This excerpt is from a science fiction novel about alien abduction. If you would like to read the novel from the beginning, please see the previous excerpts in, ‘They Take our Children.’ The complete eBook series is available on Amazon if you can’t wait to read the rest.
Chapter Six: (In the past, Helen)
Helen could see a large body of water below her. She glimpsed trees, large hills, ribbons of roads sparkling with frost, then another shimmering surface of water. She was travelling fast over the dark landscape but felt no sensation of movement. She was suspended inside a large translucent violet globe, completely surrounded by the misty glowing orb of light.
The ground seemed to move closer as the orb slowed. Her heart began to beat even faster in her chest as she realised she was about to land in some kind of lake. She closed her eyes and tensed in readiness for an impact and when she next opened them, seemingly only a few minutes later, she peered out into a multi-coloured fog. She was flat on her back on a cold hard surface. She could see nothing beyond her own nose. She knew there were others around her, from the odd snuffling and moaning sounds she could hear.
She noticed a slight odour, like sour breath, or rotting vegetation, that hung in the rainbow hued mist surrounding her. She could feel pain in her shoulders and neck, between her legs and up into her stomach. It felt like a hundred hot needles had stabbed her. Instinctively she tried to cross her arms over her chest, to protect her cold body but found she could not move. She strained to lift her head but even that was impossible.
The muscles in her calves began to cramp, but she was powerless to even stretch her legs or wriggle her toes to relieve the pain. Silent tears escaped her eyes and rolled gently down her temples into the hair above her ears. She thought she might be dead. Is this what it feels like to die? Did she crash into the lake?
The fear crept coldly up her back, through her neck, and then her ears filled with the pressure of it. Cringing, she tried to close her eyes to shut out the pain and the strange multicoloured fog that surrounded her. Pure terror raced through her veins when she realised that her even her eyelids were paralysed. She was forced to watch as the coloured fog swirled menacingly around her, changing from patches of light pink to dark blue, and then to green and red. She could see amorphous shapes moving within its ebb and flow. As it cleared, her vision was filled with a broad expanse of the smooth white plaster ceiling of her bedroom.
Helen felt the popping in her ears and tingling in her limbs that told her the paralysis was over. She reached up slowly with leaden arms and touched the smoothness of her bedroom ceiling. She was home. She was awake, and she was floating as before, only inches away from the light fitting. She felt her heart hammering in her chest, heard the loud boom of it in her ears and swallowed back her fear. Keeping her eyes open, she slowly turned her head, first left, then right, hearing the crackle of static in her hair as she moved. As her eyes became accustomed to the dim room, she saw, reflected in the mirror on her dressing table, a dull violet glow beneath her body. She could tell that it was not a solid object, she could see right through it to the door beyond. She couldn’t see where the glow stopped and her bedroom started.
Her nightdress hung down into the diffuse violet light and she could see the reflection of her body resting on top of it. The glow slightly illuminated the room and made her nightdress transparent. Helen became transfixed, staring at the outline of her body, cushioned by the violet glow. Her hair streamed out stiffly in all directions. She shuddered and again, the static crackled around her head.
Carefully, she let her arm drop slowly, watching the reflection of herself in the mirror as she did so. She felt an icy coldness as her fingers dipped into the coloured ball and swiftly drew her hand back up. Beads of sweat gathered on her brow and she worried how long it would be before she could get down.
The scream jolted her and the violet glow dissolved beneath her, sending her crashing down onto the bed. She knew it was Janine who screamed, and wondered if her sister’s courage had run out, just as hers was about to. She was shaking all over as her father came into the room. He came quickly to her side, enfolding her in his strong, warm embrace.
‘You’re freezing!’ he told her. ‘Here, get under the quilt, you’ll catch your death, child.’
She let him fuss over her, allowing him to tuck her up tightly, enduring him stroking her hair as she shuddered, half in fear, half with cold.
‘Was it the same again?’ he asked and she nodded, not knowing what else to do.
There were no words to describe what happened, in reality, hardly anything had happened, not anything she could remember anyway. What she could remember was so weird that she didn’t think she could describe it, even if she wanted to.
‘I didn’t hear you call out this time.’ George frowned, looking closely at his daughter. ‘It was Janine who woke us, you didn’t, did you?’ Helen shook her head. The concern in his eyes made her feel guilty somehow, as if she were responsible for his fear.
‘What is it, Helen? You know, don’t you?’ he probed. ‘You can remember the dream this time, can’t you?’
Helen recognised the signs, he was fishing for the bait, for the tiniest fraction of what had frightened her, so he could delve into her fear, dig it out and force her to look at it. Shaking her head and closing her eyes against his questioning, she let out a long trembling sigh. She was no longer the little girl looking into a box of spiders. This time she was almost a woman and this particular box held more than she wanted to see. The small glimpse she had been shown was enough for her to know she didn’t want to look any further.
‘No, Dad, I just woke up shaking, I think Janine woke me this time,’ she lied, hoping he would be satisfied with her explanation.
‘Would you like a hot-water bottle?’ He felt her cold, clammy forehead.
‘I’ll be okay, Dad, it’s only a bad dream, I’ll soon get back to sleep,’ she assured him, trying to sound more confident than she felt. ‘You go back to bed. You have to work in the morning.’
‘Are you sure you’re all right, love?’ He smiled down at her, the concern leaving his face.
‘G’night, Dad.’ She forced a smile to her lips as he leaned to kiss her cheek.
‘Shall I leave the door open?’ he asked as he reached it and smiled as she nodded. She knew he could see she was trying to be brave for his sake.
Her mum stayed longer with Janine than before. Helen lay awake for hours, listening as her mother tried to comfort her sister.
The following day Helen and Janine decided that going back to school might help them forget about the nightmares. They set out together in the early-morning frost, ducking past the few waiting reporters still hopeful of a story. The girls decided to walk up the hill and through the park. It was a bright crisp morning and neither girl wanted to queue for the bus, besides, they had much to discuss and didn’t want anyone to overhear the secrets they had to share.
The frosty grass crunched under their feet as they entered the park. A lone jogger ran past them, a woman walked her dog along a path parallel to theirs, some twenty yards away. Apart from these solitary figures, the park was empty.
When they were out of earshot of anyone, Helen began her questions. ‘What made you scream?’ she asked, keeping her voice low, knowing how sound carried in the crisp clear air.
‘I don’t know.’ Janine stared at the ground as they walked.
‘Did you see the glow?’ Helen leaned closer and whispered. ‘Did you look, like we said?’
‘No!’ Janine gulped. ‘I couldn’t.’
‘Oh, Janine!’ Helen let out an exasperated sigh. ‘We agreed. You said you’d look!’
‘Well I didn’t, okay!’ Janine stopped and faced her sister. ‘It’s all right for you, you’re older and brave and not afraid of anything.’ She tossed her auburn curls and put one hand defiantly on her plump hip. ‘It’s no big deal for you is it? The whole school calls you, Miss Inquisitive. Miss, I want to know how the world works! Well it’s not that easy for me!’ She sniffed hard, her grey eyes wildly searching for something to focus on, other than Helen’s face. ‘I was bloody petrified and I don’t want to know, do you hear me? I don’t want to see anything!’
Helen watched as Janine struggle with herself, seeing her turn one way, then the other in an effort to escape her inner turmoil. ‘Janine,’ Helen reached out and grasped her hand. ‘It’s okay, I understand. I’m not angry with you,’ she quickly reassured her sister. ‘Come on, we’d better get going.’ She turned towards the gates at the other side of the park. ‘I didn’t realise how scared you were.’
‘And I suppose you’re not frightened at all!’ Janine was still defensive and clearly felt the need to attack Helen.
‘I’m as scared as you are, believe me.’ Helen shook her head slowly, remembering what she had seen. ‘Maybe even more now that I know it’s really not a dream.’
‘You saw something?’ Janine’s voice trembled as she asked the question.
‘I saw something, yes,’ Helen nodded. ‘I saw a lot of things but don’t ask me what they were, because I couldn’t tell you.’
‘Is it really horrible?’ Janine whispered, obviously afraid of hearing but curiosity, in the safe light of day, getting the better of her.
‘No, it’s not really bad to look at.’ Helen tried to find the right words to explain to Janine a little of what she had seen without frightening her. She wanted to encourage her to stay awake and look too.
‘What is it?’ Janine grew impatient as her sister continued to walk in silence.
‘It was just a light!’ Helen shrugged, smiling. ‘A big round violet glow!’
‘That’s it?’ Janine asked, incredulous. ‘That’s what we’re so afraid of?’ She laughed. ‘This is unbelievable. Who’s going to believe a light could be so scary?’
‘The light is what takes us and what holds us up near the ceiling when it brings us back.’ Helen frowned. ‘But there’s more to this thing than just a light, it’s what happens after the light comes and before it brings us back’
‘What does happen?’ Janine stared intently at the ground and Helen wasn’t sure her sister really did want to hear more.
‘That’s just it, I can’t remember.’ Helen too stared at the ground as they walked. ‘It’s just a fog, like before.’
‘What happens now?’ Janine asked. ‘What do we do tonight if… ?’ She swallowed, not able to finish the sentence. ‘I’m frightened, Helen, I mean really frightened.’
‘I don’t know if we have any choice.’ Helen looked with sympathy at her sister’s face reflecting the fear they both felt. ‘I don’t know how to stop it happening. I don’t know if it will stop.’
‘It has to!’ Janine began to panic. ‘Helen, it has to stop, you have to make it stop.’
‘I wish I could, Janine. But I think something’s happening to us. I don’t know what and I don’t know why.’ She looked up as they reached the main road, walking over to press the button on the pelican crossing.
‘What could be happening to us? It’s a dream, a scary dream, that’s all.’ Janine’s voice held a note of desperation. ‘Helen, it’s a dream, a nightmare, don’t try to make more of it, I can live with the nightmares, don’t tell me anything else.’
The pelican showed the green man and the high-pitched beeping told them it was safe to cross.
‘You’re probably right, Janine, it’s just a weird nightmare and for some strange reason we’re both having it.’ Helen decided to keep the rest of her thoughts to herself. Janine had made it clear she didn’t want to know anything more about the sinister light. She knew her sister wanted to hide behind the idea of the nightmare, she only wished it were that simple.
As they entered the school gates they were surrounded by friends, each girl was carried away in different directions, by their friends.
Most of Helen’s friends had been basking in their own glory and short-lived fame, over the last couple of weeks. Helen had watched them on the television with their families, when they were questioned about the lights they had seen on New Year’s Eve. They’d been only too willing to answer the questions the way the interviewers wanted them to. They preened in front of the cameras, embroidering the truth, as they’d been asked and had achieved fame and recognition for a few days. Helen was cross with the ones who openly exaggerated. She’d seen the interviews and some of them made her family look stupid for refusing to comment.
The other girls still couldn’t understand why Helen’s father wouldn’t go on the TV programmes. Especially as the families who did speak had made a few bob out of it.
Helen kept her thoughts to herself, even when pushed. She refused to talk about the lights in the sky. She gave a sigh of relief as the bell rang for the start of the first lesson. At last she would be able to think of something else, something other than the strangeness that had surrounded her life since New Year’s Eve.
The complete eBook series of, ‘They Take our Children,’ is available on Amazon if you can’t wait to read the rest.