A dim light shone on the lone car parked at the filling station. The last station she would stop at. A click as the fuel cap seated back in its place and the slight odour of petrol lent some normalcy to an otherwise surreal night-scape. Louisa rubbed the dirt and sand of the day onto her jeans; she gazed across the car through the station window at a lone bearded man watching some late programme on a small screen. Louisa waited for him to look. She caught his gaze for a moment and displayed a hopeful smile, whilst she opened her front door to reach for her purse and a crumpled map.
She swallowed a nervous gulp, tucked a lone blue dread lock behind an ear and made her way to the man who appeared displeased at being disturbed. He grunted and snatched Louisa’s credit card. Silence persisted as Louisa focused on the man chewing on his gum and tearing the receipt, he held it out to her. Taking the receipt, she began to turn, but stopped. ’Excuse me, I’m rather lost, could you help me? Louisa asked, and opened up the map she carried.
‘What are you doing in these parts; surely you Brits prefer the big cities?’
‘Well yes and I’m trying to get to Las Vegas,’ Louisa said, and pointed on a red circle drawn on her map, as her dark burgundy hair collected around. Why do you want to go there? You’ll be too young to enjoy Las Vegas. You’d be better going to one of those summer camps.′
‘Summer camps? I’ve left school and am taking a year out to do some travelling. My dad’s hoping I’ll get some idea, as to what I want to do with my life,’ Louisa said, with a nervous gulp. I hope he believes this little white lie.
‘Well... to get to Las Vegas you’ll need to go down the state route 375, continue straight on this road and take the first right turn. However, I would leave it until tomorrow. There’s a motel down the road.’
A smile developed ‘I can’t, I’ve got a flight to catch in a few hours,’ she said, glancing towards her car.
‘That long deserted route, this time of night?’ he asked, raising an eyebrow.
‘I have little choice,’ Louisa said, trying to plaster a smile on her face.
′Or you’ve planned your journey a little last minute.′
With a grim smile she glanced down to her watch and escaped the shop her heart sinking at his response. She returned to the comfort of her car and the upbeat music. Her fingers tapped not much with the music, but with her treacherous heartbeat as her high beams revealed the sign ‘Extra Terrestrial Highway’.
Ten minutes into the journey white noise had replaced the music playing on the radio. Station to station there was the crackling and crisp background noises. Louisa’s hand slammed onto the radio. ‘Ow!’ she said, as pain flared. ’Don’t tell me there are no radio signals on this road? Louisa protested glancing up she could only see what her headlights shone on, and the smiley, pine scented air freshener. The few houses she passed stood in darkness with no living soul seen.
A glare in her wing mirror brightened and appeared as a ball of fire. Which followed like a beacon that blinded until the rear mirror adjusted. She drove on and ignored this sight whilst it remained a fair distance away. Her stomach became unsettled a mixture of intrigue and fear. She glanced up and looked at the unaccountable ball of fire. What the hell is it? Is this my imagination? Louisa thought, rubbing and trying to wake her tired eyes.
A good hour had passed since she encountered any civilisation. Instead, fields of sand stretched out beyond eyesight. The ball of fire kept its loyal company with her; claiming its place on her rear mirror. Its rays of light caught up in a dance, as its glare got brighter and brighter. To such an extent, that the ball of fire, radiated a bright white colour, and echoed a buzzing noise. It floated off the road and rose higher than power cables. It hovered a brief moment, and shot past the car at great speed with a blinding flash and disappeared. Louisa’s heart palpated. The car stalled.
Her seatbelt clicked coming undone. Louisa’s face pressed up against the car’s windscreen. Every breath created vapour upon the cool glass, as she searched the clear night sky. Stars were the only witnesses unable to protect. The fire ball blocked both moon and stars as it stood like a predatory beast: waiting. Dread overtook her; driving her to flee, to seek shelter in a more populated area.
The gears grounded and engine roared, as Louisa pushed the accelerator. The ball of fire descended at great speed and crossed her path a few metres ahead of her. It stopped to hover and float towards the car. She gaped. The orb swept mere metres above the car. The gas pedal was unresponsive. The car had died and was motionless.
The ignition whined. The radio was dead. Lights were out. This is not happening... Louisa turned round to look out through the rear window. The ball remained fixed in the darkness above the tarmac and several metres away from her, still ablaze with light.
Stepping out of her car she played with her nose stud, and pulled her hair to one side. Lit up, the horizon revealed endless fields of sand, and the odd cactus scattered about, casting eerie shadows. Up ahead the glow begun to dim, like a dying fire and soon was no more. Instead the faint glow of a flat silver disk, wider than the road, remained. Three rows of running orange lights began to widen out as if to search like a light houses’ spot light. Below and through the rippling waves of orange light shadowy figures appeared to be looking out of a large windscreen, watching her.
Her heart jumped a beat at such sight. What is this and who are they? Perhaps it’s the military testing new technology? I doubt it; we could not possibly have this sort of technology. Then who and what are they? Louisa thought, tilting her head looking towards a window where the shadows moved. The disk glided slowly towards her and the car. Only three metres away, the shadowy figures formed humanoid shapes, hands pointed in her direction. Louisa tried to step back from the car and the lights toward the protection of the darkness, but her feet had frozen on their spot, unable to move. She tried to force a leg back, but both were no better than jelly. Her right foot was the first to give way and she collapsed onto the dust ridden road. Her hands drew prints within the thin layer of sand. A high pitched squeak sounded from the disk.
‘Oh crap, why me?’ Louisa asked, as a bright white light escaped from an opening in the disk. Humanoid shadows emerged, split and marched in two lines towards her. Louisa jumped up charged with last minute adrenaline and she sprinted off, flight or fight response finally kicked in. Her attempt to flee was met with rapid heavy footsteps pounded behind with a gradual growth in intensity. ‘Go away, leave me alone!’ she shouted, as she became a caught prey, each arm captured under a fierce grip. Her scream split the stillness of the night and she pulled against those holding her arms. Her feet threw a dust cloud as they dug in and ploughed the ground. More humanoid figures gathered to grab her legs, and received her kicks instead. The original two held her tighter and lifted her off the ground to march her forward.
Gasping for breath her head dropped in defeat. Two pairs of black shoes appeared under a grey one piece uniform. Grey skinned hands emerged from long sleeves. Twig - like fingers wrapped round her arms. Abnormally long. Raising her focus above the chests of her alien captor’s large grey eyes held central position to their faces. A pronounced brow ridge lay above them as deep creases sloped down upon rough looking skin,
Louisa gulped whilst forced to walk towards the craft. Mist escaped from the opening of the ship, as a sterile smell hit her. ‘Get off me you bastards!’ Louisa began to pull against her captures her voice becoming high pitched; her feet dragged as her body hung like a dead weight. Her reply was their clicking of tongues. Along with the numbing of her arms as the two aliens now lifted her between them and carried her into the disk. Two aliens in front of her stepped to each side of the entrance and froze to stand guard. Blackness enclosed around her. White lights were scattered in rows along the floor. Looking back she faced two more pairs of large grey eyes, and behind them a wall slid in place of the opening. She began to hyperventilate, as terror filled her soul.
A wall to her right slid open as another alien pressed some symbols lit up in gold light. Louisa entered a small empty metallic black room where dampness invaded. ‘What do you want with me?’ Louisa asked, emotion lining her tone, her lips tremored and eyes gathered tears. A series of clicks varying in tones and lengths sounded and against the wall she was flung. Several pairs of hands held her still. Another pointed a gun-like device to her ear.
A scream escaped Louisa, as the machine fired. A piercing like pain on the inside of her ear canal raged.
‘There, all done. You should be able to understand me, human.’
Stunned Louisa faced the one responsible for her latest infliction. Those who held her loosened their grips. Many left. Only two remained with the one who spoke to her.
‘Where are you taking me?’ Louisa asked, rubbing her ear to dull the pain.
The aliens looked between her and themselves in silence. ‘Leave her,’ the same alien said, as he waved his colleagues off, and followed behind. He stopped for a brief moment and brought part of the wall to life. Pressing on some symbols lit up in gold. A small part of the wall transformed into a clear window. Louisa could see the curvature of Earth. Half black as space. The other half had swirls of bright white clouds that drifted against the sky blue backdrop. The landmasses of the North and South American continents shrunk in size as the space craft travelled further away.
‘How is this possible?’ Louisa asked, as she ran up to the screen, her breath vaporised onto the surface. She soon bore witness to the giant gas planet Jupiter. Its great red eye, eyed its’ collection of moons that orbited. Soon the solar system became part of the colourful array of the Milky Way. A soft click sounded behind her, and black walls forced her to endure her own company. Her heart began to race, as her breathing became erratic. Fear pumped around her body. What do I do? The screen transformed back into the black wall. Whereby, a claustrophobic atmosphere invaded.
Powerless to stop what was happening. She backed herself up into a corner. Her eyes searched the darkness. Gradually, she slid herself onto her bottom and pulled her knees into her grasp. There she rocked herself back and forth, waiting.