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Henry was driving home after a long day of work.  While driving his rusty pick-up truck, he ran his hand through a thinning mess of graying hair as he admired the brilliance of the stars. It was a crisp, clear night without a cloud in sight and countless stars sprinkling the night sky. The bright, full moon illuminating the path like a flashlight in the dark.

As he went around a bend in the road, he discovered a car lying facedown in the ditch. The tail end of the vehicle sticking straight up in the air and the front of the car completely smashed in. There was a small fire in the front of the car and bits of scrap all across the road. Henry slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the car with a concerned look on his fifty-year-old face. He ran across the road, pulling out his phone to call 911. The moment he reached the other side of the road, a bright light appeared around him. This light was a bright yellow, illuminating the road and the wreckage of the car. Henry stopped in his tracks, and confusion finding its way onto his face. Then the strangest thing happened he began to float. Henry, unsure about what was happening began to scream. He flailed his arms and legs hoping to escape the pull of the tractor beam. As he neared the source of the light, he began to panic, desperately scraping and grabbing at nothing in hopes of getting away. As he entered the source of the light everything went black. He sat there, unable to see even his own hand two inches in front of his face. He heard footsteps and felt something cold and callous grab his arm. He felt a sharp impact on his temple and lost consciousness.

As he woke up, groggy from being hit on the head, Henry was greeted with a blinding light overhead. Slowly his eyes adjusted and he began to take notice of his environment. He was in a room, roughly fifteen feet by thirteen feet. He was lying on a cold metallic table with straps on his arms, legs, and waist. Over on the table next to him was a woman, with dried blood on her head and her arm protruding at an odd angle. She must be the one who crashed that car, Henry thought. More metallic countertops lined the walls of the room. There were strange tools lined up on those countertops, some had a hammer-like appearance, others looked like knives and saws. That look of fear crept upon his face as he realized what was going on: he was going to be dissected. He struggled and thrashed to break free. Through his effort, he loosened one of the straps enough to slip his hand out. Quickly, he undid all the other harnesses and jumped to his feet. He had to get out of here.

He went over to the woman to free her too, but she was still unconscious and would only slow him down. He walked over to the counter and grabbed one of the strange tools. The one he grabbed was an unusual combination of a sickle and a knife. With his heart racing and adrenaline pumping, he exited the room and over to his left having just turned the corner was something he had never seen before. All he’d had was a quick glimpse before it turned the corner, but it appeared to be humanoid, although it was hardly human. Henry swallowed his fear and went the other way. He thought, since I was brought up here with a tractor beam, jumping out a window might be a bad idea. I need to find some sort of escape pod. With that in mind he set off and snuck down the hallway.

He methodically examined each room he came across, hoping it would provide escape. While looking in the seventh room, he heard something walk in. Henry quickly dove behind a table, struggling to quiet his rapid breathing. He sat there, staring at the wall ahead terrified that it would find him if he moved. As it turned to leave, he shifted his position knocking over an empty beaker on the table. The creature turned around and walked over to the table. Steeling his nerves, he prepared to strike. It stopped at the edge of the table and before it could move, Henry jumped out and jammed the sickle-dagger under its jaw and into its head. A greenish-purple liquid splattered out and oozed across the blade. The creature spasmed and then stopped moving. He gently lowered it to the ground and dragged it behind the table.

He breathed a sigh of relief and examined this unidentified being. It was roughly seven feet tall with pale blue skin. Its eyes were dull red with eyelids that came over it from the side rather than the top. Its head was similar to that of a human’s except for the series of spikes ,sitting at an upward angle, that lined the sides and back of its head. Its ears were pointed like an elf’s. Its arms were long and thin, coming to a hand with three fingers ending in claws. Its torso was very similar to a human torso. The legs bent at the knee but had a second joint by the ankles that bent in the opposite direction of the knee. Overall, it was quite similar to a human.

Henry knew he couldn’t stay in this room. He dragged the alien’s body into one of the closets to prevent the body from being found. He bolted out of the room and back down the hall. As he searched the ship, he  found a number of different rooms. One room contained a giant ball of neon green sludge that stared at him as he backed out of the doorway. Another room contained what Henry assumed was a bathroom, but he couldn’t be sure. The last room he wandered turned out to be an armory. He found a chestplate that was about his size. He picked up some outlandish ray gun, but put it back because he couldn’t figure out how to fire the weapon.

It was a little while later that he found another dissection room. This room had only one table, but lying on that table a man, probably in his mid-thirties with black hair and a thick beard. Plagued by the guilt of leaving the girl in the room he woke up in, Henry resolved to save this man. Henry undid the straps tying him down and tapped the man to see if he’d wake up. The man leapt up from the table and latched onto Henry’s throat, dragging them both to the ground. Sitting atop Henry’s chest, the man growled “you’ll never take me alive you ugly….” His words trailed off once he realized Henry was human. He released his grip on Henry’s throat and apologized “sorry ‘bout that. It’s just I saw them take another guy who was in here earlier and I thought you were one of them coming back for me. Name’s Dave.”

“I’m Henry. I broke out a little while ago and I’m looking for a way out.” After deciding it would be in their best interest to work together, they set off trying to find another exit.

At the end of the hallway was a large door. Dave, crouching with a knife in hand, snuck up to the door and opened it just a crack. Inside were the controls for the ship, and about twelve of the aliens that took him hostage. Dave heard them talking the sequence of clicks and grunts they call a language. In front of them was a hologram of Earth. It looked like they were looking for the location of the next victim they were going to kidnap. Rather than risk his life by walking in there to grab a map, Dave shut the door and walked back to Henry. “It looks like they’re discussing their next set of plans. They might be busy for a while so let’s look for a way out while they’re distracted.” As they continued their desperate search, Dave looked back wondering if that was all of them.

They maintained their search and had several close encounters. All of sudden, an alarm begins to go off, echoing down the halls, while orange lights began to flash. Henry and Dave sped up their search having abandoned all attempts to hide their presence. Two of the aliens appeared at the end of the hall. Dave and Henry dashed down the hall to end the threat before it could end them. The aliens turned towards their assailants but it was too late. Dave and Henry leapt upon them. Henry rushing under the one of the left, driving the blade under its chin. While blood squirted out, Dave finished his off by tackling it to the ground and driving the knife into its head. Then Dave and Henry ran off before any others could show up.

As they ran, they saw another group of aliens. This group consisted of 5 aliens. They quickly dove into one of the nearby rooms and found a place to hide. The group was checking each room one by one. Henry and Dave sat there under one of the tables struggling to get their breathing under control. The group of aliens entered the room. Henry held his breath. He and Dave could see their legs roaming around the room as the aliens searched for them. Sweat dripped down Henry’s face in nervous anticipation. He gripped his knife with a shaking hand as he braced himself to fight. Having missed the humans under the table, the aliens left the room. Dave and Henry sighed as the aliens left the room. One of them heard the sigh and walked back in the room. As it reached the center of the room, Dave slipped out from under the table and dug his blade into its neck as he covered its throat to silence its voice. Henry peeked outside the door and saw that the aliens had entered another room. He signaled Dave and together they fled into the hallway. He ducked in and out of rooms constantly on guard against getting caught.

By this point, the alarms had died down but the orange lights continued to flash. At the end of the hall, Henry and Dave saw a small room with a chair surrounded by flashing lights. The room had a joystick sitting in front of the chair. That was it! It was the escape pods they were looking for. A wide grin appeared on Henry’s face as he pointed out their destination to Dave. They immediately made a break for the escape pod. But one alien walked out in front of them blocking the path and behind them four more came out preventing escape. Dave quickly said “Keep going. Take out the one in front and I’ll hold off the ones behind us.”

“No! I’m not leaving you!”

Dave yelled “Go!” and shoved Henry forward. Dave turned around and rushed at the group. Henry turned around and saw another group of five coming up. Surrendering the idea of fighting them all, he sprinted ahead slashing at the alien in front of him. The alien dodged the first slash and dug its claws into the chestplate Henry was wearing. Henry was launched back into the wall and collapsed on the ground. He pulled himself up and lunged at the creature standing in front of him. The blade plunged into the beast’s shoulder as they both tumbled to the floor. Henry quickly removed the knife and thrust it into the alien’s chest. Leaving it to die, Henry raced towards the escape pod. The second he entered he looked back to see two aliens dead on the ground and a third plunge its arm through Dave’s torso all the way up to the elbow. Blood splattered across the walls and Dave looked back as the light faded from his eyes, a smile showing upon his face. Go he mouthed just before his body fell limp.

Henry pulled the lever shutting the door to the escape pod. He jumped into the chair, scanning desperately, trying to figure out how to start the thing. He frantically hit buttons and switches hoping one would send him back home. He flinched as he heard the door to the pod forcibly pulled open. He looked back. The alien’s claws visible through the three inch  wide gap in the door. Henry rashly slammed on buttons, begging for the right one. The door had been ripped opened eight inches. Sweat and tears poured down Henry’s face. Please, please, please!  he hopelessly cried. Nine inches. He looked back, defenseless. Ten inches. He had no weapon, he’d dropped it on the way in. The door burst open. The alien seized his throat. It yanked Henry out of the escape pod, pulling him across the floor. Henry, began to lose consciousness as the grip around his neck tightened. No, he soundlessly croaked. Then everything faded to black.

He awoke, strapped to another table. Two aliens leaned over him, sharp tools in hand. Henry tried to scream, but nothing could be heard through the gag in his mouth. The alien moved the saw, blades spinning at 3000 rpm. Henry eyes wide with fear, cringed as the saw came towards his head. He felt a sharp pain as the blade connected with his head. Again, everything went black.

He bolted upright, sweat matting his hair and dripping down his face. He was hyperventilating, unable to stop his quick, panicked breaths. He looked around. This was his bed, right next to his nightstand. He turned on the lamp and saw his own bedroom, his own home. It was just a dream, he thought to himself. He went to go rinse the sweat off of his face. As he walked into the bathroom, he turned  cold water and cupped it in his hands. Just a dream, he reassured himself. He ran the cold water over his face and that’s when he saw it. The stitches in his head. The claw marks on his throat. No, no, nonononononono…. His fear returned and he began to hyperventilate. I have to tell somebody…. but who’s gonna believe me. No one believes any of those other guys who claim to have been abducted. Henry just sat there, huddled in a corner. It was real. It wasn’t a dream.

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