Lisa picked up the cell-phone the moment it rang but hesitated before she answered. The call came a lot sooner than she expected, she wondered if she did something wrong. Yet, how could she have? She followed every instruction to the letter until she arrived at this small shack in the middle of nowhere.
Pin for Later!
She pressed her thumb on the soft button of the burner phone, the electronic deet almost echoing in the narrow canyon.
“I’m here,” Lisa said, looking all around her. “...hello?”
She waited a second before a buzzy voice finally came through the phone.
“Did you have any difficulty?”
Lisa stepped outside the mining shack and examined the crumbling remains. The years were not kind and despite the canyon hanging over the shack and protecting it from the elements, it could not protect it from time. It was a pain getting into the canyon, let alone finding the shack.
“None. What’s next?” Lisa replied.
“Simply walk into the cave, Lisa. They are waiting for you.”
“Gonna tell me who they are?”
“Don’t worry about it. See you soon.”
Lisa tossed the phone to the side. It was the last one. It had been so many years of this back-and-forth, but she finally reached the end of her journey. The cave held the last secret for her and she didn’t know if she was relieved or anxious. At least she didn’t have to keep looking over her shoulder anymore, just look ahead.
Without any hesitation this time, she marched into the cave.
The orange rocks turned indigo the deeper she went. Lisa appreciated how wide the cave was, glad she didn’t have to stoop under jagged peaks like she used to. It was an easy descent physically and even mentally. Something about the colours and the smooth curves of the cave walls calmed her.
Unlike the other caves, this one didn’t seem like it held a pack of wolves or some imaginary monster. Instead, it looked like the kind of cave one walks through on a pleasant stroll and perhaps finds some ancient treasure at the end.
As the cave became steeper, Lisa placed her hand on the larger rocks, keeping her steady and ready for whatever happened next. She saw a flicker of blue light around the corner at the end bottom of the incline. She wondered if it was a flicker of a flashlight or the flash of a camera. When it happened again, she realised it could not have been that. It was a weaker source, struggling to light, but occasionally managing it.
Something about the tone was familiar, then her mind made the connection and Lisa rushed down the slope.
Turning the corner, she saw the metallic structure peaking through the orange rock. It had been cut into, the contents of the inside revealing themselves in their terrifying beauty. An array of pods, all active and humming. The flickering of blue light occasionally frames a silhouette of the contents, a tall creature, humanoid, but certainly not human.
It was the last ship. Of the five that crashed on earth, it was the one that seemed to have fared the best. Unlike the first and second, it was not destroyed on impact, and unlike the third and fourth, the contents of the ship weren’t destroyed by fire.
“It landed in the ocean,” an old voice explained. Lisa lowered her eyes to the old man, who rested on a cane as well as a plastic lawn chair. “Of course, that was many years ago. Despite its appearance, I wager it was a precursor to the other landings...or crashes, I should say. Water kept it mostly intact on the outside, the inside was perfectly preserved.”
Lisa stepped slowly from the cave into the spaceship, joining the old man. Another lawn chair waited for her and she almost didn’t sit in it, but then realised the old man must have brought it down for her and sat down.
“My name is Alan,” the old man told Lisa. “I found them when I was only seven, and despite being a poor liar, I kept it secret all these years. I tried especially hard when the first ship was discovered and people were desperately hunting for them.”
“Like me,” Lisa said in barely a whisper.
“Like you, although I didn’t know you when all that began. However, I learned about you when you were one of the last people who still cared. The last person that could still be trusted. I don’t need to tell you that this ship, being the most intact, is certainly the most valuable.”
Their chairs were angled towards one pad, giving them a full view of an alien. To Lisa, it was like looking at an elongated man missing all his skin. The muscles were clear, every fibre of them. The bone structure changed around the head, but only slightly. The eyes were smaller than human eyes, the mouth as well, yet, the jaw and cranium were elongated and straight, like an overly masculine skull.
“They look old,” Lisa murmured. “Yet, strong. A lot better held together than you or me.”
“Thank you very much.”
Lisa couldn't help but smile. Alan seemed nowhere near as sinister as she expected when she got the first call.
"Have you thought of a name for them?" Lisa asked.
"They've already been given a name," Alan replied. "The uptight lab-coats, no offence, have named them 'Cosmonians', a ridiculous name."
"I agree, but seeing as you are the only one to have found one intact, more than some small cluster of cells, you should have the right to name them."
"I will have to think about that. I simply call them Parents.”
“Taller, more mature looking...no doubt wiser, smarter. When I was so young I called them as such, as if they were adult humans. Yet, as I got older, the name still seemed to fit.”
Lisa looked at Alan seriously.
“Why me?” Lisa asked. “Even if I was one of the few who cared enough to keep looking, you could have kept this secret your whole life or taken it to the public, but you didn’t.”
Alan returned the look.
“Do you want to make this public? Get rich and famous?”
“That’s why I told you. You just wanted to know.”
Lisa nodded, not getting Alan’s romantic idea of extraterrestrial knowledge, but not questioning it either. It was enough for her to be as close as she was to an alien. To be struck with terror and awe at the same time. What bothered her now was the flickering of the neon blue lights.
“How long have the lights been flickering?” Lisa asked.
“A month now,” Alan murmured, as unhappy about it as Lisa. “That’s why I had to rush you to get here, enough tests.”
“I appreciate it...I’m happy to see them before they...well…”
Alan shook his head.
“They won’t die. The ship recharges when in space. I wanted to invite you to join me for one last trip into space.”