Friday’s Story #13
This Story is part of an ongoing series that I thought of recently. It is just a part of a bigger piece which I have started to put together in the last few weeks.
By Keith Wilcox
Andrew climbed into bed at his dad’s request even though he really wasn’t tired and wanted to keep playing. “Do I have to?” He whined.
“Yes, you have to. It’s almost midnight. Your birthday is tomorrow and you need to be fresh.”
Andrew reluctantly climbed into bed and pulled the sheets over himself. His dad stayed and waited for him to get comfortable. Then his dad started to tell him a story. It was one that Andrew had heard dozens of times before. It was the one about the spaceship that crashed into a strange planet by accident and couldn’t return home. The crew had to improvise an existence with no hope of rescue. It was Andrew’s favorite story, because it went on forever. There was no end. Every few days his dad would tell him about another day in the life of the stranded crew. Today’s story was especially interesting because his dad was telling him about how the crew managed to find the new world inhabited and how they were able to disguise themselves so as not to reveal themselves to the population. The adventure and intrigue in the story was always fresh and it was always captivating. He never wanted his dad to stop telling it. His dad was really into the story tonight. He waved his hands around in the air as he described the many failed attempts the crew had at learning an alien culture and language. He sounded almost exasperated. He stared at Andrew with loving and with probing eyes. It made Andrew sit up and listen more carefully.
“And this crew, on this alien world, lived among the natives for many years.” His dad got a squinty look in his eyes as he told it. Andrew felt like he was asking him a question. “They attended church services, played sports, went to work, had families, and grew old.” This was a twist on the story that Andrew was not expecting. And then came the kicker. “This spaceship crew, when they settled among the natives, lived close together. They lived in the same neighborhood together.” His dad stopped gesticulating and put his hands on his lap. “These dozen or so families had kids, and their kids had kids. Several generations passed.” And then his dad got quiet and whispered, “We are one of those families.” Andrew got an instant case of the shivers. It’s one thing to be told an adventurous story. It’s entirely different to be told an adventurous story that you were unwittingly a part of. He didn’t believe his dad because nobody would believe such a story. His dad looked at him with a very serious look on his face, and Andrew eventually whispered back. “Is it true?”
“Yes” was all his father said, and when Andrews eyes got big and he realized that his father wasn’t joking he got scared. That was when his father leaned over to him and quietly said. “Now sleep,” and he gently sprayed a mist, from a small bottle that he had been concealing, into Andrew’s face. Andrew was asleep in seconds. His father went downstairs to prepare for when his son woke up. He needed to prepare The Ritual. All the neighbors would come. It was a big deal in the neighborhood whenever there was going to be a rite of passage. Andrew was going to be 7. It was a good age to be an alien.