Time & Tide – I

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Kent turned and felt the sun on his face, its intense light warming his entire body. He lay on a puffy white cloud, about ten kilometers or so above the ground. Way below, if he wanted to he could see his little red farmhouse right next to the corn fields his family had owned for generations. Even from such a height, he could watch his kids running in between the rows playing hide-and-seek.

The wind blew gently from the south and began moving him and his cloud northwards. Kent didn’t particularly care where it took him, just so long as he could hop down and make it to dinner on time. His wife was the punctual one in the house, and since she was also the better cook, it meant he couldn’t spend forever floating around. Frowning, he decided to hop off his puffy ride and float gently back home.

He landed just outside the front steps and gave his front door three good knocks. The paint had faded and cracked, and Kent made a mental note to come back out with a paint bucket to fix it. Although he vaguely recalled having given it a fresh coat not too long ago, he still didn’t mind the work. Knocking again, he checked the nearby window to see if anyone was inside.

“What are you doing?” his wife asked from behind him.

Kent spun around, bewildered. “Oh, I thought you were inside,” he said. “Isn’t it time for dinner?”

“It sure is,” she replied with a toothy grin. “But this isn’t your house.”

Looking back around, Kent saw that the building he stood at had changed. The wooden slats had changed to a dull yellow, and the door had a shine to it like a light. “I’m confused,” he said, scratching his head.

“Don’t be confused,” his wife whispered into his ear. “Just remember, you’re a guest here. Be yourself, and I’m sure they’ll love you.”

Kent tried to hold his wife’s hand, but the world spun out of control. Instead, he saw his own hand swimming in a viscous liquid. Everything grew cold, and he felt like he was slowly descending. To his growing surprise, he realized he was suspended in that liquid, which slowly drained out of the chamber he was in. On his face, he felt a chilly apparatus attached securely with wires.

When the liquid finally emptied from the chamber, a metal arm descended from the ceiling and hooked into the apparatus. As panic started to set in, he felt the wires unfolding and something metallic sliding out of his throat. The arm yanked the device quickly, taking it and several tubes with it. Kent wanted to cough, but he couldn’t take a breath in. In front of him, a giant glass door opened upwards, and Kent tumbled out of the chamber onto a cold metal floor. Somewhere in his back, a needle pricked his skin, sending a violent shot of pain up his entire spine. Kent sucked in air and screamed.

He heard the sound of feet padding along the floor to the right. Kent looked up and saw a bearded man with a hairy body matted down with slime. The stranger tossed him a towel and said, “Get yourself cleaned up.” He read the confusion on Kent’s face. “Doc says it’ll take a few minutes for your memory to return. Get a shower and some chow, and then head up to the bridge. It looks like the ship dropped us out of our normal route.”

The man leaned forward and grinned from ear to ear. “Looks like we found something.”

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