“He can never know,” I was cradling my newly returned husband in my arms. I found myself somewhere cold and metallic. “Do you understand me?” I was dizzy from the trip or whatever the hell that was. I can’t even describe what just happened to us. I can say that it was unpleasant and I feel like my skin is falling off, but I’m not in pain. And nothing is wrong with my body.
“We do not care to divulge any information, human. We only seek the knowledge.”
“And you can have it. You can keep me for as long as you want.” The thought of having them use us, use Orion, like animals, I won’t allow that. “Just don’t treat us like lab rats.”
“It is not that kind of knowledge that we seek, human.”
“—Magnus. My name is Magnus. Don’t call me Human.”
They seem puzzled for a moment by my outburst. “Mag-nus.” The closest one to me repeated.
“And the one who is sleeping?” Another one of them said.
I looked down at my sweet, sweet Orion. Whom I would do anything for. Whom I gave everything for.
“His name is Orion.” I caressed the side of his face, and felt the alien eyes on me. “Please,” I said, not looking away from him, “You know what I gave up for him. Do not hurt him.”
“You seem mistaken in our interest of you, Mag-nus.” The one closest to me, the one I believe to be the leader, said.
“We do not want to experiment on you,” one in the back said.
“We wish to see your interaction.” The one next to the leader said, “We wish to simply witness your existence.”
The beings were mature, I believe, but short. There were four of them. No taller than an average 8 year old. They were hairless for the most part, their skin was grayish. Their heads were comparable to ours in size, and not nearly as disproportionate as fiction made them out to be. Their noses were small and their mouths had no lips. They had a vertical slit for a mouth, but that is not what they used to speak. I could see on the side of their necks, holes. Their voices came directly from their necks. They must not be built as we are, but in essence we are quite similar: bipedal with two arms. Instead of holes for ears as my mind expected them to have, they had actual ears, a bit pointier and smaller than ours. Almost like an elf’s.
“What do you wish to see? Why did you choose me?” I looked at Orion. “Us?”
“We will explain.” The leader said, “Once the other one, O-ri-on, awakes.”
With that, they left the room through a door that dematerialized and materialized as they went through it. I can assure you, I am not taking this as though it were nothing. I am petrified. We are aboard an alien ship, leaving the Milky Way, the place I was born in. I don’t know what was waiting for us in their planet, what would happen to us?
Orion turned in my arms and woke up with a fright. He was gasping loudly, as though he couldn’t catch his breath. He was holding the ride side of his body, just under his ribs. I knew why.
“What happened…to me?”
I helped him up. I tried to calm him down, but standing with him in that cold, alien room, I didn’t know how to comfort him when I myself was a step from going into a state of panic myself.
“You remember what happened, right?”
Orion looked around trying to make sense of what happened. Of where he was. I could see it in his face. He was trying to come up with an answer, but nothing made sense.
“We…we were walking in the plaza. We had…breakfast. And—” The look on his face was horrible. I could see then that he remembered what happened to him. Orion touched the spot under his ribs again. There was no injury, but there was a thin, vertical slash there. And the spot was wet and sticky, with his drying blood. He was quiet before he said, “Are we dead…?”
“No,” I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. I kissed him and held him close to me. I never wanted to break away. Orion embraced me and froze when I said, “You’re not…anymore.”
“What happened to me?” Orion whispered in my ear.
I didn’t want to break our embrace. I didn’t want to see his face when I told him. When I confessed what I gave up for his return. “Someone hurt you. You were gone. I lost you. And my whole world died. And they appeared out of nowhere. I don’t know exactly how yet. They want to speak with us together.”
“I…was brought back? From the dead?” Orion tried to break apart, but I fought against it. And then I let go. He held me sternly in front of him. “What happened to us?”
“Let’s go find out.”