On Vacation

The yellow sun warmed their pinkish skin, made the vascular structures more efficient, and cleaned their bodies more rapidly. In short, it gave them vigor, vim, and better health. After only a short time their went off into isolated locations, behind the sprouting bushes, around the huge stalks of plants that towered over them, and cleared themselves of the poisons and dead cells that their bodies had gathered.

Once again they returned to the gathering of their types, spreading themselves across the hardened chunks of planetary surface barren of growth, but not of heat. And as they sprawled out their limbs became extremely limp, weakened by the very relaxation that they sought, even cherished. The relaxation of their muscles was so enticing, so encompassing, that they were soon sleeping, passing mere wisps of air as their lungs barely moved their bodies as they expanded and collapsed.

Yet even in their slumber they were very aware of their surroundings. You don’t get to live for hundreds of years without being cautious. At one time their bodies themselves could warn them of approaching danger, but now they relied on their technology. The purring alarm became louder, then more harsh with sounds that were short and surprising. The sleeping ceases and eyes flicked open, then closed rapidly as the sun nearly burned their retinas. Lids closed instantly, preserving their sense of sight and saving them from incredible pain.

Something had entered their perimeter. It had penetrated so quickly that the alarm was nearly falling off of a nearby rock, shouting for all it was worth. While the bodies sought to turn over, it continued it’s harangue, spreading it’s warning louder and in all directions and into increasing distances.

Finally the cacophony was stopped. An arm rolled out and silenced the now useless warning by covering the switch with the extension of a limb. Ears that had been fouled with severe noise now were deafened, filled with a ringing left over from their protective systems. While their hearing would return, it would take several moments for their organs to recover completely.

Further away several visitors crouched in fear, the noise having scared them equally as much as it had the possessors of the device. At first it had been a gentle, almost massaging cooing in their ears, beckoning them closer, directing them towards it’s location. But it became so loud that it echoed between the trees, softened only when they crouched and the bushes absorbed its cries of alarm.

Then it stopped. By then they had come close enough to know where they were heading and had almost gotten there before the noise began frightening them. They stopped quickly, then slowly they stood once again and tried to peer over the taller bushes.

“Should we continue?” a man asked, his patterned shirt opened to expose his hairy chest. His pants were clean and had a sharp crease in the front of them, barely letting them bend with his knees. He stood the tallest and could see over the bushes in front of them. he reached up and straightened up the thick and dark frames of his glasses. The lenses almost sparkled as they caught a ray of the sun, There were no blurring fingerprints on either piece of glass. He liked the thick frame for that reason alone, to keep his thick fingers from causing a blurry smear.

“Can you see anything James?” another asked. He was a short man who kept straining to see over the bush, but it was far out of his reach. His legs were short, much stouter than the taller man, and necessarily so. Just above his hips was a large expanse of stomach that completely hid his belt by overlapping it. His shirt was also patterned, but with larger stripes that spread out even wider as they went around the roundness hidden underneath the shirt. After a few stands on his toes his breath became louder, puffing out as he sought to get more breath, air into his lungs.

“Yes! Yes! There they are!” James whispered loudly to the rest of the crowd. At least five of them gasped loudly. They looked at each other for reactions to the news.

“What do they look like?” a woman asked while nearly jumping to see over the bushes. “Are they silver?” she asked excitedly. James straightened his glasses that she had knocked crooked while leaping into the air and bumping him repeatedly.

“I don’t want to see them.” another said, still crouching slightly. His hands shook as he put them together and rubbed them gently. He ran one over the other nervously, then switched and rubbed the over. “No, I don’t think we should bother them.” he added. His legs quivered as they emerged out of the ends of his shorts. Getting the better of his efforts not to show his fear, they also swayed as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other repeatedly. “No sir, I think we should run.” His voice had become weak and thin. It was nearly inaudible, but no one was listening to it anyway.

“Oh boy! Let’s go see ‘em” a tall boy said while jumping up and down but still couldn’t see beyond the foliage.  He ducked to see around the fat man, stepped sideways to get around the inquisitive lady who wanted to know beforehand what the aliens looked like, and leaned over sideways until he nearly fell over. But he was careful not to get out from behind the adults and expose himself to what he thought could be fatal. He didn’t believe that all aliens were hostile anymore, he had read enough to know that they might be just as likely peaceful. Still, he didn’t want to be the first to get seen by the visitors either. That was for adults to do.

“Well, they’re here. We might as well see them.”  a voice heard from behind the front row. Like the tall boy, he also stayed well behind the tall man and the fatter man. He sounded confident from behind them though. “I can’t wait to find out what they look like.” He stated loudly, perhaps loud enough to hide the quiver in his voice, at least he hoped so. The leaping woman faced him, grabbing his shoulders and threatening to shake him with her own excitement.

Finally the tall man had made his decision, he moved sideways around the bushes and stepped forward, his eyes searching ahead just as warily as the teenaged boy and the rest of the nervous group. They stepped together almost in unison, striding with their chosen leader, but with shorter steps.

The trees became less frequent and they could see across the less covered area, an opening where the bushes were fewer and the rocks emerged as the landscape. It was nearer the side of the hill where they had spotted the strange white obelisk that hadn’t been there last night when they moved inside to play cards.

They could see it once again, noting that it wasn’t so tall as they expected a spaceship to be, but still looked very foreign amongst the trees higher above the clearing. While they were looking at it the aliens themselves were hidden by a dip in the land. It began to tower over them as they approached it, catching their attention as they nearly stumbled right into the aliens, still basking in the sun.

They all gasped together as they stood mere yards from the four aliens who were still sprawled out across the rocks. Each one of them were lying across one of the flat rocks. Only smaller rocks were between those chosen for sun bathing, while a few short bushes attempted to grow out from under the rocks.

No one spoke for several minutes. The jaws of the new visitors hung open in awe. As they walked into the open space they spread out so that each of them could see what the other was gaping at. They quickly formed a line of shocked faces.

“They’re naked.” exclaimed the thin teenager. He was almost walking in place with his excitement mounting. He brought his hands up to his face, one holding the other back from touching the nearest alien. His feet began raising a small cloud of dust with their shuffling. “Wow. Wow.” He kept repeating.

A head slowly lifted from the rock, looking over at the crowd lined up next to him. His eyes blinked while adjusting to the light reflecting off other rocks in the area. He blinked once more and then his eyes opened fully to take in the new visitors.

“Wel-come.” he spoke in single syllables. “It is nice to see you pe-ple.” was the next effort to speak. Meanwhile the other aliens began rolling up their heads from the rock also, turning their necks and also peering at the visitors. One struggled harder and rose up to put his elbow down and held his shoulder up to make it easier to take in all of them at once, and at the correct angle.

“Holy Cow. Holy Cow!” the boy spoke repeatedly. Despite his wonder he stepped back slightly, then shuffled forward again to regain his view. “Oh wow.” He tried to make a sentence unsuccessfully.

“Ah, welcome.” The tall man hesitated, then spoke at the closest alien. “We are Earthlings.” He said, then regretted how stupid it had sounded. “Um, we live here.” He tried again, “That is, we are vacationing nearby, down the hill some, in what’s called a mobile home park.” He rambled a little to make up for his lack of ability to speak earlier.

“We are visitors. I assume that you are also since you live in mobile homes?” the alien asked in very close to perfect, but slightly halting English. He raised himself to an elbow as most of the other aliens had also. One had dropped a long leg over the side of his rock and was attempting to sit up. His spidery arm was still too weak and he couldn’t quite achieve the position. It vibrated slightly while his muscles grew stronger, making up for the relaxation that the sun had caused.

“Ah, yes. Um, we do live below, but only temporarily.” The spokesman for the Earthmen answered. Realizing his mistake he continued. “These are not our permanent homes. We live elsewhere.” He spoke in short sentences to match the alien as well as to make it easier for it to understand.

“Yes, we understand. We also live elsewhere. We are vacationing here as well.” He raised the corners in a smile that was common to either group of visitors. It was nearly as universal as the commonality of their bodies. The group of humans all smiled, except for the nervous man who feared that he would have to run for a bush to relieve himself soon.

“Are you staying?” James asked the alien. All of them were now sitting on their rocks, their feet resting on the ground with their long limbs bent at the knees. Those on the shorter rocks nearly had their knees in their faces as their legs were much too long to fit within the height of the stones. They spread their knees apart, exposing their genital regions with no embarrassment. The sole lady gasped even though there wasn’t much there to shock her. It was clear that they were just as varied as the humans had they been exposed. None of these aliens happened to be females, assuming that they would look like human females.

“Oh no,” he seemed a little startled. “Have I misunderstood the meaning of ‘visitor’?  We have no intention of civilizing your planet.” He was obviously nervous, his fingers playing over the edge of the rock on either side of his seated body. It was a very human gesture that amused the thin man.

Suddenly James was also nervous. His hand rose to his mouth, covering it suddenly. The thought that these aliens might want to conquer his planet had been suppressed in his excitement to meet the new visitors. “No, we don’t either. That is, we didn’t expect you to conquer us either.” He stammered then was nervously silent.

“Relax friends. We are only here as visitors. We came here only to relax, vacation.” He stood then, making the situation even more heightened in fear. As a group the humans stepped back, with the exception of the teenaged boy. Standing his ground the others soon backed around him, leaving him to face the alien almost toe-to-toe.

Suddenly, but silently, the door to the spacecraft opened . all but the spokesman stood, turned, and walked around the rocks that had warmed them. They stepped in long exaggerated strides, their limbs obviously not used to working in this fashion. It was also because the effect of the yellow sun was still in their muscles, keeping them from being as rigid as they could be in the coldness of their spaceship.

“We must go. We fear we have threatened you. It is not what we came for. We came only to enjoy your sun, warm our bodies for a short while.” He waited to get a reaction from the aliens of the planet. He looked into the eyes of the tall alien, the one that seemed younger than the others, but much more similar to their own physical bearing. He wondered if the other tall man that had been speaking before was the genetic forerunner of the younger man now before him.

“We thank you for the use of your planet, and your rocks, but we must be going.” The thin young man held out his hand quickly. He didn’t know if the aliens shook hands, but it was an effortless reaction. He held it there several seconds while the alien looked down at his hand. He thought about withdrawing it, but wasn’t sure how it would be perceived by the alien.

Then the hand of the alien extended. His fingers stretched out until they nearly touched those of the other. Together they moved along each other until the palms were opposed. Being more familiar with the gesture, the human curled his fingers around those of the other. The alien responded quickly, returning the grasp. The human moved the hands up and down repeatedly.

At first the temperature of the alien was cold, but then warmed as the first movement of the shake began. The teenager could feel the heat in the wrist first, then moving through the hand, and then finally warming up the fingers to the tips. As their temperatures equaled the alien hand seemed to disappear as it no longer could be felt by his hand. Then it warmed slightly and was soothing to the human. He smiled into the smiling face of the alien.

“Good bye then.” The much older alien spoke before withdrawing his hand. He turned and followed the others into the open door of the spacecraft.

They humans watched the door close with a quick movement. It was so fast that they were uncertain whether it had dropped down from the top of the frame, from one or both sides, or if it had just suddenly become opaque right in front of their eyes.

Almost unaware of it, they felt a slight paralysis, no, more of an unwillingness to make their legs move. It was gone the instant the ship had disappeared. It left without a flash, a blast, or a glimmer. It had simply disappeared from sight.

Some of the aliens wondered if it was still there, hiding in invisibility, waiting until they were safely out of the area to launch. Together they turned and began walking back to their individual trailers. They looked forward to this afternoon’s barbeque, cards at night, and the other typical things they did while on vacation. They couldn’t imagine what drew them to climb up the hill. Perhaps it was a bird or another animal, it didn’t matter since observing the wildlife was a part of vacationing after all, no matter where they had come from before their vacations.

Barbara Blackcinder


About Barbara Blackcinder

I am a poet/writer with a need for words. There are so many out there that I haven't used yet. They define all reality and mine when you read those from me.
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