It had been a hot day.
Now, finally dark, he lay in the cool grass staring up at a cloudless star-spotted sky, wondering.
Saturday’s were often marked by science fiction movies. Today, The Day the Earth Stood Still had shown. A favorite.
He’s ready should a shooting star be something more sentient.
“Klaatu barada nikto.”
He folds the phrase over and over in his head, hoping with his heart for the opportunity to use it.
Just this week Life magazine had a story with illustrations about UFOs others claimed to have seen. They were popping out of the skies everywhere, but here.
He’d hammered together a crude rectangular box rigged with wires, colored lights powered with dry cell batteries his dad brought from work. Making the final connection, he turned the lights on and off.
A signal. Beckoning to whatever, whomever was up there. Out there.
At least that’s how he hoped it would come across. An invitation to land here on this cooling midsummer night in this Midwestern town in the middle of nothing exceptional in this grassy half-acre of green darkness punctuated by one small boy-shaped longing.
His cousin claimed to have seen a UFO once. He said he was with a girl sitting by the pond near his house. The silver saucer hovered over the pond creating a reflection on the calm surface.
“What did you do”? the boy asked.
“I ran,” the cousin replied.
“What about the girl?”
“I left her there.”
That’s as much of the story as the cousin would tell. The boy didn’t totally buy it. He could imagine running away from a girl, but not from a floating alien saucer only feet away.
“Come down,” his mind reached out as he flicked his crude signaling device on and off in random sequences.
It was late. Coming outside after dark was a rarity, but his parents let him go now and then. As long as he stayed in the yard.
“What’s he doing out there?” his dad queried out loud, watching the late news.
“I don’t know,” answered his mother. “He took out that contraption he made with those batteries you brought him. We’ll call him in in a few minutes.”
The dark sentinel trees rose up on one side. A hill topped by houses with windows lit like questioning eyes rose up on the other.
Above him, stars and stars and more stars.
There! A comet! Or a meteor! Or, just maybe, them!
He’d recently read a book where a boy had been taken to Mars and was befriended by small, round furry creatures. How cool, he thought. Me!
He felt the grass growing damp around him and knew he’d have to go in soon.
A light! A very bright light shone all around him!
A force lifted him, higher and higher! It was happening.
They had come for him.
The next morning, he awoke in his own bed, amazed he was back so soon.
“Klaatu barada nikto,” he whispered.
* It’s flash fiction Friday! (To learn more about FFF, click here and scroll down.)
Flash fiction is nothing more or less than a very, very short short story.
This one is 500 words. What do you think? Have you ever imagined going into space? Do you believe in UFOs? Have you seen one? Share your thoughts in the comments!