PRELUDE

Deputy Thomas Malforge put his head in his hands and sighed. He had just hung the phone up from the 4th caller that week about alien sightings. He picked up a folder and scribbled notes in it. Then he picked up the phone and dialed the Sheriff's office in Mintum, Colorado. "Hey Todd, yeah, this is Tom, over in Red Cliff? Yeah, I was wonderin' if you have had any reports on aliens? Really? Three? Well, I'm going to do an investigation on it, you know, just check for any facts to back this up. Yeah, you can go ahead and fax them over. Thanks a lot." He hung up the phone and locked up his desk. He then grabbed his jacket, put on his hat, and turned out the lights. Locking the door behind him, he quickly stepped out into the swirling snow.

"Looks like there could be a blizzard tonight," he said to himself and jogged to his car. He quickly got in and turned the key, then put on the defroster and windshield wipers. He sat there for a moment, then drove on to the icy rode. He drove very slowly and watched the road.

Something in the sky caught his attention and he looked up. He saw a faint green glow floating through the sky.

"Holy shit!" he said and drove faster. Suddenly the thing swooped down and hovered above him, about 100 feet up. He stepped on the brakes and the car swerved off the road, hitting a fence on the side. He looked up and saw the glowing shape take off again into the sky. He sat there for a minute, breathing hard. Then he shook his head, started the car again, and backed up onto the road. He drove home, aware that he had just seen an alien spacecraft.

CHAPTER 1

"Aim, FIRE!" I yelled as I propelled a serious snowball at my best friend, Joey. It hit him in the thigh, and he spun around and fell on the ground, pretending to be hurt. He lay still, and I walked over to him. "You OK, man?"

He opened his eyes, smiled deviously, and suddenly hurled a snowball at my face.

"Ow man! That hurt!" He jumped up and prepared another piece of ammunition when my twin sister, Debbie, came running outside.

"Hey Chris! Joey! Guess what the radio just said?"

"That they found the laboratory that you were grown in?" Joey asked innocently.

"Shut up. They just said there were aliens, real live ones."

"Well, they'll feel right at home with you around," I said, following Joey's remark.

"I'm serious!" she thought for a second. "But we don't have to worry about it, when they see you they'll probably run away, screaming."

"Oooooooh, you been told, my man," Joey said.

"They won't have time to be scared of me because they'll be too interested in finding such a rare example of total stupidity," I shot back.

"You two are such losers," she said and stomped away.

"Oh, that one hurt!" I yelled at her. We continued throwing snowballs and insults at each other for the rest of the afternoon, until my dad came home at about five and said Debbie and I needed to go fix a fence that some idiot driver knocked over last night. I grumbled about it, but I said 'bye' to Joey and walked around to the stables in the backyard.

I went into the stall of my horse, Fantaz, carrying my heavy Western saddle. I tacked him up as I listened to the radio. Suddenly the music was interrupted by a beeping sound, and a mechanical voice came on.

"Attention! There have been sightings of aliens in the Red Cliff, Colorado area! Please have extreme caution, and if you have any information, please call the Sheriff's office! Thank you."

Yeah right, aliens in my small town of Red Cliff, Colorado, population 9 or something.

"Maybe, if I'm lucky, they'll abduct you," Debbie called from the stall next to me.

"You shouldn't joke," I said, mocking her. "Maybe they're real. Little green men from Mars! I'm so scared!"

"You are so immature," she said. I laughed and led my horse into the yard. I mounted up and waited for Debbie, then we started out.

"I so do not want to be here," Debbie grumbled. I agreed, though silently. Why couldn't I be at home, drinking hot chocolate and watching TV. Instead, I was out in freezing weather, going out to fix a fence.

I looked around at the wilderness I was riding in. On my right side, there were our large pastures of cattle. On the left side, there were the Rocky Mountains.

I knew every tree and hill, since I've been riding here for about 10 years, ever since I could ride by myself.

As I looked around at the beautiful wintry landscape surrounding us, I noticed a huge boulder that I hadn't seen before. It was "resting" on a flat cliff. I was about to ask Debbie if she'd ever seen it before, when it suddenly started to glow a ghostly green color.

CHAPTER 2

"Uh, Chris? Wha…What exactly is that?" Debbie asked nervously. "I don't know, Deb. But let's get out of here!" I wheeled my spooked horse around. Debbie was already galloping ahead of me. I glanced back to see the "rock" floating in the air. My first thought was "aliens!" Then I shook my head and turned back around.

I felt the air around me suddenly grow hot. I looked up and the rock was floating above me. Debbie turned her horse around and looked at me, horrified. Fantaz reared. I fell into the soft snow and my horse ran off.

Suddenly Debbie started screaming my name. At the same time, the hot air turned to a soft green glow. And then I started rising. Debbie was screaming and crying, but why? I was just going for a ride. I smiled at her and waved. When I got inside the "rock," I broke out of the trance that I had been in. I lay, sprawled on the floor. It felt like a huge cushion of sticky marshmallows. I tried to sit up but was glued down.

I opened my eyes and saw monsters walking around the room. If you could call it walking. They actually seemed to slither around on the floor. They had wrinkly brown bodies. 6 long tentacles stuck out from the bottom, and glaring red eyes were on the end of each tentacle. They were about 4 feet tall and 6 feet long. An alien, which was what they were, came over to me and started talking in a beyond-foreign language of clicks and chirps.

I suddenly felt a searing pain in my ear as the alien shined a light onto it.

Then it started talking English. Two of the wrinkles opened up as the words came from the thing's mouth.

"Human. Christopher Andrew Emerson. What a strange name. Welcome to BOB."

I was scared out of my mind, more scared than I'd every been before in my life, but I started laughing. These strange aliens had a ship called Bob. "Bob? What kind of a name is that?" I asked.

"BOB is a very high-tech ship which uses lasers and physic powers to experiment on other species, which Corsunans like myself do to find cures for horrible diseases. After you have finished your examinations, which can take up to 6 of your Earth weeks, you will be transported to the Corsunan home world. There is a large sanctuary there that holds strange species," he said, then, like an afterthought, said, "I used my psychicness to find out your species, language, and name."

Oooook. They were going to do experiments on me. Like in all those movies. Then take me to a zoo. I thought it had to be a dream. There was no such thing as aliens. I was safe in bed in our ranch house on good ole Earth. But I was wrong.

CHAPTER 3 "We will take you to your…sanctuary. We have tried to suit it to your home environment so you will be more willing to cooperate during experiments." Two of the big, ugly, brown aliens come up to me and pulled me up off the floor with 4 of their nasty tentacles. I tried to get out of their grasp, but the big, ugly, nasty, brown aliens were much, much stronger than me.

They took me to a large room, about as big as a football field, where others creatures were caged. They slithered up to a large cave like thing with snow covering the bottom. The temperature inside was freezing, probably 30 degrees. They threw me in.

As soon as I could stand up, I ran over to the opening, which they had not closed. I started to jump out onto the floor, but as I went through the opening, I felt a strong, sudden pain as a laser hit me in the back. It threw me back into the cage. It felt like it burned a hole right through me. I lye on the floor, gasping and sobbing, when one of the aliens came up to me.

"You shall learn not to try to escape. Our strong laser beams will let nothing pass." Then it left, leaving me a strange looking kind of bread. They must have tried to imitate Earth's food.

After a while, the pain stopped hurting so much. I went to the outside of the cage, careful not to go all the way through, and looked around. Beside me a small, strange creature was sitting in tall, blue grass. It had large, almond shaped eyes on a small, gray head. It had a huge smiling mouth and a humanoid nose. Its ears were slightly shaped like humans, but were much smaller and stuck out further. It had short legs, four of them, and arms, and wore no garments. I noticed many burn marks covering its body.

"Um, hello?"

The small alien stopped hopping and came over to the edge of its cage.

"Hello." I was surprised it could speak English.

"How do you know how to speak my language?" I asked.

"I don't," it answered. "The corsunans put translators into our heads when we first got here. Do you remember a sharp pain. That way we can speak to any other species without problems. What species are you?"

"Homo Sapien," I answered, "from the planet Earth."

"I'm a Matori, from the galaxy Frutolo and my name is Elsea. What's yours?"

"Chris. How long have you been here?"

"About 3 weeks, I guess."

"What do they do here to us? Will they kill us?"

"No, they promise to keep us alive as long as they can. But they do is change body parts and stuff, and make us think differently. For example, my eyes used to be blue, now they are pink. And I can never seem to remember my close friends from my planet. They have been almost completely erased from my memory."

I thought about my family and friends. Would my memories be erased too? Would I forget about my best friend Joey? Would I forget about my twin sister Debbie or my 2 year old brother Matthew? Would I forget about my parents?

I inhaled slowly and then let out my breath.

"When do they start experimenting?"

"On you? Probably very soon. They are very curious species. But they haven't messed with me for a while."

I backed away from the edge of my cage and sat down on a fake rock that was in the back of the fake wilderness. Elsea had said it was scary. I could believe her. I was scared to death. Literally. I felt like I might just die then and there. Instead I somehow fell asleep, a very restless sleep with nightmares about aliens sticking needles into me and my skin turning hot pink.

After about 2 hours, I was shoved off the rock and pulled up into the air. I hovered in the air for a second, because an alien was holding me up in the air with a laser beam. My arms and legs were tingly, and I realized I could no longer move any of my limbs.

I started crying. I mean all out bawling. I knew they were going to take me and do experiments on me.

"Hello Christopher Andrew Emerson. We are going to take you to the experimentation room now. Please do not make a fuss or we will have to cut you up and feed you to all the hungry aliens on board," It said, dead serious. That stopped me from wiggling around.

They took me to a bright white room, just like ones in the movies. One of the aliens came up to me. He stood out from all the rest because he seemed older. He was bigger and had more wrinkles than the other aliens.

"My name is Frotolo. I will perform most of your experiments. Be sure you remember that although we try not to hurt primitive species like yourself, you may find that small side effects show up after the experimentation's. Please do not be alarmed or frightened, as it would only mess up further experiments."

The laser beam carried me over to a soft sofa, which surprised me. I expected to be placed on a hard table or something.

The Frot guy came over to me carrying a handful of laser things. He picked one up and ran it over me. It had a soft green glow, and I realized it was the same one I had felt when I was coming into the space ship. I almost immediately dozed off. I don't remember anything after that until much later when I was back in my fake cave.

CHAPTER 4

I woke up freezing, laying on the fake snow. I shivered and looked around. Actually, I tried to look around. But I couldn't see anything. I mean absolutely nothing. I was completely blind. And I started screaming. I like to keep up my good reputation, but when I'm in a spaceship surrounded my tons of different kinds of aliens, I don't really have a reputation to keep. So I started screaming like a baby.

"Let me out of here! I don't deserve this!!! LET ME OUT!!!!" I ran over to the front side of the cage, tripping on scattered fake stones. I accidentally misjudged the size of the cage and ran out the opening. Again, the laser caught me and threw me back, while my arm felt like it had been burned off. I started crying again. I lay on the ground for what could have been forever, just crying. Then I heard a tentative voice calling me.

"Chris? It's me, Elsea. What's the matter?"

"I can't see anything! I'm blind!" I said between sobs.

"I know from experience Chris. You are not blind. Open your eyes. You can see some things. You can see shapes, maybe not as well as you could. But when that happens, as it often does during experiments, the blindness wears off."

I opened my eyes. I could barely see, but Elsea was right. I could see the faint shape of a large fake rock beside me. But that still wasn't very reassuring.

CHAPTER 5

The next morning, or at least I think it was the next morning, I woke up from another restless sleep. When I opened my eyes, I could see again. Just like Elsea said, the blindness wore off. My vision was blurry, but at least I could see. As soon as I could think straight, I began to think of ways to escape.

Later that afternoon, the aliens came again to take me away for experimentation. When they laid me down on the sofa and ran the laser beam over me, I fought myself to stay awake. If I could stay awake, I could possibly escape when they were done experimenting.

I barely made it awake, but all the aliens did was shine a bunch of lasers on me. I figured they probably cut me open or something, but these aliens were a lot more high-tech than the made up ones on Earth.

Anyway, when they were done with the experiments, I waited until the aliens slithered away for a few minutes. They thought I was asleep, thus creating no danger of escaping. But I slowly rose up, as carefully as I could. I swung my feet off the couch and crawled underneath tables. The button I had to press was on the other side of the room. I had looked for it as I came in, and I saw it now. Stupid of the aliens to leave it out in open view, for any intelligent creature to press. The button turned off the lasers on the cages so all the species could escape, then gang up on the corsunans.

I was getting closer and closer, and I started getting nervous. I had suspected that the aliens would see me, and come after me. Chase me. I had pictured myself diving for the button, pressing it, and the other creatures to be a back up. But the experimenting aliens didn't see me.

Finally, I was there. I slowly, nervously reached my hand up to the button. It was a light gray steel color, and it felt cold to the touch. I pressed it in. And suddenly the whole room exploded in a brilliant light.

CHAPTER 6

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

A huge explosion sounded as 10 or more lasers from the aliens in the rooms were fired at me simultaneously. They carried me up into the air and shot me across the room. I felt limp and numb, like my body wasn't real but was a rag doll. I was thrown against the walls and ceiling. Finally I landed on the floor with a THUD. I couldn't breathe. The air had been knocked out of me and my whole body burned from the lasers. It hurt too much to cry or scream. I just laid there on my stomach with my eyes closed, practically unconscious. Suddenly Frotimite came over to me, and instead of using lasers like he normally did to pick me up, he grabbed my throat with two of his long tentacles.

"How dare you! You know that because of this…"he tightened his grip around my throat, not that I could breathe anyway, "you shall be tortured for many hours."

After that, I fainted. But I woke up a few minutes later when I was thrown into a 150 degrees chamber. The floor and walls were made of metal, and it felt like I was sitting in an oven.

I pulled off my heavy wool jacket that I hadn't taken off since I got on the ship. I was still burning up with my red long sleeved shirt. I pulled it off too and I sat there nearly dying off heat. But I knew I could make it because I was sure this was all the "torture" they would make me go through. It sure was enough!

The temperature suddenly decreased, and, to my astonishment, I started laughing. I laughed so hard tears came streaming down my face and I rolled on the floor. In a little corner of my mind, I knew nothing was funny in the least bit, but I couldn't stop laughing. Panicked, I realized I couldn't catch my breath, and I could die laughing. I struggled to breathe.

All of the sudden I just stopped. I lay on the floor gasping for breath when the walls turned to what looked like huge movie screens. Surrounding me, underneath me and above me and on all sides, some kind of film started playing. As soon as I could focus on one screen, I saw what it was. It was memories of mine. They had gone into my brain and fished out my happiest memories. The screen I was staring at showed my parents and me looking at my horse before I bought him. When I looked right, I saw some people standing around me and my sister as we celebrated some birthday, probably last years, my 15th. My best friend Joey were there. Memories like this filled the room. I knew what the aliens were doing. They were trying to make me extremely sad, or feel lonely, or something. They were playing with my head, trying to get me to break down and start listening to them completely. But it wasn't working. I wouldn't let them get the satisfaction of winning. The memories played, over and over, for what could have been 1 hour or 10 hours.

Suddenly, it all stopped. I was back in my little fake environment, laying on the floor. I stood up shakily and walked over to see Elsea. She was waiting by the side of the cage and she stared at me in admiration and disbelief.

"I can't believe you tried to escape! That's so stupid, yet brave!" I didn't know whether to feel offended or proud.

"Yeah, well, it didn't work anyway. I have to try again."

She stared at me. "You had to go through all that torture and you're willing to try again?"

"Yes. I have a Plan B. But you have to help me." She stared at me questioningly. "If I get caught again, I swear I won't turn you in. You have to trust me, or we'll never escape. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in some cheesy habitat that some idiotic aliens made up for you, and wondering when you're going to get experimented on next? I don't think so." Elsea gulped, looked around nervously, and replied, "OK. What do I need to do?"

"The plan is going to be painful I think," I laughed dryly. "I'm going to have to try to run through the door and get hit with the laser." She looked at me in surprise. "When I do this, you have to watch as closely as you can. There has got to be a spot where the laser does not hit, because the corsunans throw food in through the hole somehow."

"OK, I think I understand," she replied.

"We'll do it tonight, when we're supposed to be asleep." She nodded in reply.