This story is by W. Steve Wilosn and was part of our 10th Anniversary Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
On the anniversary of my abduction, the nightmares haunt me. The pain of the intrusions into my body, the effects of the poison they pumped into me are fading. The debilitating damage done by the electric shocks is healing. But the visions of that night are always with me. Sleep comes slowly and leaves promptly. The darkness of my room evokes the cold, black storage cell, and I am awake again—chilled from the sweat on my body, the bedding damp and twisted. Awake, in the blazing heat of this July morning, memories of that night come unbidden—my stomach cramps—I verge on fainting.
Times Square at last. All the preparations. The long journey.
It’s not what I expected. The crowds. The noise. The flashing lights.
Feeling lightheaded—trying to sit down.
Dizziness. Fuzziness. Fainting.
Who are these strange ones—black clothes, spikes, and metal studs—rushing at me with black nailed grasping hands?
Something’s wrong. They have done something to me.
Awake—barely. Masked faces—crowding close. Strapped down—unable to move. Face covered—poison gas flows.
Blackness again, then awake.
More flashing lights—speeding by. Hurtling through the darkness.
Needles pierce me. Rhythmic pressure crushes my body.
Strapped to a table. Surrounded by fiends—masked and gowned. Flashing lights on strange machines. Tubes everywhere. More needles—more poison flows.
They force my eyes open—bright lights—blinding me.
They have forced a probe down my throat. Gas pumped through the probe—my stomach distended. It’s excruciating—they’re going to kill me.
Garbled speech—they’re shouting.
Greasy, cold metal on my bare skin, the electric jolt paralyzes me. And again. And again.
Now awake. Unable to move or talk or open my eyes. They remove the needles. The poison has stopped.
How long will this last? I scream to myself.
Why did you take me? I was just visiting.
I hear them clearly now.
“Shock him again.”
“Doctor, there’s no pulse. We’ve lost him.”
“I don’t understand it. The metalheads that called 911 told the EMTs that he just collapsed, and CPR had no effect. Why did this man die?”
“The autopsy will tell us, Doctor.”
Darkness. I feel slickness on my skin. They’ve put me in a bag.
Lying on a flat table, sliding, a click.
Dark, cold, quiet.
I scream soundlessly in anguish.
Today, on the anniversary of the crashed ship, the Alien Abduction Club meets to share stories and comfort fellow abductees. I walk the streets of Roswell towards the bar ahead, where I hope to find acceptance and solace. I will share my story. Then I will know if they can help me.
I watch as others share. At my turn, I stand and speak. “I am Jax, and I was abducted. It has been one year since I was taken.”
“Hi, Jax,” comes the chorus of voices.
“How did they get you?” asks a young woman, slouching in a chair near the back. She looks up from her phone. “Did they just grab you in broad daylight? I’m surprised nobody filmed it.”
Her skepticism alarms me. Her doubt is palpable. My vision blurs, and my head pounds like fists banging against the inside of my skull. The flyer said all are welcome and all are to be believed. I resist her cynicism and the pounding in my brain. I grasp the back of my chair to steady myself, and I tell the story I relive each night.
Recounting my story calms me. I am less anxious than when I arrived. The sympathy from the group washes over me. The hammering in my head has quieted, and the hazy effects of sleeplessness have abated.
“Those bastards,” says Hiram, a thin, bearded man, old-looking, wearing stained and wrinkled clothes. “How’d you get away, Jax-y? Did they plop you back in the Big Apple? That’s what they did to me. Set me right back down at the farm.”
His interest is genuine, so I share my escape. “When they had decided I was dead, they put me in a bag and stored me in a drawer for later dissection.” With the sharing of each piece of my story, the group’s sympathy washes the tension from me.
“Holy crap,” says Maggie, a female version of Hiram, but with neat, ironed clothes. “What happened then?”
“When the effects wore off, I removed the bag. But I was still trapped in the storage drawer. The dissection technician came to prepare my body and slid the drawer out. I struck him with all my strength and escaped.”
“Did you happen to see what they looked like, young man?” asks a well-dressed, older gentleman who introduces himself as Jefferson.
“I did not. They were masked and gowned. But they did not resemble any of the creatures I have seen portrayed since I have been in Roswell.”
A man of medium height sitting in the back row, next to the slouching girl, stands up. “Don’t pay much attention to the pictures in the gift shops. If you talk to most of us here, you’ll find our experiences are like yours. The aliens look like us but don’t have hair.”
“That’s right, Carlos,” says Jefferson. “They have odd thin tendrils on their heads. And they don’t seem to breathe. I don’t recall any faces, but I clearly remember the probes, the pieces of skin and organs they removed.” Jefferson paused, took a deep breath, and wiped the sweat from his brow. He pointed a withered finger at his right eye. “They even extracted a piece of my iris that has grown back white. The frightened looks from passersby at my strange eye hurt almost as much as the cutting.”
“Well, I would recognize the bastard that cut me up,” says Carlos. “Yellow eyes and a scar running down the right side of his face.” Carlos gestures towards his eyes and runs a sharp nailed thumb down his face from his temple to his chin. “He smiled as he worked, typing into his goddamn machine, taking his little snips, sending probes into every orifice. The scars are gone, but every night I wake up feeling those cuts. If I ever get my hands on that—”
“You never will, sonny,” says Hiram. “You come here every year wanting to get the bastard. Give it up already.”
“Leave him alone, Hiram,” says Maggie. “Carlos has a right to be angry after what they did to us.”
“Alright, Maggie. But we just keep hearing the same crap every year. Everybody wants a little payback. But we’ll never find one of the bastards. But Carlos is right—if I ever got my hands on one of those creeps, I’d beat the crap out of them.”
The simmering anger from the group boils up—the emotions from the group flood over me. The pounding in my head returns. The calmness I had felt is gone, and the panic and anxiety return. It is clear now that there will not be any lasting relief from sharing my story. These are tormented people. The hostility towards their abductors is unabated. It fuels their hate and sours their lives—a hatred I now share.
“Well, Jax,” says Jefferson. “We’ll probably be wrapping up as we usually do each year once we start down the revenge path. Now the drinking starts. Alcohol seems to be the only thing that lets us forget for a while. Then it’s back to our tortured lives, trying to cope as best we can—knowing we can never get satisfaction. We’ll spend another year trying to sleep, trying not to be afraid, and risking ridicule if we share our story. Care to join us?”
I cannot consider their offer knowing alcohol would likely kill me. I could reveal my true nature and join the conversation, but the consequences could be equally fatal.
I offer my thanks for the invitation, say my goodbyes and leave. My heart chamber squeezes a little more gently, and my fluid circulates a little more smoothly while my anxiety eases as the waves of hostility from the group fade.
I may rue these anniversaries and the memories they rekindle but will return to the bar to hear their stories. And when I return home, I will use those stories to petition the tour directorate to stop the abductions. With his scar and yellow eyes, Carver Bix will need to find another method for camouflaging us for our visits to taste human emotions. We thought there would be no harm if we fogged their memories and returned them to their homes. With my abduction, I now know how it ruins lives.
I have a little over two years before the ship comes to take me home. Until then, I will keep to myself and always wear a hat as my artificial hair is fraying and my breathing tendrils are beginning to show. I am sure the Alien Abduction Club would not welcome this alien abductee if they knew the whole truth.