Audrea considered her life to be pretty normal. She was a college student, studying history in a sleepy little college town in the middle of Northwest Ohio. But it had changed when she woke up aboard an alien ship with 15 other girls. Needless to say, she freaked out. But once she got used to the hand she was dealt, she had to figure out a way to keep herself and the other girls safe. That includes the girl that was abducted after her.
The now 17 girls had to fight for their lives and sanity aboard the ship in order to try to make their way home. Sadly, however, the planet that they crashed on was, in fact, not Home Sweet Home. It was a purple planet with an intelligent humanoid species that had four arms, two legs, and two tails.
I had always liked to think of myself as someone who never really freaked out over anything. I was pretty good under pressure. Which, now that I think about it, is why I typically procrastinated writing papers for various classes, but that’s not the point. The point is that I never really freaked out.
One of the only times that I could remember freaking out is when I forgot to fill out some paperwork to renew my health insurance policy and woke up to a panic attack because I had a dream that I couldn’t get a new pair of glasses. Or the time that I thought my dad was having a heart attack while driving before I had gotten my license so I couldn’t drive him to the hospital and he had to drive there himself with me in the passenger seat freaking out.
And now it was in the face of an actual, real-life f*****g alien. I was screaming and squirming on the lab table that they had me on. These things didn’t even seem surprised that the girl that they just abducted was losing it. They just continued to go about their business like nothing was wrong. One started to reach towards me with their three-fingered, grey hand. There was no emotion behind those large bug-like eyes. You’d think with a large bulbous head like theirs that there would be something. But maybe it was the fact that there were no eyebrows, sclera, or pupils to help me indicate emotion that makes it so much harder to understand what these guys were thinking.
Once I finally got used to the idea that aliens had taken me away from my home and put me aboard their spaceship, I had calmed down a little.
Okay. I lied. I didn’t calm down willingly. They had to sedate me. So, the next time I woke up, it was not to an alien face, but to a short, angry-looking blond with two short pigtails that barely stuck out from behind the bottom of her ears. She had a silver stud nose ring and two helix piercings on each of her ears. I also noticed, slightly hidden by her choppy bangs, that she also had lobe piercings as well. It only added to her aggressive appearance.
“Who…” I could barely get out.
“American, da?” She said in a heavy Russian accent. All I could do was nod, heavy and lazily. “Der’mo,” She whispered to herself. It sounded like Russian, but I couldn’t tell what it was that she said. No matter what though, it didn’t sound good. “Okay, here what we do, you sleep I guard.” I could hardly pay attention to her words though. My head lulled to the side and I saw that the two of us weren’t the only girls here. There were at least a dozen others, all looking scared and confused as I felt.
“I lay you in bed, you sleep off sleepy drug,” she said as she picked me up and helped me to one of the cots that were surprisingly provided for us. Sleep sounded nice right about now. I was still mostly out of it from whatever they injected into me during my panic attack earlier.
“Annika, is she alright?” Another girl, one with fiery red hair and an Irish accent, asked.
“Da, she sleepy,” Annika, the Russian girl, said as she laid me down. I groaned at the hard, cardboard-thin mattress that I was placed upon.
“You alright, Sister?” A third girl said. She had a Jamaican accent and the loveliest shade of bronze skin I have ever seen. Her deep, tightly curled hair was pulled up into a ponytail on the top of her head, looking like a combo of a bun and an afro. So poofy, my drugged brain supplied. “She is lit up,” she said in a light, teasing tone. Her accompanying smile revealed two dimples in her beautiful, melanin-rich skin.
“Don’t worry, we are all like that when they move us in here,” someone else said, they were further away so I didn’t see who it was. But it sounded like they were some type of Hispanic or Latina. I couldn’t tell from where though based on accent alone.
“We should let Sister sleep, we all remember what it was like our first day here,” The Jamaican girl stated as she smoothed my hair flat, brushing it away from my face. After that, I didn’t really hear the conversation. I knew that they were speaking, but I was too far gone to understand anything.
The drugs that remained in my system didn’t really pull me back under, but I wasn’t truly awake either. I drifted in that in-between, floaty space between the conscious and unconscious. I couldn’t tell how much time had passed since I sort of woke up. It could have been minutes or hours. But I could tell that, slowly, so very f*****g slowly, the drugs were starting to wear off and I became more and more aware of the world and girls surrounding me.
The more that I became aware of my surroundings, the more detail that I took in. The holding cell that I had been placed in had a dozen girls at least. Maybe more. Each one was a different nationality from the looks and sounds of it. Many of the girls huddled together in tight little groups of two or three. Language groupings? Commonalities of some kind?
The cell itself was chrome, reminding me of that one Spongebob episode about the future. It held more cots than girls, meaning that whoever, or whatever took us was probably planning on taking more than just us. Despite the room being completely metal, it wasn’t cold.
There were no windows that I could see, which makes sense if this is built for deep space. The clearly unnatural lighting was well hidden that I couldn’t quite tell where it was coming from. But it kept the room well-lit. I groaned as I tried to sit up. The last of the drugs were giving me a splitting migraine.
“Easy,” Annika said as she came up to me to help me sit up.
“Why?” was the first thing that came out of my mouth. Annika gave me a sympathetic smile. Why me? Why any of us? Who were they to decide? Why take us to begin with.
Where were they taking us? These and so many more questions swirled around my head, which wasn’t helping my headache by any means. Nor was the burning feeling of tears forming in my eyes. Crying with a headache was probably the second-worst feeling I was experiencing right now. The first being that I might never see my beautiful home planet again.
“Shhh, it’s going to be okay, I promise,” a new girl said. I couldn’t place her accent. Her skin was darker than the Jamaican girl’s, but it was just as lovely. She was being so sweet to me, despite being in the same shitty experience as I am. How was she not freaking out? Or crying? Or both? It wasn’t fair that I was falling apart but the girls around me were seemingly holding it all together. Maybe it was a sense of camaraderie that was holding them together.
But I didn’t know these girls. And they didn’t know me. Yet, I still found myself seeking out the comfort of one of them as I continued to break down for the second time in who knows how long.
Once I was calmed down enough that my tears had stopped and I just had the sniffles, several of the girls sat on the cots surrounding my own. They all had looks of understanding and sympathy. They had gone through this just like I had. But they were trying to be strong for one another. I had to do the same thing. I wiped my runny nose on the back of my hand, then wiped the snot off onto my pants.
I took a look at each of the girls with questions burning into my brain. The Jamaican girl seemed to understand what I was asking even though I didn’t say anything out loud.
“From what we understand, the things that took us are looking for young, healthy, and single women between the ages of 20 and 30. So far, none of us are older than 28. They took us from all over the world seemingly at random. We have had our theories as to why we were taken, but your guess is as good as ours, I am afraid,” she explained. “I’m Femi, by the way.”
“Audrea,” I said.
“Kaya,” the girl who was still holding me said. They all went around stating their names. Even those who probably didn’t speak English.
In total there were 16 of us. Annika, Kaya, Femi, Deirdre, Dumitra, Ivana, Brynna, Ayame, Halima, Chunhua, Yoselin, Prisha, Camila, Isabel, Nadia, and myself. Who knows if they were going to take more of us or if they were going to head out now that they had the 16 of us. I didn’t want to bring it up just in case. If they were going to take more girls, then there was a chance that we were still near our home planet. But if I was the last one, then they could already be halfway across the galaxy and none of us would even know it.
“So,” I started. “You said that we were from all over the world, what parts is everyone from?” I asked.
“I am from Jamacia, obviously,” Femi stated with a ‘duh’ look on her face.
“Ireland,” Deirdre stated, rolling her eyes.
“The motherland of Russia,” Annika said, looking amused.
“Nihon,” Ayame said. I gave her a confused look.
“She means Japan, sister,” Femi supplied. Ah, that makes sense. Slowly I started to piece together everyone’s nationalities. Chunhua was from China; Dumitra, Romania; Halima, Egypt; Brynna, Austria; Ivana; North Sudan; Kaya, South Africa; Yoselin, Cuba; Prisha, India; Camila, Venezuela; Isabel, Nicaragua; and Nadia, Poland.
When Femi said all over the world, she really meant all over the world. No wonder they stuck together in groups. There was a huge language barrier for many of us. Is that what they wanted or was that just a coincidence? If it wasn’t a coincidence, then that means that they are using that language barrier as a way to keep us from being able to communicate very easily. With all of these girls, it’s harder for there to be a revolt if we can’t communicate in some way.
What am I even thinking!? We could be in the middle of nowhere out in space. Even if we did try to revolt, there’s a chance we will never make it home again! That thought made me want to cry again. But I didn’t, I just leaned into Kaya and tried to sleep off the remaining effects of the drugs and the headache that all my crying has caused.