Author : Tino Didriksen
The crying boy slunk down by the obelisk. “Everyone says you listen at these stones”, he whispered, “so if you really do exist, please take me away from here.”
To his surprise, the aliens whispered back, “why do you wish to fly amongst the stars, young one?”
“I tripped over my own shoelaces and everyone laughed at me, even my best friend Pete”, he sobbed. “You’re supposed to take people away who really want it, right? Well, I really want to go into space, away from everyone!”
“Those who can hear us, we allow that choice”, said the aliens, “but you are not yet able to make an informed decision. Remember us quietly, and come back when you are ready. Now go, your parents are getting worried.”
The young man hesitantly touched his hand to the obelisk. “Are you still here, or were you a figment of my imagination?”, he asked.
“We are still here. We are always here.”, the aliens replied. “You have come of age. Are you here with purpose in your heart?”
“Yes, but not for going with you just yet”, he sighed. “I got accepted to the finest university in the region, and started to wonder if a particular childhood fantasy really was one. No, I will first make my mark on the world, then return to dance amongst the stars.”
The middle-aged man hammered his fists on the obelisk. “Take me away from this blasted place”, he muttered. “The greedy bastards stole my invention, my chance to reach the stars in my own time, and locked me out of the program. I can’t take this corrupt world any longer. Let me walk amongst the stars…”
“We will do so if you are certain”, said the aliens, “but are you truly ready to depart, or are you blinded by anger? Do you count your children, your wife, in the corruption? Do you wish to disappear and let them forever wonder where you went?”
“I…”, the man stammered, “I, no…no, of course not. But it was within reach! A few more years, and the skip drive would have launched us out of this system”. He sighed heavily. “You are right, I will not abandon my family. Farewell, for now.”
The old man leaned heavily against the obelisk. “It is time”, he stated, “and you won’t talk me out of it today.”
“Our offer stands”, came the always steady voice of the aliens. “If you are of one mind, we will whisk you away to be amongst the stars.”
“Yeah yeah, I am of my own singular sound mind”, he scoffed. “I am old. My children are grown with families of their own, my wife long passed away, oh and I have several incurable age related ailments. If there was ever a time to fly away, this is it.”
“You will vanish”, the aliens warned, “and nobody will know where you went. Any hints of our involvement will be erased. Do you agree to our terms?”
On the dresser in the old man’s bedroom, a lamp shorted and caught fire. The automated suppression malfunctioned, causing only the airtight door to close, but leaving the window open. The man’s carefully hidden journal vaporized into the night in a superheated blaze, along with everything else in the room.