Well, I didn’t win the contest with this story, but that’s okay. It was done with the prompt “Alien Encounters” and the contest had several other stipulations. The contest was here, and this was my first try. Why don’t you check it out and put your vote in? These authors are really good!
Katie Cross watched the dark clouds from her wheelchair in the living room. The sky swirled or maybe her vision did, she wasn’t sure anymore. The pain meds were getting stronger. A storm had blown in. That wasn’t unusual in itself, this was spring and everyone knows that March roars in and all that. This rain was different. It wasn’t clear like normal. The liquid was silver and the drops drew together forming a large puddle in the driveway. Normal rain fell on the front lawn, on the mailbox and on the road, but Katie didn‘t notice. Fascinated, she wheeled herself outside to watch the silver puddle grow.
Her parents would have a cow if they saw her outside in the rain, but Mama was grocery shopping and Daddy was working in the study. He did a lot of work at home these days. Twelve-and-a-half-year old Katie knew in her heart that it didn’t matter anymore, but it was alright. Mama didn’t want to admit it, but Katie knew she didn’t have long. The cancer had spread throughout her bones and there wasn’t much the doctors could do for her besides giving her medication for the pain. She was too weak to take chemo again this week. You see Katie was okay with it all, she understood and was prepared. It was her mother that couldn’t accept what was coming. She was driving herself and the rest of the family nearly to distraction with her food combinations and medicine regimes and rules. Mama wouldn’t let her go outside or do anything anymore.
Katie watched a silver droplet land on her arm and slide down. It hesitated, rolling around on her fingernail before sliding off to add itself to the puddle below. Katie giggled, and looked up when she heard a tinkling sound coming from all around her. It was like music in a way. She giggled again, and the sound intensified, sounding less like a wind chime and more like… well, more like her!
“Hello?” She called out softly. The air around her shimmered and called in return.
“Allooo,” in a child’s voice. Katie smiled. A voice that sounded like music. She wished she could do that.
“Where are you?” Katie called out, looking around. “I can’t see you!”
“Err arr ooo?” Came the answer, then another giggle. Katie heard a watery sloshing sound and turned back to the puddle at her feet. Rising from it was a human outline. Soon Katie was faced by a shimmering, silvery child. It was at eye-level with her in the wheelchair. As if in a dream, Katie reached out to touch it.
“You look and feel like water.” Katie said to the strange being in front of her. “Kind of silvery and soft and… what happens if I do this?” Katie ran her finger slowly through the shimmering arm. The water rippled. Katie pulled her arm back and the being smiled.
“All isss well,” the being replied, “I am Gala.”
“Ga- lah,,“ Katie repeated. “My name is Katie.”
“Kayyy-tee.” The being tried the name slowly. Katie grinned. This was way cool. “Where did you come from?” She asked. The being turned and pointed to the mountains in the distance. “From the mountains?” Katie asked. The being shook its head.
“Sss-sky.” It almost hissed.
“Are you a like, a kid?” Katie asked, curious about so many things. The being nodded. Katie looked around, a little apprehensive. If this was a child, where were its parents? She was about to ask when the being reached out and touched her knee.
“Parentss.” It parroted. “Arre yoo a child?”
Katie clapped her hands and smiled. “Well yes, but I’m almost a teenager.”
The being smiled and clapped its hands. “I’m almossst a teenager.”
“This is so cool,” Katie said. “Why did you touch my knee?”
“Learn you by touchings.” The vocabulary was improving. “I learn talk. Words.” It touched her knee again. “Tendonsss. Knee-cap. Blood vesselsss. Muscles.”
Katie grinned. “How did you get here?” She asked. “Where is your family?”
Gala looked quickly toward the house and back to Katie.
“They work. I play,” it said smiling.
“Our… vessel crashes into tall things.” Katie kept from giggling at the errors in speech but she knew what it meant. Their spaceship had crashed into the woods behind the house!
“Was anyone hurt? Are they okay?”
“No injuries. Adult of… me perplexed, and ah,” it touched her knee again, “not happy campers.” Katie laughed.
“What is wrong with your ship?” She asked. “Can they fix it?”
“This is not known.” Gala replied. “They have not informed myself.”
Katie nodded knowingly. In other words grown-ups never tell kids anything.
“Well, I can’t help you, I’m afraid.” Katie said, pointing to her wheelchair. “My chair won’t roll on the grass.”
“I walk you.” Gala said, pointing at her legs. Katie didn’t understand what Gala meant.
“You mean you can push my chair?”
Gala shook its head no. “I cannot do that thing. It is… not. You are. I am. ” The being gestured to her legs once more. “I walk you.”
Katie smiled and held out her arms, ready to try. Gala walked toward her and fell splat! Back to the driveway. Katie gasped as a wormlike form rose from the puddle and covered her feet. She could still see her shoes, sort of. The alien being was wrapping itself around her somehow, surrounding her. It rose to her knees and Katie shivered.
“It’s cold.” She told Gala. The shimmering liquid paused at Katie’s knee and she felt it warming against her. “Oh that’s nice.” Katie smiled.
The liquid continued on towards her waist. Katie began to worry. What if it covered her head? Would she be able to breathe? She tensed.
“No worry,” Gala said. “Breath is good. Clean.” There wasn’t much choice, as Gala had encircled her chest and had reached her neck. “Be feared not. All is well.”
Katie forced herself to relax. If it was real, it was completely wild and she might as well jump in with both feet. What did she have to lose?
She froze when the liquid covered her mouth and nose. In a moment she couldn’t help it, she had to breathe. The silvery liquid was soothing as it entered her nostrils and filled her throat. There was a moment of panic before sweet oxygen hit her lungs and began to work. They sat together in the chair for a moment, becoming accustomed to one another. Katie had never felt anything like this before. Where her own body was sharp in places and soft in others, this alien being was soft all over.
Katie found her head filling with information about the being. Apparently the touch thing worked for her as well. Gala was a female from an alien species called the Puras, and they were from a watery world that had been contaminated and destroyed by a warrior race. Katie wanted to go see the ship, but Gala was listening to something. All Katie heard was a soft tinkling in her ears. When Gala spoke, it was as if it came from her own head.
“The adults have requesting. We search.”
“Search? What do they need?” Katie asked.
“Need flowness to fill fuel cells so that we can go to home. Rare and hard to carry.”
“Liquid? What kind of liquid?” She hesitated. “How much do they need?”
“962 Quantares. It is a great amount.” Gala said gravely.
”Quantares?” Her newly acquired internal calculator figured that out to be just several gallons. What? “We’d better go see the ship,” Katie said. “Maybe we can figure out what to do.”
She felt rather than saw Gala agree with her. It was strange, this feeling. An alien being had completely taken over her body and she wasn’t even afraid. As if understanding Katie’s fragility, Gala rose slowly from the chair, carrying Katie along with her. Katie’s arms had become theirs, her legs theirs. Gala took several awkward steps and almost fell. Katie could tell it made Gala angry, the water around her feet foamed and seemed to slap the ground.
“It’s all good Gala,” Katie reassured. “Humans take a whole year to learn how to walk. I think you’re doing really well.” The angry current began to subside. “That’s interesting,” Katie remarked, “when I get mad I stamp my foot. You kind of stamp your water!” They both laughed. It was a wonderful tinkling feeling and Katie loved it. In no time at all they were walking together across the yard and into the trees.
* * *
A while later, Katie looked at the spaceship in front of her. It looked like a deflated beach ball, only it was all gray and ugly. Two or three people could carry it easily. She and Gala were communicating by mind now, spoken words no longer necessary. As soon as she thought of something, Gala answered. “Best you not touchings.”
Gala straightened, bringing Katie with her when two tall silver beings came out of the trees toward them. The tinkling noise that Katie had begun to understand was now laced with crackling noises. She could tell that they were angry with Gala, but didn’t understand the language enough to know why. Gala explained.
“Unhappy that I left the clearing. They search for myself and not for flowness.”
“Flowness?” Katie asked.
“Flowness is two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom,” the larger of the two beings said. “Our instruments indicate that there is flowness here.”
“Water? You mean water!” Katie asked. It wasn’t rare, it was the most common thing ever!
“You call it water yes. To us it is flowness.”
Katie looked back the way they had come. There was a stream in the woods, but she thought it would be closer to go home and just use the garden hose. Instantly Gala agreed.
They walked back to the house, all of them carrying the ship. It was heavier than it looked but they made it back to the tree line at the back edge of the property. There the aliens hesitated. They were unwilling to expose themselves. Katie told them she would get the hose and bring it as far out as she could. She would get several containers and bring the water to them, as long as Gala could help her walk. The aliens nodded their agreement.
Katie struggled to get the hose across the yard, while hanging on to 2 water pitchers and an empty milk jug. She finally made it and filled the water containers. Soon the ship was full. Katie was happy for them, but her legs and arms were really tired. Gala read that thought and quickly conferred with her parents. Katie was glad to hear the tinkling once again, it meant everyone was happy. She smiled.
“Gala, can you take me back to my chair now?” She asked her new friend.
“I will do this,” Gala agreed. The adult aliens looked around the back yard and nodded. Gala walked Katie back to the wheelchair and sat her down gently. Katie gave a contented sigh of relief.
“We are unhappy of your illnesss.” Gala said. “Sleep now, Kayyy-tee.”
Katie smiled; all of a sudden her eyelids weighed a ton.
“I just can’t keep my eyes open.”
“Goodbye Kayyy-tee,” said Gala, caressing her eyelids.
When Katie was fast asleep Gala began to leave her. Like liquid leaving a tank, she simply melted away from Katie’s limbs and back into her own childlike form. As she departed, she took part of Katie with her. It was black and malignant; and smelly and scaly. By the time she had separated herself from the girl in the wheelchair, she was no longer a silver child, and she was black from head to foot. Gala managed to take a few steps toward her alien parents and collapsed. They rushed to her side and carried her back to the safety of the trees.
Some time later Katie snapped awake, her father was calling her. She must have had a good nap, because she felt refreshed. She was still in her chair and the rain was gone. She realized that she couldn’t feel Gala anymore. Was it real or had it been a dream?
“All is well Kayyy-tee.” A voice echoed in her head. Katie could hear her father coming out the kitchen door. The aliens melted backwards into the woods, all three of them. “Kayyy-tee is well!” Gala called, giggling.
Paul Cross came around the corner to the driveway calling his daughter’s name and stopped dead in his tracks. Katie, his sweet little Katie, confined to a wheelchair now for almost six months, was running across the driveway toward him. She was giggling as she ran.