Worlds Away

Here’s what happened. I know it sounds completely impossible, like something I’d just make up to get attention, but I’m not capable of making something up that makes this much sense. Believe me, I’ve tried. As crazy as the truth is, I couldn’t explain what happened to me any other way.

Let’s start at the beginning. There were people with me, in the park. They saw what happened. They couldn’t do anything about it, but I’m just saying they can back up at least the part they saw. I was lying on the grass, just thinking, watching clouds. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time but never got around to before. Now, this was a beautiful day, as you know, and I got so comfortable that I started dozing off.

You know how it can happen sometimes when you’re fading in and out of sleep that you see things, like little snippets of a dream, that look close enough to reality that when you’re back to fully awake you doubt yourself? That’s happened to me just when I’m lying in bed, looking at nothing but the ceiling, so now that I think of it, of course it would happen when I was looking at clouds, imagining shapes and whatnot. I don’t remember all the things I thought I saw, but there’s one thing I can still see in my mind. There was a hawk flying way overhead, the most beautiful thing I ever saw. It seemed to be gliding just underneath this cloud, and for a split second I thought I saw a second one. Another hawk just like it, flying over it, upside down. Like a reflection. I was definitely somewhere between awake and asleep at that point, because then I just stared at that part of the sky for a minute, looking for I don’t know what but not seeing anything. Then, finally, something pulled me up — way up — and I was wide awake.

It was some kind of ship. I figured that much out, but I couldn’t begin to tell you how it worked. It was cold and smelled very strange, but it was bright enough for me to see clearly. I was in a small room with absolutely no furniture. Just in front of me was what I took for a doorway, really just a hole in the wall that didn’t extend all the way to the floor.

I was about to climb out and explore when I heard something headed my way. I’ll say it almost looked human. Very pale, which isn’t so different from how I’ve always imagined these things would look, with huge eyes on a round head and very long arms, which it was using to get around. I hadn’t noticed before, but there were bars suspended from the ceiling, going from my room into the hall. So it quickly swung its way into my little room and stopped, quietly looking me over. After a moment, it moved into the far corner of the room and rapped on the ceiling a couple times. A panel opened. It took another look at me, then left the way it came.

I went over and looked at the rectangular hole in the ceiling. It was way too high for me to reach. Now, I’m sure this story’s already crazy enough, so if you’re still with me, you’ll believe that a ladder just appeared in front of me on the wall. I swear it hadn’t been there before. I climbed into the hole. Instead of being large, bright, and cold, it was a little cramped and dark, but very warm and soft. I panicked a little when the panel slid shut and I was trapped — not gonna lie — but eventually I calmed myself and realized how exhausted I suddenly was. I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I felt great. I’ve never slept like that before in my life.

Seconds after I woke up, I heard the sound of something knocking on the panel. It opened again, and one of those things reached in and pulled me out. I couldn’t tell if this was the same guy I met before; he looked very similar, but maybe a little different. He held me by his feet (at least I think it was a “he,” anyway it’s easier to call him that) and started swinging down the hallway. I guess this is the kind of thing I can tell my kids about someday.

We took a lot of turns and went down a lot of corridors. Every now and then I’d see another pale creature swinging around. Finally we went into something like a control room. On a big chair dangling from the ceiling sat another one of the pale guys. He looked much older to me, or maybe just his eyes did, it’s hard to say. He started talking to me, in a language I couldn’t possibly understand, of course, and I couldn’t see any kind of mouth moving when he spoke. The sounds he made were sort of beautiful. I was too terrified to say or do anything. A couple other guys moved to either side of me and started poking at me, all over, with these glowstick things. I won’t tell my kids about that part.

After about ten minutes of inspection, the same guy who took me there carried me down a few more hallways. We turned one corner and he just flung me into another room. Once I cleared my head, I noticed it was a much bigger room than my old one, but it was also filled with people. All kinds of people: it was like a U.N. meeting or something. They were all huddled together, looking just as scared as I must have. One of them, a black man, came up to me and shook my hand. He said his name was David.

I had heard them muttering, but now they spoke louder to let me in on the conversation.

“They’re gonna kill us all!”

“It’s an invasion!”

“We knew this was gonna happen one day!”

But David shook his head. “Don’t listen to them, man. These aliens have shown me things. I’ve been here for weeks. Most of these people have just been here for a few days. They’re studying us. They want to learn.”

“Yeah, so they can kill us faster.”

“No,” David replied. “Look around. There are maybe a dozen aliens on this ship. They’re old, some of them are sick. They’re not going to kill anybody. This isn’t an invasion, it’s an escape. They want to live here.”

“How do you know that?”

“There might be more of them. More ships.”

I was still new here, so I didn’t say anything. I could believe anything at this point. Well, all the stuff that was said in English, anyway. There was a lot more talking going on, all of it breathless and anxious.

David continued: “Look, they showed me pictures of their home. I couldn’t understand much, but it looked pretty beat up to me. Wherever they came from, this is the first place they found where they can live. So they’re studying us to see what kind of people they can live with.” I noticed a few other people nodding when he said this.

The argument continued for at least an hour. I never said much, although I wanted to agree with David, for obvious reasons. But when would the aliens let us go, or would they at all?

Well, as you would guess by my telling you this, eventually they did let us go. Maybe I was the last person they needed, like there was something about me that told them all they needed to know about people. Or I was the first person who had nothing to show them except stuff they’d already figured out. I don’t know. Whatever. But they lowered us all down to Earth the same way they’d picked us up. I never saw where the ship went. They might be around, somewhere, but I’d prefer it if you didn’t tell anyone else about this until it gets on the news.

Anyway, that’s how I got here, in Bangladesh. Please come get me, Mom. I don’t have any money.

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