Intergalactic Friend or Foe?

by William Semple

It’s cold. Colder than anything I’d felt before. I wake to find myself laying there; no bed, no pillow, on the sub-zero metal.

Now this is a strange dream, I think to myself. It was truly unlike any before. What looks like a massive metal box surrounds me. It must be fifty metres up those walls at the least. I begin to pinch myself to wake up, but this time I don’t miraculously open my eyes to see sunlight flooding through the bedroom windows. Only beams of lights in the roof. I shield my eyes from the oncoming bright light, and it is only when I look up that I see the other three kids in the room; the wide eyes and awestruck faces mirroring my own.

I rush over to the closest of the three. I hold out my hand and she takes it with a smile. ‘Thankyou’ she says kindly.

‘I’m Chris’ I tell her. ‘You wouldn’t know why we are here would you…?’. She shakes her head. ‘Stella’, she replies. ‘My name is Stella’. She looks older than me, with light skin and pure golden hair. We gaze towards where the other two kids were just seconds ago but suddenly, they’re right next to us. One girl, one boy. Both of them give blank stares like they either don’t know what to say or don’t know where to start. ‘Chris’, I say and hold out my hand for them to shake.

They keep their blank stares and the boy responds with a dry voice, ‘My name is Beau, and this is Brooke’. I begin to ask if they know what on earth is going on, but from the look on their faces, I can tell they’re as clueless as we are. Even though the mysterious room is dimly lit, I can see that they are younger than Stella and me, Beau has short, jet black hair and Brooke is short but with the reddest hair I’ve ever laid eyes on.

We all start studying the room intensely, looking for a doorway or just any possible exit. It’s only when the other three begin walking towards it that I see the large, gleaming red button on the wall. The only focal point on the vast metal walls. Mysterious. I look around to see my confused facial expression matched by theirs.

‘Do we push it?’ Stella asks tentatively. ‘It would seem the only logical thing to do’. Brooke pronounces. She’s right, it’s our only possible way out.

I pose the question, ‘Is this what everyone wants to do?’. They nod. I turn back around to face the button and place my hand on it. ‘Together’, I say. We all place a hand on the button, afraid of what is to come. ‘1,2,3!’ I count and we all push down as hard as we possibly can. We take a step back.

‘Did it work?’ Beau questions. I go to try push down on the button once more, but suddenly the floor below us gives out and we plummet into the darkness below.

Surprisingly, we plunge into icy water. Seconds pass, my body falling further down. Finding a source of energy, I surface and fill my lungs with clean air. I start kicking my legs and moving my feet, desperately trying to stay afloat in the water. It’s at that moment that I realise only Stella and I have our heads above the water.

‘Where’re the others?’, I yell out to her, but my question is quickly answered by the uprising of bubbles around ten metres away from me. I start frantically swimming over, knowing very well that Beau and Brooke could be several metres beneath the surface. Paddling as fast as I can, I make myself towards whoever it might under the water, and dive down. It’s Beau, his screams deafened by the water. All I can see are the bubbles exploding from his mouth. I swim down further, pushing my limits. I’m stricken for energy, but I know I must save Beau. I reach down,  he takes my hand and we swim up together. Arms around each other we swim to the shore of the pool, meeting Stella and Brooke there.

‘Look the door!’, I exclaim even though I’m puffing more than I ever have before. We race towards the slowly closing exit and reach it mere seconds before it closes. We share a laugh, happy to be alive. Beau and I are lying on the ground exhausted. Then I notice Beau’s hair, going from jet-black hair to green, to blue, all colours of the rainbow. I’m about to question it but my attention is diverted elsewhere.

‘Guys, you might want to see this’, Brooke says, stunned. Thick, green flora surrounds us. I can hear birds calling, frogs croaking. What I think is sunlight is leaking through the great leaves above. The tranquillity and silence are abruptly ended by a blood curdling scream. Brooke. I spin around to see her collapse onto the ground howling in pain, and see the snake unlatch from her leg and slither off back into the bushes. Beau rushes over and holds her leg tight.

‘Guys we have to help her’. He says almost begging us. I start sprinting, but I am interrupted by a blaring alarm and flashing lights leading to yet another closing door. We won’t make it if we drag Brooke. I’m about to run for the door, but Stella grabs my hand. ‘It’s not the right thing to do’ she says. I nod and we quickly head over to Brooke and offer my arm as support. I notice a change in her skin colour, similar to Beau’s hair. We make it to the door but not quick enough. Then we hear a magnified voice in the room. ‘Well done humans’. The door reopens and we all rush through. A tall, blue skinned man stands there waiting for us.

‘Well done kids. You’ve passed the test. You’ve showed consideration, empathy and provided our race with a flash of inspiration’. We are not from earth, in fact we were going to destroy it, but like usual, the adolescents show us what is the right thing to do’. I turn around to see that Beau and Brooke also have blue skin. Shapeshifters.

‘Now we know we can work together; we need humans to help win the intergalactic war’. And with that he turns and leaves, beckoning for us to follow.