This story is by Graham Buckenham and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Brad Szerzinsky stared at the full white explosion blast created by the module , flying at 22,000 mph . A Naval Captain, with nine years’ distinguished service, lantern jawed, six foot three, Brad was the epitome of true, dedicated , patriotic Service to The Federal Organisation. The two subalterns sitting opposite Brad also experienced the complete white-out , which accompanied a Sighting . It was as though their mental faculties had been wiped clean. The three of them sensed a distortion to their self-concept, as though a pressure had elongated their chakras , sizzled their auras and generally zapped at their cores, which had assumed a rod-like disposition. This new hardness was in the wrong existential space .
” Look at that sky, life’s begun, nights are warm and the days are young ”
Brad spoke in a new, looser rhythm . He felt boosted and ostracised.
” I’m up on the eleventh floor and I’m watching the cruisers below ”
Below being the ionosphere – looking oil-slick from in here – colour drained away into a wash of distant stars, canopied by galaxies . Ochres blended into golds, which enfolded into violets, which dissolved into a vicious purple . The Craft blasted ahead of them – it’s exhaust leaving a disgusting smell of frazzled oxygen.
” Soul love – the priest that tastes the word – and told of love and how my God on high is all love, my loneliness dissolves – by the blindness , which surrounds him. ”
You , riders of the tides, how can you fathom the power of the ocean, by the frailty of it’s foam?
Turning and turning, in the widening gyre – the falcon cannot hear the falconer – things fall apart .
Created by glass the saint stands , exposing his gifted , quite empty hands – a conjuror about to begin – a righteous man among righteous men .
Lines of poetry and lyrics scrolled through Brad’s mind – along with utility bills , bank statements, vague advertising images and talking head television froth .
Earth – what is it good for : Absolutely Nothing- Say it again- Earth !
Suddenly compromised , perspectivised, dial-ised and battened – the craft wobbled in the wake of the Farting explosions of the Serious Craft . Brad knew it only had to accelerate and they would boil into a FUTURE-nowhere .
Then- a lancing light shaft zipped at Brad – five times the speed of light – it drilled into him, forcing his mitral valve to flip backwards and his heart motion to reverse . The two crew members only saw his irises turn lapis-lazuli blue ,as carbon dioxide levels petrified his optic tissues .
Brad left the cockpit , in a very real sense. Part of him now travelled in the Alien Craft – this was his calling . He was now in two worlds – the alien and the human. Fully blue now to his human craft colleagues , Brad’s Core made it into the Craft , which was massive – at least twelve acres , seemingly crammed into a sphere just five hundred yards long . Space was very different in this Space . Now terrified of Experimentation issues , Brad winced as sensors probed his abdomen and genitals .
Bubbles frothed from him : fresh air in this craft and hostile in the Earthen manifestation. Fully accepted , Brad’s soul shone ahead of him like a beacon- it smelled goodly , looked beautiful and danced in a jumble of wild lights .
A Being attached something to him .
” We can’t dance, don’t talk too much- just ball and play but we move like tigers on vaseline – the bitter comes out better on a stolen guitar – you’re the blessed – We’re The Spyders from Mars . ”
By now , it was clear that This Cosmic Element was Established by a Persona well known to them. A Spirit . A legend – a fulcrum .
Back at Base Central , Commander Lazenby flicked at his shoulder epaulettes – a weird, spasm -calming movement he had . He saw the Craft absorbed by the Mother Ship. The indifference of it rolled off him, like sauna sweat . They saw it- but couldn’t avoid it – the laser strike burned through the fifteen foot Bunker Concrete – like an iron poker driven through all four levels of an Earthian Wedding Cake, melting Mr and Mrs , sitting on Level One .
Lazenby rocked back, understanding he’d been hit :
” Still don’t know what I was waiting for – but Time has – has what ? ”
” Oh you pretty things – don’t you know you’re driving your mommas and pappas insane ”
” Look at the sailors fighting in the dance hall- Oh Man , look at those cavemen go .”
Lazenby rocked back, stunned – he had to ask- he had to know :
” What do I look like ? ”
The lightning slash , in pink, pale blue and vermillion was an exact facsimile of the 1973 album cover –
” Sir, put it this way – lets’ hope the Chinese don’t see this – it will give them hope .”
But then Clarkson, Lazenby’s slavish, homo-erotic Number Two had a lightning slash over his right eye too –
” Jeez , Carl – we’ve been Bowie-fied – send the report – we Need Replacing . Immediate effect . Skart the message to Washington . Mortensen will love it – that Senator seeking his billions for Armaments – the Cross Party Star warrior – he’s just a warmonger – old-fashioned , bullying in his warped patriotism. Destined as he sees it , for Fresh Actions. ”
The mood darkened . 1930’s style Mass Groupings organised around Los Angeles and Las Vegas – Mortensen’s Marchers made hay , while inter-galactic frissons shined .
Inside the Craft , no-one in there felt intimidated .