Friday, June 19, 2015


It wasn’t that she didn’t believe in intelligent life forms elsewhere in the universe. With all the endless numbers of galaxies and star systems out there, it seemed silly to imagine Earth was the only place life had stumbled into existence. No, what Eleanor didn’t believe in, was aliens. She didn’t believe in grey-skinned humanoids with oversized heads. She didn’t believe in monstrous insects intent on invading the planet. She didn’t believe that aliens were an imminent threat and, most of all, she didn’t believe in alien abductions. She’d grown up listening to Uncle Danny’s paranoid ramblings about alien abductions, but the day he told her that the holocaust hadn’t happened, Eleanor had stopped believing anything he said. From then on, whatever Uncle Danny believed, she learned to believe the opposite. This approach had served Eleanor well. It had launched her interest in science, and set her on a path that would carry her through high school and college. It was an approach that had never failed her. Until now.  
Eleanor didn’t believe Uncle Danny’s stories, but that didn’t mean she’d forgotten them.  She remembered how the stories had gone. Most people who claimed to have been abducted said they’d been taken from their homes, usually while asleep in bed. Occasionally someone reported being taken from a quiet field or lonely country road. She was certain nobody had ever reported being abducted while stopped at a traffic light on a busy Saturday morning. She was going to be the first, she realized as she watched the metal ship hover closer, and saw the beam of light that stabbed down from the bottom of the disk-shaped hull.
Eleanor shifted her car into park and turned off the ignition. Just because her childhood nightmares were coming true was no reason to cause an accident. When the beam of light lit upon her through the front windshield of her car, Eleanor took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders and tightened her grip on her purse. She’d want that later, she suspected.
Her exit through the roof of her car, up into the air, and then into the flying saucer was painless and, aside from the embarrassment she felt when her left shoe fell off and landed on the hood of a red sedan, comfortable.
Eleanor arrived in an empty room. Well, at least it was empty until she arrived, she thought. The walls, floor, and ceiling were made of a smooth, white material. There were no fixtures, yet the room was evenly and brightly lit. She waited patiently for at least ten minutes, and then, checking her watch, began to wait impatiently. After an hour, she sat down against one wall and closed her eyes. The unbroken whiteness of the room exhausted her. Something as momentous as an alien abduction shouldn’t be boring. Eleanor sighed and soon drifted off to sleep.
When she woke, Eleanor noted that the room had grown a doorway. Blinking her sleepy eyes into focus, she stood up and approached the door. It led to another room, larger and distinctly NOT white. This was a relief and Eleanor stepped into the larger room. Everything within the new room was green. Every tint, shade, and tone of green covered the walls, floor and ceiling. It was at once comforting, like a verdant forest scene, and overstimulating by dint of the sheer number of competing greens.
Aside from five green chairs gathered around a green coffee table, the green room was as empty as the white room had been. Eleanor strode to a chair and sat down with a quiet huff of disapproval. This was not the way abductions ought to be conducted. Hosts should never leave guests unattended in such a manner. This was outright neglectful and rude!
She shifted in her chair and realized that it was at once lumpy, and over-soft. She snorted. Hosts. That was the wrong word. Instead, captors. Yes, that was more apt. Captors might be neglectful and, given the implications of being a captive, she felt a current of relief wash through her. Neglectful captors were far preferable to captors who lavished their captives with attention. The latter sorts of captors could also be called tormenters. She was grateful that there hadn’t been any nonsense about probes, surgical tables, or experiments.
Eleanor contemplated her feelings of boredom and gratitude until she fell asleep again. This time, when she woke, the new room was yellow. The next was purple. Then, red, black, blue, brown, pink, and orange.
Eleanor, using her watch and the small calendar she carried in her purse, kept track of time. In all, she spent ten solitary days on aboard the UFO. Never, during her captivity, did she feel the need to eat or void. She spent the long hours thinking, filing her nails (she was glad she’d had the foresight to bring her purse), napping, and humming to herself.
On the morning of the eleventh day, Eleanor woke to find herself in the office of the local Chief of Police. Eleanor was dismayed by her indiscreet return, having hoped to keep a low profile. The chief was equally as dismayed, but for somewhat different reasons. Eleanor’s supine form had appeared across his desk only moments before his wife stormed into his office hurling accusations of an affair.
There were a few days of small town furor over the entire incident, with the paper and radio wanting interviews, and ufologists from around the country competing for Eleanor’s attention. Truth being the best policy, Eleanor repeated her story without embellishing or dramatizing it in any way, though she always withheld one mortifying detail. Most people who heard the story thought it a lie. Either Eleanor had fabricated the entire abduction experience, or the aliens had somehow altered her memories. There was nothing titillating about Eleanor’s story, nothing to make it newsworthy or even believable.
No witnesses ever came forward to corroborate her story about the flying saucer or the ray of light that had lifted her out of her car at the stop light. It seemed none of the other drivers had seen the UFO or the bright light, though the police chief himself had been the one to find her car in the intersection. Plenty of folks had seen her abandoned car, of course, but that was hardly evidence of aliens.
Three years later, Eleanor and the chief were married in a small civil ceremony and, afterwards, they drove the chief’s sedan to the next town for a weekend honeymoon. That night, the chief gave Eleanor a package. It was about the size of shoebox and wrapped in plain brown paper. He’d attached a sparkly silver bow to the top and she was careful to save that. Inside the box, was her missing left shoe. 

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