The audible hum of the machine was his fan in Rick Shane's room. He was in his own bed lying on his back. His wife was lying at his side. Carrie was snug in her crib, and Clarice was snug in her bed. The alien was just a nightmare, a horrible nightmare. When he opened his eyes he'd see that he was in his room, and he'd roll over and see his wife, smell her sleepy breath.
Yet if all of that were true, why did he feel as though he were in a moving vehicle. Yet when he opened his eyed he saw stars in an otherwise pitch black sky. Yet when he rolled to his side what he saw was the inside of the spaceship with some dials and gadgets. Yet the dials and gadgets were no longer flashing with red and blue lights. They were just gadgets. They were just objects. They were just there.
He tried to reach a knob to his left, yet something was restraining his his arm, holding it back. He inspected his chest and realized he was secured to his resting place, his bed of sorts, by straps. He was strapped to the bed in a tiny space capsule, the front of which was glass, or fiber glass, or some type of material that allowed him to see the space where he was headed to. And, as he though of heading into space, his heart thumped an extra beat, and a fresh flow of blood oozed through his veins.
How long would he be able to live like this, in this thing. How long before he starved do death? How long can a person go without eating? What? Is is four days? Yes, that's what he remembered reading. Yet he would die of thirst long before he died of hunger. And he would die of lack of air long before he died of thirst. And he would die of an implosion as the pressure of space crunched this capsule into a wad of metallic paper, something that would float in space in one direction until it hit an object and was sent off in another direction.
"Carrie?" he cried. "Carrie? Clarice? My babies. Please, Lord, take care of my babies." A tear trickled down his cheek.
Rick sneezed, and as he did so his body thrust forward and the capsule, or whatever he was in, tilted forward and now he could see the earth moving further and further away. He writhed his body back and the capsule once again so he was looking at stars. He writhed forward and the capsule turned again so he could see the earth moving away. Yes! I can control it.
It was a victory. He wiped away the tear. Maybe I can guide this thing back to earth, he thought. For the first time since he saw that spaceship in the sky he had something go his way. He watched as the earth moved further and further away. What a beautiful planet. You can look at picture after picture after picture of the earth, and you can see it on TV or a video game, yet nothing is like looking at the object in real life from outer space. It's the most beautiful thing ever. That thing, that blue and white globe, has given life to so many things, so many people.
It also gave life to two little girls and a wonderful lady. Oh, my poor babies. Marie was supposed to come over for lunch, but that's a long time away. "MY BABIES NEED THEIR DADDY! LET ME OUT OF HERE!" He writhed and turned and writhed and and tossed his fists and arms and flailed this way and that, anything to get out of these restraints. He fought, he wrestled hard, until his abdomen burned so hard he had no choice but to admit defeat.
"What am I going to do? All I want is to make sure my babies are taken care of," he said, "I don't even care if I die. Go ahead, let me die. But just let me know my babies are okay." His breathing was heavy. He cried, and hard, harder than he ever remembered crying even when he was told his wife was dead; even when he saw his wife's lifeless body. Even when he held his wife's dead, cold, hard hand. Even when he told his baby's about their mother going to be with Jesus.
He wanted so bad to go back in time and not have that fight with Marie. He wanted to make the last time he looked at her a good moment, and he wanted to kiss her and say he loved her. Yet life doesn't work that way. If he could wish his way through life he would have clobbered that alien back in his living room and he wouldn't be here in this thing looking at earth.
Yet if he could have everything in the world go against him, he couldn't think of a better way to end his life than looking back at the planet earth. For a moment he thought he might be the first human to die looking at the earth in real live time, yet as he thought of it further, these aliens didn't just pop up out of no where. They've probably been hovering over our planet for hundreds or even thousands of years, taking people like this all along. How many missing persons, he thought, were really alien kidnappings? A shiver crept up his spine at the thought.
He saw Carrie's first smile. She was on her changing table, and he was tickling her belly. She smiled her first toothless smile. And then it just seemed to move fast forward from there. He saw her take her first steps He saw her walking across the living room toward her mother who was smile cheek to cheek under her head of silky blonde hair.
She was a student of Shoreline Community College in the social work program. It was her last day as a student and she ordered pizza for everyone. She enters Rick's office and presents him with the most beautiful smile that complimented her big blue eyes: "There's pizza in the lunch room if you want some."
As he stood up in font of St. Joseph's Church, in front of the alter, looking down between the pews of crowded people, whose chatter had suddenly stops as the organist starts to play "Here Comes the Bride." The front doors of the church open and there she stands in all her glory, in her white dress, and the smile he'll never forget. It's ever engraved on his mind, and makes him smile, even as he sees the capsule to his right.
The earth is no longer visible, and in its stead is a capsule a few hundred yards in front of the one he was a captive in. A flash of light stunned his direction to his left, and he thought he could make out a third capsule. At first he could only see the bottom side of it, as only that side was lit up. Then the entire thing was visible, and he could see it was identical to what he was in, both of the other capsules were.
Then he spots the new source of light: the spaceship. The object filled a huge chunk of space, more so, it seemed, than the earth did as he lifted off into space. It was round and white, although not as smooth as science fiction writers make them out to be. It was a huge, round space building, and he could see the different depths of different sections. It was like a large, round building in space. It was like a Colosseum in the sky.
Yes, it was like a Colosseum. As he closed in he could see the various stories. There were four stories on the main body. He could see four layers of windows, all darker, a dark gray, stacked up all around, and in the front, the part he was headed to, there seemed to be a large door and platform, and a large garage-like door opened. He saw something moving on the platform, perhaps a person. He watched as a capsule in front of the line landed on this platform and was sucked in, the garage door snapping shut. Now the next capsule closed in, and so does his. He figured he could make out three, maybe four of them, in front of him.
He rotated the capsule around so he could see the earth. It was still there. It was still huge too. If he had drifted off he didn't drift off for long. He could still make out the huge white clouds, and where there weren't any clouds he could see the layout of the continents and islands. He could not, however hard he tried, make out the continents. Perhaps, however, if the clouds cleared, he could make it all out. He may even be able to make out the United States, and even the mitten that is Michigan.
The capsule starts to spin. He wonders if he did something to make this happen, and figures it must be programmed to do so as it closes in on the ship. Because he's now closing in. There are only two capsules in front of him. Clearly it was a garage door that opened as a capsule lands on the platform, and he can see that the person on the platform is not a person but a robot. It looked like something Clarice would draw on scrap paper: square head, slightly large square middle, and slightly larger rectangle bottom. The door slides shut and both the robot and the capsule disappear.
He could clearly make out the four stories of windows on the main body of the ship-building. On the top of the spaceship is a row of windows that seem to jut out. These windows are larger than the ones on the main body, kind of like the executive suites at Comerica Park where all the rich people and broadcasters watch the games. On the bottom of the ship it kind of tapered in and then flattened on the bottom. He couldn't see down there very well, especially as he started to close in.
What is waiting for me in there? Who are these people, or critters, or aliens? Where are they from? Is it Alton as Mike Rove described in all those sessions. He wished he had spend more time studying those tapes now, maybe he'd understand what was happening better. Maybe he'd be better prepared to meat them. And what was it that those bad aliens had planned anyway? Were these the same aliens? Or were they even worse? Were they going to lock him in a room? And, why all the capsules. What do these aliens want with the citizens of earth?
He could feel his heart racing, and he thought to calm himself as he knew Mike Rove went through this on his own once. Mike Rove had no one with him and he was only ten-years-old. Mike Rove tried to tell his story, and he was mocked and ridiculed. He was made fun of. Yet Mike Rove had helpers on the spaceship he was on. There were good people trapped on it, from various planets. They banded together with Mike and so Mike made his way back to earth somehow. How? How did he do it? If only he had listened to the tapes. If only he had taken Mike's stories more seriously. If only....
A garage door on the top of the spaceship-building, amid the executive suites, slides open and he can see a large spacecraft exit. As it shoots out Rick hears an audible SHWOOOOOOOOOOOO
SH that rocks the capsule ever so slightly. "Oh my God!" slips from Rick's lips as the coliseum becomes a ball of flame. He can feel the heat. His mind drifts to the smiles of Marie, Carrie and Clarice, and then the lights go out for him seconds before the crash, BOOM! BANG! that's heard clearly in Shoreline. Anyone who looks up sees a fireworks display in the sky.