“Doctor, doctor!!” Hearing those loud screams is just my new normal now. Throughout these four long months, I gasped whenever I heard someone saying the word in a hurry. Since the only survivor fifty years back did not leave me with any clues, I have fallen into a deep hole searching for answers.
This reminds me that one day four months ago, I was sitting in my living room sipping some tea with my dear wife, talking about the new friends she met at her sewing class. She was beyond delighted to meet a few “normal people,” as she would say, apart from me, the Science guy. What would she be doing now? Is she watching her favorite movie? Well, I hope she might remember me from time to time too.
Just after one phone conversation, my whole life had a significant pivot point that brought me here to this planet, 838G, to check on all the mysterious things that have been occurring. At least two or three more patients come by every single day with the common symptom of hallucinating. Some witness scenarios which they believe are the future. Some see themselves as animals, and some even attempt suicide to get away with what they see. No matter how hard we try, we have still been unable to convince our patients that they do not know the truth or that what they see will not happen. I’ve spent days reading reports from fifty years ago to check what places the colonists did their expeditions. After failing to discover any new medication to treat these colonists, a couple of weeks back, a team with three others started our expedition.
So far, we have nothing. I don’t know what we are doing wrong, but we still need something. Today’s the sixth day of our so-called expedition. “Doctor Jones, we are ready. Let’s go downstairs for breakfast”, William, one of my team members, called. Mrs. Mary, our housekeeper and one of our colonists here, has prepared us breakfast with a warm latte. “Mrs. Mary, today we might not come for lunch; we have a long way to go. Would you be okay to pack something for us to take along?” Bruce, my second team member, asked. Mrs. Mary nodded and sped up her feet to run to the kitchen. William started talking first. “Remember the member who survived?”. “Yeah, so what about him?” asks Trainor. “So he told us not to explore everywhere, but he never mentioned the places they did not explore. What happens if we actually go somewhere dangerous? What are we gonna do then?”. Everybody turned to me. I was startled but somehow managed to spit a few words out. “Well, yes, but isn’t that a given that we are here doing something dangerous.? We don’t know where we are going or what we are expecting. It could even be an alien!” I said, laughing. Then the other three started laughing and making jokes. “Oh, then we could find a beautiful alien for me; my charms don’t seem to be working on these human ladies,” said Trainor. All of us burst out, and Mrs. Mary joined too. She brought a few boxes filled with snacks and fruits for us. Stuffing everything into our backpacks, we started our journey.
It was dark outside when we started. We ran through the map once again and started heading south. The sand was annoying, as usual, with the dusty wind. The atmosphere did not look healthy either. We got a few samples of different-looking sand and some things that looked like plants. Collecting items is fun until it becomes another burden to carry along the way. So far, we have never actually encountered anything alive. Be it an animal or a plant, we never saw a glimpse. It was always rocks and sand. Bruce is our most muscular guy who is a gym freak as well. He often gets teased by the other guys for being a woman-pleaser. Yet, he will be our number one guy to carry things. Then there are my two runners who run here and there collecting samples. Sometimes these two are a couple of curious kids from high school. I feel so young to be with these youngsters, remembering the younger me.
After four to five hours of walking, it was time to get something into our stomachs. Four of us sat down and opened our boxes. The guys were already hungry, and their eyes shone when I opened the boxes. “I guess we saw many more different kinds of things than what we usually see,” that was William. “While marking the map, this looks like a very abandoned place which makes me a bit nervous wondering if this was one of the places that was not meant to be explored,” said Trainor. “Hmm.. might be really dangerous too, though. But you know, some of these colonists still believe that they are haunted by ghosts. What a joke! Then imagine how people on Earth should be hallucinating with all the bad deeds they have done and even continue to do now”, Bruce spoke up. I nodded and said, “exactly, Bruce, that’s why I’m always saying that there should be a scientific and logical explanation to all this without these stupid stories.” We finished all our food and stood up for a walk for the next four to five hours before going home.
After walking for a while, suddenly, I felt like someone was watching us. I looked around, but no one was there to be seen. I thought it stuck in my mind; maybe I was hallucinating too. I did not need to tell others about this since it meant nothing. “Hey! Who’s there?” Suddenly, we all turned to see why William was shouting. It was a faint jade light that was blinking. We all looked and were confused about what this suspicious thing was. I suddenly heard a loud thudding. I could not figure out whether it was my own heartbeat or some machine. We quickly lay down on the ground and tried to understand what was happening. A distant chatter was heard between two or more beings, or maybe creatures because they definitely weren’t human. We might have stayed there for about half an hour that way, and these creatures.
I opened my eyes to a small cubicle where Bruce and Trainor were sleeping on two beds, and William was laughing alone. All of us were wearing red gowns, and my head was still dizzy. I tried recalling what happened, to remember a jade smoke around me and someone big lifting me up. I tried talking to William, but all he seemed to do was laugh loudly and bark like a dog, and neither Bruce nor Trainor seemed to wake up. Then I saw one side of this cubicle sliding to the side and four creatures floating inside. They were not even walking, just floating. “Who are you? What have you done to us?” I screamed with all my might. A band they had on their neck started blinking while they were watching me shout. They were chatting in another language I had never heard before, and the neckbands blinked again. I then realized that these bands were translators. “Hello, we are MeeKawlings! What are you doing on our planet? Have you not learned the lesson yet?” the bands threatened.
William jumped from his bed to these creatures, and within a few seconds, all I saw was him falling down dead. I was shivering already; I knew I had to escape from here somehow, but I could not resist this smoke coming out of nowhere, and I knew my eyes were gonna shut. I opened my eyes again to see that I was alone now. I got down from the bed with blurred vision. No matter how hard I banged on the doors, the doors did not open. In the room across, I saw Bruce running around, so I shouted at him, but he did not hear me. Without any hope, I returned to my bed and stared at the empty walls around me. I lifted my head to see a few creatures staring at me through the glass door. “Get me out, you morons! Let me go! Let others go!” I could not resist but scream. I swear I saw them smirking at me. Days passed, and I woke up with a dizzy head every day and food; I got an injection every morning, which made me never hungry nor need to use the bathroom. They are probably using me as a lab rat at this point, and I was worried since I never saw either Bruce or Trainor after that.
One day, I heard a little giggle outside. I lay low and peeped out to see what was out there. I was amazed to see what that was. “Good heavens!” I spoke out under my breath without even knowing. There was a little creature just like the others but smaller, which seemed to be like a child of these particular beings. Fortunately, he could open my sliding door, I quickly grabbed him and grabbed his neckband, which startled him, but he could not scream. I pushed it inside the room and ran away with the neckband in my hand. I hid in a corner where I found some helmets with oxygen, and I stole two of them. Suddenly this spaceship (I believe it is one) started making a loud noise as it was going to land.
I could not explain the feeling I was feeling. The ship landed after about an hour, and almost all the walls of it opened to the ground. It was dark, so I did not recognize where I was but escaping from there was the only thing I had in mind. So I ran. I ran as fast as I could until I could not move again. One of the oxygen helmets had already run out of oxygen, so I just dropped it. I must have been unconscious for a long while, and now I am hungry too. I knew I had to run. I didn’t have any way to figure out how long I was running, but it should have been approximately two or three days because I knew I would not survive long without food. A familiar sight was in front of me now, our laboratory. I was unsure if I was seeing or hallucinating it, yet I decided to ask for help. “Help me…” was not a scream but a faint cry of a lost soul begging for his life.
A few men came running towards me screaming, “Oh my god, that’s Doctor Jones!” when my legs could not endure anymore, I was fainting. I felt like I was being carried away, and the only thing I had in my mind was the warm coffee my wife made. Will I ever be able to see you again? Will we ever be able to sip some coffee and laugh again?