So, earlier today I heard from Calla that she is finally leaving Menninger, and moving on to another facility. I know what it is, and where, but I’m not going to put that here; it’s not my place to say. I know that she’s relieved to finally have an answer on this, and that makes me feel better, and I feel hopeful that she’s going someplace where she can really get some help. But I’m also sad that she’s going to be leaving, because I won’t see her for a long time, months maybe; and I’m scared that once she’s gone, I’ll lose her.
It’s not really a rational fear, because I know she doesn’t like losing people any more than I do, but then, fear isn’t generally rational. I know we’ll still be in touch, though I’m not sure if it will be by phone, e-mail, or regular mail. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to go visit her where she’s going, either because I might not have the time to take off work or because they might not allow visitors.
I also have hope, though, because it sounds like the place she is going has some very good people who specialize in her issues; when she talked to them with her social worker from Menninger, the person at this new facility was basically finishing the social worker’s sentences when they were talking about Calla’s diagnosis, which sounds like a good sign to me. Oh, and they have equine therapy, and Calla loves horses. If she can get the kind of help she needs dealing with her issues, maybe when she’s done we can find out if there’s really a relationship in the cards for us.
So, it’s a real mix of things going on, in my head and heart right now. And I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, but I actually tried my hand at writing tonight, for the first time in a very long time. It’s nothing terribly long, or deep, and it might not even be very good; I’ve had blog entries that were longer than this attempt at writing. I’m not even sure I can call it a story; it’s under a thousand words. I know, though, that there are some people who read my blog who are interested in anything I might try to write, especially because some of them (cough, cough, ahem) keep asking about it, so I’ll post it here without further comment. It’s my own work, not for repost without attribution, etc.
Home Sweet Home
It’s been a long time. To me, it’s been twenty years as I record this, but to you it has probably been far longer.
You may remember me; my name is Major John Abrams. I am, as I say this, the last surviving member of Earth’s first manned mission to Mars.
I still remember it like it was yesterday; I was checking instruments in the cockpit with Brody, and we were still weeks out from Mars. We were joking, like we always did, to try and keep from being bored – there’s really not all that much to do on a straight shot to another planet, even traveling as fast as we were. I can even remember the joke I was telling him – “What did one shark say to the other as they were eating a clownfish? This tastes funny!” Terrible joke, but it was all I could think of. Strange, the things you remember.
Anyway, there was a bright flash of light, and the last thing I remembered as everything went white was both of us gasping. And then, when I woke up… well, I wasn’t in the cockpit anymore. I wasn’t really sure where I was; I’m still not sure where I ended up. All I know is it wasn’t the cockpit, it wasn’t Mars, and it sure as hell wasn’t Earth.
For one, the plants weren’t green. They were red, kinda purplish. And the sky looked orange, almost like a sunset. Man, I remember sunsets. I wandered around for a few minutes, not really thinking about what was happening. Then I saw him – well, it, really – my first alien. It was stunning, and I think I passed out, because the next time I opened my eyes, it was a lot closer.
It looked almost like a bipedal dog – well, if dogs had nictating membranes on their eyes, used advanced photon weaponry, and could speak alien tongues. It was trying to talk to me, but it wasn’t English, or Spanish, or German – those were the only three languages I knew. I just stood there, trying to make sense of it all. I still don’t know if I really have.
That first alien – I called it Monster, because that’s what it turned out to be – eventually decided that, since I couldn’t speak to it in any language it knew, I must not be smart enough to keep my freedom. So it took me as a prisoner, or a slave. And that was the start of my exile.
For twenty years, I traveled across the galaxy. I think it was just one, but I’m not really sure; I just know it wasn’t ours. I was a slave, a servant, a warrior, a laborer, a pilot, and more. I traveled the stars; I visited hundreds of planets. I met more alien races than I can keep track of; I stopped trying to keep records after the first fifty. I’ve had to learn four new languages, and phrases in a dozen others, none of them close to anything on Earth. I never stopped looking for a way home, though.
I’m still not sure what happened to me all those years ago. But I miss my home; I miss baseball, blue skies, apple pie. I miss my parents; my brothers and my sister. I miss my girlfriend, and even after meeting Monster, I miss my dog. I have been looking for a way home for twenty years, and I’m tired. My bones ache with it – even the arm I lost and had replaced. I’m almost sick of it. In fact, I am.
A month ago, I found some aliens near the edge of this galaxy – I think on the side closest to ours, but without really knowing how travel and distances work out here, it’s hard to tell. And I started telling them all about Earth. How easy a target it is – no space-based defense, no real laser weaponry, nuclear weapons at best. I told them about all the minerals, the gases, the metals that Earth had. And I made sure to tell them about all the billions of people – the defenseless, helpless people. They know what a good worker I can be, how good I am in a fight, what I can do, and so they listened. Because I want to go home.
I don’t know if we’ll get there before I die. I doubt we’ll get there before this does, and that could take decades; everyone I know may be dead by the time this arrives, if it ever does. But I just wanted to let you all know that war is coming, from places far beyond anything you’ve ever thought of. Destruction and death are going to rain down on Earth, and nothing will ever be the same. You may be more developed when the invasion gets there, but don’t fool yourselves – it won’t be as easy as the movies.
I waited so long for help, and it never came. I begged and I pleaded, but I never heard anything from anyone on Earth. I was all alone out here, in the dark of space, and there was nothing to comfort me. I was the farthest man from home, and nothing else could seem to get me any closer. So this is your notice, Earth. I’m coming home, dead or alive.
Homes is a four-letter word.