Tentative Contact. Flash Fiction.

Jack rubbed his eyes and yawned. He had only been in this place for maybe half an hour, but it felt like days. When he arrived he was warned he would feel like that, something to do with not being used to the forms of communication. The room he was in was small and the lighting was low. He wasn’t sure of the colours of the walls, they could have been white, or grey, even a matte silver. There was a small side table that held a jug of water, without a glass, and a comfortable couch, the colour of which was also questionable.
“Could I have a glass?”
A sense of confusion fell around Jack.
“What is a glass?”
“It’s something you use to drink out of.”
The confusion became stronger, “Can you not drink from that vessel?”
“Well, I can, but a glass makes it easier.”
He pictured a glass in his mind, trying to make it as detailed as possible. A moment later a glass appeared on the table, it was smaller than he could have liked, and slightly crooked, but it would do.
“Thank you.”
Jack poured a glass of water for himself, then took a sip. The water was ice cold and almost immediately his thirst was quenched.
“Is the liquid acceptable?”
“Yes, it is perfect.”
“We were not sure of what to provide. Do you need other sustenance?”
“No, I ate not too long before I was brought here.”
“If you do need anything, please, just ask.”
“So you never explained why you chose me to come here.”
“We didn’t choose you specifically, we just wanted to interact with one of your kind, you presented an easy opportunity for us and you’re of reasonable intelligence.”
“So why not get a scientist or philosopher or something? Someone who would understand better.”
“Our goal is to simply interact with a common person for the moment, to try and learn more about your people and see if we would be interested in continuing any kind of a relationship.”
“What kind of relationship would that be?”
“Well, trade firstly, exchanging knowledge and ideas. You have evolved in a completely alien environment, your people think differently and create drastically different solutions to problems that both our species have encountered.”
“So what do you think so far?”
“Well, we are still interested in creating a relationship with your people. Of course we will do some more studies on how best to create that relationship. Your people can be panicky from what we’ve seen.”
“How long have you been observing us?”
“On and off for the last fifty of your years. You are the first person we have actually spoken to. As we explained before we scanned your mind when you first came here, so we will be able to simply remove these memories. You will believe you just had a short sleep after you finished eating.”
“Why erase the memory?”
“Well, we thought it would be best for you. Your people can be prone to mental problems and we feared the memory might be classed as a hallucination of some sort and that you may undergo unnecessary treatment. Your people are not always kind to those who are considered to have mental deficiencies.”
Jack shrugged, “we’ve come a long way in the last hundred years or so.”
“Yes, you have. There is still much to learn for both our species though.”
Jack opened his mouth to reply, then he woke suddenly. He looked around the sitting room, slightly confused, in front of him was an empty plate that had once contained his dinner. Huh. The TV was on, he must have fallen asleep watching whatever movie was playing. He checked his phone, he’d been asleep for almost two hours. He yawned, still quite tired despite the sudden nap. He had been stressed the last few days, must have finally caught up with him. Jack stood from the couch and stretched, then he picked up his plate and brought it into the kitchen. With that done he grabbed a drink as he was feeling thirsty, then he went around turning off all the lights.

When he was done getting ready for bed, he climbed under the covers and, not for the first time, reminded himself he should pick up a cheap electric blanket from somewhere. Before the thought had fully been realised he was asleep.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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