The sanctuary. FICTION
“Your aren’t getting it” he pleads to me, looking stern and plaintive at the same time.
“I hear you but it isn’t making any sense. You’re saying that I am now a dead man, but I feel quite alive.”
“Oh, you’re dead alright, just by being here and talking to me, your fate was sealed, and that of your family. By the time this interview is over, your immediate family will have been killed with a substitute body for you, and there will be a pre-written investigation given to the news outlets. Your life is already written off the books of history.”
“Seriously? You are NOT that important in the world.”
He sighs and mumbles ‘he still isn’t hearing me.’ and some other less printable words. “Look, they granted this interview so that I can pass on what I know. I know my time is short, and they, like most despots in history, want someone kept close to keep the secrets, know where the bodies are buried, and to have someone to confide in, in utter confidence that the confession never sees the light of the public eye.” He grabs a glass from the table between us and pours some amber colored liquid tnto it. He does not offer me anything. He continues,” you are going to be my replacement and you had better listen close. There are things I don’t remember, and why I know my time is short, but the Gist: engraved in my soul. When you finally hear it and understand it, it will be burned into your soul as well. And you will NEVER be allowed to leave this sanctuary they made for us.”
“Why me, of all the reporters in the world, why did they choose me? I’m a nobody in the great wide world.”
“because you are that nobody. Makes killing you that much easier and no one will question the story. You fade into history as a footnote at best, all the while you will live out your days here, knowing that thing that they don’t wish loosed upon the world. You are the Cobalt rod in the reactor to keep things operating smoothly, and you are the confidant they need. Or I should say you will be, If you pass the tests. If not, they bury you in the grave they already planted a corpse in, and no one is the wiser, and I keep giving interviews until they find what they want.”
This is the part that confuses me. I have no idea how I was given this interview: my editor called me in and said I needed to come here and interview the ‘most important man in the world’ but I was given no name. Even my edttor was ‘off’ and it seemed like he was saying things and not knowing where they were coming from. It appeared he was trying to see his own lips while the words were coming out, like he didn’t know his mouth had a mind of its own. Now, here I am, and I don’t even know where here is, I don’t recall driving here: I was in the editors office, then I was here, and I have no idea if there was travel time, or if I just ‘materialized” here.
I don’t like gaps in details like that. I’m a reporter, not a fiction writer, but the last hour or so feels so broken and scattered that I feel like I’m in a story.
As for this “most important man in the world”, he mostly looks like a drunk that has seen too many bottles of Maddog pass by. He’s in fine physical shape; no old age paunch, good tone to the muscles exposed by his shirt, but that face,,, Its the face of someone that has seen way too much with no relief of that view. His face alone makes me curious as to what he knows that is so important that some group would be willing to do what he says they have done. Maybe I am the dead man walking now: I doubt it, but with the last hour or so, there is a crack in my doubt. I have to play the bluff through or I feel I will never leave here at all.
“How many interviews have you given already” I ask, hoping to change the subject. His resolve that I am a deadman is giving me a small anxiety.
“You are number six. They have started increasing the interviews so I know I haven’t much longer. You are being tested right now, to see if you are compatible with our hosts: You probably feel a bit anxious right now, don’t you?: he asks, not waiting for me to answer,”Thats the probes they use on us: they tingle our gabons and it translate to the physical as anxiousness, or worse, nausea.”
“If I feel nauseous, thats bad: is that what you are saying?”
“You aren’t are you?” He asks with concern
“No, but I am feeling anxious. Anxious to end this interview, and get back to work. I was told you are the ‘most important man in the world” but other than the grounds here, I see nothing to back up that statement. I don’t recognize your face, I have never heard your name in common conversation, other than as a by-line like “John or Jane Doe”. Mr Smith, You don’t stirke me as very much of a person that would bear that titile of importance.” I have to hit the facts as bald faced as I can. I have a feeling that anything less will get me nowhere with this personage before me.
He observes me for several moments, sipping that strange liquid. It doesn’t look like any alcohol I have ever seen, the open bottle it came from is not giving any trace of smell that I can detect, and it looks almost viscous in nature, almost the thickness of but not quite the same color as Olive oil. He sips again, then returns the glass to the table. “You are absolutely correct that I am no one you have ever seen or heard of. My name isn’t important as far as the world is concerned since by record I have been dead since 1958. My family was ‘erased’ when I came here, and our hosts started telling me things. I almost feel like the reason they started talking was out of guilt. Like they feel lessened by the things they do to our world.”
“Hosts? What hosts? “
“ I guess you passed at least one of their tests, so maybe I need to backup and tell you a few things that will make the rest a little easier to swallow. First part, I was in Roswell New Mexico when the first crash was brought in. We saved one of the occupants, and then found out that we had intercepted something way bigger than just extraterrestrial life. WAY BIGGER!”
I start jotting notes as he starts opening up. Dead in 58, have to dig into that one. Roswell NM, everyone knows something went down there and may still be going on in the area, but its mostly crazed nut-jobs and UFO hunters these days. No one takes it seriously. And it maybe that I am dealing with one now, but I still have questions about “How” I came to be here,,,
He carries on while I scrabble out my chicken-scratch notes,”We thought we had an alien, but they are no more alien to this world than we are, maybe less so. The ones we shot out of the sky are the keepers, and work for our hosts. I have never physically met our hosts, and. have reasons to believe its physically impossible. I’ll get back to that after I explain some other things. That we were able to shoot one down caught the keepers flat-footed and they. were chastised by the hosts for it. It showed they were losing control of their charges.”
“You say hosts, and keepers. can you explain what you mean there?”
“First thing you need to understand, The Earth is not the rock we think of it as. This rock circling the sun is special, has been modified by the hosts to accommodate their designs. We are exclusive in the universe on that note. Our scientists keep looking for analogs of our rock, and while they find them, they find zero intelligent life of any meaning. WE were designed to live here, and no other, and that is why our hosts keep mucking up our efforts to travel beyond our world. They let us look, but they will never allow us to roam.”
“Huh? Wait a sec! You lost me just now. You are saying what, that we are not alone? That there really is intelligence outside of our solar system?”
“Yes. And if you think we are intelligent, you are in for one hell of a surprise. Our hosts are way more intelligent, and far more advanced in so many ways that we look like amoeba in comparison. The Hosts are from between the galaxies, where the dark matter is. I have to believe they are actually made of darkmatter and dark energy, not really physical at all. Even our watchers, keepers, tenders, whatever you want to call them, are not much more intelligent than we are, though they operate at a higher function level than we do, so appear more intelligent.”
“What do you mean higher function level?”
“In a word; Simple. In truth, strange to us. They don’t occupy one body, they operate across several bodies and can even swap bodies as needed if one is lacking a certain skill or knowledge. You’ll be meeting one or two yet, but it will take you awhile to realize that you are only dealing with one or two, not the dozens of bodies you will encounter. Maybe the term bodies is incorrect, more like a terminal or interface. You might even say the body is nothing more than a tool that the sentient being uses to accomplish a goal. “
“So a Hive mind type of thing?” I ask, but my thinking is closer to ‘this is one of those crazy UFO people;
“I asked the same thing and would have been laughed at, if they had a sense of humor. Maybe they do, but its not one I would recognize as such. No, the response to that question was more that of educating a slow learning child. They explained hive mind is many minds and bodies all interconnected, where they are.individual minds spread out over many bodies. And they do have different personalities: some are very helpful, others are strictly ‘do the job, don’t ask questions’ types.
“You said that the Hosts keep us here, yet we have been to the moon, right? I have to assume that this is real, and that we did actually step foot on the moon.”
“Oh, yes, we did reach the moon, we did send out several probes around the solar system and beyond, but that is as much as they are ever going to allow us to do. They cull our better minds that could develop the means to escape this prison we have been made for,,,”
“wait as sec, you just said “Escape this prison WE WERE MADE FOR. Expand on that please, Seems like you left out a lot of information about something.”
“I said I was going to get back around to that, I guess now is as good as later. WE, the Homo Sapiens of this planet, and I don’t give a rats ass what you breed is, and please don’t say ‘race’; it belittles us. No, we, as a species have been created, fostered and groomed, the same way a botanist will groom a special plant or flower. We are livestock to the host, and the keepers are our guides, culling a bad line here, or nurturing a specific trait there.”
“If what you are saying is true, what the heck are they trying to nurture? It seems like the world has been one of strife and turmoil for ages, and we never seem to learn anything new other than technology. And that tends to just make the strife and turmoil even worse.”
He takes another sip from his glass, looks at me with sadness. “You missed the key question there and shot right on by to your assumptions. What are they TRYING to nurture? Obviously its not food, or we would have an entirely different world established for us; more like a cattle pen, than a nursery. What they are nurturing is our souls. And no, I don’t understand what the end goal is. Maybe this is like Childhoods End by Clarke, they are trying to evolve us to a higher state of being. Maybe its more like what we do with apples, splice in crab apples to make the sweeter apples better, more robust. I don’t know. What I do know, or at least so I am told, is that our souls keep getting recycled back onto this planet for their purposes, Our souls are the key purpose of our living on this rock, isolated from teh rest of the galaxies and all the beings that are a part of that. We are extremely isolated and protected, and I can’t say that the protection is ‘for us’ or ‘from us’. I’ve also been told, and if you are selected as my replacement you will as well; that they aren’t satisfied with what they are seeing yet. That may turn out to be a bad thing, like it was for the Sauro-sapiens.”
“The Dinosaurs. Some of them were quite intelligent and part of the very same nursery we are on, but that experiment failed and they were wiped out to make way for us.” He grows rather quiet, and I hit a wall of what to ask after that last wild statement. My earlier feeling of ‘some crazy person’ just pegged the meter in my mind.
He sits for several minutes with his eyes closed; I am only certain he is not asleep or dead by his breathing patterns. My mind awhirl trying to figure out what question to ask next, or make a break for the tree-line in the distance and hope I can figure out where in the hell on the planet I am. That ‘suddenly being here’ thing is still troubling me.
“Lex says that you are still in doubt. I can understand that. Finding out that everything you were ever taught is complete bullshit takes quite awhile to get over. I think I finally accepted it in the late seventies, when the American Government started reversing course on a perfectly good Space program. I saw the hands of the hosts at work there. All the reasons they gave were shallow and empty, but the real story was we were being told to stop trying to climb out of the crib. Again, I don’t know if the protection is for or from us. I suspect its from us: like you said, we are a troublesome lot that never learns a damned thing.
“Who is Lex? I ask, looking around for that moment to break and run. My anxiety levels are peaking.
He waves a hand in a direction and I look there. What I see makes my eyes bug. I have seen pictures of them, but never ever thought they were real, This one is very real, standing roughly 8 feet tall, appears slender to the point of structural failure, but the one thing that catches my eye first is the color of the skin. Not quite pink, definitely not the grey scale my mind had attributed to them, more a mauve tint. The eyes, large, dark and seemingly bottomless, no pupil to be seen, cat-eye in slant. The creature nods to me, and I hear in my head, “Running is not an option, you are not on planet earth, what you see is all there is to this place.”
“Yeah, I maybe should have told you that. We are supposedly in the Alpha Centuri cluster on a modified asteroid. Even if you ran, you would be right back here in 2 minutes: its a small rock.”
My heart starts racing, this entire day has NOT happened, this is just a dream, and I likely drank way too much everclear at that party. Couple that with Ghost pepper dipping sauce and Habenero hot wings,,,
“Alex, you need to relax, or you are going to fail your last test.” Mr Smith of the crazy UFOians tells me. The creature named Lex (not its real name, but our minds don’t extend to those syllables or thought frequencies) nods in agreement: a very human gesture it had to pick up from Mr Smith.
Gasping, my anxiety reaching threshold, “And what is that last test?”
“If you can drink this,” he says as he hands me a glass of that amber liquid that looks more like vegetable oil now that I can see it better.”You’ll see into my mind and won’t doubt anymore. You’ll feel all the memories I have intact still, as if they were your own. If you survive that, You take my place and I ‘go away’.”
Such ominous words that sound so innocent, “Go away?”
“My soul is ready to break free, and I am being held here until I am replaced. I’ll just ‘go away’ and you will be here with Lex.
No other options, I reach out for the glass and drink,,,,