Category: Alien Encounters

Doorway to Another World

After a week in the new house, John was finally starting to feel at home. All of his favorite things were unpacked, and he knew where the best grocery store was. As he brushed his teeth and looked out the window at the sunset, all seemed right in the world.

But then he saw the light shining around the door of the shed. Was there even a light in there? He tried to remember. All he could dredge up from the depths of his memory was a dark, empty space where he shoved the lawnmower and rake and such, planning to deal with them later.

“Honey, the light’s on in the shed,” John called over his shoulder.

“There isn’t a light on in the shed,” his wife called back.

“Yes there is. Come and see.”

His wife came in. “You have toothpaste on your shirt.”

John looked down and wiped at his shirt with the side of his hand. “Never mind that, look out the window. We need to go turn the light off in the shed.”

His wife looked out the window. “We don’t need to. There isn’t a light to turn off.”

“Then what’s that? You can see it, right?” John dropped his toothbrush in the sink. “Of course you do. If there’s not a light, maybe someone’s in there with a flash light. Do you think they’re stealing the lawnmower? I’ll get the dog.”

Moments later, John was dragging his unenthusiastic dog towards the shed. “You need to bark or something to scare them, Adams.”

Adams refused to cooperate, and John had to hope that his presence alone would be scary enough for any intruders. He coaxed Adams a little closer and threw open the shed door. He blinked.

“I told you there wasn’t a light on in the shed.” His wife leaned in and looked around. “It doesn’t really need one.”

John found his voice. “What is this?” He looked around. Just beyond his lawnmower and rake and a box of odds and ends, there was a field of soft purple flowers that stretched out to distant blue mountains. Giant bees flitted from flower to flower in the light of the two suns high over head.

Turning around, the newly familiar backyard seemed dark in the twilight compared to the bright sunlight streaming from the shed. Was there a field of flowers in his shed yesterday? How did it even fit in there?

“It’s a doorway to another world.” His wife smiled. “Isn’t it lovely?”

“You knew about this? When did it get here? It wasn’t all sunny and flowery when I put the lawnmower in.”

She laughed. “Of course not. Time works different there. It’s slower. It’s been night there most of the time we’ve lived here. I thought you knew. Isn’t this why we bought the house?”

What? “Of course not. I liked the big yard. Adams needs space to run around. And the living room was just the right height for my tallest bookshelves. I’ve never even heard of doorways to other worlds. What other worlds are there?”

“But we met in that lovely cafe on that world where everyone was purple and only had one eye. The one with the great band?”

John frowned. “I thought it was a costume party, and you and I were the only ones who weren’t in costume.”

“And our third date? Atlantis?”

“I thought it was an interactive aquarium.”

“And when you met my parents?”

John dropped Adams’ leash, and the dog ran back to the house. “You aren’t from this world?”

She laughed. “Neither are you.” She pointed to the horizon.

John turned. There were three moons. Were there always three moons? “Three? That’s not right.”

“It is for here. How did you not notice?”

John looked into the shed, at the flowers and bees and mountains. He closed the door. He looked at the three moons and then turned away. “Let’s go in the house. I guess I’m not very observant. Why don’t you tell me more.”

When they bought the new house, John thought that he was turning a page in his life. But that night, walking into a house that no longer seemed familiar at all, John realized that he didn’t even know what page he was on. Or where the book was. Was there a book?

Life was about to get really interesting. And this time, John would make sure he noticed when it did. Just as soon as he figured out where he was living now.

Secret Passage

Austin was at the library, looking through the history books. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but he was sure he’d know it when he saw it. Whatever it was.

First, he took out a book about the history of flight and flipped through it. Nope. Then, a book about film history. Nope. He spotted a book about the history of pencils. A whole book about pencils? Interesting, but nope.

That was the end of the second shelf. He knelt down to read the titles on the bottom shelf, and walked sideways on his knees as he scanned each one. Just before he reached the end, something hit his arm as he side-walked. Ouch.

He turned, rubbing his arm, and looked down. There was a doorknob attached to the wall. There wasn’t a door, or even an outline for a door, and the doorknob was rather low. How strange.

Austin tried turning the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. It seemed to be locked, which didn’t make any sense. There wasn’t a keyhole, so how could it be locked? Besides, why would you lock the knob when there wasn’t even a door?

Wait a minute. Austin sat back on his heels and looked more closely at the wall. If the knob was locked, maybe there really was a door here after all. If it didn’t need a key, maybe there was a button or a lever somewhere.

Taking the books off the shelf one at a time didn’t work. He made sure to check the knob after each one, and it stayed locked. There was nothing behind the books, either. The wall seemed to be perfectly flat, other than the door knob.

He tried knocking on the wall as though it were a door. He tried tapping different patterns on the wall. He knocked and tapped quietly, of course. After all, this was a library. Nothing seemed to make any difference.

He tried stepping on each inch of carpet within sight of the door, but there were no clicking sounds, and all of the carpet felt the same. The adventure stories made this seem much easier.

What was next? Magic words. That sometimes worked. He really hoped they weren’t in a different language, because he didn’t know very many words in other languages. He counted to ten in Spanish. Nope. He tried random hissing sounds. Nope.

“Open Sesame.” Nope.

“Abracadabra.” Nope.

“You are a very lovely door.” Nope.

Austin sighed. “Please open.” There was a clicking sound. Austin turned the knob and the whole wall slid sideways, leaving an opening next to the bookshelf.

Inside, there was a short, dark hallway that turned sharply. A little light shone from around the corner. Cautiously, Austin stepped inside. If this was a secret passage for polite people, he needed to remember his manners. “Um, thank you?” The door slid shut.

Was that a good thing? Could he open it from the inside? He’d better check before going any further. “Please open.” The door opened. “Thank you.” It closed.

He walked forward and peeked around the corner. The next hallway was even shorter, and ended in a frosted glass door that was lit brightly from the inside. He thought about politeness and knocked quietly at the door.

A little monkey answered the door. He was wearing a suit and hovering in mid-air. This was probably because of his giant wings. Austin was a little surprised, but tried to continue to be polite. “Pardon me,” he said. “I found this secret passage by accident. I was curious.”

“Oh, that’s alright,” the winged monkey said. “You’re welcome to come in.”

“Thank you.” Austin stepped through the doorway.

The room inside looked like a lot of the other reading rooms in the library. It had comfortable chairs and a small window and shelves of books. There were a few other doors that perhaps led to other secret passages.

Unlike the other rooms, there was a large tank of water with a mermaid in it. A unicorn stood by the window. A short green person with one large eye was sitting in one of the chairs.

He briefly looked around at everyone in the room, but didn’t mention how strange they seemed. Politeness was important here, he knew that. So he didn’t say anything and instead walked over to the bookshelves and started looking at the books.

The history of leprechaun gold? Mermaid battles of the last five hundred years? Modern Sphinx riddles? This was more like it!

He pulled out the last book and looked for an empty chair. He found one and sat down. The room was quiet, except for the occasional sound of a page being turned. It was just right. Austin settled in to read. Being polite really paid off. It was almost magical.

Flashback Friday: Unlucky Thursdays

For my first Flashback Friday, I am reposting my favorite of the stories I’ve written. This story was originally posted December 8, 2016. I hope that you like it as much as I do!

Captain Kirpatrick was always unlucky on Thursdays. He insisted that it began when he was eight years old and was cursed by an evil fairy. No one else believed in evil fairies, but the fact remained that Kirpatrick really was unlucky on Thursdays.

He spent his school years being tripped over by bank robbers and accidentally targeted by assassins. He learned extensive first aid after being in a number of car, train, plane, bike, and starship crashes. He was an expert at all the different ways to call for help.

As he grew older, the danger only grew. In order to stay alive, he learned advanced strategy and fighting techniques. He uncovered smuggling plots and terrorist hideouts. He mediated hostage crises and alien invasions.

After he graduated space academy, he flew through the ranks. He was still young when the Space Coalition appointed him Captain of a large spaceship and sent him to patrol the edge of their territory.

Every Thursday they survived yet another crisis and were soon the most decorated ship in the fleet.   One Thursday, Captain Kirpatrick set a course for a nice, empty area of space, far from anything important. This was normal for Thursdays.

As usual, it didn’t work. A large horde of alien spaceships flew in, trying to instigate a stealthy attack.   They weren’t expecting Captain Kirpatrick’s ship. Captain Kirpatrick warned them off and then ordered his crew to fire on the lead ships.

His reputation preceded him. Faced with losing the advantage of surprise and the fearsome Captain Kirpatrick, the enemy retreated. However, this was not the only drama threatening the spaceship’s crew. After Kirpatrick had given the order to fire, his Chief Weapons Officer stood and attempted to shoot the Captain. The Weapons Officer was an enemy spy, of course.

Captain Kirpatrick always wore heavy personal shields on Thursdays.   So, the blast was ineffective.   Just after the enemy fleet retreated, the enemy spy was trussed up and tossed in the brig.

This last victory proved to be the tipping point. Captain Kirpatrick was called home. He began a new career as a high level diplomat. He began to suspect that the Space Coalition leaders were mainly using him as bait.

This suspicion was strengthened when he was given a new assignment one Thursday to meet with a hostile group of rebels in order to mediate a truce.   “Are you certain this is a good idea?” He asked. “It’s Thursday.”

“Precisely,” the Space Coalition President said. “Perfect timing. Do you think you’ll need back up?”

Grand Ambassador Kirpatrick sighed. “I’ll at least need witnesses.”

The Space Coalition President chuckled. “Good thinking.”

Kirpatrick managed to defuse the bomb and rescue the rebel leaders from their mutinous assistant. They were grateful, and the treaty negotiations went smoothly the following day.

“Someday this won’t work as well,” Kirpatrick warned the President. “I really am terribly unlucky on Thursdays.”

“Nonsense,” the President said. “Look how far it’s gotten you. There’s not really good luck or bad luck, you know. It all depends on how you look at things.”

“If you say so,” Grand Ambassador Kirpatrick said.