Friday, 11 November 2011

Welcome to my Dreamworld ...

I looked up at the sky. Barely visible, but constantly growing closer, one could just make out the shapes of crude snowflakes. These weren’t your round of the mill snowflakes. The ones you love watching sailing down. The ones that feel cold and wet when one lands on your cheek or nose. These were gun metal grey and polished silver. These snowflakes were manufactured somewhere human kind has not yet been, out of alloys we have not yet discovered. These snowflake shaped machines had a different kind at their controls. And they were coming, in the thousands.

There are moments in history that burn into your life with the power of a brightest star. Some of these are very personal, like your wedding day or the birth of your child. Some are shared with millions across the globe. Like the first moon landing, or the en mass arrival of out of space visitors. But for the life of me, I cannot recall where the news of the latter has reached me. I just don’t know. All I know, one day I looked up at the sky and there they were. What’s even more puzzling, I knew WHAT they were.

As the days wore on the government was losing it’s control over it’s people. All communication attempts with the visitors thus far have proven futile, yet there were no classical signs of aggression. Their extremely slow but steady approach of our planet seemed more like a very cautious approach rather then an invasion. At first humanity looked up in awe and with great expectations of things to come once our slow moving visitors arrived, but the closer that day drew, the stronger feelings of panic and uncertainty were detectable in the general mood of the crowds. Even the “Welcome to Earth Society” could not muster half the numbers required for their weekly meets, despite lucrative incentives financed by those who donated their worldly possessions in anticipation of being accepted into the visitor’s un-materialistic society. Things were bad.

And then came the day the giant snowflakes reached their goal. The advance has stopped and the giant spaceships hung low above the roofs of our houses casting shadows on everything beneath them. They no longer reminded me of wondrous spectacle of winter. They were more like birds of pray hovering over our heads, ready to strike. Waiting for the right moment to unleash hell on Earth. Our planet was held hostage in a silent metallic net. The air traffic ceased. There were report of helicopters and military planes crashing into the hulls of our visitors and falling back to earth in a rain of debris. There were reports of armed military strikes and rumours of nukes launched in secret, isolated locations, all with the same result. We were not capable in. Having exhausted all our attempts at communications and defence humanity waited and giant structures hung above us is silence.

Slowly life continued. We went to work. We sent our kids to schools. Scientists worked feverishly on new ways to open communication channels. The more brave enjoyed coffees and dined al fresco. Everyone had their own ideas. A new shift in general consensus was beginning to emerge. Surely they were just as curious and non-violent as us? Surely, being obviously superior they have already dealt with the pesky population of our blue planet if they wanted to? People started to relax. Politicians changed their tunes on daily basis. After three months of silent occupation life on earth went almost back to normal. Almost. Who cares about air travel, when we were just about to embark on the most exciting journey in the history of humanity?

So we went about our daily lives and we waited for the next step. In fact, we were so busy looking out for it, no one noticed it. It’s hard to say when the disappearances started. The world was in such chaos, no one got surprised anymore when one of our colleagues seemed to take off seeking a life closer or further from the visitors. Especially since most of them found their way back to their lives and did not seem to be concerned by their own disappearances. And the few who did try to raise an alarm were dismissed by the masses as hysterical and anti-visitor. Their voices fading away.

It took me a long time to allow myself to notice. I remember my work colleague going sneaking out for a smoko, returning in two days, still wearing the same clothes, smelling of fresh cigarette smoke. He took the date change on his calendar in his stride, similarly to his two day facial hair and our puzzled looks. And after a couple of hushed conversations in the staff canteen, so did we. After all, he wasn’t concerned, it must have been an urgent family matter. Let’s afford our co-worker the privacy we would expect. It was a string of these incidents, greatly spaced out mind you, that finally made me admit to myself something is definitely amiss. Thinking back, I think everyone around me had the same hunch, but we all kept it to ourselves. After all, it was gigantically uncool to be ‘anti visitor’.

Having once gone through the process of realisation, it was hard for me to go back. I started paying attention to the length of my fingernails in the mornings. I took note of moisture in my pot-plant’s soil. Even the greasiness in my hair. Anything to give me an anchor in time. To allow me the luxury of knowing. And I lived in fear. Waiting my turn. Wondering if I’ll be back. Scared.

It was bright. That’s the first thing I remember noticing. It was very bright. I was sitting at a metal desk in the middle of a very well lit room. For a moment I couldn’t see much. My disorientation extended beyond my surroundings. I realised, I had no idea of where I was before this. I didn’t know what day it was, what time. Instinctively I looked down at my nails. They looked normal to me, but I could not remember their length at last check. My carefully laid out plan to outsmart them seemed to fall apart. Then I realised, this probably happened to everyone who’s been up here. At least I assumed I was up in the sky, in one of the steel snowflakes. I had no recollection of getting here. After a while I gave up trying and decided to pay attention to my surroundings instead. I was sitting at a crude metal desk on a metal chair. It didn’t feel cold. There was nothing within three meters of my desk and then there they were! A whole crowd of them. My eyes growing accustomed to the light, I could make out each shape. They were very much like us. I noticed a though race through my mind “ so all the science fictions were right” and automatically thought it was silly. But they were like us.

As my vision got better, I started noticing the differences between our people. They looked odd. Slightly out of shape. Like the work of a sculptor who hasn’t quite mastered the human proportions yet. That’s it! They looked like sculptures. My train of though was leading me to another realisation. They weren’t what I’d call organic. They were sculptured! I concentrated on the face of the one closest to me. After much deliberation, which probably took only a second in real time, my brain decided his face was sculpted out of some sort of resin or plastic. Except … to my horror I realised he had human ears. It looked as if they were grafted into his frame surgically. I didn’t want to think about where they came from, but slowly my mind started wondering what other human parts are popular amongst my hosts. Then one of the spoke and I was relieved to be shaken out of my thoughts.

I don’t remember what he said, but I suddenly knew. They had to adapt. The ears were a necessity to communicate with us. To learn our speech. They always spoke your tongue. The ears allowed them to listen and learn. And they talked to me. They talked at length. And I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I did absorb most of the meaning, constantly puzzled at the process of knowledge osmosis taking place. And then, as if directed to do so, I pulled out an plastic object from my pocket. I threw it at their feet and watched. The object seemed to come alive, the plastic melting and pulling on itself. One of my hosts got closer to it, and the plastic melted into his body, becoming a part of him.

And then I understood the slow approach. The distance of the hovering crafts. The distance between myself and them. The need for the metal desk I was sitting at. I understood this wasn’t an invasion. This was an accidental takeover. They needed our help. They needed our plastic wares of all things possible, and down there, no one has guessed it. I also knew another thing. Us
tree huggers, living our organic lives had nothing to worry about.

And then I woke up in my bed, next to my gently snoring husband. And I forgot to check my nails.

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