It was a particularly rainy night on Industrial District 4, lightning struck the Earth permeating the air with a thundering roar. It was my first time going to another planet by myself, it was my first time volunteering for world exploration.
“Hang on to your heels.” said the man in a white coat as he looked at my floating body, “This is going to feel… different.”
I braced myself for the fall. The ground below blurred into a starry night and I watched in awe as I saw the cosmos unfold at my feet.
“I’ll see you in a week.”, the man in the white coat waved at me, and then I fell. I fell through the open chasm and felt the universe pull me to a previously undiscovered sector of the galaxy.
I wanted to scream at the sensation of the ever accelerating fall I had been subjected to, but before I could muster any sound I found myself standing on another world. Grey desert spread out in all directions, a tall mountain rose from the ground behind me and a dark cavern within it exhibited its gaping mouth to me.
The desert seemed endless. I had nowhere else to go, so I walked to the cave. I had to do my duty, I had to explore the planet. But inside it, I found what humanity had given up searching for. I found what we knew didn’t exist.
I took three steps into the darkness and lit up my torch.
“Hello?”, I joked to myself, “Is anyone there?”, I asked to what I thought was an empty burrow.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”, a soft high pitched voice repeated after me.
Faster than I could think of running or screaming, the tiny hairs on my body stood up on end and a wave of goosebumps struck me. My heart began to race and my mind turned blank.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”, the voice again came from within the dark cavern and the profile of a tall figure began to cast its shadow behind my shining light.
“Who! Hey! Who’s there?!”, I screamed as I backed up to the entrance.
“Who. Hey. Who’s there?”, the soft voice again mimicked my words.
My sight turned dark, and my head felt light, “No… wait…”, were the last words I could utter before collapsing to the ground.
I woke up minutes later to find I was being held by a beautiful creature. She looked almost human, her eyes were much larger and of a grey color, her mouth was small and she had no hair. The rest of her body seemed like that of an over stretched person. Too tall to be human, to familiar to be alien.
“This is my home”, she said, “I have no friends.”
I couldn’t understand how she was able to speak english, but each time she did she held her hands to my head. As if by some kind of telepathic ability she could tap into the knowledge of my mind.
She spent the next days telling me her story. She came from a planet not too far from where we were. She was a child in her society and the leaders of her world had decided to limit the population growth by eliminating all but the first children of the families. Her mother had sent her to this desert planet to protect her from the inevitable death sentence that she carried. The authorities were looking for her, she said, at any moment they could discover her location and she could be taken away to face her death.
“Take me to your sun”, she said, “Take me far away from this place I no longer wish to call home. Take me to the light of your star where I will be safe from the glare of this one.”
I agreed. We only had to wait the remaining days so that I would be picked up by the wormhole that brought me here. I knew her life on Earth would not be a normal one, but we all risk everything for the desire to live, and so did she.
We had been standing together at the spot where we would be picked up, waiting the last seconds of her wait. She looked at me with her lovely eyes, and she mimicked a smile that I had taught her.
Lightning struck the ground. The ear-splitting thunder made me hunch down. A fear brewed withing me as I saw no clouds in the sky.
“No, no, no”, she began to say as we stood motionless in the spot where I had come. Three tall people in dark clothes and black helmets appeared from within the lightning and stared at us from behind long weapons. An indescipherable scream emerged from their location and a blue orb began to form at the tip of their spear-like tools. She grabbed my head with her long hands and whispered, “Help me.”
“It’s going to be ok”, I began to say, but before I could finish the sentence her body and mine fell into the unfolding space below us. Her eyes glowed intensely with the reflection of the universe as we fell through it. It must have been a second or two, but to me that instant lasted an hour. I could see her eyes begin to fill up with tears, I could see her gaze look around us into infinite beauty of our galaxy. She knew she was safe, she knew that her star had been left behind together with the murderous wrath of her world and that a new one awaited her at the end of the ever accelerating fall.
“Thank you”, she said with her hands on my head.
“Oh my god!”, the man in the white coat screamed as he saw me with the tall girl from the distant place.
“It’s ok”, I said, “It’s ok… Just get some medics, they need to check her.”
The tear that had been forming in her eye through the plunge into the wormhole finally left her eye and crossed her long face.
“This is my new home”, she said, “You are my new friend.”