Tuesday, 23 September 2014

My Visitors: Tisha's Story

This is the story of Tisha's strange encounters, told through her eyes. Tisha will never be truly sure if she had contact with extra-terrestrial beings, but it feels better believing that than believing she's crazy.

Mild supernatural themes.

I don't know, maybe I am crazy.  Maybe my mind invented these things because I felt scared and alone and just wanted someone to talk to that wasn’t a doll or a teddy bear.  It felt real at the time.  It still feels real now, even though I doubt it sometimes, write it off as a recurring dream.
I was five years old the first time.  My bedroom was at the back of the house.  There were no windows I could see out of in my room, just louvres at the top of the wall to let the light come in and allow some fresh air.  I liked to sleep with the louvres open so I could hear the outside world as I drifted to sleep: the traffic; the ocean; dogs and cats.  I was usually woken early by the sunrise streaming in through my window and the cacophony of birds chattering.
On this night, I was woken soon after midnight by the brightest light I had ever seen, the brightest light I have seen still.  The light flooded in through my louvres and as it fell on my face I blinked my eyes open and wondered why I couldn't hear any birds and why my dog wasn't barking.
I climbed out of bed and crept quietly into the hallway.  My parents were still asleep, the house was still.  I went to the side door and looked out the window at my dog on the veranda; he was still asleep as well.  I went outside and looked up at the sky, that’s when I realised the light wasn't coming from the sun.  The light was warm like sunlight but much brighter and I felt it lightly burning the side of my face, like midday in summer.  I turned towards the light.  So bright, I could barely see anything.  I squinted and blinked as my eyes tried to adjust.  Finally I was able to make out a shape.  The light was emanating from a huge metal ball that was sitting in the middle of my back yard.  The ball opened in the middle and the top half rose up; the light became even brighter.  I saw the silhouette of a humanoid figure in the light.  I became very frightened as the figure moved towards me.  The light began to dim as the ball closed and flattened into a saucer shape against the ground; now I could begin to see the figure clearly.  The figure spoke to me, well, I felt her words inside me, and I felt she was a “she”.  She told me not to be afraid because she would take care of me and make sure I wasn't hurt at all while I was visiting them.  I studied her face.  It didn't look really human, but it looked kind.  She had a large, smooth, cream-coloured face, with big eyes and a little nose and mouth, like a rag doll.  I couldn't see any ears, but I didn’t think anything of it, because some of my dolls didn’t have ears either.  She had glowing white hair, which fell to her bony shoulders like strands of silk fibre.  Her arms were very long and thin, and so were her legs.  She was a little taller than me, maybe the height of an eight-year-old child.  She wore what looked like a pinafore dress with nothing underneath it, so far as I could see.  The dress had a big pocket on the front.  I smiled because it reminded me of kangaroos.  I liked kangaroos a lot when I was five.  She took my hand and walked with me over to the saucer; I wasn't afraid.
As we approached the saucer, it stretched itself back into a brightly glowing ball and opened up in the middle.  She took my hand and I felt we were being gently lifted from all over and placed inside the sphere.  As it closed up, it didn’t seem so bright in there, it seemed almost normal.  Here I felt her “speak” to me again, “Tisha, we need you to come visit us for a little while.  You’ll see our doctors and they will make sure you are healthy.  You’ll be back home before your mum and dad wake up.”
I was a little confused that she knew my name when I never told her, but I didn’t ask about it, I just asked for her name, “You can call me Caelia.” she replied, then after a pause, “we’re here.  Take my hand, Tisha dear.” I held her hand as the sphere opened up again and we both floated out.  When we landed on the ground, we were in a big room with a lot of metal structures, lights and screens in it.  I saw a lot of figures milling around, doing all kinds of things.  Mostly they ignored us and kept doing whatever it was they were doing, but some of them stopped and said hello to Caelia and I.  The ones that spoke to us all knew my name as well, but at the time, it felt normal that they would.  Everything here was starting to feel normal; there were no surprises.  Some of the figures looked like Caelia and were dressed in the same pinafores with big pockets; some were smaller, coloured differently, sort of grey, with long, bulbous heads; some were larger, tall and thin and seemed to have brown tree bark instead of skin; they all seemed perfectly ordinary to me, they all spoke from the inside of their minds to the inside of mine, and I’d begun to answer them the same way.  The longer I stayed, the more usual everything seemed.  I knew I would be safe if I stayed with Caelia.
Soon, one of the tree people came over to us.  His face was very different to Caelia’s.  He had a big wide mouth and a long round nose; his eyes were vertical slits in the bark.  The tree people didn’t wear any clothing, but he was carrying a bag and what looked like a clipboard, but it had a touchscreen.  I’d never seen anything like that before and really wanted a closer look – it was the early nineties, after all! – but I felt like Tree Man considered himself much more important than me, he never told me his name and he only spoke to Caelia.  He entered a few things into his board before turning to Caelia and saying, “bring her with me.”
Caelia rubbed my back reassuringly before leading me down a long corridor behind Tree Man.  The room we went into looked just like a typical doctor’s room: there was an examination table in the centre and a bench against one wall with all kinds of tools on it and drawers underneath.  One wall was a touchscreen with writing and pictures on it.  Tree Man went over to the screen and entered some information before leaving the room.
Caelia explained to me that the doctors would come in and do some tests to make sure I was healthy, and she would hold me hand the whole time so I wouldn’t get scared.  I asked if there would be needles and Caelia told me there would, but she would make sure they didn’t hurt.  I trusted her.
Three doctors came in.  They all looked very much like Caelia, two were men and one was a woman; none of them were very tall.  All of them wore the same clothing as Caelia.  One of the doctors spoke to me, introducing himself as Doctor Orika and the others as Doctors Mylah and Timeon.  Doctor Orika asked me to take my pyjamas off, but he gave me a little pair of shorts to wear.
After I had changed into the shorts I climbed up on the examination table and lay down.  I started to feel my heartbeat; I didn’t like doctors – I still don’t – and I felt my nerves rising even with Caelia there, even with the doctors seeming perfectly lovely and kind.  Caelia held my hand as Doctor Mylah put some little round discs on my chest and my belly.  The discs were cold and felt like hard plastic.  There was a beeping sound, then she smiled and said to me, “Look up at the screen, little one!  That’s a picture of the inside of you.” Doctor Mylah pointed out my heart, my lungs and my stomach and intestines to me and told me what each part was doing.  I smiled and started to relax, and I watched my heart slow down on the screen as I did.  Doctor Mylah sat on a chair by the screen and took notes on a little screen she was carrying, like the one Tree Man had had.  Doctor Timeon came over with what looked like some clay in his hands; he broke off a little bit of the clay, moulded it into a long shape and pressed it behind my ear, then did the same to the other side.  I saw another picture pop up on the wall screen, and Doctor Mylah showed me that it was my ears and my brain, and she pointed out all the different parts of my ears and told me how they work, she laughed as she said, “But you won't need your ears up here, you can hear us with your spirit!”
Doctor Timeon then left the room and came back with a little cup filled with blue liquid, he asked me to drink it.  I sat up slowly, worried the discs would fall off, they weren't sticky or anything, but Caelia, who could hear all my worries, told me they couldn't fall off just from me sitting up to drink.  It’s very strange to think about that now; there was nothing holding them onto me, but they couldn’t fall off; it was normal then.
As I drank the liquid, I saw blue fill my stomach on the screen.  I laughed.  I’m not sure if I laughed out loud, hearing things in my mind was just the usual way at this point.
Doctor Orika told me he would need to give me a needle and I’d have to lie down again, and it was important to keep very still.  I looked up at Caelia and she gave my hand an extra tight squeeze and gently stroked my face with her lovely long fingers.  Before the needle touched my skin, Caelia ran her hand over the intended injection site.  A hot light shone from the palm of her hand and my arm went all tingly underneath.  Doctor Orika pushed the needle into my arm and at the same time, Doctor Timeon lowered a big screen of light from the ceiling, like a light box but flat and the size of the examination table.  I heard a “pop” noise and the doctor raise the screen back up to the ceiling.  I looked over at the screen and saw a model of my whole body from head to toe with a map of all my veins running through it.  Whatever had been injected into me was to allow this image to be taken.  Doctor Mylah came over and explained to me that I would need to go to sleep for a few minutes, but Caelia would stay with me.  Doctor Mylah waved her hand over my face and I fell asleep.  When I woke up, all three doctors and two tree people were standing over me looking at my body, Caelia was still standing beside me holding my hand, like she said she would.  The discs were gone and the strips of clay were no longer behind my ears.  I don’t know what happened while I was asleep, but a third tree person was sorting a lot of little vials on a tray, and somehow I knew their contents had come from me.  Caelia explained to me that they had opened my tummy to take some things out and make sure I was healthy, but I wouldn't be sore, they had fixed me afterwards.  I asked why I couldn’t be asleep for the needle as well, but nobody answered me.
“One more thing,” said Doctor Orika as he walked over to the examination table, “I’m going to put this little thing inside your belly button, so if we need to see you again, you can come back on your own.” He showed me a little thing about the size of a grain of rice and black in colour.  At the time I had no idea what he meant, but I worked it out later.  I’ll get to that.  Caelia held my hand as the doctor pushed the little chip into my belly button.  I felt a little twinge as it broke the skin but the wound healed right away and didn’t hurt after that.
Doctor Mylah sat with me while Caelia went to get me something to eat and drink.  I recognised the food as lime cordial and chocolate chip biscuits; I don’t know if that’s really what it was, but that’s what it tasted like.
After I ate, I got dressed back into my pyjamas and walked with Caelia back up the corridor to the big room we had started out in. We stood beside the ball, flattened down in its saucer form. “The ball will take you home,” she said to me, “I don’t need to go with you this time, Tisha, you have the chip in you now.” As the saucer rose up into a ball shape, I gave Caelia a little hug, which I don’t think she was expecting, odd since she could feel my thoughts – maybe she no longer could, since the procedure was over and I was going home? – but she hugged back for a little bit.  The ball opened up and as the top lifted to the ceiling, I felt myself rise up all alone and float into the ball.  I was very nervous inside the sphere alone, but I remembered how when I’d travelled in the ball with Caelia, it never even felt like we were moving at all, so I trusted that I was going home safely.
The ball opened and I looked out at my own backyard, my own house.  I stepped out onto nothingness and gently floated back to the ground.  I turned around to watch the ball collapse into its saucer form and float directly up until I could no longer see it, I was alone in the dark.  Five years old and alone in the dark; it was only my own backyard, but I couldn’t see anything at all, my eyes were now used to extreme brightness.
I felt something cold and wet touch the back of my leg; I jumped and squealed!  It was only my dog.  I put my hand on his back and he guided me to the open veranda door.  I must have gone back to bed after that, and slept like nothing had happened, but I only remember waking up the next morning to sunlight on my face and the sound of birds in my backyard.

~~~

Next time I was woken in the middle of the night by a bright light shining through my louvres, neighbourhood dogs mysteriously quiet, no birds chirping, I would have been seven.  I knew just what to do.  Without any wonder or fuss, I walked out into my backyard and waited for the ball to open so I could get inside.  When it began to open, I floated up and into it; the way this happened is sort of hard to describe; basically I decided to float up, and it happened.  I sat inside the ball, cross-legged on the floor, and just waited for it to stop and open.  I knew it was moving, but just like last time, it didn’t feel like it was moving at all.  I know now that the transport pod was ascending up into the waiting ship, so high above the ground it was not visible on Earth, but at the time, all I’d figured out was that it was moving and it felt like it was staying still.  The pod opened, I don’t know how much time had passed; time passes slowly when you’re a child waiting alone, but I don’t think it was really very long.  I saw Caelia first.  She felt pleased to see me.  As I floated down to the ground, she offered her hand to me.  I slipped my hand into hers; I’d forgotten how cold and smooth her skin was, I gasped in surprise. “Tisha,” Caelia began in a loving but stern way, “nothing is new to you here, do not be alarmed!”
We walked together down a long corridor.  I tried to remember if it was the same corridor from last lime, but one hallway does tend to look much like another, even on a spaceship!  I felt afraid, even though I knew I was safe.  Such a strange feeling!  Nothing else to this day has caused such a feeling to surge up within me as this particular kind of calm-yet-nervous apprehension-yet-serenity.  I can’t describe the feeling properly.  I’m confusing myself trying.  I digress.
We walked into the examination room and everything looked just as I remembered it from last time.  Caelia told me to climb up on the examination table and wait, so I did.  As I sat there, I felt a little pain in my belly button; a little hot twinge, like a little burn from a match that’s just blown out.  I gasped in pain and surprise, though the pain ended as quickly as it had begun.  When I looked down at the site of the pain, I gasped again.  A tiny speck at the top of my belly button was glowing bright red; I knew it was where the chip had been implanted.  Caelia held my hand, and I felt myself calm.  I knew this was supposed to be happening.  I relaxed.  I breathed normally.  A tree man came in with a little device in his hand, about the size of a computer mouse.  The tree Man ran the little device over my belly, just where the chip was, and I heard it beep.  The chip stopped glowing, and the tree man left.  He never said anything to me, he never thought about me, he just did his job and left.  I didn’t like the tree people, but I didn’t really dislike them either since I realised they were nothing to be afraid of, they were just very logical and matter-of-fact.  I don’t think they were actually trees, you know.  I just called them that to myself, from the mind of a child.  This was all very strange, I spent a lot of time trying to explain it to myself.
Anyhow, I was sitting on the examination table, still in my pyjamas and I’d just had my belly chip scanned.  I wanted to ask Caelia why the tree people never talked to me, but I didn’t want to bother her.  I’ve always been very conscious of bothering other people.  I did, however, ask her what was going to happen this time. “The doctors will need you asleep again, to study your body.  Our scientists will study the information collected by your chip.  Your chip will tell us about everything you've done and every place you've been since we last saw you.” Caelia answered.  I nodded, and waited.  It made perfect sense that the chip would have more than one function; after all, things are only what you make them!
After what seemed like hours, but again was probably only ten minutes, Doctor Timeon came in.  He was alone this time.  Doctor Timeon explained I wouldn't need to get undressed this time because they would be looking mostly at my hands, feet and head.  The doctor asked me to lie down on the table, and waved his hand over my face to cause me to fall asleep, just like Doctor Mylah had done a little over two years before.
This time when I woke, I had sharp pains in the soles of both feet, the palms of both hands and both my ears.  It was so bright in the room, I couldn't see a single thing.  I was afraid, and it wasn't a strange, muddled fear like before, I just wanted to get out of there and make the pain go away.  I couldn't move.  I couldn't even wiggle my fingers.  I couldn't call out with my voice or with my mind.  Caelia came over to me and put her hands on my shoulders.  My whole body began to tingle and the pain went away; I felt myself drifting back to sleep, no longer afraid.  Next time I woke up, the room was completely dark.  Most unusual, as I’d only ever seen it bright or very bright!  I was filled with a common children’s anxiety: that I had been forgotten.  I heard someone moving around in the room and I relaxed, glad I wasn't alone.  Slowly the lights came up and I saw Caelia and all three of the doctors standing around me.  “You are brave, little one.” Doctor Mylah said to me, “and you are adventurous.  You will do well in the Earth world, but you will do well slowly.  You are trusting, but you are quick to flee in fear.  You will survive well.”
I didn’t know what she meant.  I think I understand now.  Well, sometimes I feel as though I understand.
Later, as I walked back to the ball to go home, I passed a little boy of about nine or ten walking with a companion like Caelia.  He seemed calm and reassured, and I knew he’d done this before, just as I had.  I levitated up into the ball and rode home inside it alone, just as before.  I levitated down to the ground, just as before.  I was afraid and alone in the dark in my own backyard just as before.  My dog came to find me and lead me inside exactly the same as he’d done the first time.  I went back to bed and went to sleep.  I woke in the morning as I usually did, sunlight softly on my face, unsure if the events of last night had taken place or if they were a dream; my logical mind taking over as I aged, just as happens to most people.  I really thought nothing of it until later that day, when my mother asked me how I’d gotten the two little round bruises on my hands.  I must have been asleep.  I remembered my hands hurting for a while, but I could honestly tell her I didn’t know how I’d gotten the bruises.

~~~

Light filled my window.  I woke up.  Silence.  I was eleven years old, now.  I didn’t want to go.  I tried to resist.  I felt tears fill my eyes as I pulled the blanket over my head. “It’s a dream.  Just a dream.” I whispered to myself over and over, willing myself to wake up, hoping this dream would end.  The light seemed to get brighter and I heard Caelia’s voice in my mind, “Tisha, come out!  Come to us!  We have a joy to share with you!” and so with great trepidation, but a certainty I couldn't say no, I went out into my backyard once more.  I couldn't imagine what the “great joy” could be.  I was afraid and a little angry.  I remembered last time, although four years ago, very clearly.  I remembered I had been physically hurt.  I remembered the bruises.  I ascended into the ball and travelled into the ship, waiting miles above.  I floated down to the deck and met Caelia.  She hugged me with great affection, which took me by surprise.  “No procedures today,” she told me, “you just need your chip scanned, then I have a pleasant surprise for you.  You have earned it!”  I smiled.  I was intrigued!  I followed Caelia up the corridor, this time certain that it was the same one as last time and the time before.  In the examination room, I took a deep breath and climbed on the examination table, expecting the chip to glow and burn.  I was right.  The pain only lasted about two seconds, but I think it was worse because I was expecting it.  I looked down at the little glowing red dot at the top of my belly button as a tree man came in, scanned it with his device and left.  The dot stopped glowing and I let out a relieved sigh.  It didn’t burn the whole time it was glowing – as I've said, the pain was momentary – but it is quite unnerving to look down and see a glowing red dot beaming out from beneath your skin; the scanning seemed to deactivate the glow as it extracted the information.  Caelia took my hand, “Come little one.  You have earned this joy.”  I walked with Caelia back to the ball, flattened into its saucer form, waiting to be required.  My heart sank.  Was my promised “joy” only that I got to go home without being poked, prodded or explored?  Caelia laughed.  “Tisha, little one,” she spoke gently to me, “the transport can take us many places.  I am going with you.  I will show you some special things.  You will see the whole of Earth.  You will be given the understanding of the term ‘world’.”
I smiled.  Caelia released my hand and we watched the ball open up.  We both floated up and into the ball independently.  “This time, we will see!” Caelia told me.  For the first time, I felt I could hear excitement in her voice.  Caelia walked over to what I suppose was the wall of the ball and placed her hands flat against it.  I heard a buzzing noise – now when I say I heard it, I mean with my ears, not with my mind, or my “spirit”, as Doctor Mylah had put it – and what looked to my eleven-year-old brain to be a big control panel for a computer appeared, with a screen above it which seemed to just be the wall, much like the big screen in the examination room, which I had seen the inside of my body upon all those years before.  It felt strange to me to hear with my ears, even for those few seconds.  Even the beep when my chip was scanned seemed to occur inside my mind.  Caelia entered some information into the computer and suddenly windows formed in the sides of the ball.  I say they “formed” rather than “opened” as that’s exactly what it seemed like.  There was nowhere for windows to be, and then there they were.  I walked over to one of the windows and looked out.  We were still inside the ship, the ball hadn't moved at all.  I watched and waited.  I saw the floor of the ship open up, and the ball slowly descend through it.  I saw darkness and dazzling stars.  We were so high above my house!  Much higher than I had ever imagined; we were actually in what can be officially called “space”!  Never in my life had I ever thought such a thing could happen.  Had I been in space three times now?  I had no idea.  I have no idea.  I know that right at that moment, I looked down and I could see the full roundness of the planet we call Earth, the planet we know as our home.  I saw it blue, brown, green, white and swirling with clouds.  I saw our moon.  I saw galaxies.  I felt simultaneously important and insignificant; I was again filled with emotions for which I have no words, but it felt so good and so right to be there right then.  I was startled by Caelia beginning to speak, “If we were to travel directly downwards, we would be in your backyard, and we could do that in a matter of seconds, although usually it takes just over a minute.  Instead, we are going to go on a little journey, a well-earned adventure!”  Quite quickly, but certainly more slowly than a few seconds or even just over a minute, we travelled towards the Earth.  We approached and went through the curve of the atmosphere.  I expected fire, but there was no sign at all of entry, not even that which a marble would leave upon entering water.  High above land but low enough to see buildings on the ground, we travelled around the planet.  Caelia took me to see all the major world cities I had been learning about in school; she took me to see all the natural wonders I had been reading about in my large collection of nature books.  I learned the wonders and magic of nature first-hand.  Not just from inside the ball, either.  There were secluded places in the world where we stopped travelling and exited the ball.  I walked through rainforests, I touched wild animals, I climbed over rocks and I swam at beaches all over the world.  It was amazing.  I don’t like to use that word, I feel it is overused, but there is no other word for it.  It was amazing.  It made all the pain and fear I had experienced before this point fade away.  Soon the logical part of my pre-teen brain kicked in.  Small though it may be, there is a logical part to the pre-teen brain.  I wondered how long we had been gone.  How much time had passed?  Though I hadn’t felt tired, it seemed like a week or possibly more.  Caelia must have felt my concern.  She told me not to worry, time for me had stood still, nobody knew yet that I was gone, and moreover nobody would ever know unless I told them… I never told anybody until now, until you asked me.  Back inside the transport ball, Caelia said there was one more place she wanted to show me.  We travelled up high.  We travelled up even past the waiting ship.  When I looked down, I could no longer see even a glimpse of Earth.  We were travelling so fast, I felt I should have been dizzy and unable to stand, but I felt fine.  I saw another planet coming into view.  It was red and green and had white wispy clouds just like Earth.  As we got closer, I realised the green parts were land and the red parts were what we would think of as the sea.  We never landed on the planet, but Caelia explained to me it was her home planet.  She told me about their landmarks, their many cultures and different customs, and their animals and plants.  I can’t even attempt to describe the things I saw in any detail, and I think that’s the only reason I was allowed to see; they knew from studying me I am poor at describing pictures in words.
We left the planet after what felt like a few hours.  Now I began to feel tired.  I closed my eyes and drifted naturally to sleep.  When I woke up, I was lying on the examination table on the ship again.  I was confused.  I felt I had been cheated.  I still to this day have no idea what if anything happened to me while I was on that table.  I think of it often.  I think of all of these things often, and still I’m unsure if any of them are actually real.  I returned home via transport ball in the usual way.  My dog had passed away a few months before, so I was left disorientated in my backyard until my eyes adjusted and I walked back to bed on my own.
When I woke the next morning and the world went on as it always had, not a single mark on me, no evidence I’d been anywhere, I convinced myself it was a dream.  It was all just dreams.  Very realistic, vivid dreams, but dreams all the same.  Still to this day it’s very painful for me when someone touches my belly button, or I accidentally bump it myself, but I suppose it could just be naturally sensitive.  I’m not sure how I got those bruises on my hands.  I was an accident prone child, it could have been anything.  It could have been anything at all.  I don’t know if any of my memories are real or not.  They seem real.  Sometimes dreams seem real.  Sometimes I think of my visitors as some kind of demon, sometimes I think of them as strange childhood friends.  Even if they were just in my head, what’s more real than your own mind, you know?  I don’t think I’m crazy.  I think I’m alright in every other way, I’ll just never be able to completely convince myself it was just a series of vivid dreams.

But for a little while, I had Caelia to talk to, and she wasn't just a doll or a teddy bear, and I wasn't alone.

The End?
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