Maura felt a sharp pain in her forehead and struggled to open her eyes. She found herself strapped to a cold metal bed, naked, with the smell of formaldehyde stinging her nostrils. There were no distinguishing features about the room other than her, on the bed, under a bright light that seemed to emanate from the ceiling. There were grooved ridges along the walls that were probably hiding doors and equipment receptacles.
Maura’s throat felt rough, as if she’d been screaming – or instruments or tubes had abraded it. Another pulse in her frontal lobe and she cried out with pain. A whooshing sound was heard behind her, where her eyes couldn’t go. Sliding into her peripheral vision was something humanoid and a dull grey color, but aside from its shape in no way resembled a human. There were dark almond shapes where our eyes would be, but no nose or mouth. One of its arms and long-fingered hands reached out and laid itself on her forehead. She felt a warmness then the pain went away. At the same time a thought came to her that said, “It’s time for us to go.”
The humanoid’s hands undid the straps from her forehead and torso, then it helped her sit up. Maura felt dizzy and nauseous and needed to wretch. The creature laid a hand on her back, which grew warm and the nausea ended. It then walked to the wall and touched a groove, which opened a cupboard where coarse sack garments were folded and pulled one out. It handed the garment to her and a thought came, “We must hurry.” Maura slid the sack dress over her head and gingerly slid off of the gurney; her knees buckled but the creature held her up with an arm around her waist. Together they walked to the wall where, instead of a door, a wavering yellow light, bright as July at noon, glowed. The two of them stepped through, not into a hospital or research lab or space ship – but a cave.
The ceiling had to be a hundred feet or more high and five times as long, with stalactites looking like giant icicles hanging from the roof and even forming columns. It appeared to be an underground lake where the water was dark and showed no life forms. The cave was made of a dark stone; in places it looked like light was coming through parts of the ceiling. A small boat was pulled up on a ledge; the creature led Maura to it and soon they were floating in the water. The creature navigated with a long flexible pole; she estimated the water was ten feet deep. A thought came to her, “You were scheduled for today’s dissection by our research team, but you will live. I want you to take a good look at this cave and bring your vision back to your people. It is important that they understand this place is their only hope for survival.”
“Where are we, and where are you from?,” Maura asked aloud.
“You’re home, and I am from far away. I’m descended from a hero of yours from millennia ago who fell in love with one of my people. My ancestors were killed for the violation but somehow their child lived. I’m mostly non-Earthling, but there is small part of me who wants to see my human ancestors survive. Today was your lucky day, as you will be counted as a mystery disappearance and soon forgotten. You must understand, my human sister, that you are humankind’s ONLY hope at this point.”
The creature reached out a hand and laid it on Maura’s forehead and she went unconscious.
She awoke at the edge of an ocean.
Sadje is the host of What Do You See?
Image credit; Pinterest