The sun was warm and alive, and so were we.
It was the first day of summer vacation. After an extremely uneventful 11th grade year, Sophia and I found ourselves lying on the hill behind my house. We have been waiting to do this for about two months now. It wasn’t just that we wanted to lay down here and relax, which we could have done at any time; no, it was the fact that we wouldn’t have a care in the world when we finally did. Lying here, on this hill, the whole world slipped away.
I began to hum Alice Cooper’s School’s Out under my breath. A moment later, I heard Sophia chuckle and join me.
In two months, we would start our Senior Year. Once that was done, we would be free from school and from our parents. I would be free to do whatever I wanted. God, I wanted that so much. To be free. To be on my own. I have no allusions that life would be a walk in the park, and that I wouldn’t struggle. I would, I know that. But just thinking that everything I did, I did to grow and better myself, to become the person I wanted to be, and that was enough.
Mom was out, and dad was away on one of his trips. We had the whole place to ourselves. The serene quiet was evidence of that.
I never expected the sky to blow up.
A loud boom rocks us out of tranquility and in to pandemonium. I open my eyes, and only had time to say Sophie’s name and hold her hand before everything goes black.
And then everything is white. God, it is the brightest white I have ever seen.
The room seems to go on for infinity, but it can’t be. At first my mind has trouble adjusting to it. I think I am trapped in a small space, I reach out to touch the walls and there is nothing but space. My stomach feels empty and I feel like I am about to hurl when I come to the daunting realization that I am alone.
God. Is this alien? Were we taken by something?
I scream for Sophia. There is an echo. The echo goes on and on, fading in to nothing. And then it is back, louder than I shouted it in the first place. A boomerang echo? How is that even possible?
I turn around to find Sophia curled up in the fetal position. I go to her and help her up, but there’s something wrong. Her face, she looks like she is a million miles away. I softly tap her cheek and call her name, but she doesn’t respond. I settle her down and walk around us. The infinity hasn’t changed.
Where the hell are we?
I venture out into the nothingness. It seems like I stand still with every step I take. I turn around and see Sophia still right behind me. She is still lying down in the same spot I left her. I hadn’t moved at all.
I try to snap her out of whatever funk she’s in, but she’s catatonic. Did she see what took us? I had my eyes closed, I didn’t get to see much of it before we were gone, but maybe she saw it. She had her eyes open then. Sophia knew what took us.
I got angry with her as all my attempts to get her back failed.
I walked away from her, facing her the whole time. Whatever place we were right now, something was terribly wrong with it. It was as I felt. I was walking backwards, I could feel my feet moving, but the space between us didn’t change. Sophia was lying on her back so it wasn’t like she was moving at the same rate as I did. I was simply standing still while walking away. This is insane.
I scream out for whoever took us. I demanded answers.
A dark sphere appeared in the infinity space. It didn’t come from anywhere; it simply materialized right before my eyes. I walked to it. I look back at Sophia and for the first time, there is distance between us.
The sphere was hovering but it made no sound. There was no propulsion keeping it in the air, it simply was there. As I make to touch it, Sophia calls my name.
I rush to her side, helping her up.
“What happened to us?” I ask her. “Who or what took us?” She says nothing. “You saw what took us. I know you did. My eyes were closed until the last second, but yours were open weren’t they? You know what took us,” she still says nothing. I shake her harder than I should have. “WHAT TOOK US?”
The black sphere appeared now in front of us. It circled us once before it just stays in front of me. Something in me told me to trust it. It was like my instinct was telling me to touch it; that I would get my answer.
And so I did.
I found myself looking down at my own body, and Sophia’s. I was back in the hill. I could see myself smiling and humming Alice Cooper. Sophia was looking at the sky; her right hand was up and moving. She was tracing shapes in the clouds. I remembered what was the last part of the song was that I sang before the sky exploded and waited for it.
I turn around and see the skies. I can hear memory-Sophia gasp behind me as every hair on my body stands on end.
I understand now, Sophia. I see what you saw.
“No one took us,” Sophia says. She appears besides me in the memory. Holding my hand, the daunting realization finally dawns on me.
It wasn’t something that took us away. We weren’t taken away. The thing in the sky that I saw wasn’t some sort of alien ship, it was a bomb.
We hadn’t been taken. We were dead.
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