I live in space. No, I'm not an alien. I'm just as human as you. But I've never been on earth.
I'm in a spaceship. There are six other people on it with me. I was born on the ship. My mother and father studied the solar system, and they found that, right outside our universe, there is a planet that supports life. It takes twenty years to get there. My mother had me after three years of being locked in here. She died after giving birth to me. My father committed suicide not long after. The bodies are stored in the back of the ship. We had nowhere else to put them.
And, in case you're wondering, no, we don't have to wear spacesuits. The atmosphere we're in is less dense than normal atmosphere so we almost never have to wear suits inside the ship.
There were three other kids born on the ship. There's: Elli, she's seven. Gavin, he's ten. Brent, he's sixteen, the same age as me. I'm Stella. The Latin word for star. Brent is only one month older than me. We grew up together, so we're pretty close.
I was sitting on my bunk-bed. Brent's is right under mine. I remember when we were five and we fought over who should get the top bunk. Brent said he should get it because he's older. I argued that I should get it because I'm a girl. I won.
I leaned down to look at Brent.
"Hey." I said, staring at him from upside down.
The corner of his mouth lifted. "Hey."
"What do you think the planet will be like?" I asked for the millionth time.
"I don't know. I imagine it will be round…" He trailed off and I smiled.
"Seriously, I think it'll be round." The corner of his mouth lifted again into his famous half-smile. I smiled too and jumped down from my bunk. I landed in front of Brent and sat on the edge of his bed.
"Do you think it will be as great as they say it will?" I ask. He shrugs. "What if there are already people on the planet and they don't like us?" I ask.
"Of course they'll like us. We're awesome." He said and leaned against the wall. I looked doubtful and followed his gesture out of habit. "Really Stell, don't get so worried." He said. I sighed and nodded. I heard footsteps pounding down the narrow hallway.
"Stella! Stella!" Elli said and ran towards me. She jumped on me and said, "Base!"
"What are you doing Elli?" I asked. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes.
"I'm playing tag with Gavin!" She said. Just then, Gavin came, panting the whole way.
"No," Huff, "fair!" he wheezed, bent over, hands on his knees.
"It is too fair! Stella's base!" Elli pointed out.
"We never made that rule!" Gavin protested.
"I just did!" Elli said. I smiled at them and adjusted Elli in my lap so that she was sitting right-side up. Gavin sat next to Brent and was still trying to catch his breath. We're all really close. Like family. I squeezed Elli slightly and kissed the top of her head.
"Hey, Stella, let's color! You said you would! Come on!" She was already up and pulling me along.
"Ok, ok! Don't dislocate my shoulder!" I said as she rushed me down the hall. And somehow, I knew that Brent was smiling behind me.
Elli and I were now coloring on some plain pieces of paper. We only had one pack of crayons and it's not like we can get anymore.
"It's dinnertime!" Dr. K yelled down the hall.
Elli and I stood. Elli raced down the hall ahead of me. Gavin was next. As I walked slowly to the kitchen, Brent came next to me and walked the whole way with me. We finally came into view of the kitchen. All seven of us sat down at the small table. I sat in the middle of Brent and Elli. Elli insisted on her imaginary friend having a seat of her own, so I ended up squished next to Brent. My leg touching his leg, my arm touching his arm.
I looked around the table at everyone. There are three adults. Dr. K (Kelly) she's around forty. There's Mr. Arthur, he's, like, sixty. And then there's Ms. Chastity, honestly, I don't know how old she is… she looks kind of young, but she'd have to be older than forty.
"Ok, here you go." Dr. K said, putting something on my plate. I've never eaten real food. We eat that dried processed crap that you hear about on science-y videos. She put something similar on Brent's plate and on everyone else's.
Brent looked down at his food in disdain. "Yum." He said in a cynical tone.
We all started eating and there was no sound except the soft munching noises of our chewing.
When we finished, we cleaned the dishes and went to our bunks.
I started to climb on my bunk, when the ladder broke and fell off.
"Ah crap." I said. There is no way I can climb up onto it. It's too dang tall.
Brent walked over and looked down at the ladder.
"What did you do to it?" He asked jokingly.
"Don't look at me, I just touched it." We stood there for a second. "Hey, why don't you sleep up there tonight, you know, because you can actually get there." I said. He smiled his half-smile and shook his head.
"But," He said, "I can help you get up there."
"How?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Simple, stand on that." He said and pointed to the bottom bunk. I did what he said.
"Now what?" I asked.
He put his hands on my waist gently and pushed me up. I climbed on the bed and blushed.
"Thanks." I said, leaning down to look at him over the edge. He was closer than I expected and our faces were only inches apart. Something happened in that moment. Something clicked, something changed.
We stared at each other for a few minutes and then I glanced away nervously.
"Thanks." I whispered again and moved away to lie down on my bunk. My heart was beating fast. I heard Brent lying down and getting adjusted under the covers. I peeked over the edge. Brent's eyes were closed.
"Goodnight." I whispered.
"Sleep tight." He said.
"Dreams are sweet." He recited quietly. We've said that every night since we were eight. I don't know why we decided to, but we did.
I leaned back and closed my eyes. Only to be awakened by alarms.
The alarms wailed overhead. I bolted upright, only to hit my head really hard on the metal ceiling. I cursed slightly under my breath.
I heard Brent get up and I jumped down next to him. I rubbed my head.
"Are you ok?" Brent asked. I nodded and stopped rubbing my head after I figured out that it made the pain worse. I noticed a little blood on my hand but disregarded it.
"What's going on?" I asked drowsily. Brent shrugged and we took off down the hall.
We saw Dr. K and questioned her about what was happening.
"I don't know." She said. "I think we're coming into some kind of gravitational pull." I looked out one of the small glass windows. I can't see any planets. Wait, what's that? There was something that looked like a planet in the distance but I couldn't tell.
Honestly, I was a little scared. Dr. K told us to go back to bed. Brent and I stood in front of our bunk beds for a second.
"Are you scared?" I asked. He shrugged.
"Not particularly." He said. He offered to help me up again but I told him I wasn't ready to go back to sleep. He said he wasn't either. We sat next to each other on his bunk bed.
"I'm scared." I whispered.
He looked like he didn't know what to do. He finally scooted over right next to me and whispered, "It'll be ok. I promise." Right in my ear. A cold chill passed down my spine. He was so close. I leaned over slightly, our faces close together. He started to lean forward farther until the alarms came on again.
"Everyone, put on your suits now!" Mr. Arthur yelled.
We followed instructions. Right after we all had our suits on, there was a terrible crunching noise, and everything was black.
I didn't even get to make fun of Brent in his bulky space suit.
I don't know where I am. I'm cold. I'm lying on something hard. A table? Where am I? I opened my eyes. There was a young woman looking at me.
"She's awake!" the woman called.
A man walked over and looked at me. "Do you speak English?" He asked.
"No duh." I said hoarsely. The man looked a little surprised. "Who are you? Where am I?" I asked.
"You're on earth. I'm Dr. Reynolds." He said. I sat up.
"Why the hell am I on earth?" I almost yelled.
"There was something wrong with your… spacecraft. The directions weren't correct." He said.
I looked around. Where was everyone else? I saw someone across the room, asleep.
"Brent!" I called. He didn't open his eyes. I turned to Dr. what's-his-name. "What did you do to him?" I asked.
"We didn't do anything. You- your spacecraft crashed. Some didn't survive." He said quietly. I felt sick. I tried to stand on my own but Dr. Whatever protested.
I pushed him aside and walked quickly over to Brent. He was so still. But he couldn't be gone. He couldn't be dead.
"Brent." I choked out, "Wake up." He didn't move. Not even the rise and fall of his chest. "Brent." I said again, tears coming to my eyes. "Wake up."
I was trying to hold back sobs when his hand twitched and he said. "Be quiet, Stell. I'm trying to sleep."
I let out a strangled laugh/sob of joy. He opened his eyes.
"Why are you crying?" He asked.
"Because! I thought you were dead!" I said loudly and smacked his shoulder. Brent sat up. "Wait, where's Elli? And Gavin? And Dr. K. Mr. Arthur. Ms. Chastity?" I asked. Brent shrugged.
"How would I know?"
Just then a little brown-headed girl threw herself on me, crying. I squeezed Elli tight.
"Oh my god," I said, "You're alive. Oh god." I squeezed her tighter to me as if I might lose her. Another brown-headed blob ran towards us. Gavin grabbed on to me too. I held them both. I really thought that they were dead. Dr. Whatever walked over.
"I see you've reunited." He said. "Now, I must ask you something. Are you human?" He asked seriously.
"Nope. We're one-hundred percent extraterrestrials and we've come to take all of your peas." I said sarcastically. I think Dr. Brainiac thought I was serious for a second.