Flash Fiction Friday: Hiking Alone

Alien encounters are a big Sci-Fi staple. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read over my life about that kind of thing. Here’s another!

Hiking Alone

My pack dropped to the ground. The sun was an hour from going down, time to rest from my day’s hiking. I was at the west edge of a clearing, about football field size in an irregular shape. Forest surrounded the clearing, providing shade on my end. I’d get the early morning sun, getting me up early to eat, and get going again.

Between the stress of work, an on again, off again boyfriend and a dysfunctional family, I’d had it. I really needed to get out on the trail and leave the rest of the world behind. Neither my family nor my boyfriend understood backpacking, for them, this was just another of my crazy trips. My co-workers thought I’d lost my mind and repeatedly told me so at the coffee machine.

Yeah, I really needed to get away.

It was quiet, only birds and bees and bugs. I emptied my pack and put up my tent. More like a tarp shelter, it used my hiking poles as the supports. I could roll the end panels back and stare at the stars all night if I wanted. Dinner was boiling water over a freezer bag of a home dehydrated meal and letting it set for ten minutes or so. I ate watching the sun go down, turning the clouds in the sky scarlet.

After washing my spoon and drying the pot, I put everything in a bear canister and hung it from a tree about 100 feet away. I settled in for the night, watching the stars come out one by one. My mind emptied of the stresses and worries of my life back in the world. I went to sleep with the full moon peeking over the tree tops.

A blinding light woke me up. I pushed up onto my elbows as a huge spaceship came down at the other end of my clearing. I grabbed my watch, 12:30am. Rubbing my eyes, I looked again. I wasn’t dreaming. A wash of warm air blew over me as the ship touched down. Fighting out of my sleeping bag, I jammed my feet into my boots and laced them tight. The ship’s big lights turned off and what looked like running lights came on around the circumference of the ship.

When the door opened my amazement turned to fear. Oh crap, something’s getting off the ship! I felt in my right pocket, my Leatherman Juice was there. But what’s a three inch knife blade going to do? I didn’t want to get that close anyway. My hiking poles were tied to the tent, no help there. Maybe I should have brought a gun after all. The ship noise stopped and the clearing went silent, not even a cricket chirp.

The light from the ship door dimmed and several beings came down the ramp single file. When the last one was off, the door closed and the running lights dimmed to nearly nothing. I moved to the edge of the woods. My eyes were adjusting to the dark and I didn’t know where the aliens were.

I slipped behind a tree, peaking around it, straining to see. I could hear a low hum, not unpleasant but nothing I could understand. When my eyes adjusted the full moon was shining and the clearing was nearly bright as day. The aliens were in the center of the clearing in a circle, humming and standing with their arms straight up, faces to the sky.

Despite my better judgment, I stepped back to my tent, watching as the aliens moved in a circle, swaying back and forth, arms rising and falling, the hum louder, then softer. I don’t know how long that went on but when they stopped, I was only thirty feet from the dancers. They turned as one and stared at me. I was dazed until one broke away from the group. My heart started thumping but I didn’t move.

The creature stopped about four feet away and raised its’ hand up, open, like some sort of Indian from a 1950’s Western when it says “How”.

“Greetings,” it said.

English? It speaks English?

“We mean you no harm. We are here to celebrate.”

Celebrate? Celebrate what? “Uhh, Hi.”

“Come dance with us,” it invited me, holding out its’ hand.

Damned if I didn’t take it! As soon as I did, I felt a slight tingle and suddenly the night sparkled and the hum of the aliens became richer and filled with a meaning I didn’t grasp.

It pulled me gently into the group and we began to dance.  Joy filled me, wonder surrounded me, and the stars and the moon danced in the sky with us. I lost track of time. As the moon went down the dancers stopped; their hum growing and growing until it seemed like the entire universe and I were pulsing in time.

We dropped our arms to our sides and the alien who had brought me into the circle led me gently back to my tent. When I turned around it was entering the ship, the lights on it brightening and a rumble vibrating the ground. The alien stopped and waved to me, then the door closed. As I watched the ship leave another wash of warm air came across the clearing as it rose into the brightening sky.  I sat, then lay down, never taking my eyes off the ship until it was out of sight. I lay there until the morning sunlight spilled over me, steam rising from my dew soaked clothes.

I felt refreshed, cleansed, as though I’d slept for twelve hours. I never told anyone about my encounter. I mean, how do you not sound like a crazy person with that story. But on the bad days, I think back to that dance in the moonlight and smile.

Words 973

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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