A Visit from Space (1982)


Hello, my name is Bob Francis and I write science fiction stories for a living. The reason I am successful in this field is – because to me – my stories aren’t science fiction, but personal experience. For example, my most successful short story about a visit from outer space actually happened to me many years ago. This is what happened.

At the time, I lived way out in the middle of nowhere in one of those houses built into the ground that were so popular at the time. One night, I was awakened by a roar. Being underground, there were no windows in my bedroom, so by the time I got outside, the object was almost over the horizon. Almost over. I only caught a quick glance before it disappeared over a ridge, but with the small amount of information in my possession, I knew one thing. That craft was not one of ours.

I started out immediately, but it was several hours before I reached the landing spot. Hiding behind a rock, I took a good look at the spaceship. It appeared to be made of silver and gold. Sitting on four thin legs, the craft reminded me of some kind of insect or spider. Suddenly, a hatch opened on the side of the ship, and a man stepped out onto the platform.

I use the word “man” very loosely. He walked upright on two legs and had two arms and a head, but that’s where the similarities ended. His skin was white and wrinkled and his face was gold and had no features. He slowly climbed down the side of the ship and finally stood on the ground. He spoke a few words then began to walk around. Several minutes passed and then another man joined him on the surface.

I strained to hear what they were saying. It was a foreign language, but it seemed familiar. They chattered back and forth as they brought different objects out of their ship. All of them were alien in design and I couldn’t even guess at their purpose. More and more objects were set up and then they went to get one last thing. I stared with incomprehension as they stuck it into the ground and began a bizarre ritual. I looked at the object for several minutes, but I finally figured out what it meant. The object was a banner, symbolizing their world and they were explorers.

After a few minutes of debate, I decided to act. Leaving the protection of the rock, I walked over to meet the newcomers. They saw me and began shouting to each other. Slowly and cautiously they walked up to me. Using my hands to describe actions, I tried to talk with them. It took awhile, but they finally realized what I was doing and they responded. I found out their names were Nlarmston and Bzalwin. They were the first of their kind to reach another world and I was their first alien contact. We talked for hours until they said they had to leave. They had a limited supply of breathing gas and it was almost gone. I acknowledged my understanding and conceding my disappointment, I waved goodbye to them and watched as their ship off into space towards that blue sphere hanging in the sky which they called Earth, their home.

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