates got hit. Luckily we managed to escape, but those mates died on the ship.”
“That’s terrible,” Betty said.
Her sympathy confused Krayt X-9 for a moment.
“Yeah, it was horrible. I couldn’t save those guys. Coming here in the first place was a horrible mistake. Human beings are dangerous, volatile creatures. Their inferiority complex causes them to attack others for no reason!”
“Well, we weren’t the ones that hurt your pals,” I said. “We were just curious about your ship. And we knew nothing about a quarantine.”
Betty had been having trouble breathing properly, maybe because of the fear, and she started having a coughing fit. Krayt X-9 snapped his head towards her.
“Yes, you’re right.” Betty said in a hoarse voice, then kept coughing while Frank patted her on the back. “We shouldn’t be here, but it’s too late now.”
“It’s not just about some individual humans,” Krayt X-9 insisted while he frowned at Betty. “These other guys we knew came to this nasty planet to have a good time. They landed on a long strip of paved ground. That was the very first time they visited your species, mind you. But one of those primitive, toxic vehicles you call cars stopped in front of the ship, and its occupants yelled at the extraterrestrials for blocking their path. The humans got out of the car and started beating our guys up, who then hauled ass out of this wretched planet and pledged to never return!”
“Yeah, there’s no way that ever happened. And they shouldn’t have blocked the road anyway.”
Krayt X-9’s fists were trembling as Betty doubled over in an asthma attack. Her eyes had welled with tears, and now she was hacking up phlegm.
“Shit, Betty! Did you bring your inhaler?” Frank asked, panicking.
Betty nodded and pointed at the backpack. I had already grabbed it and shoved my arm inside, but Krayt X-9 strode up to Betty, seized her arm and started dragging her towards the oval entry of the spaceship. My friend could barely let a noise of surprise out amidst the coughing.
“That’s enough!” Krayt roared. “I won’t suffer a diseased human messing up my ship!”
“No way!” I shouted. “You don’t grab girls like that!”
I dropped Betty’s inhaler, then I jumped at the bald alien and punched him in the face. Krayt X-9 stumbled backwards. Betty crawled up to the inhaler and took a deep breath through it.
Pink, liquid worms started pouring from Krayt’s huge nostrils. When he covered his nose with one hand, the liquid dripped between his fingers.
“You are trying to start a fight with us,” Krayt X-9 muttered. “Well, we can’t have that.”
Frank realized it was on. He pushed the bridge of his glasses up, then turned around and threw a punch at Yash’ chest. However, the furry alien caught Frank’s fist. My friend complained inarticulately. When Yash let go, Frank fell on his ass.
Betty scrambled her way to the large stick resting against the wall. She picked it up, twisted her body around and hurled the stick at Yash, who was turning his palms towards the ceiling when the stick bonked him in the head. It snapped back. Once Yash lowered his head again, he stared at Betty inscrutably, but then again his eyes were lidless and uniformly pickle green.
“Hey, don’t do that.”
I felt a warm sensation at the base of my neck: something metallic was pressing into my skin. Krayt X-9, as he bled profusely from his nose, had unholstered his gun. I opened my mouth to speak, but the bald alien kicked me in the abdomen and I staggered backwards. My right heel hit the lower edge of the oval entry, which caused me to somersault onto the grass of the clearing.
Krayt X-9 tramped out of his spaceship, still gripping his futuristic gun. He stepped aside to let Yash pass, who was holding up both Frank and Betty as if they weighed as much as puppies. Frank was too stunned to complain. Betty had started coughing again, and tears were jumping from her eyes. Yash placed my friends carefully on a bed of tall grass. As soon as he released them, they pushed themselves back.
I tried to stand up, but Krayt X-9 closed his hand around my face, scratching my scalp with his long claws. His fingers were cold and clammy; they reminded me of a spider’s legs. He shoved me to the ground.
I got a still shot of the chest of his jumpsuit, which was stained with pink blood, before Krayt X-9 lifted his right hand to point his gun at my head. The white lines around his mouth creased as he smirked.
“You had your chance to talk. Either you die, or I will kill you.”
The tendons in his shooting arm were contracting, but Yash knocked the gun from his pal’s hand as I heard a sizzling discharge. The red beam that had grown in my vision for a split second had struck the ground near my head. A patch of grass had disintegrated. What remained in the edges smelled like embers.
Krayt X-9 grimaced in disbelief as he looked up at the furry alien. The bald alien clicked angrily in his language, but Yash shrugged and grunted in response.
I could have sworn that I lost consciousness for a moment while the phrase ‘this ugly alien just fucking shot me’ echoed in my mind. Next thing I knew, a bunch of human adults were shouting at us from different directions.
“Drop the gun! Drop it now!”
As I tried to stand up with my trembling legs, I saw Krayt X-9 paralyzed in the act of crouching to pick up his ray gun. We were surrounded by three nervous cops who were pointing their standard issue pistols at the murderous alien as if they couldn’t wait to blast a dozen holes through him.
Krayt X-9 was startled. When he straightened his back and opened his mouth to speak, the nearest cop lunged forward and tackled Krayt to the ground, landing with a thud on top of the short alien’s shoulders.
After one of the other cops kicked the ray gun away, they approached the tall, furry alien cautiously. Yash merely stared at them as his arms hung by his sides.
“Put your hands behind your back,” one of the cops barked. “Don’t try anything stupid.”
Yash sighed, turned around and obeyed. The cops handcuffed him.
One of the cops handling him, a guy in his forties who had a ketchup stain near his moustache, furrowed his brow as he stared at Yash’ alien face.
“You are one odd lookin’ fella.”
“Hey, you also look weird to me.”
While the cops led the two aliens out of the clearing towards the path, Krayt X-9 kept struggling and yammering something about the Coalition, but I could barely make out what he was saying over Betty’s coughing. One of the cops bothered to address us.
“Go home soon, kids. Your parents are worried about you.”
“Sure,” I said, stunned.
Once the adults were gone and I ceased to hear Krayt’s complaints, I ran straight to the spot where the ray gun had fallen, but it was gone. I guess one of the cops took it.
Frank had knelt next to Betty to hand her the inhaler. I sucked air through my teeth; I should have been the one giving it to her. But I ran to Betty’s side and I held her head as her trembling hand pressed down the canister. Something about the way she pursed her pink lips around the mouth of the inhaler sent shivers down my spine.
Betty took a deep breath, blowing whatever an inhaler does into her lungs. She repeated it twice. Both her shoulders and her face relaxed. She wiped some tears with the back of her hands.
“Are you okay?” I asked her.
Betty nodded as she hung her head low.
“I’m sorry,” Frank said to me. “This is all my fault.”
I wasn’t sure what he was referring to.
“You are forgiven, Frank.”
My brain was rattled. I guessed there was a parallel universe in which that ray gun put a big hole through my head.
“My lungs feel like they’re burning,” Betty complained in a pitiful, raspy voice. “I’m really glad those fucking bastards left us!”
“That was amazing, though,” Frank said. He stood straight and gawked at the huge spacecraft. “Those aliens looked like dinosaurs.”
“Damn it, Frank,” I said. “They looked nothing like dinosaurs. Stop it.”
I was brushing the dirt off my pants when I realized that Betty was looking up at me in silence.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
Those big brown eyes of hers silenced me. Her pigtails were resting on the chest of her pink, polka-dotted dress. I knew, even though I had never held a girl in my arms like a man holds a woman, that this was the moment when my old friend Betty and I should kiss passionately. I felt my face heating up.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said as my heart jumped in my chest. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Betty frowned with concern.
“Because that hideous alien almost killed you, Sam. And you punched him because he had grabbed me…”
I scratched my nape.
“W-well, I had to defend my girlfriend, didn’t I?”
I bit my tongue so hard that it hurt for a while. I dared to look her in the eyes again. Betty had blushed.
“Your girlfriend? Since when?”
Betty averted her gaze, and fiddled with the hem of her skirt.
“You can’t just decide that unilaterally… You are a weirdo, Sam.”
My heart sank. I kept staring at her while my insides cooled down. I pictured her holding my gaze again and saying something very different, but she didn’t. When she lowered her head and coughed, I turned around and shuffled away from my friends.
I don’t know how much time passed before any of us spoke again.
“I bet we would get a lot of money for this alien spaceship,” Frank said. “Maybe we could sell it to that guy at the auto plant and use the cash to finally buy a car.”
“You idiot,” Betty said, deflated. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. And you would regret it later when you paid taxes on that kind of income.”
Frank held a cigarette between his lips while he struck a match. He lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply before blowing the smoke into the night sky.
“I know it’s risky, but the ship must hide some kind of advanced technology, right? We could try to pry open the wall, pull out some cables or whatever. Forget about a new car, we could even buy a boat to sail around the world.”
I sat down wearily on the grass. My chest hurt. I wanted to go home.
“That’s nothing but another empty dream,” I muttered. “There’s no way we are getting rich off aliens.”
After a long moment, Betty let out a long sigh and looked up at the spaceship.
“The government people will come and take it away. We’ll never see it again.”
I lifted my gaze in the direction of where the cops had led those two weird aliens away. I guess they’ll end up in some holding cell next to thieves, burglars, and drunk men who hit their wives.
I couldn’t stop my hands from trembling. I feared for the future of my species.
“I knew that the aliens were dangerous,” I said in a thin voice, “but I never thought they’d be evil.”
Frank huffed and wheezed. Betty stood up and patted the skirt of her dress.
“Let’s just go home.”
* * *
I had been hoping for an adventure that would make us feel special. I think that was why the three of us had loved to explore our surroundings since we were children. We were fifteen years old, we weren’t supposed to be scared of anything. I wished to experience new and exciting things.
It’s been many years since the last time I faced violent poltergeists or armies of robots, visited space stations, was pursued by giant monsters, or punched an alien. But whenever I feel like my life has been reduced to bills, long commutes, mortgages, and a body that only gets rustier, I can close my eyes and remember my old friends Frank and Betty, and all the good times we used to have.
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