“Put that one back. It’s too small.” He was struggling to breathe in the strange atmosphere and could not tell which of the creatures was talking.
“But I like him and want to keep him,” the other voice said. It sounded much younger than the first.
“There are regulations about these things. We can’t take the small ones. Put it back.” Small? Who were they calling small? He was quite happy with his size. Granted, he had not grown as big as the others, but he hardly considered himself small. Under less stressful circumstances he would have been insulted and put up a fight.
The second creature let out a sigh and sent him back just as quickly has he had been snatched up. He could finally breathe without struggling. Oxygen filled his lungs and he was relieved. He was not sure how long he would have survived struggling to breathe like he was. It had only been a few minutes, but those minutes dragged on. When you can not breathe time distorts making it impossible to guess how much has passed. He spun in circles in a combination of relief and anxiety. Moment later others noticed his dance and watched, becoming dizzy.
“What is Cruise doing?” One asked.
“Spinning, I think. It’s making me dizzy,” another said.
A third chimed in, “Maybe something is wrong. Maybe we should go ask.” Others agreed. A group formed around Cruise forcing him to stop his oscillations least he run into someone. Everyone started talking at once.
“Why are you spinning like that?”
“Yea! Doesn’t it make you dizzy?”
“Why are you doing that?”
Other voices were lost in the cacophony. Cruise took a couple deep breaths both to calm himself and to wait for everyone to quiet down. He looked around at the other members of his school.
“No one is going to believe this.” He started.
“What aren’t we going to believe?” Someone yelled.
“Tell us!” Another urged.
“I was abducted by aliens…”
Cruise was cut off. “Aliens don’t exist!”
Other voices joined in.
“What did they look like?”
“Why did they return you?”
“Did they do experiments?”
“Were you probed?” Everyone erupted in laughter.
Cruise sighed. “They had weird appendages. I didn’t notice much else because I couldn’t breathe in their atmosphere. One of them said that there were regulations against taking small ones and that I had to be returned.”
“They have size limits? Ridiculous!”
“I’m telling you, that’s what was said. The other one liked me and didn’t want to return me.” Cruise continued to explain, trying to make everyone understand that he was telling the truth.
“Where were you when this happened?” He was asked.
Cruise turned around in the direction of the large rock he had been resting by. “Over there, by the rock.”
A deeper, more serious voice spoke up. “Bruce disappeared over there too.”
“Bruce is off traveling. He said he wanted to see the world.” Someone countered.
“I remember him saying that. I think Carl went with him.”
“Is that what happened to Carl? I was wondering.”
The serious voice corrected them, “The aliens took him with Bruce.”
“I told you, there are no such thing as aliens!”
“Can’t tell you young’uns anything. ” He was older and wiser but he also knew when an argument was futile and gave up.
Cruise held back a scream attempting to stay as calm as possible. “I’m telling you, aliens are real. I was taken. They sent me back because I was too small!”
“Too small for what?” Someone asked.
“I don’t know! They didn’t say.” Cruise nearly yelled.
Someone circled Cruise, looking him over closely. “You aren’t that small. I would say on the low average size, but not small.”
“You don’t look like you were abducted,” a voice said.
“What does someone look like who has been abducted?” Cruise asked.
Someone else spouted, “Have you ever seen anyone that’s been abducted to know what they look like?”
“Then shut up. You don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Okay, jokes over. What is really wrong?” Someone asked?
Cruise sputtered. “I was abducted by aliens!”
“Are you sure you just didn’t have a bad dream where you were abducted?” He was asked.
“I wasn’t sleeping!” Cruise yelled. “I was abducted!”
“And they sent you back because you were too small,” someone replied. “You told us that. But you can’t tell us what they looked like. Something smells here.”
“I told you, I couldn’t breathe. I was more worried about suffocating that worrying what the aliens looked like. Why won’t anyone believe me?” Frustration was fighting anxiety. Anxiety was fighting fear and anger. Fear was fighting fatigue and fatigue was fighting sadness and isolation. Cruise had never experienced so many emotions at once. Some of them he did not even have names for. In his mind Cruise made a lit of things he did not want to experience again. The first was alien abduction. The second was a flood of different emotions.
“Because aliens don’t exist!” There was that voice again. Cruise was trying to remember if belonged to Darren or Mikeal. “Come on guys, let’s go. We’ve got better things to do than listen to some crazy alien abduction story.” He turned to leave, the others following.
As the other followed their leader a few looked back and gave suggestions. “Maybe you should talk to a professional.”
“Get some sleep.”
“Maybe you’re just stressed. Relax.”
Cruise watched as his school swam off leaving him alone in the ocean meters from where the aliens took him. He mumbled to himself, “I wish the aliens had kept me.”