Author: Rick Tobin

Cold steel from a small revolver in his sweaty palms gave little comfort to Jack Chase, sitting alone amidst feral wheat still struggling in an abandoned field near his grandfather’s rotting farmhouse, long since left to crumble after the 2024 financial collapse. There was no sacred family ground left for a wandering empath, unfit for a corrupt, war-mongering society. No one would notice a misfit who never managed to find a companion or create children. His hands shook while he closed his eyes, the setting sun behind him providing its warmth, messaging his bare neck a final time as the moist soil pushed chills up his spine.

Jack was unaware of a sudden flash of light behind him, hidden within the sun’s diminishing rays. He thought the whoosh of fresh wind was the empty prairie whispering goodbye. Light footsteps escaped him as his weapon pressed his right temple.

“No, Jack. We can’t have that.” A soft feminine voice surprised him near his left ear as a powerful hand twisted his gun from his grasp. He twisted, resisting, finding large, blues eyes and thick, silky blonde hair filling his view. He froze as his intruder tossed the gun.

“Not today, my love. There is much to live for. We waited for you.”

“Waited?” He mumbled. “You’re a hallucination. I had this once before. Am I dead?”

She smiled, calmly. “Not yet. You don’t remember that night? You tried this before, out in the rocky outcrops of Sedona. Did you die from drugs then?”

Jack rubbed his eyes, and then slapped his face.

“I’m real enough, dear Jack.” She pinched his reddened cheeks. “Get on your feet to meet someone to change your life.”

“Who are you? I don’t remember…not your name.”

“We don’t have names. That is your species’ waste of time. We recognize each other in full awareness. Now pay attention.” She was suddenly insistent. “Here is someone anticipating meeting you.”

Jack obeyed, still stunned at the bizarre events. The tall woman moved aside allowing him a full view of a silvery saucer craft. In front of it, moving toward him was a female teenager, also dressed in a shiny one-piece suit like her companion. The blonde visitor held his arm, urging him forward.

“This is ours…our mating.”

Chase’s knees buckled. Vague memories rose from his depression—many nightmares and hypnogogic dreams watching a child mature under orange skies surrounded by unrecognizable forests. They came irregularly. He would wake covered in a cold sweat, fearing for his sanity.

“She…she can’t be.”

“Oh, indeed, she is. For your comfort, I will introduce her as Oneha, meaning an explorer.”

“Why…I…this is too much!” Jack pushed his hands hard into his throbbing temples.

“Perhaps you’re in shock. Come, Oneha, and meet Jack, your father.” The blonde alien drew Jack closer as Oneha reached out, touching his forehead, providing relief and calm. He looked at her hard in the dimming light, scanning her youthful redhead beauty—a doppelganger for his Irish grandmother Elise.

“Time to get on board, Jack. Things are moving quickly. Earth’s magnetic field is changing drastically. Please come along. You’ll be treated well in your new home.”

“I can’t just…just leave, without…”

“Really,” she replied, smiling. “You were about to do that as we landed. There is nothing here for you.”

Jack turned, staring at the farmhouse ruins. He shuddered, reaching for Oneha’s hand and his tall partner’s arm. They walked swiftly into the craft, then zipped past the atmosphere as the ground below them heaved, swallowing the remains of an abandoned homestead.