Abduction

1.

You’re in the middle of a nightmare. You must be. This can’t be real.

But how does one wake up from a nightmare? You roll your eyes in your head. You tell your arms to move but they’re as heavy as logs. Your legs are worse. You’re stuck, trapped, immovable. It’s a horrible sensation—having no control over your body. You’re already claustrophobic and this is as claustrophobic as it gets. It’s like being trapped in your own skin.

You try to scream but your lips don’t move. All you can do is roll your eyes in your head, struggling to look through the darkness of your empty room. It should be empty and yet you feel as though someone is with you. You blink rapidly. You try to squint against the blackness but can’t. Is it your imagination or is that someone standing at the end of your bed?

Please no. Please, please no! You take deep breaths. Be calm. Be calm. You’re imagining things. The darkness does that to everyone.

What’s that?!

Your heart flips in your chest at the sound of tapping on your ceiling.

What the fuck is that?!

You flick your eyes upwards. It’s directly above your head. At the sound of more tapping you roll your eyes to the right. It’s coming through the wall now. A tear trickles down your cheek; your heart thuds.

No, no, no, no! you scream inside. Stop! Go away! Leave me alone!

Out of nowhere, your room suddenly floods with light, so bright it burns against your eyes. You shut them, then open them again. At least the light reveals no figure at the bottom of your bed but your relief doesn’t last.

All you can do is watch in horror at all that’s happening around you. The light is coming through your window—why the fuck didn’t you shut it before you went to sleep?!—which quickly spreads. It almost seems to come through the very walls of your room; the white plaster glows so bright it turns an almost luminescent green. How is that possible? How is that fucking possible? Everything is drowning in light, getting brighter and brighter and brighter, until, like in the darkness, you can hardly see anything.

You manage to make a choking sound in your throat as your bed begins to shudder.

Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!

There’s no denying it now. There’s no more fooling yourself. You’re being abducted! Never in your wildest dreams …

Not possible!

Aliens. Spaceships. Experiments. Are they going to strap you naked to a table and assault you with their painful tools?

Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus.

You choke some more, screaming inside your mind, as your body slowly lifts from your bed. Several photo frames nailed to your walls crash to the floor as your whole room begins to shake. How does your roommate not hear anything?

Mellissa! Melissa! you try to scream.

Nothing.

You roll your eyes towards the sound of a metallic screech. It’s your window. It’s only partially open and you watch in horror as it slowly opens further. Bit by bit it gets wider and wider, until it can open no further. For several heartbeats nothing happens. Then, with a bang, the screen is sucked out. One moment it’s there; the next it’s gone.

It’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen in your fucking life. Is that going to happen to you? You’ll be in pieces!

You begin to turn through the air, slowly, inexorably, until your feet face the window. They’ve tangled in the sheets and you drag the fabric along with you as you drift. Your head lolls; your torso sinks in the middle. Unable to move your head, all you can see is your back wall. It’s uncomfortable, almost painful, to be in such a flaccid, queer position. You watch as your shadow steadily becomes bigger against the wall as you drift closer towards the … the light (you can’t make yourself say spaceship, or God forbid—aliens).

Before you know it, you feel the cool breeze of the outdoors against your feet and through the pant legs of your pyjama bottoms. The sheets drag along the window frame, as does your hair. The light becomes blinding and you’re glad that you can’t lift your head to see what lies ahead. Your house is bad enough as you watch it slowly drift away. Drift and drift. Getting smaller and smaller. Along with the ground. Along with what’s left of your sanity.

The street you live on looks eerily quiet: no cars, no people. Your neighbours’ homes are so close they almost touch yours. So why haven’t they heard anything? How can they not see the light? Why are they not on their front steps pointing at you and screaming? All you hear is a dog barking. The wind rustles the leaves of the big maple tree in your front yard. Then you’re up and up and up until the road looks like a stream and your skin grows icy against the cold air.

You can hear it now—the ship. It emits a faint buzzing that you feel in the roots of your teeth. The light turns from a blinding white to a sickly yellow. Nausea stirs in your stomach. You grow dizzy. Luckily, your mind hasn’t quite caught up with reality; nothing seems real. You’re still not convinced you won’t wake up and be laughing about it with Mellissa for breakfast.

You’re so high up! What if the beam fails? What if they decide they don’t want you? You’ll be spaghetti on the pavement!

It’s a dream. It’s a dream. A very vivid dream.

But the beam doesn’t fail and it seems they want to keep you. There’s a faint metallic whine, almost imperceptible against the buzzing. Then the blazing bright light steadily fades away as you enter the … as you enter the …

There’s metal everywhere. Strange lights. Something green flicks on and off in the corner. And there you see it—a little platform the size of a single bed just for you.

Now that you’re no longer going to splat on the road, you try to struggle—but it’s still no use—and slowly, you lower into it. You choke at the icy feel of steel against your back but it’s a relief: to be on safe, stable ground, to straighten out your back and neck. You still can’t move. Something loud buzzes in your ears. Your heartbeat throbs in your throat. Your eyes zero in on a moving shadow and you choke again. It’s one of them. It’s one of them! It’s come to collect you. And what’s that in its hand? It looks like a spider. It takes you several moments before you realise that it’s its actual hand. Such long, freaky fingers! It’s standing in the shadows but you can see the glint of its eyes.

You look at it and it looks at you.

Its enormous staring gaze is the last thing you see before the darkness sweeps you away.

2.

You look like just another body, and I think nothing of you as the drone pushes you into my room. The first thing I notice is that you’re female. I can tell because those big mammary glands of yours press hard against your top. You’re a strange species. Of all the life forms I’ve experimented on, none have such large sexual organs like you do. It’s a sign of slow evolution; a sign of a feeble brain failing against the instincts of a primitive body.

 I won’t lie—I feel contempt. I can’t help that and I’m not sorry about it. I’m a scientist, after all. But I do appreciate you. You’re a fine specimen to work on. Discovering more about your robust reproductive system will help my own species and many others who are slow procreators.

The drone pushes your trolley into position. The green light of the levitator does a quick scan, blinks, then flashes brightly as it attaches onto the tiniest of your molecules. Slowly, you rise from the trolley. It is the same as what beamed you into my ship. Old but reliable technology.

I study you briefly as you hover in the air, taking note of your bone structure and musculature. You’re young and strong. That’s good. My scans of your planet revealed that you’re on the brink of ovulating. That’s even better—I’ll need your eggs, along with anything else that I deem worthwhile.

Slowly, you drift towards my workbench, the final of my three. My two other subjects are lying unconscious on their own benches on either side of you. To your right is species 505 from the seas of the planet Dorm. From it I’ll learn all I can about appendage regeneration. To your left is species 636 from the outer moon of the planet Quinox. From it I’ll learn how to withstand huge atmospheric pressure. You, species 821 from the planet Earth, I’ll learn everything I need to know about fertility and rapid reproduction.

Everything I need to know to advance my own species.

A good set. I’m going to be busy. You might as well get comfortable; you’re going to be here a long time.

First, I have my drones cut away your clothes. I watch as your body is slowly revealed to me. I feel nothing. You’re just an animal, after all. Useful and only important enough to study. I see the bony prominences of your clavicles and the muscles in your shoulders. You’re relatively fit but not thin. A healthy specimen. I see the wobble of your mammary glands as they continue with their cutting, their long fingers carefully peeling back your top. Your nipples are pink and soft. It’s warm inside my lab. I like to keep my specimens comfortable while I work so your nipples won’t harden until I touch you. It’s one of the many interesting things I’ve come to know about your species. My kind have no nipples.

Ribs. Abdomen. Belly button—again, an interesting feature. Our young are grown in tubes. The last of your top is pulled away and next they start on your bottoms. They’re small and don’t look like they fit. Why you’re even wearing them, I don’t understand.

‘Be careful,’ I say to them as they cut along your inner thighs. I can’t have you damaged, particularly in such a critical area. Soon, your clothes are gone and I can see your mass of hair. It remains a mystery as to the function of hair down there. Is it meant to keep you clean? To keep out the dirt and dust? Is it considered an attractive feature to the opposite sex?

Curious.

Your thighs are long and hard looking. I see moles and freckles and what looks like a scar on your left knee. I feel a strange urge to reach out and touch it before realising my foolishness. You haven’t even been sterilised yet. I close my fingers and step back, surprised by myself.

Folding my hands behind my back, I keep well away as my drones pull down the hoses from the ceiling and pump my sterilising chemicals onto you. Soon, you’ll be clean enough to approach. I can’t risk being infected by any alien bug or stray spore that might be dangerous. My drones are immune to most diseases. I am not.

When the time is right, I’ll study that too, but not yet. I already have enough to do.

Once you’re safely sterilised, I don my face shield and gloves. My instruments are ready to go, lying on a bench beside you, but first I study you with my eyes and ears. I listen to your breathing. I feel the heat of your core temperature. Research is always about starting simple, even when as advanced as we are. I touch your arm, then gently grab it. You’re warm and you’re skin is soft and smooth. Your muscle is hard. I can feel most things through my gloves, designed for protection without losing tactility.

You don’t move, your eyes closed.

I look down the length of you, moving along the bench as I do. Your hips poke out. I grab your left one, feeling the hardness of your bone. Your hips are unusually wide, but I can see you are yet to bear children; the skin of your pelvis is smooth and unwrinkled. I touch you there, massaging you gently.

You’re soft but not fatty and I know from my brief look at you that you’re likely very fertile. Good. My drones worked hard on discovering you.

Your hands lie limp beside your hips. They’re small and weak compared with the male of your species and compared with mine but I can’t help but admire them. Your personal hygiene is satisfactory, your fingernails clean. They shine against the light in the room.

Next, I want to look at your vagina. I direct my two drones to place your feet in the stirrups. You don’t move, and you won’t; my gas keeps you immobilised. It’s the same gas I pumped into your habitat back on your home planet.

Now you’re revealed to me. The drones lash straps around your legs so they remain wide open. I can’t see inside you—I’ll have to open you up properly later—but I take my time studying the pink wrinkled skin of your labia. You look soft. A wet, white substance makes you glisten.

‘Hmm,’ I grunt.

I walk up and down your body, taking note of every little detail important enough to write in my log later. Though you’re alien to me, I can’t help but admire you and I begin to understand why your species might mate so often.

Turning to my bench of tools, I pick up my first instrument.

3.

You’re swimming in a darkness as thick as water. There’s no light. You don’t know down from up, but you continue to swim, struggling to find a way out.

You can feel things and hear things in a swirl of sensations you can’t understand. You claw at the darkness, you kick hard, until you finally push your head above the surface.

Taking a gasping breath, you snap open your eyes, only to snap them shut again against a blinding white light. Slowly, carefully, you open them, squinting. You’re staring at a metallic ceiling. There’s a faint hum that seems to vibrate through the platform you’re lying on. You try to turn your head but you can’t move. For several moments you’re puzzled until you suddenly remember.

The abduction! Spaceship! Aliens!

You start to pant. Your heart pounds madly. Blinking rapidly, you roll your eyes, trying to see where exactly you are, but all you see is light upon light. Your breath chokes in your throat.

God help me. What’s happening? WHAT’S HAPPENING!

You see movement in the corner of your eye. It’s a figure, something human-like, but small like a child. You suck in a breath. It can’t be! You must be seeing things. Slowly, agonisingly, your eyes adjust to the light and then you know for sure.

It’s an alien. It’s a fucking alien. And it’s just like in the movies: short, thin and spindly with grey skin and enormous eyes. It looks like it might be naked but it’s hard to tell at your angle. Its head is bald and its long, spider-like fingers are poking and prodding you.

Keep away. KEEP AWAY.

You try to shout, you try to scream, but all that comes out are choking whimpers. There’s a second alien on your other side, a direct copy of the first. It’s poking and prodding you too. God help you. What are they doing? Why can’t you move? You look back towards the ceiling and with your cleared vision, you see there is much more than an empty ceiling above you. You see hoses and metal instruments and lights that flicker red, green and blue. The white glow is beaming directly onto you by some kind of ultra-modern spotlight.

A tear trickles down your cheek, and you struggle very hard not to wet yourself. You continue to roll your eyes between the two aliens and the terrifying apparatus above. Then a third figure appears. Tall and striking—he’s not like the others, though you can’t see his face behind the face shield he’s wearing. It flashes against the blinding light. He’s wearing gloves too.  Your eyes widen. You begin to choke more. He’s holding something in his hand: a long, slim metallic instrument. Where’s he going to put that?

 He rests a smooth, gloved hand on your forehead.

You stop your choking. Your pounding heart slows. A strange soothing feeling floods your system. You blink rapidly against a sudden desire to close your eyes and fall right to sleep. What has he done to you? Another tear trickles down your cheek. It feels so hot against your skin. He brushes it away with one long, gloved finger. Your instinct is to jerk away but you remain immovable. Holding his finger in the air, he stares at the teardrop. He turns his shielded head to look at you, then steps back.

The strange calm remains as he vanishes from sight. You know you should be scared, you know they’re going to do bad things to you, but whatever he’s done to calm you down has sapped your mind and body of all sense.

You hear a faint ding of something metallic hitting some other metallic thing. Then he returns. You roll your eyes and stare at the instrument he’s holding. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It looks a bit like a huge pair of tweezers, except both ends are rounded and rotate as fast as drills.

Why do they rotate? And why the fuck do they have to do it so fast?

Pain. Pain! PAIN!

Keep it away from me! In your imagination, you jerk away. In reality, you’re a slab of immovable concrete and all you can do is stare in horror as he lowers it over your chest. It presses against your nipple. You suck in a terrified breath, then hold it, as you discover, to your relief, that it’s not painful at all. Far from it.

Your pounding heart continues to race but for different reasons. You’re sweating now but your tears have dried up. The choking in your throat turns to a long groan. You stare up at the alien in the mask. It’s hard to see his face through the reflection of light against his shield but you glimpse his eyes.

He tightens the tweezers, and you jerk inside your concrete body. You gasp, then groan again. Between your legs you grow very hot. You feel a bead of sweat trickle between your breasts. Finally, he releases you. He stares at you for several moments, then walks around to the other side of you, whereupon he does the same thing to your other nipple. A shudder runs through your body. All the nerves running up between your breasts and belly and thighs electrify. You feel a warm gush between your legs.

He releases the tweezers from your nipple. Again, he peers down at you and you look directly back. What’s his intention? Why is he doing this? As your body continues to throb, you feel less fear and more confusion.

Putting down the ‘tweezers’, he picks up another instrument. It doesn’t look nearly so frightening. It looks like some kind of soft sponge at the end of a small, slim rod. He presses it down between your breasts. It’s soft, just as you expected, but warm too. A faint hum resonates in your skin. It quickly spreads from the area beneath the sponge to your breasts, where it pinches at your nipples, before shooting down towards your groin. You gasp as it centres right on your clitoris and runs along both sides of your slit.

And that’s when you suddenly realise—your legs are open! Desperately, you try to shut them with no success.

He drags the sponge slowly down your torso, over the dip of your abdomen, pausing to swirl it in your bellybutton, before moving between your hips and over the hard pubic bone of your groin.

You can’t see. You can only feel.

What’s he going to do now? What’s he going to do down there? Is he going to put it inside you? Stop! Stop! Stop!

4.

Your response is surprising. Just a simple touch and you quiver beneath me. I place the resonator lightly over your most sensitive pleasure point—your clitoris, an intriguing little nub of skin filled with thousands of bundles of nerves.

You release a groan. Your eyelids flutter. As I stand before your open legs, I can see how the soft, thick labia of your opening glistens with your reproductive discharge. The sheet you’re lying on is wet with it. I remind myself that I’ll need to take a sample. Clearly my study of you is working. Soon, I’ll see how your body works when it’s fully stimulated.

As I press down a little harder on your clitoris, you groan in your throat. What I’m doing to you could be considered a form of masturbation. Something my kind stopped doing hundreds of years ago. For good reason; it serves no purpose and it’s unhygienic. Not to mention utterly prehistoric.

Just like you.

Your eyelids flutter again and I can see the gleam of your eyes. It’s good that you’ve woken up; I’ll learn more that way. You might be aware, able to see and hear and feel, but my gas will keep you paralysed for a little while yet.

There is no need to be frightened; I’m not going to hurt you. Not for a little while anyway.

I press the resonator down harder again and hold it there until you groan continuously. You produce more and more discharge until the opening to your vagina is drenched in it. It seeps to the corners of your open thighs. It oozes onto the sheet.

I pull back the resonator a moment. You’re close to the end. How I know, I’m uncertain. From the look on your face, I suppose. Very unscientific. How am I supposed to report that in my log?

Putting down the resonator, I pick up my pressometer. It’s designed to resemble the male of your species’ penis: long and cylindrical and smooth. Green lights flicker on one side. There’s no need to worry; it won’t hurt. I’ve made sure it’ll fit perfectly inside you, though it might be somewhat cold.

I insert it slowly. My drones have rubbed lubricant onto it to make it easier for you, but I find I don’t really need it. Your natural discharge provides all the lubricant necessary. It’s fascinating how well your two sexes work together.

This rod will determine two things: how deep your channel goes and the pressure the walls of your vagina make when they contract during orgasm.

I continue to ease it in. You don’t seem to notice. You’re deeper than I assumed. Finally, I feel resistance and stop. I raise my eyebrows. Sixteen parsicles! Curious. Very curious. You’ve almost encompassed the pressometer completely. I’ll be sure to make a longer one next time.

I release it, leaving it inside you, as I pick up my resonator again. Slowly, I press it down again on your clitoris. At first gently, then harder and harder, until you’re face flushes red and your mammary glands heave at the force of your panting. You’re groaning and making strange noises in your throat, and I can’t help but wonder if you’re in pain. Such a response is extreme.

But I continue pressing the resonator against you. If you’re in pain, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to deal with it.

It doesn’t take long. You breathe more rapidly. Your groaning becomes louder. Then the pressometer beeps and you quickly quieten, your chest continuing to rise and fall rapidly. Just like that, you’ve orgasmed. I ease out the pressometer, careful not to let it slip through my hands. Your natural lubricant coats it like a second skin. One of my drones holds out a wrapping. I place it into it and my drone lowers it onto the workbench and carefully wipes it off.

While that’s being done, I walk the length of your naked body, studying you. You’re sweating. You’re panting. Your skin is pink. Your nipples are tight and pointed. When you look at me, your eyes are bright. Another tear rolls down your cheek.

I feel a strange surge of something in my chest. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s disconcerting. The best word to describe it is that it’s almost … painful. I grunt and shake my head. It’s your tears. I don’t like them. You need to stop crying. I still can’t believe what I did earlier: wiping one of them away with my finger. You don’t know it but I washed my hands furiously after that. You’re filthy and full of disease. I should have known better. And yet, I feel that same urge again as I look at you.

I frown and turn away. My drone has finished cleaning off the pressometer and I analyse the results. The dials are at their maximum. The bulbs are all green. I raise my eyebrows again. Such high pressure! Your vagina clamped down hard, several times, each time with less pressure than the time preceding it, until there’s nothing. What purpose does it serve? It’s something I’ll have to contemplate when I fill out my log tonight.

I’m tired now. It’s late and I’m finished with you. Since I need to be careful not to get any of your germs on me, I place my gloved hands under the steam tap and let it burn away anything that might hurt me. Next, I have one of my drones pull my gloves off and toss them in the trash receptacle. They then take off my face shield and help peel off my suit. They follow the gloves in the receptacle.

Naked, I quickly step into the steam shower. I unbind my hair to make sure every particle of me is burned free of bugs. It’s hot but I can deal with it. Once I’m done, I step out into the clothing room. There, I don another suit, zipping it up high to my throat.

I’m eager to get back to my room so I can document everything I’ve done and learned tonight. I walk down the main corridor of my ship and pause at the sight of you through the glass. My drones are busy wiping you down between the legs. Soon, they’ll steam bath you in preparation for further examination tomorrow. My two other subjects are resting peacefully.

I watch for too long. The light of my lab gleams against your outspread legs. It turns your hair bright. I can see the pink nipples of your mammary glands, which are still tight.

You’re the first of your kind I’ve properly examined. The only other time I’ve ever seen species 821 was as a student, when I was learning from my senior, and that subject was male. Everything else I know about you has been learned from documents written by those come before me.

You’re more fascinating than I ever believed possible.

Turning away, I continue to walk down the corridor.

5.

You can’t believe what’s just happened. Did he just rape you with one of his alien tools? Your body’s still throbbing and it’s almost as though you can still feel the cold hard instrument stuck inside you.

You won’t admit to yourself that it was the best orgasm you’ve ever experienced; you were raped!

It’s still so hard to comprehend. At least he’s gone now and it appears to be over—until next time. Whenever that is. And what will he do to you next time? The thought would make you shudder if you weren’t paralysed.

It’s not quite over. He might have left but the two grey aliens are still busy with you. Your heart thuds in disgust and terror as you roll your eyes around to watch them. They’re so horrifying with their long, prodding fingers and bald heads, big eyes and tiny mouths and noses, that you almost wish the tall one was back. Even wearing his shield, he appeared more human. You can hear the patter of their small feet as they hurry about.

You gasp as they touch you between the legs. Get away! you scream in your head. Something warm and wet washes you down, right over the opening of your still throbbing vagina. They clean your inner thighs and scrub through your pubic hair. You gasp again as you feel long cold fingers open you up and wipe you down on the inside.

Then they proceed to wash down the rest of you. They’re quick and efficient and it doesn’t seem to matter to them that you’re naked. It’s the only source of relief you have.

Once they’ve done, they pull back. A green light flashes and you feel yourself lift from the platform. You hear their feet hurrying about as they quickly complete a task you know nothing of. Then you’re lowered back down again.

It feels like they replaced the sheet you’ve been lying on, and your legs are no longer in stirrups but lie flat against the platform. Rolling your eyes in your head, you wonder what’s going to happen next when you hear a buzz, then a clang. And suddenly hot air is blasting against you from the apparatus hanging above you. It’s so hot! And loud! You try to scream, but nothing comes out.

Thankfully, it’s soon over. The aliens return, throwing a sheet over you. You feel a rush of relief. Finally, some dignity.

Still, you’re quivering as the bright spotlight flicks off and they leave the room with a hiss and a bang of what might be a door. It’s not completely dark; a warm glow comes from somewhere below, maybe from the floor itself. You’re already not particularly fond of the dark and to have to deal with that on top of being stuck in this spaceship is terrifying. Shadows flit across the ceiling. You keep rolling your eyes in your head at the flicker of false movement in your peripheral vision.

It’s utterly silent, except for a monotonous hum that seems to come from the walls themselves. At no point have you not struggled against the mysterious force that is pinning you down; always trying to move your fingers, lifting your arms and turning your head, with no result.

So it’s with utter shock that you manage to move one of your toes.

You freeze. Did that just happen? Or is it just your hopes and imagination skewing reality? No. It’s really happened! There you are, moving your other toes.

Next, you move your foot. Then your legs and hands and arms. You’re crying in relief. You slap a hand on your mouth as you sob. You’re making too much noise! Though you can’t be certain of anything, you’re pretty sure this isn’t supposed to happen.

You listen out for a long time, just to be sure there’s no one else in the room. You swallow down hard with your dry throat. Slowly, holding your breath, you turn your head to the right. You blink. There is someone else in the room with you. They’re lying down, unmoving on their platform like you are. They don’t seem to notice you. You squint but the room is very large and it’s hard to see who they might be. Maybe they’re like you! Another helpless, hapless woman abducted from her bed.

Slowly, you turn your head to the left and spot another figure. It’s the same as the first, a sheet covering their body, just like you.

You turn back to the ceiling, staring up at the terrible knot of machinery. You can’t just lie here like this. Pretty soon they’ll be back. You think of the tall alien with the face shield. What other terrible things might he do to you? You must escape!

Breathing deeply, trying to ease the pounding of your heart, you sit up. The sheet slips down and you quickly pull it back to your chest. You look around quickly but there’s no one around except for the two prostrate figures.

Your mouth falls open. The room is huge and is made of mirrors that run wall to wall. You were right; the light is coming directly from the floor. Other than the machinery dangling from the ceiling, the two other figures and what appears to be small work benches, the room is empty. You shiver as you look at the silver trays on the ‘work bench’ nearest you, thinking of that cold rod-like thing he put inside you. Whatever it was, it’s gone. No doubt cleaned up and put away by those grey aliens.

No more dicking around! You must find a way out. You feel a shot of terror. What if there are cameras? What if they can see you? What if they know exactly what you’re doing?

What does it matter? They’re going to do what they’re going to do to you either way.

Clutching the sheet to your body, you slide your feet to the floor. The floor is strangely warm, probably heated as well as being a source of light. You hurry to one of the mirrored walls and push your hand against it. Nothing. You look around. There must be a door! The aliens obviously exited from somewhere, but all you see is mirror upon mirror. You keep going, becoming more and more desperate as time flits by.

At one point you reach one of the prostrate figures. You stumble away, biting back a scream. Another alien! Hideous! So much worse than the grey aliens. You can’t see what’s beneath the sheet but you can see the tentacles hanging from the platform and dragging across the floor. What one might call a face is flat and eyeless. It looks like a Goddamn squid!

Spurred on by another wave of terror, you start pounding against the mirrors with your fists, your wide-eyed pale face screaming wordlessly back at you.

You have to find a way out!

6.

I attach the electrodes to my head and begin to fill in my log. Shapes and images, thoughts and questions flash against the screen as my brain waves filter down through the electrodes and into the ship’s thought processor.

I see your face and I see your body as I remember it now: your giant mammary glands, your wide hips and the silky, pink insides of your sex. Your face is still, though your eyes are frightened as you stare back up at me. I block out the part where I brushed away your tear—my associates don’t need to know that—but everything else is stored away in my ship’s giant memory system.

It doesn’t take long. Soon, I’m done and I remove the electrodes, putting them carefully back into their case as I relax back into my seat, my hands flat on the table. My room is simple: a couch, desk and table and a bed. I have my own private steam shower. A few pictures hang. A potted plant sits in the corner. Ahead is a window which looks directly out into space. The black sky is a mass of twinkling lights. I can see your planet, little more than a blue dot in the distance.

I fold my hands together, feeling strange. I should be in bed by now. It’ll be another busy day tomorrow but I can’t seem to make my mind slow down. It’s almost as though I’ve forgotten something.

I stand and pace my room, folding and unfolding my arms. It’s an uncomfortable feeling—this anxiety. My mind is usually much more ordered than this. I stand at the window, thinking. Then it comes upon me.

I spin around with a start. ‘Screen, on,’ I command.

What was once bare wall suddenly flashes and a picture takes form. My lab has a number of cameras and I have access to them all. I can see everything. My heart sinks into my stomach. I was right. I’d forgotten to vent the gas. It’s worn off. You’re no longer paralysed. I take a moment to watch as you slam yourself against the walls, wrapped in a sheet, your hair in disarray. What are you doing? You could hurt yourself! You’re too important to lose.

My other two subjects appear to be asleep—but they won’t be for long.

I rush from my room, clicking the intercom attached to the chest of my spacesuit. ‘Drones, to the lab.’

I reach it before they do. I see you through the one way mirror. You’re no longer throwing yourself against the walls but bending low, searching methodically for a way out. You look up and for a moment I look into your eyes.

I rush into the anteroom and slam my hand against the button that vents the gas. The gas is invisible. You won’t know what I’ve done until well after it begins to affect you. But it’s already too late; you’ve managed to slide away a part of a wall and found a vent. You’re wriggling through.

‘No!’ I double tap my intercom, raising the alarm. Red light flashes in the lab, in the anteroom and down the corridors. My voice echoes throughout the ship through a myriad of speakers. ‘Danger. Escaped subject. All hands available for containment.’

Several drones finally reach the lab. I tell them what’s happened, pointing at where you’ve escaped. Two wriggle into the vent. They’re smaller and quicker than you are. If they can’t reach you, then I will at the other side.

I rush down the corridor. I know this ship inside and out. I know where to go. My heart is thudding hard. This has never happened before. I am considered a master in the area of species experimentation. I, more than anyone else, know the importance of keeping my subjects contained. If word gets out, I’ll lose all credibility.

Several drones rush past me. The red light continues to flash and it’s making me sick.

The sliding door opens at my approach onto the communal eating room. It’s empty, the drones busy rushing around the ship, closing off all non-essential accessible areas. Half-eaten dishes lie spread across the benches. Once you’re caught we’re going to have to sterilise the whole ship. The contamination risk is high.

I shouldn’t be here looking for you. I should leave that to my drones. I should at least be properly suited up. But I need to stop you before you hurt yourself. You’re a prized and important specimen. I’ll inoculate myself afterwards if I have to.

I raise my eyes to the ceiling. I can hear you. You’ve managed to climb your way up. You’ve metabolised the gas unexpectedly fast. It should take longer for you to regain movement so well.

Every time you bang up against the metal, I wince. I can hear you panting. You sound terrified. You don’t know it but parts of the vent are weak, designed to be porous to let the air pass through. There’s a weak point just ahead.

You reach it. The metal bows out as you press what might be your hand against it. I wince again as the vent creaks against your body weight. Eyes wide, I rush over. With a crash, the vent cover breaks loose and slams into the floor. You follow quickly after, screaming as you do. I get there just in time, catching you in my arms before you can split your head open on the hard floor. You’re heavy and we both fall together. I twist over, taking the full brunt of the floor against my bigger, harder body.

For a moment, everything’s still and quiet, except for the sound of our panting. I feel your warmth even through my body suit. Then you start thrashing and screaming in my arms. Suddenly realising the dangerous predicament I’m in, I let you go and scramble away. You do the same. You’re naked, your sheet still tangled in the vent above. You hunch over with a squawk, covering yourself.

I thrust out my hand, indicating that you should keep away. You stare at me with an odd look on your face. It’s almost as though you can’t believe what you’re seeing.

I clutch at the intercom on my chest, flick a few buttons and speak: ‘Be calm.’

Your mouth drops open. Your eyes widen. I’m speaking in your language. We have it on file—English. My intercom is far more useful than just to activate an alarm.

‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ I continue.

‘Keep away!’ you scream, pushing yourself further into the wall as you clutch at yourself.

Calm,’ I speak.

I pull down the sheet from the ceiling and hold it out to you. When you refuse to take it from me, I throw it to you. Quickly, you conceal your nakedness.

We both turn at the sound of the door whooshing open. In file several drones.

7.

You can’t believe what you’re hearing. You can’t believe what you’re seeing.

‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ he speaks. You swallow hard as he holds out the sheet to you. He looks … human. You gaze back into his pale blue eyes. His white hair is tied back into a bun. And his face—it’s normal-ish compared with the grey aliens: the right sized eyes, a normal sized nose, pink lips. It’s just that he’s … he’s… beautiful. Too beautiful. Eerily beautiful. Like a statue carved from porcelain.

He’s wearing some kind of suit, a similar suit to the one in the lab, at least from what you’d been able to see while lying rigid on the platform. Blue. High-collared. You hadn’t been able to see before but it covers him from wrist to toe, revealing only a pair of white hands. It’s so tight that it clings to his body like a second skin. You push back against the wall. He’s the one who experimented on you! He’s the one who shoved that … thing inside you!

‘Keep away!’ you scream.

Calm.’

He tosses the sheet over. You catch it and wrap it around yourself. What’s he playing at? Why’s he helping you? Trust. He wants to gain my trust.

Not going to happen.

You turn with a start at the sound of a whoosh. A door is sliding open. You stifle a scream as several of those grey aliens rush inside with their creepy long fingers and bald heads and pattering children’s feet.

‘Stop!’ you scream.

They don’t, reaching out for you with their spidery fingers. Some are holding mean-looking metallic tools. Weapons? Not knowing what else to do, you rush over to the beautiful alien and hide behind him. Despite what he’s done to you, he, at least, doesn’t look like a monster.

He doesn’t stop you. Instead, he turns to the grey aliens, speaking to them in some strange language. His voice is low and it almost sounds as though he’s singing to them. Bowing their heads, they pull away.

You back up against the wall, clutching the sheet to your bare breasts, as he turns on you. He’s wearing a small, almost kindly smile. You gaze at him, unable to look away. He’s breathtaking. Dangerous. Impossible. Your eyes slide over him, taking him all in. The body suit is so tight you can see all the muscles in his arms and chest and abdomen. He might be slim but he’s broad with big hands and powerful arms. How are you going to get away? There’s more. You hadn’t noticed before in your terror but you can’t help but notice it now—the massive bulge that is his crotch.

‘Who-who are you?’ you whisper, your eyes sliding back to his face.

He doesn’t respond, but simply gazes back at you with his startling blue eyes. The sheet slips from your trembling hands and you let it fall. The air in the ship is warm. It almost seems to breathe against your skin. His eyes slide over you like yours did him. His forehead furrows. He purses his lips.

Straightening, he clears his throat and holds out his hand. ‘Come with me, I must take you back.’

You shake your head. ‘No. I’m not going anywhere with you. You .. you …’ you lick your lips ‘… did things to me.’

He keeps his arm outstretched. ‘They had to be done.’

What?’ You try to sound forceful but your voice comes out in a croak.

‘For the good of my species. I need to know more about you. It’s important.’

You pick up the sheet and quickly wrap it around yourself. A sudden rage flares in your heart. ‘How do you … how-how dare you! I’m not some lab rat to be experimented on!’

‘My studies won’t hurt you. I’ll get what I need and when I’m done, I’ll send you back home with your mind cleared. You’ll know nothing of what happened here.’

‘No! You can’t possibly think that I’d come to you. Take me back. Take me back! TAKE ME BACK!’

Shutting your eyes, you drop into a crouch and scream.

And scream and scream.

‘That’s enough!’ He sounds angry now and it only makes you scream louder.

Your eyes snap open as long, cold fingers grip at your arms. They’re all around you, at least a dozen of those terrifying grey aliens. You’re cursing now amid your screaming and crying. You throw yourself about, thrashing in their arms. They will not have you! But there are so many of them and they’re surprisingly strong. They pin you down.

Frowning, his forehead crinkled up, the beautiful alien watches from a safe distance as one of them approaches with the longest needle you’ve ever seen in your life.

‘NOOOO!’

You wince, then scream again at the shock of pain as the needle pushes deep into the muscle of your arm. Something cold rushes into you.

Then it’s over.

You’re quiet now—what’s the point of screaming?—your heart pounding so hard it’s all you hear, though the grey aliens seem to be chattering to each other with their tiny mouths as they continue to hold you down.

Whatever chemical they’ve pumped into you works swiftly. You can feel your body getting heavy. Your thoughts turn disjointed. It’s hard to remember where you are and what’s going on. A strange peace calms your thundering heart and you relax against the aliens’ firm grip.

Soon, they release you, letting you fall gently to the floor. You blink slowly, the ceiling a swirl of colour and light. A face looks down on you, beautiful and serene and curious. His blue eyes are like two dazzling diamonds. He says something in that musical voice, sending a queer, warm shiver down your spine.

And suddenly you’re up in the air—and moving. The ceiling seems to flow by like a stream. You can feel the little grey aliens’ fingers digging into your arms and legs and against your back. Vaguely, you realise that they must be carrying you.

You can hear their pattering feet and the longer, heavier footsteps of the beautiful alien up ahead. Soon, you pass through a doorway and into a room that’s all too familiar. The spotlight in the ceiling switches on as they lower you back onto the platform you only just escaped from.

You blink languidly, the room blurry. You try to speak but all that comes out is an incomprehensible grumble. It attracts the attention of the beautiful alien. He looks down on you again, his face drawn with concern.

Like he did before, he rests his hand against your forehead.

Your eyes close.

8.

You’re asleep now.

If only I could be the same. I twist and turn in bed, unable to get you out of my mind. What is it about you? You’re special to me as my subject, but not that special. My other two subjects are just as important to me and should mean just as much.

But why don’t they? I think about you lying there in my laboratory, waiting for my return. I remember how you felt against me as you fell into my arms through the vent, how warm you skin was, how hot your breath felt against my face.

It’s safe now. I’ve taken an extra-long steam bath tonight and I’ve inoculated myself. I’ve divested my body of any lingering cell of yours, but it means nothing when you’ve somehow driven yourself deeply into my mind.

My associates are right; you and your kind really are a disease.

I don’t know how, but sleep eventually claims me.

The next day I’m resolute that I’ll get my job done without any emotional interference. I work on my other two subjects first: cutting, snapping, crushing. Don’t worry, it sounds harsh, but these two species can withstand most things, healing and regenerating themselves under the worst conditions.

When I finally do turn to you, you’re awake. The others are awake too. They had watched helplessly as I ‘studied’ them. Just like you will.

I recall that I’d forgotten to take a sample of your reproductive lubricant yesterday. That’ll be easy to remedy. Today, I’m going to push your body hard.

Your response is the same as yesterday. You moan as I stimulate your nipples with the vibratory forceps. You groan as I caress your body with the resonator. And when I place it hard on your clitoris, you cough and splutter and your lubricant flows between your wide-open legs into my waiting sample container.

One of my drones tightens the lid and I take it from him, raising it to the light as I twist it about. It’s so different to the male discharge I helped sample so many years before. His had been much whiter and smellier. There had been something repugnant about it—even for a scientist as professional as me. Yours is different. It doesn’t repulse me at all. More—I almost want to open the lid and touch it with my bare finger.

A shocking thing.

Shaking my head, I hand the container back to my drone and pick up my pressometer. My study of you is far from over. Carefully I insert it, and just like yesterday you almost encompass it entirely. Pressing the resonator against your clitoris again, I wait for you to orgasm.

It doesn’t take long. This time, I can see for myself how the walls of your vagina clench hard around the instrument. You almost seem to pull it further inside. Once the pressometer has finished reading, I stimulate you again.

And again and again.

You’ve orgasmed three times before I’m done with that part of my study. Easing out the pressometer, I then check the results. After handing the instrument over to my drones, I take a look at you. You don’t look well: your cheeks are flushed, you’re sweating under the arms and your eyes are sunken in. It seems even your kind have your limits. I notice that your mammary glands are heaving as your frightened eyes stare up at me.

I experience a painful clench in my chest and step back with a start. I don’t like the way you’re looking at me. Taking a breath, I roll my shoulders and turn to my drones.

‘Get my hydronic needle.’

While one goes to retrieve it, the rest set up my ultrasound machine. It’s one of the machines above you, the long tube-like one with the orange light at the end. I have to see where I’m going in order to stimulate your ovaries to release their eggs. I could give you a chemical to make you ovulate more naturally, but this is faster. And I need to get you away from me as soon as I can.

Manual stimulation it is.

The drone returns, pushing along a trolley with a silver tray containing my needle. It’s thirty centimetres long, thin and made of stainless steel. The end is attached to a cord leading to the villibrator that’ll send vibratory waves into your pelvis.

I’ll try my best not to hurt you, but I can’t deny that it won’t be painful, at least a little bit. And it won’t matter if I put you to sleep, you’ll still feel it. Then again, at least I won’t have you looking back at me as you suffer.

I return to your trembling figure again. I don’t understand why I do it, but I lift my shield so you can look at me. Maybe so you can see in my eyes that it’s not something I want to do, but that it’s something I have to do, for the good of my species.

Do you understand? It’s hard to tell. A tear trickles down the side of your face. Quickly, I rest my hand against your forehead, and you shut your eyes.

‘Let’s begin,’ I tell my drones.

It’s a very precise process. From previous studies, the easiest way to achieve successful ovulation is to stimulate your ovaries through the walls of your uterus, which means I’ll have to imbed the needle from the inside.

After the drones spend some time cleaning you up, I take a seat on a chair and they raise your bench up to the height of my eyes. I look inside you briefly but it’s much too dark to see anything at all. So, I ask for the specula. Easing it inside you, I slowly widen the walls of your vagina with several clicks. There’s a light attached to the end, allowing me to see clearly.

Your opening yawns at me. I can see you. I can see all of you. It’s ironic to think that I now know you more intimately, at least physically, than any female of my own species.

I proceed with my research.

With a steady hand, I grip onto the needle with a pair of long clamps and feed it inside you. The cord that attaches to the villibrator follows like a black worm. In and in I go until I reach the end of your channel. There, I slowly ease the needle into the wall of your uterus. I grit my teeth, taking my time.

Suddenly, you jerk, your legs pulling against the straps lashing you to the stirrups. I pause, thinking it just a reaction of your nervous system. But then you jerk again. Still holding the needle in place, I raise my head and ask the drones to check on you.

They tell me you’ve woken up and that you’re leaking discharge from your eyes again. I shake my head. If you’re awake, so be it, but I have to continue.

I ease in the needle further. My stomach turns at the sound of that choking in your throat. They’re right; you’re awake. But I keep going.

Finally, the needle is inserted far enough.

I pull out the forceps, leaving the needle inside you. ‘Start the villibrator,’ I tell my drones.

Lights flick on. I can hear it hum. I can’t feel a thing—but you certainly do. Your choking gets worse. You jerk again in the stirrups. I stand and approach you and I see that your face is streaked with tears. They’ve wet your hair and when you gaze up at me imploringly, your eyes gleam like shards of glass.

It’s at that moment I suddenly realise how truly beautiful you are.

I take a step back. ‘Stop the machine,’ I say in a voice that doesn’t sound like mine.

The drones obey and instantly you stop jerking and choking. You’re panting, though, gasping for breath, your breasts heaving.

‘Out,’ I say to the drones. ‘All of you. Out!’

Again, they obey. I hear the whoosh of the door opening, then gently closing shut. And just like that, everything is different.

9

The pain has stopped.

For several moments you close your eyes, basking in the relief of feeling nothing. More tears dribble down your face. You’re so sticky; tears have pooled under your ears and into the dip in your throat.

What more are they going to do with you? You hear the heavier thuds of the big alien’s footsteps but nothing else. Where are the little ones? Have they left? You open your eyes and roll them around desperately, trying to look but you can’t see a thing.

You gasp at the feel of a sharp pinch inside you. If you could, you’d scream. The pinch turns to a throb, then an ache, then a wrenching spasm-like pain that shoots up your spine. You snap your eyes shut and grit your teeth. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the pain’s gone.

You open your eyes, feeling someone touching you down there. With another wave of relief, you feel something inside you slowly withdrawn.

Next, he/they/whoever it is, removes the stirrups and gently rests your legs flat on the platform. Is it over? Your heart beats madly in hope. For a long time there’s silence, filled only with the sound of your breathing. You blink at a sharp slapping sound, as of someone removing their gloves.

It’s him. The big, beautiful, horrible one. He’s looking down on you with those startling blue eyes, no shield, no gloves.

‘It’s okay,’ echoes his voice around the room, deep and musical. Almost in a trance, you watch his perfect lips as they move. ‘There will be no more pain. You’re safe.’

You don’t know why, but you can’t help but believe him. Heat rises up your throat as tears gush out of your eyes.

He disappears and returns, holding some kind of small, square container in his long white fingers. Whatever’s inside has a nasty smell. You try to pull away, but can’t.

‘Have no fear,’ he says gently. Slowly, he passes it back and forth beneath your nose. It stinks like an old wet pad. It fills your sinuses. It fills your lungs. It almost seems to press hotly against the back of your eyes. It doesn’t take long before you realise what it’s doing to you.

It’s waking you up.

The heat behind the back of your eyes travels the length of your body, down your arms and torso and legs, then into your fingers and toes. You open and close your hands. You turn your head.

With a cry, you sit up. The alien man steps back as you stare at him wide-eyed. Remembering you’re naked, you quickly throw an arm across your breasts and the other across your lap.

‘What have you done to me?’ you whisper.

‘Nothing. I hadn’t stimulated you enough to retrieve your eggs.’

‘My-my eggs?’ you say, with a wince.

He nods slowly. ‘That’s why you’re here. Well, it was once why you’re here. Now …’ He purses his lips.

‘What are you going to do with me?’

‘Nothing.’ He considers for a moment. ‘Help you.’

A tear trickles down the length of your nose. ‘I want to go home.’

‘You can’t go home. At least, not yet. I’m not due to return to your planet for another two weeks.’

Your heart pounds against your ribs as you pull away from him, sliding off the table until your toes touch the floor. Your lower parts are concealed behind the table now and you feel just a little less vulnerable. Wrapping your arms around your breasts, you look swiftly around the room. All the doors are closed. The aliens are gone. You’re alone. He doesn’t move, watching you, waiting for something.

‘Take me home,’ you say.

‘I can’t. Understand that I can’t. I am part of a specialised research team. If I return you to your planet when I shouldn’t, my seniors will know and investigate.’

‘Investigate what?’

‘My … unprofessional behaviour.’ His shoulders sag. ‘I’ll lose everything. And you—’ he continues before you can argue ‘—they won’t let you go. They’ll dispense of you before risking revelation.’

‘What do you mean, ‘dispense of me?’’

He doesn’t answer, but his look is enough. 

You take a step back in horror. ‘I can’t go back?’

‘You can but at your allotted time.’

You swallow. ‘So … I stay here.’

He nods.

‘With you.’ Your voice is a croak.

He stares at you, looking almost dazzling against the bright light of the room. How could something so beautiful be so hard and cruel? But when you look in his eyes, you see no cruelty there. He looks almost … frightened. Lost, even.

‘Why? Why are you helping me?’ you say.

He frowns and doesn’t respond; instead, he moves towards the bottom of the platform. As he does, you move away to the top of the platform, still covering your breasts. He bends to pick up something. It’s the sheet. It must have slipped to the floor.

He holds it out to you. ‘Are you hungry? You must be thirsty.’

You don’t answer.

‘If you don’t let me help you, there’s nothing you can do. You’re stuck here, unfortunately, until I can safely get you back home.’ He holds the sheet out further.

Staying on the opposite side of the platform, you lean across it to take it from him. Your fingers brush. Quickly, you wrap yourself in it.

‘I’ll find you a suit,’ he says, lowering his arm. ‘You don’t need to be afraid anymore.’

‘I need to  …’ you lick your lips ‘… I need to … to go …’

‘Excrete?’ he says, completely without shame.

You wince. What a way to put it.

‘Come with me,’ he says, taking long, smooth strides towards the door. ‘I’ll show you where to go.’

He takes you down the corridor. Clutching at the sheet, you look around you. The rest of the ship looks much like the ‘lab’: cold and empty and full of glowing lights and steel.

With a little shriek, you bunch up close to him as two of those grey aliens come walking towards you, their long fingers so thin they almost disappear into the light. Their bare feet slap against the floor. Their big eyes reflect the light of the glowing ship too much, reminding you of empty windows that look into nothing.

‘Have no fear of them. They’re only drones,’ he says.

‘Drones?’

‘Mindless. They do only what I tell them. They function only as far as their brain formatting allows.’

The two aliens walk past, seemingly oblivious to the frightened, naked woman wrapped in a sheet.

‘Won’t they … won’t they tell your … seniors about me … and you?’

‘No. Not unless I tell them to.’

It doesn’t make sense at all but you’re too overwhelmed to question him further.

He takes you to a door that opens automatically at his approach.

‘These are my quarters,’ he says, walking inside.

You enter hesitantly, peering around you. Though bare, it’s nice. Really nice. Desk with a chair. Big round bed large enough to sleep four people. There are strange plants placed strategically around the room. You can see the entrance to what might be a little kitchen. Beneath your feet is carpet.

In front of a two-seater white couch that is hovering slightly above the floor is a huge window the size of the wall itself that looks directly onto the blackness of space. You momentarily forget that you’re busting to pee as you stare.

‘Is that …?’ you say.

‘Yes. Your home.’

10.

I watch you from the corner of my eye, trying to figure out what you might be thinking as you stare at the little blue ball that is your planet.

You show nothing but surprise. Slowly, you move closer to the window, dragging the sheet behind you. You make sure that it covers your front and rear-end but I can see your back and it looks smooth and flawless beneath the soft lights of my room.

‘How … how …’

‘This is a research vessel, used to study other species like yours.’

You don’t say anything, you don’t do anything, but stare. Finally, you turn to look at me with those accusing eyes of yours.

Clearing my throat, I walk to the wall beside my bed. A door slides open. Reaching inside my closet, I pull out one of my suits.

‘It’s designed to shape to one’s body. It’ll still be a little big on you but it should be comfortable.’ I hand it over to you and show you the entrance to my waste disposal unit. ‘Do you want me to show you how to use it?’

‘I’ll be fine,’ you say, clutching the suit to your chest. The door shuts behind you. I sit on the edge of my bed, listening to you struggle.

When you finally exit, you’re wearing my suit. It’s blue like the one I’m wearing. The ends have cinched to your wrists and ankles in folds. Even despite our size difference, it clings to the rest of your body like it does mine. It’s almost just as revealing as seeing you naked.

As I stare at you, your cheeks flush.

I clear my throat again. What am I going to do with you for the next two weeks? I can have you fed and watered and showered. You can have your own room. But if you’re anything like the rest of your species, you’re going to need more.

Something to focus your mind. Companionship. Especially on a ship full of mindless drones.

I take you to the communal eating room, and as I do you walk close by my side. Despite what I’ve done to you, you have less fear of me than you do my drones. It’s hard to understand why; they will only hurt you at my say-so. I tell you this, but it does nothing to make you think rationally.

You truly are a strange species; controlled by your primitive instincts, more than your brain. Still, I don’t mind.

I don’t want you to be afraid of me.

I have the drones desert the room so you can eat without fear. You hesitate as you dig your spoon into some Clevon Soup. It makes me smile. I explain what it is: salted gutroot from the oceans of my home world. You look at me with a puzzled expression, then take a mouthful. At first, your forehead is rumpled with uncertainty but it quickly clears and you begin shovelling it into your mouth.

I relax back into my seat. While you eat, you start asking me questions.

‘Do you have a name?’ you ask me.

I speak it but I can see that it goes right over your head. I’m not surprised; my language is much different to yours. We speak our words more from the back of our throats than from our tongues. I try to explain where I come from but, again, the name of my planet alludes you.

‘I’m from the same galaxy but seven solar systems over,’ I say.

You swallow hard on your soup. ‘How many … how many aliens are there?’

I raise an eyebrow at such a childish question. ‘Countless.’ Your eyes widen. ‘There are at least thousands of species that know interstellar travel and millions more that don’t. You are one of those.’

‘And you come to my planet often?’

I explain my purpose as a galactic scientist but I do not speak in detail; there is only so much I’m willing for you to know. You look at me in awe, holding your spoon in the air. I see how it trembles.

‘Don’t you feel bad about what you do?’ you ask me.

‘Why should I? It must be done for the greater good. I cause no permanent damage. And I send you back without you being the wiser. It’s better than what is rumoured you do to your animals.’

‘I am not an animal,’ you say, pursing your lips.

‘No, you’re not,’ I agree.

An uncomfortable silence descends between us. You don’t meet my eyes again, hunched over your dish as you finish your meal.

After you’re done, I take you to your quarters. The drones who had once occupied the room have left to space themselves out between the rooms of the rest of their associates. I don’t tell you this, of course, because I know it’ll horrify you.

The room is only small and bare but it’s comfortable. In place of their bunks, a single bed has been erected. You have your own kitchen and steam bath and waste disposal unit. Like my room, a large window looks out onto space. Again, you stare at it, your eyes zeroing in on that little blue ball.

‘You can keep to yourself here,’ I say. ‘There’s no need to leave, though you can explore some of the ship if you want to. But I daresay you won’t. The room is self-sufficient. I’ll have your food delivered at meal times. There’ll be no need to see me or my drones. I’ll get you back home as soon as I can.’

Without another word, I turn and leave your room.

I have to get out of there, to get away from you.  I have to get back to my quarters fast. I wipe the back of my hand across my face. I feel hot. My suit feels unbearably tight. Have you infected me with something?

By the time I reach my quarters, I’m shivering. Hastily, I begin to peel off my suit, prepared to step into the steam shower, when I pause. Something’s not right. Something’s really not right.

Carefully, I pull the suit down over my hips and look down at myself in horror. Between my legs, my penis has grown at least four-fold. It’s hard and long. Erect. The skin at the tip has pulled back, revealing the shining layer of skin beneath. I’ve never seen it do such a thing before. Few of my species have. Our male appendage is only useful for urination. Nothing more. It hasn’t been useful for breeding for at least four hundred years.

Warily I touch it, then pull my hand back. It doesn’t feel like mine at all. Not knowing what else to do, I switch on the steam, quickly wrestle the rest of the suit off and climb in. I stand under the steam with my hands braced up against the wall for a long time, letting the heat ease my shivering and clear my mind.

It seems to be working. I don’t want to look but I must. Slowly, my penis begins to lower and shrink, until it hangs limp between my legs like it’s supposed to. I feel better. I feel normal, except for the fear creeping into the nerves at the back of my neck.

I turn off the shower and stare at myself in the mirror. I don’t look sick, just pale with fright. I touch myself again, checking carefully. Nothing seems amiss. My testicles are soft and warm—no masses or evidence of strangulation. The skin of my penis is loose and wrinkled again. I check everywhere just to be sure there are no rashes or bumps or evidence of a parasite that might have imbedded inside me.

All clear. Taking a shuddering breath, I leave the shower. I glance at my suit crumpled on the floor. I should change into something. I need to fill in my log for the night. But I’m suddenly very tired. All I want to do is curl up in bed.

I slide between my sheets, naked. I touch myself briefly between the legs to reassure myself. All remains well. Still, I intend to keep a close eye on myself throughout the night.

Puzzled and concerned, I gaze vacantly at a plant in the corner of my room for a long time, my mind a swirl of thoughts and fears, before I finally fall asleep.

11.

Lying in bed, you stare up at the ceiling. He said it’s night and you assume he’s right because you feel tired, but it all seems so odd without a sun or moon or any sense of real time. And what does he mean by night anyway? Night for him on his planet? Or night on Earth? And which part of Earth? The northern or southern hemisphere?

Even the simplest of things are difficult to comprehend, even scary.

Everything is scary.

Before he left, the alien had shown you how to switch the lights off. You’ve done that and yet, a warm glow remains, filtering through what appears to be a little gap in the wall where the wall meets the floor. You don’t mind. You’d rather that than total darkness. But it does throw strange shadows everywhere; shadows that make your eyes flick around nervously.

You can’t believe you’re on a spaceship. Rolling on your stomach, you look behind you at the big viewing window and the space beyond. You can see Earth. That’s Earth. You’ve never thought your life as small, with all its difficulties and troubles, but it does now.

Strangely enough, being so distant from your life doesn’t frighten you but fills you with a strange sort of peace. For the moment, your money and work and love problems are over. But it’s not enough to ease the dread of your current situation. On the other side of the door are aliens. You’ve been abducted and experimented on, terrorized and abused. You’re stuck, trapped, and can’t get home.

There’s no way you’re going to get to sleep. You suddenly think of how the tall alien placed his hand on your forehead. That seemed to relax you. How did he do that? Maybe he could do that for you again.

You sit up with a start at the sound of a mechanical noise on the other side of the door. You clutch your knees to your chest as the quiet hum of the spaceship itself rings in your ears. Despite the warmth of the room, your skin prickles with goose bumps.

Your head whips around at a sudden movement. There’s a weird plant in the corner of the room. It’s like nothing that would come from earth. Instead of branches it has what almost looks like feelers. In place of leaves are squashy-looking ugly bulbs. It hangs over the pot like a giant hand, as though searching to grip onto something.

Your eyes widen. You stifle a scream. It’s moving! One of its ‘branches’ is moving! Like a fucking finger! When one of the bulbs suddenly rolls open and blinks at you, that’s it for you.

With a shriek, you scramble from the bed and race for the door. You’re hardly dressed. You’re not wearing your suit but a flimsy top and pants of a white linen-like material you found folded up in the cupboard.

They’re much too big for you and you’re holding up your pants as you race through the door. You squint against the light. The corridor is empty. There’s only one place for you to go. It’s ironic to think now that your kidnapper could be considered anything close to safe. But he’s the only thing on board that’s familiar enough not to fill you with dread.

His room isn’t far, only a few doors up. You freeze, stifling a scream, at the sight of more grey aliens up ahead. They’re walking away, their smooth, amphibious backs shining in the light. They haven’t seen you. They turn a corner and once they’ve disappeared from sight, you hurtle towards the tall alien’s door.

The door opens before you can pound your fist against it. Like yours, a soft glow beams from the lower walls. You step inside, squinting in the gloom. Your heart sinks. He’s already in bed; you can see his figure beneath the sheet. You turn with a start as the door shuts behind you.

You grip onto yourself, not knowing what to do. You’ve never been in such an awkward situation in all your life. You turn back towards the door, but the thought of returning to that room with all its strange noises and zombie plants and those creepy aliens only a wall away terrifies you.

Swallowing, you gaze at his inert form. He’s on his back, breathing gently, his white hair spread out upon his pillow. Before you can tell yourself to stop, you find yourself beside his bed, wanting a closer look. Despite your pounding heart, you manage to calm your ragged breathing; you don’t want to wake him.

An alien. He’s an alien. Both at once it’s so easy to believe and yet so hard.

He’s not wearing his suit, his chest bare, his arms lying over the sheet. He’s very pale but nicely muscled—surprisingly-so for a so-called scientist. For a moment you wonder why he looks so odd, and you realise it’s more than just because of his beautiful face.

It’s his skin. Like his face, it’s perfect. Not a scar or freckle or mole on it.

Or hair. Other than what’s on his head and his perfectly arched eyebrows, he doesn’t seem to have a single stray hair on his arms or chest. And when you think about it, even his chin looks too smooth to be shaven.

Before you know it, you’re reaching out to touch him; more specifically, you reach out to trace your finger along one of his thick, perfect black eyebrows. You can’t stop staring at him. His eyelashes are so black and long. A great artist couldn’t have done better, neither in stone or paint, not compared with the real thing. You’ve never wanted to touch a man so much in all your life.

But he’s not a man—he’s an alien. And it was his intention to hurt you.

Was his intention, you remind yourself. Not anymore.

You have enough wits about you to stop yourself before you do anything silly, closing your fist just above his face. He hasn’t stirred. He knows nothing of this. You have a chance to leave and pretend it never happened. Backing away, you glance at the door and immediately reconsider.

Your eyes fall to the couch.

It’s surprisingly comfortable, even without a pillow. There’s a blanket draped stylishly over the back of it and you wrap yourself up in that. It’s not that the room’s cold; it’s just nice to have some kind of security around you, no matter how flimsy.

You’re watching him breathing as you fall asleep.

You dream of returning home and encountering Mellissa for the first time. Instead of being welcoming, however, she yells at you, throwing things at you from across the room. ‘Why couldn’t it be me! Why couldn’t it be me! He should want me!’

The next time you wake, you sit up with a start, spooked by a sudden noise. You don’t know how long you’ve been sleeping for but it doesn’t feel like long; you’re still very much tired.

The room looks exactly as it should, all except one thing: the alien is awake and staring at you as he stands across the room.

He’s not wearing a shred of clothing.

12.

Sensing my wakefulness, the bright lights of my quarters switch on.

I can see you clearly now. You stare at me and I stare at you, my feet rooted to the floor, uncertain whether you’re real or just a lingering figment of the dream I was having. And yes, I was having a dream about you. A dream which, surprisingly, started very much like this: with you in my room, though with our roles reversed. You were the one naked, not me.

If you’re real, what are you doing here? Your eyes are thick with sleep and seem so bright in the light of my quarters. Your hair is all mussed up. Your lips are soft and pink. My heart skips a beat; you’ve never looked so lovely.

Lovely. I swallow. I can’t be thinking like this about someone like you. It’s … it’s …

Unnatural.

I look down at myself, my mind a haze. I should get dressed. I should shout at you to leave. But the last thing I want to do is scare you. And the very last thing I want to do is have you stop staring at me the way you are right now.

My breathing rate increases. My heart pounds. My skin tingles like it did before when I felt sick. I look down at myself, hopeful that it won’t happen again, not in front of you. But to my horror my penis has already grown double in size. It’s not as big as before but I know it won’t take long before it will be. I can’t stop it. I can’t move. And all you do is watch as it grows thicker and longer and rises higher and higher.

I feel dizzy. My stomach clenches down hard on a swirl of nausea. Sweat beads my skin. I clutch for the wall with a gasp, and that’s when you rush over.

You say something in your language but I can’t understand you. I grip hold of you as I stagger. It seems you’re not frightened of me at all now, as you drape my arm over your shoulders and help me back to bed.

You say something again, your forehead all crinkled up, but again I can’t understand you. I nod towards my suit still lying in a puddle on the floor. You rush over and find my intercom. Quickly, you hand it to me and I switch on the translator.

‘Are you all right?’ you say.

Taking long, deep breaths, I nod. You try not to look but fail. I don’t blame you; I can’t help looking either. In my lap, I’ve grown even bigger than I had in the shower. You’re not helping, standing before me like you are, so close I can feel your warmth.

I go to cover it with my sheet but you seize my wrist. ‘No,’ you say. ‘You saw me. It’s only fair I get to see you.’

We stare at each other. You seem surprised by yourself. Releasing me, you quickly step back, your hands limp by your sides. I don’t cover myself, though I feel myself grow more. I wince at a sudden pain that seems to rush from my testicles to the tip of my penis. The attire you’re wearing is loose on you but your breasts still press against the fabric too much. It stirs things inside me. It makes me remember you in the lab, so helpless, with your thighs spread wide.

Clenching my fists in the sheets, I take a deep breath, trying to control myself with little luck. I wince at another had throb. ‘You’ve infected me with something.’

You raise your eyebrows. ‘Infected you? With what?’

‘With some kind of bug. My species has little immunity against your diseases.’

You frown. ‘Are you sick?’

I gesture at my lap.

Your frown deepens. Lines crease around your nose. ‘I’m not to blame for that!’ You suddenly realise what you’ve said and bite your lip. Neither of us say it, but we both know you are. ‘You’re not sick. You’re just … aroused.’

I grunt, annoyed. As if I don’t know! ‘I understand that, but it shouldn’t happen. My species no longer makes use of our sexual organs like your kind does. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a bath and fix this.’

Sliding off the bed, I make my way to the steam bath.

‘I don’t understand. How do you do it, then?’ you say.

I don’t answer.

Like before, I brace my hands against the wall as I let the shower take effect. I stand there a long time, much longer than before, but nothing seems to happen. If anything, it’s getting worse. My penis is flushed red now, the throbbing is getting more painful and it’s thicker and longer than ever.  And there’s more—there’s an ache throughout my body that I’ve never experienced before and I begin to notice that I’m having difficulty concentrating.

Despite my dire situation, all I’m thinking about is you: your heaving breasts, the feel of the pressometer sliding inside you, the way you panted and sweated as you orgasmed. Shaking my head, I almost cry.

Finally, I’m forced to give up and stagger back into my quarters.

You stand, prepared to help me, but I wave you away as I march over to my work table and press a button on the side of my desk. A drawer slides open. Inside is the vaccine. I always keep one close by—just in case.

 At a squeeze of its trigger, the needle pops out and I lift it to my arm.

‘That’s not going to work,’ you say.

I inject, then place the now empty syringe back in its drawer. Sitting down in my chair, panting, I wait for it to take effect. You sit back down on the couch and watch me. Minutes tick by and my penis is still as hard as a rock. It should be working now.

‘I told you. It’s not a disease,’ you say.

I don’t respond.

‘You have to fix it the normal way.’

‘What would you know!’ I snap.

‘More than you, obviously,’ you grumble, leaning back into the couch, folding your arms across your breasts.

Fifteen minutes tick by and nothing’s happened. I drop my head into my hands.

‘Here,’ you say as you rise from the couch. ‘Let me help. I can fix it.’

You approach me. My heart is pounding as I look up at you. ‘What are you going to do?’

‘Don’t worry. It’s not going to hurt.’

You kneel in front of me, between my outspread thighs. ‘What are you going to do?’ I repeat, this time breathlessly. Having you so close is making everything worse. I grimace at another hard throb.

‘This.’

You grip onto my penis.

13.

You can’t believe what you’re doing. Are you seriously going to give a hand job to an alien? But he looks so frightened and confused. What else can you do but help him?

He grips onto your hand with a start but doesn’t make you remove it. Now you’re both holding his penis. His lips part, probably about to protest, but he shuts them again. His eyes are pink, his face white and his body’s as stiff as a board.

Slowly, you move your hand up and down, his hand still gripping yours tightly. He raises his eyes to the ceiling, and you can see tears glinting in the corners. His adam’s apple swings up and down as he swallows hard.

He’s so human in so many ways and yet so alien. Aside from his stunning face and perfectly sculpted body, his hairlessness continues all the way to his legs and groin. How can there not be a single hair? Isn’t he a mammal? You briefly pause in your masturbating. Maybe he’s not a mammal at all. You shake your head and continue. If there’s any proof that he’s warm-blooded it’s his erection. And it’s a big one. You might not have known many men back on Earth but you doubt few could boast such a size. And he doesn’t even use it!

His hand falls away from yours as he grips his knees, letting you take control. So there’s the hairlessness, but what about his nipples? No nipples! Just bare, smooth pecks.

And there’s something more. It takes you several moments to realise—his belly button. He hasn’t one. So strange.

He groans, his fists clenching hard around his knees. His long white hair hangs in the air behind him as he tips his head further back. You increase your pace. Tears glint on his cheeks.

You find that you don’t mind this at all. Actually, you find yourself enjoying it. It’s been some time since you’ve last touched a man or been touched by a man.

He shudders, grunts, then groans as you feel his cock spasm in your hand. And you suddenly realise you’ve forgotten to catch his … stuff into something. With nothing else for it, all you can do is let it jet onto your hand. It’s warm, as you expected, but it’s the strangest colour, almost a luminescent blue. You release him, looking at your hand, dumbfounded, as the warm light of the room shines against it. And the realisation that he really is an alien and you really are in space thousands of miles from home sinks deeper into your understanding.

‘Sorry,’ he grumbles.

His cheeks are red. A bead of sweat trickles between his nippleless pecks. He reaches into a drawer and pulls out what looks like a hanky. Quickly, he cleans your hand.

‘It’s blue,’ you say vacantly.

You lift your eyes to his. He lowers his eyes to yours. ‘Yes.’

You stare at each other, you on your knees and him in his chair still holding your hand. Your heart is pounding. Your throat turns dry.

Finally, he releases you. ‘Excuse me,’ he says as he stands. ‘I need to clean up.’ And he rushes into what he calls the ‘steam bath’, the door closing shut behind him. The ‘hanky’ is on the floor. You pick it up and put it on his desk.

You hear the hot blast of steam as you sit back on the couch, your knees shut tight, your heart still pounding. You rake your fingers through your hair, unable to believe what’s happening. Agitated, you get up and walk around the room. He’s taking a very long time. You brush your fingers over his desk, over the walls. Strange pictures hang. They look like nothing except swirls of colour that seem to move when you look at them from different angles. Steering clear of the plants, you step close to his closet and peer inside as the door opens automatically. It’s filled with more of those suits, except they’re of different colours: greens, purples, pinks and greys.

Next, you turn to his bed. The sheets are rumpled, the pillows tossed about. The mattress is hard but comfortable as you sit on the edge of it. You press your hand down where he was lying last. It’s still a bit warm from the heat of his body. A single white hair glistens on a pillow.

You turn to the window, your heart dropping into your stomach. He thinks he does no harm with his experiments, but he’s wrong. He might return you intact but you’re gone two weeks. Your mum must be riddled with worry. And though you’re not particularly close to your housemate, she must be worried too, maybe even frightened for her own safety. A housemate who suddenly vanishes in the night would be a scary thing.

You wipe at your face at a sudden flood of tears. ‘Oh, Mum.’ The police must be out looking for you. You might even be on the news. She has to face the possibility that you’re hurt or dead. That’s not something any mother should bear. When you get back, if you get back, how are you going to explain it all? Who’s going to believe you?

Tears blur your eyes as you gaze at the little blue ball that’s Earth.

Finally he’s done. The steam no longer pounds. You hear the door open with a whoosh. You don’t look at him, turning your face further away, unwilling to have him see your tears.

You can hear him going about the room, probably getting changed. When he’s done, he doesn’t approach, keeping his distance as he watches you. You get the feeling that he’s more afraid of you than you are of him. You stifle a crazy urge to laugh at the irony of it.

‘Why are you here?’ he says, trying to keep his voice light. ‘Are your quarters not comfortable?’

You wipe your nose. ‘They’re comfortable, just … frightening.’

‘They’re perfectly safe.’

‘It doesn’t matter!’ you suddenly snap, turning on him. He’s dressed in one of those suits—a grey one. His white hair tumbles down his shoulders. ‘This whole thing frightens me. Can’t you understand that?’

He stares at you and you know he’s studying the tears on your face and wondering why you’re so emotional. Tossing your hair, you turn back to the window. ‘For an apparently smart alien, you’re really dumb.’

For several moments he doesn’t respond. Finally, he says, ‘Thank you for helping me.’

You give a sharp nod without answer.

‘Have a bath if you like to … to clean yourself off.’

You look down at your hand. He’s wiped most of it off but there is still a faint tinge of blue. And you can smell it. You can smell him. You close your hand.

‘You can stay, of course,’ he continues. ‘If that suits you. Take the bed. I’ll take the couch.’

You raise your eyebrows. You turn to him in surprise.

14.

I feel much better now, almost like myself again.

Almost.

You look bewildered as you gaze at me with those big, bright eyes of yours. Why does it shock you that I can be kind? Haven’t I yet proven that I can be trusted?

‘That’ll be fine,’ you say in a whisper.

I nod and look away. I can feel your eyes following me as I slump down in the couch. Shortly after, I hear the rustle of sheets as you lie down in my bed. The bright lights flick off. I can hear you breathing amid the gentle hum of the ship’s engine.

I can tell you’re not asleep. I’m the same; my body is still throbbing and my mind is twisted with so many terrible and wonderful and uncertain thoughts. Still, I close my eyes and try.

It’s hard to tell how long I’ve been resting when you join me on the couch. My eyes snap open. I sit up with a start but you gently push me back down with one firm hand in the middle of my chest. With trembling fingers I touch your face. You say nothing but do the same to me. The couch is only small and you’re bunched up so close I can feel your breasts pressed up against my side.

It astonishes me. You astonish me. I thought you hated me.

‘I’m sorry,’ I say. ‘For all I’ve done to you.’

Your eyes glisten in the warm glow of my room. ‘Thank you.’

An overwhelming urge to have you close bids me to wrap my arms around you. It’s a strange feeling; it makes my whole body tingle, particularly down in my pelvis where I feel the blood pool around my pubic bone. It’s going to happen again, I can tell—the engorgement of my penis. But this time I know enough not to be afraid.

You entwine your fingers with mine as you look up at me. Then your lips are against mine. A kiss. I know what it is, though I’ve never performed it myself before. It feels good. I kiss you harder as my arms tighten around your shoulders. How I know what to do I don’t understand, some primal instinct buried deep in my psyche.

Suddenly, you pull away. Your lips are pink and you look breathless. I touch your face, concerned. ‘Are you all right?’

‘Let’s go to the bed,’ you whisper, taking my hand and dragging me off the couch.

You crawl into bed. I follow, lying on my side as I watch you. You’re kneeling, your eyes distant, as though you’re thinking about something. In a sudden rush, you remove your/my top, flinging it onto the floor.

I lick my lips, not knowing what to say. You shouldn’t be doing this. We shouldn’t be doing this. It’s against nature. But I don’t want to stop you. Even when you reach for my suit and slowly unzip me down my chest, I don’t stop you. I even grab onto your hand, helping you.

My throat is tight and dry as I swallow. My heart is thudding madly. You wriggle in close until your chest is pressed up against mine, your face buried in my throat. Your skin is so warm. I can even feel the pounding of your heart. I rest my hand on your shoulder.

‘What’s your name?’ I say, suddenly realising I never asked.

You tell me. I coil my fingers through your hair. It matches who you are perfectly. I gently pull away from you at the feel of something wet against my throat. I lift your chin. You’re weeping again. You weep a lot.

‘What’s wrong?’ I say.

‘Just thinking …’ You close your lips, blinking rapidly as more tears flow.

‘About home?’

You nod and press your face back into my throat.

‘I told you I’ll get you back,’ I say.

You don’t respond. I can feel your warm breaths against my throat. You’re such a queer being. Even with all my research and intelligence, I simply cannot understand you. Why are you here with me? What is it you need?

I try not to think, closing my eyes.

The next morning we wake the same way we fell asleep, enfolded in each other’s arms. My room’s automatic lights have switched on, reminding me that it’s time to get up; that despite it all, I still have work to do.

Slowly, I pull away. You roll onto your back with a little groan that makes my heart thump. You’re still half-asleep, your eyes shut. At every breath your breasts rise and fall. I watch them. They’re so soft looking that I can’t help but reach out to touch one. My hand hovers very close but at the last moment, I close my fist and pull away.

I ease out of bed, trying not to wake you further. Briefly I study you, my eyes travelling over the length of your body, over the little details of your face. Your hair flows over my pillow. Quickly, I turn away. I’ll let you rest, but I’ve got work to do.

My suit is open at the chest but feels very tight at my groin. I sigh. I turn back to look at you, then turn back away. I won’t have you ‘help’ me again. I can do it myself if I must.

Stripping off my suit, I step into the shower, turning on the steam as I take hold of my penis. It’s rock hard and a gleam of blue discharge has trickled down the length of it and onto my scrotum. My testicles feel heavy. My shaft feels tight. Bracing myself up against the wall with one hand, I use the other to do as you did last night. At first I don’t understand why it doesn’t work—I’m getting nowhere fast—then I think of you, and suddenly it becomes an easy thing.

Moments later, my body jerks and blue semen jets onto the floor of the steam bath. The strain in my body slowly ebbs away. The hot throbbing in my groin cools. I rest my forehead against the wall as I normalise, struggling to comprehend what I’ve gotten myself into.

After a short while, I turn off the steam bath and get changed into my suit. I glance once more at your still form. Why did you do that last night? Why did you feel compelled to press your bare skin against mine? I touch my chest where you touched me as I look at you. You’re still lying on your back, bare-breasted.

Feeling a twitch between my legs, I hastily exit my quarters.

15.

You wake to a bright room. With a groan, you squint and roll over, mashing your face into the pillow. It’s late and you need to get ready for work. It takes you several moments before you remember that you’re very far from home.

Sitting up with a gasp, you look around quickly but the bed is empty. So is the room. Where’s he gone? You look down at your breasts, heat rising in your cheeks. What had gotten into you last night? You touch your nipples. It’s almost as though you can still feel his hard chest pressed up against them. It’s been a long time since you’ve had a boyfriend, since you’ve known love. Other than your mother’s, of course. But that doesn’t count.

And you suddenly realise why you did what you did. You had sworn off men after your break-up with Mathew. That was two years ago. And ever since then you thought yourself content; you thought yourself whole. But going by what you did last night, you’re no such thing. You’re lonely, desperately lonely.

And you didn’t even know it.

Sliding from the bed, you reach into his closet and pull out another suit. A pink one. It’s strange to think a man would wear such a thing, but of course he’s no man. On his planet, it’s very likely that the colour might even be considered masculine.

A curious thought.

You lift your nose and turn at a mouth-watering smell. A meal has been left on the kitchen bench. At the sight of it, your chest fills with warmth. Wherever he is, he hasn’t forgotten about you.

You eat, and afterwards you stare at the door. You know it’s his expectation that you’ll stay in the room, assuming your fear will keep you away from the rest of his ship. But he doesn’t count on your desperation to see him again. You glance at your hand. You’ve since washed it and the blue tinge has faded away.

Taking a breath, you walk out the room. The corridor is thankfully empty. From what you’ve seen it’s not a particularly big ship, not that you have anything to compare it with. It’s a simple thing to find your way. Right leads to the eating area. Left leads to his laboratory and beyond.

You take the left. There’s nothing to see but shining lights and metal walls until two aliens cross your path. Keeping your eyes fixed ahead, you do your best to ignore them, your heart thudding the whole time. They take no notice of you. Releasing a breath, you leave them far behind.

Then you reach an internal window, one that stretches along the length of the wall. You pause to look through it—and see the laboratory. You rest your hand against the glass, your heart thudding madly. There are the three benches. The middle one—your bench—is empty. Your skin prickles as you recall all that had happened to you. The fear, the horror—it had been so real.

The light above is dim, the metal bench below cleaned and polished. Then you see him. You walk further down the viewing window to watch him more closely. He’s standing at the first bench where the squid-creature is lying. He’s dressed in his suit and shield, his white hair sticking out in a ponytail. Three of the smaller grey aliens are assisting him. He’s holding an instrument. It looks awful, like a large drill.

You clutch at your throat. Despite how terrifying the squid-creature might seem, it doesn’t deserve such treatment. You know too much of its terror.

‘No!’ You slam your fists against the window but nobody reacts; nobody hears you. So you race to the door. It whooshes open as you rush inside. ‘Stop! What are you doing!’

The white-haired alien turns. You wince at the awful sound the ‘drill’ is making; it seems to thunder around the room. Switching it off, he lifts his face shield. His clear blue eyes are wide. ‘What are you doing here?’

His assistants make their way towards you.

‘No!’ you shout as they reach out their twitching, grasping fingers. ‘After all that’s happened, how can you still do this? Have you no soul? Have you no empathy?’

You force yourself to get close to the dreadful squid-creature. Taking care to avoid its tentacles, you stand between it and the white-haired alien, spreading out your arms, blocking any further ‘research’.

He stands frozen, his eyes like chips of ice.

‘A great man once worried that our species’ technology would surpass our humanity,’ you explain. ‘He was right about a lot of things. Clearly, going by what I see of your species, he was wise to be worried.’

Einstein. Are you really quoting Einstein to a super-intelligent alien?

Swallowing down your fear, you turn to look at the squid-creature. Its eyes are open, staring up at you, filled with terror, filled with confusion.

You rest your hand on its ‘shoulder’. ‘You’re going to be all right.’ You look back at the so-called scientist. ‘Tell him it’s going to be all right.’ You nod at the third platform across the room. You don’t yet know what kind of creature rests upon it and you don’t want to. ‘Tell him too.’

He remains frozen, his jaw tight. You jerk back when the cool, sticky fingers of one of the ‘greys’ suddenly seize your wrist.

‘Leave her,’ he commands.

Immediately, they draw away.

He puts down the drill, then pulls of his gloves and face shield. ‘Wait for me outside,’ he says.

The corridor is empty. You don’t know what he’s doing but you can safely assume he’s sterilising himself off before he leaves the laboratory. Nervous, you hold yourself. The greys are back in the room tending to the two prostrate aliens. You shiver at the thought of their long, prodding fingers, but at least they aren’t hurting them.

Soon, the white-haired alien steps through a second door. He’s changed into another suit and is looking a little pink from the steam bath. He gazes at you, his lips pursed into a stern frown, his perfect forehead furrowed.

Holding yourself more tightly, you lower your eyes. What a stupid thing to do. You should think of yourself before anyone or anything else. You need to get home!

‘I know you’re angry at me,’ you say

It sounds so feeble. Apologise! you tell yourself. It might just save your life! But you just can’t do it. The thought of that squid-creature’s terror clamps your lips shut.

‘I’m not angry.’

You look up. Gone is his stern look; instead, he’s staring at you in wonder. You swallow, pushing your back into the wall as he approaches you. You drop your gaze again, your skin prickling at the feel of his eyes all over you. He’s looming over you.

The corridor remains empty. The ship’s lights glow against the green of his new suit. You hadn’t noticed before, but there’s a smell about him, and it’s more than just the smell of the steam or all the sterilising agents he uses. You can’t explain it. You can’t describe it. It’s something … It’s him. It’s simply him. The core of him. It makes the tip of your tongue tingle.

A little gasp escapes your lips as he lifts your chin.  

An odd expression passes over his face like a shadow. He lowers his mouth to yours.

16.

You astonish me. Just as much as I astonish myself. I’m kissing you this time and you’re kissing me back. Every neuron of my rational brain should be yelling in protest. I’ll catch a disease. Some kind of parasite will imbed itself in my tonsils or lungs or gut.

I’ll die.

And yet, for the first time in a long time my mind is quiet.

Your lips are soft and dry. I pull back, still holding your chin. You gaze up at me with those wet, wide eyes.

Why do you care so much? You don’t even know them. They mean nothing to you. I can’t understand it, and yet your thought processes—your emotions—speak to me in some deep, instinctive way. My throat constricts.

You are remarkable. You are astonishing. You are the most amazing creature I have ever met. My species should be studying what’s in your heart and soul and mind, not what’s in your pelvis. What is wrong with us?

I step back.

‘What’s wrong?’ you ask me.

‘I don’t know,’ I say. But I do know. I’m trembling so much I fold my hands under my armpits. I begin to pace, my heart thudding in my throat. I know what’s wrong—you’re making me question everything, my very life’s purpose.

I wish you’d stop it.

I wish you’d push me harder.

You seize my hand and I stop pacing. Taking a breath, I look over my shoulder towards the viewing window of my laboratory. My drones are busy keeping my subjects comfortable at my request. No more experiments. No more research. They will sleep until they’re due to return to their home planets.

I tremble harder. I don’t know what to do. I have no direction and no safe place to fall. I turn to look at you. You’re worried as you gaze up at me, your hand soft and small in mine.

‘Help me,’ I croak.

You seem to understand. You seem to know exactly what I’m thinking. I can see it in your eyes. You: a species so much lesser than my own, knows me better than I know myself.

I follow meekly as you gently drag me back to my quarters. The door whooshes open, then snaps shut behind us. My ears are throbbing with the pulse of my heartbeat. I seem to be swimming in deep water, my head submerged. When you speak to me, your voice sounds muffled and it takes me a long time to make sense of what you’re saying.

We’re standing in the middle of my room. You’re speaking but I hardly hear you as I gaze around vacantly. Then you take both my arms, one at a time, and wrap them around your waist. Holding me close, you press your cheek against my chest.

It calms me. My heart slows just a little. Tightening my hold, I rest my cheek against your head. And we just stand there embracing.

But it’s not enough for you … and it’s not enough for me either. You start nuzzling my throat. Reaching up, you slowly pull down my zipper. I don’t stop you. You open my suit down to the navel, then your lips are against my chest. I gently knot my fingers in your hair, leaning my head back as you kiss me along my collar bones.

You look up at me, then pull back, taking my hand as you do. You give it a tug, wanting me to join you on the bed. I know that’s how your kind likes to breed. I want to go and yet I don’t. There’s a battle raging inside me. My feet won’t move.

You say something, a strange word, something not even my translator can pick up. You say it again, and I realise you’re trying to say my name. Your forehead wrinkles and you frown in disappointment as you fail.

Something stirs in my chest. My feet unlock and suddenly it’s me dragging you to the bed. Your bare feet patter lightly against the floor. Your little hand is cool and dry in mine. I can hear your breathing and it’s shallow and fast. When I reach the edge of my bed, I pause, uncertain what to do next.

You give a little chuckle. It sounds like you’re teasing me but when I look at you, I see that your smile is kind and gentle. Biting your lip, you touch my chest, then reach up to pull off the shoulders of my suit. Despite the zipper being open to its fullest extent, my suit is a struggle for the both of us. You step back, watching as I peel it off myself. I pull it down over my hips, wincing as it catches on my erection. All too quickly the suit is a grey puddle at my feet. I leave the intercom on top. We are within range enough that it will still translate while we’re being … busy together.

I almost cross my hands over my groin but resist the urge, fisting them at my sides instead. The way you’re staring at me makes my heart thud. I take a deep breath.

‘Are you sure you’re ready to do this?’ you say.

I give a wobbly smile. ‘No.’ I swallow hard, my throat dry. ‘But I think I want to.’

You smile back. ‘Sit.’

I obey, my hands on my knees. I glance into my lap, then quickly away again. The very sight of it makes me break out into a sweat.

‘Don’t look at it, look at me,’ you say. Slowly, you pull down your zipper, your breasts on either side. The trail of skin you reveal looks so smooth. I see your belly button, and I suddenly get the bizarre urge to push my finger into it.

When the suit’s open to its fullest, you peel it off down to your hips. I stare at your breasts. It’s not as though I haven’t seen them before. I touched them and poked and prodded them when you were lying prostrate on my laboratory bench. Then, I felt nothing but an almost indifferent curiosity. Now … things can’t be more different.

The very sight of them floods my body with heat. My heart pounds. My mouth waters. I’m forced to clench my fists into the sheets because all I want to do is reach out and grab them. They’re only lumps of fat in flaps of skin. What’s wrong with me? My penis gives such a hard throb a small amount of semen spurts out.

It relieves the worst of the pressure in my testicles but it’s still not enough. I grip onto them with a groan. I look up at you imploringly, just like you did to me when you were lying prone on my workbench completely within my power.

You frown. A crease appears across the bridge of your nose. ‘You better lie down,’ you say.

17.

He does as you say, lying in the middle of the bed, his ankles crossed in embarrassment, looking away towards the opposite wall so he can’t see you and what’s about to happen. You can see he’s trembling and you begin to wonder whether this is such a good idea. You’ve never seen a man act like this and it’s not as though you haven’t been with a virgin before.

You wriggle out of the rest of the suit. Its crotch is wet and you’re careful not to stand in your own stickiness as you step out of it. He still doesn’t look at you. Kneeling on the bed beside him, you touch his shoulder.

Finally, he turns to you and you see he’s as pale as a sheet. He really does look sick. Sweat beads his chest. He’s panting. His eyes shine with tears.

‘Are you all right?’ you say.

Swallowing, he looks down at the triangle of hair between your legs. ‘Please.’ He winces, turning away as more semen dribbles out of him.

You move quickly. Lifting your leg over him, you straddle him. He groans, pushing his face further into his pillow. Wasting no time, you take him in your hand, sticky and blue and as hard as a log. You try your best to ignore a sudden jab of concern. He’s big. He’ll be the biggest you’ve ever experienced. He’s even bigger than that thing he put inside you.

Biting your lip, you raise yourself up and ease yourself over him. It isn’t too bad. Other than a little pinch at the beginning, you slide right over him.

You sit for a moment, panting. He’s turned his eyes to the ceiling now. A big vein throbs in his left temple. He licks his lips.

Then you rock. He groans again. Tears leak out as he closes his eyes. What is wrong with him? Why is he so frightened of what should be the most natural thing in the world? What has his species done to themselves?

‘Don’t be scared,’ you say, taking his hand and placing it on you breast. ‘Look at me.’

He does, his blue eyes so bright they almost seem to glow. You rock faster. He gasps, half-sitting up as he seizes onto your hips. The muscles in his abdomen clench. His adam’s apple bobs up and down. His eyes become brighter still—too bright. What’s happening?

It’s not just his eyes. You look down with a gasp. You’re glowing too. And you realise that it’s him; he’s glowing inside you. It terrifies you. It amazes you. You look at him and see the same shock.

You should probably stop—who can predict what might happen?—but you don’t want to; instead, you rock faster. You glow brighter. His eyes glow brighter too the closer he comes to the end. His fingers claw into your hips. He grits his teeth.

Finally, he jerks. You feel him spasm, which triggers your own release. It rolls inside you like a wave, sending all your nerves tingling.

Throwing your head back, you give a little cry. You slow your rocking, then stop. For several moments you’re motionless with him deep inside you and your head still thrust back. You’ve forgotten how much you’ve missed it.

You’ve forgotten how good it can make you feel.

You can hear him breathing. He’s not moving either, probably waiting for you to take the initiative. Finally, you level your head and look down at him. He’s staring at you, his lips parted in awe.

You look down at yourself and give a little shriek. You lift your hands, holding them in the air. They’re blue. From what you can see, all of you is blue. Whatever he’s put into you is running through your veins. You look down at your chest and you can see your heart pumping whatever it is around your body. How is this possible? Your reproductive system isn’t even connected with your cardiovascular system!

Dropping your hands to your pelvis, you stare. Everything there glows: your vagina, your uterus, your fallopian tubes. It’s like a textbook picture. Like an x-ray. But aren’t x-rays radioactive? You start to panic.

‘What have you done to me?’ you say.

He doesn’t answer, just shakes his head.

‘What have you done to me!’ He seizes your hips as you try to pull away. ‘Let me go!’

‘Stop.’ He speaks your name, and it startles you enough that you take pause. ‘It’s all right. It’s what’s supposed to happen.’

‘Supposed to happen?!’

‘For my species. For my species.’

You try to slow your breathing. ‘What do you mean?’ You raise your arms, looking at yourself. ‘What is this?’

‘It’ll only last a short while. Don’t try to pull away—you’ll only hurt yourself.’

‘Hurt myself?’ You attempt to slide off him, only to find that you’re stuck. You try again but wince at the pain. Somehow, his penis has suctioned you onto it. Despite what he says, it fills you with dread and you start to tremble.

He speaks your name again, then grabs your arms, his now normal blue eyes boring into yours. ‘You need to trust me.’

You swallow. ‘How long … how long are we supposed to stay like this?’

‘I’m not sure. The documentation is vague. It’s an evolutionary process whereby the male feeds his sperm into the female for as long as possible.’ His cheeks turn pink. ‘I’m still ejaculating into you. That’s the blue, as I’m sure you’ve figured out.’

A sudden horror makes your heart hammer. You assumed you couldn’t but maybe you’re wrong. ‘I can’t fall pregnant, can I?’

‘Not possible. My species’ sperm cannot penetrate the walls of your ova.’

You release a whoosh of air. ‘How do you know that?’ you say almost accusingly. He doesn’t answer. More experiments. ‘You should have warned me.’

‘I’m sorry. I didn’t think.’ He purses his lips. ‘I haven’t been thinking too clearly lately.’

You manage a quivering smile. The way you’re sitting makes your hips and knees ache, so you attempt to shift your position. Awkwardly, trying your best not to pull at each other’s groins, you both roll over so you’re lying down beside each other, chest to chest.

‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ you say.

Smiling, he brushes aside your fringe with his long forefinger. ‘Me neither.’

You glance down between your two bodies. Your groins are still pinned together and your body is still blue, though it seems to be fading. ‘It’s so strange. Why don’t you do it anymore? Don’t you miss it?’

‘How can I miss something I haven’t experienced?’ he says.

‘True.’ You chuckle. ‘But how do you have babies?’

‘Via gestational tubes. We extract sperm from the males and eggs from the females via a needle through the belly. Then inject them together in a dish. When we’re confident of a viable zygote, we inject it into a gestational tube where the foetus will grow.’

‘Sounds unnecessarily complicated.’

‘I suppose it is, but it eradicates genetic disorders and mutations. Plus, we can create beings with desirable genetic codes.’

‘You mean you design the next generation.’

‘In a way. Yes.’

‘We humans won’t do that.’

He doesn’t respond.

‘So that means you’re designed too,’ you continue.

He nods. ‘My aptitude is science and research. I’m meant to be precise, fastidious and logical. That is why all of this is so shocking to me.’

‘We are more than our genes,’ you say.

He smiles. ‘Clearly so.’

You giggle, then chuckle, then snort with laughter. He starts to laugh too. Neither of you can stop laughing.

18.

You laugh so hard tears roll down your cheeks. Wiping them away, I kiss your nose. The blue has almost completely faded now, except for a little tinge in your eyes.

The small contractions of my penis at each ejaculation are becoming fewer and fewer. Soon, they stop completely. We should be able to pull apart but I don’t tell you straight away; I like being inside you too much.

Then I feel myself turning limp. I raise an eyebrow. ‘Should we try?’

We look down between our bodies as we slowly ease apart. Blue semen coats my penis. The moment my tip withdraws out of you, you shriek and clutch at your groin, but it does nothing to halt the flow of my semen pouring out of you. It gushes through your fingers, down your legs, where it then pools into the bed sheets. It’s all over me too—hot and wet and sticky.

You choke and sputter with laughter. I laugh too. Then you’re off the bed and fleeing towards the steam bath, leaving a trail of blue in your wake. It’s all over your backside and up the backs of your legs. It shocks me. How much is there? I look at the bed—it’s flooded. There’s no documentation detailing how much ejaculate to expect when orgasming into a female. I don’t know if this is normal or not.

I hear the pounding of the steam as you turn the bath on.

It’s a revelation. My species’ fertility is dropping: females are producing less eggs and males less sperm. The quantity of ejaculate doesn’t necessarily mean a higher sperm count, but it’s still worthy of further investigation.

I retrieve a specimen container from my desk and collect some, using a spoon from the kitchen. After I’m done, I join you in the bath.

You’re looking pale but you’re smiling. The door closes behind us. You look embarrassed. I can’t understand why since it’s my mess. You’re not succeeding very well with your bathing but that’s not your fault—my semen is still emptying out of you.

I try to tell you that you’re going to have to wait but you don’t understand, and I realise that I’ve left my intercom on the floor by the bed. I think about going to retrieve it, but decide against it. What do I really need it for in here?

‘Here, let me help you,’ I say pointlessly.

I turn you around so your back is facing me and you can brace yourself up against the wall to keep balance. I knock my foot against your ankles, indicating that you should spread your legs.

You do, and I stand close. Reaching between your legs, I gently insert my finger into your vagina. You give a little shriek, then laugh. I swirl my finger in a clockwise direction, relaxing your entrance and opening it more so my semen gushes out more quickly. It works. Soon, my hand is bright blue.

Eventually, you empty almost completely, and yet I don’t remove my finger. Like I said, I like being inside you too much. I like the sight of your round arse and heaving shoulders. I imagine your beautiful breasts squashed up against the wall. My limp penis gives a little twitch.

You gasp as I push my finger further inside you, all the way to the end. You say something. I don’t know the words you speak but somehow I know what you want.

You want more.

I withdraw and you moan as I insert a second finger. You moan again as I push deeply inside you. I withdraw again to insert a third finger. Then I’m sliding in and out. You push yourself up against the wall, your face pressed hard against it as you pant.

In and out. In and out. And as I pleasure you, so too do I feel pleasure. My penis is rising like it’s powered by its own energy source. It doesn’t feel like an appendage of mine at all. I get the urge to press up against you, so you can feel it against your back, as I continue thrusting my fingers inside you.

I’m panting into the back of your neck. Every time I thrust in my fingers, I thrust up against your back. My groin feels like it’s on fire. The steam isn’t helping.

‘Bath, off,’ I command.

The steam promptly snaps off. Pulling out my fingers, I twist you around. You’re wide-eyed. Your face is red. Your breasts are heaving. I drop to my knees. If you asked me right now what’s running through my mind, I wouldn’t be able to answer you. All I know is that I need you at some basic, primal level that’s entirely out of my control. I’m all body and no mind.

You gasp, grabbing onto my hair as I plant my mouth onto your hip. Why on your hip? I don’t know. Just the mere sight of the bone pressing up against your skin makes me want to gnaw on it. I kiss across your abdomen. Your hands tighten in my hair as I swirl my tongue in your belly button.

With a hard yank, you pull my face up. I glimpse your startled eyes before my gaze drops to your breasts. The warmth of the shower has made your nipples so soft and large. That’s it for me. With a growl that seems to come out of nowhere, I drag you down to the floor. You’re on your knees but I push you flat on your back and before I know it my mouth is around your right breast. I suck and gnaw. I even chew a little which makes you cry out and claw your fingers into my scalp.

I want to engulf them. I want to eat them. I want to imbibe them. When that breast has been thoroughly attacked, I move onto the other one. The sounds of my sucking and your panting echoes around the little room. My knees are aching against the floor, though I hardly notice.

Finally, I remove my mouth. We stare at each other. I’m kneeling between your legs, your thighs thrust up on either side of me. The heavy lips of your vagina yawn at me. Your skin is still streaked with blue in odd places: on your thighs and hips and on your feet.

 My penis is throbbing. I want so badly to put it inside you again but something holds me back. A little voice at the back of my brain tells me that this isn’t right. That I am more than this. I try to stand but you seize my arm and pull me back down.

Curling your legs around my waist, you tuck yourself into me until the tip of my penis presses against your opening. I groan. I’m on all fours now, like the animals I experiment on. My hair is hanging around my face. I feel all the muscles in my back and neck tighten. I’ve never felt my body like I do now. I feel so … male. I feel the blood pumping through my veins. I feel powerful. Like I can do anything. Like I can crush you, the world, the universe in one of my big fists.

I close my eyes. Taking a deep breath, I thrust into you.

19.

He’s inside you again. So deeply inside you, you thrust back your head with a shout.

You don’t expect this from someone like him. He seems to have lost himself. He pounds into you as you grip his smooth, muscular arse in your fists. Despite cleaning yourself off, you’re still slick from the last time and he slides in and out easily. You briefly wonder what the heck you’re going to do afterwards when you’re stuck together.

And quickly decide not to care.

Grabbing your head, he mashes his lips onto yours as he pumps once, twice, then three times. And it’s over—at least for him. As his body shudders, he cranes his neck and emits a low groan that seems to come deep from within his lungs. You feel it this time, down below—the heat of his seed gushing into you.

You don’t bother trying to pull away from him. Besides, you’re not done yet. Wrapping your legs more tightly around his waist, you rock against him. You bite your lip as the hard floor pulls painfully against your back.

Realising your discomfort, he slides his arms around your back, pulling you against his chest as he hauls you up from the floor. He slumps to his arse with his back against the wall and with you in his lap. It surprises you—how strong he is.

‘Better,’ you say, though he doesn’t understand. ‘Thank you.’

Then you continue with your rocking. You’re glowing again, and again you can see the hard rod of his cock inside you. The room itself takes on a blue shine. You remember what he said—that though it’s over, he’s still ejaculating into you. It’s such an erotic thought that it spurs you on to rock faster. As you do, he fondles your breasts with his big smooth hands—both stained blue—then begins nuzzling the nape of your neck. The air sticks in your throat at a sudden rush of pleasure.

He’s speaking to you, murmuring things in your ear you can’t understand, but in his low, musical voice whatever he’s saying seems so beautiful.

You thrust up against him, head craned back as you clench hard around his erection with a gasp. Lowering his face, he sucks at your neck, giving little thrusts as you ride your orgasm.

Finally, you slump against him.

You’re both pouring with sweat, not helped by the still lingering heat from the steam. Grabbing your head, he kisses you all over the face, then meets your lips and gives you such a long, deep kiss that all the fine hairs on your body stand up on end.

You touch his flushed cheek. His eyes are bright. At every heaving breath his hard chest presses up against your breasts. ‘What’s gotten into you?’ you pant.

His forehead creases. His perfect lips part. He doesn’t understand. You really need that intercom.

You look into your laps. Your thatch of pubic hair is pressed hard up against his bare groin. ‘Well, this is going to be interesting,’ you say.

You pull against him just a little just to check if you truly are stuck, only to grimace at the pain. You’re going to have to stay here in the steam bath for a while.

He shifts his buttocks beneath you, frowning at the pain of the hard floor pressing up against him. Suddenly, he grabs hold of you around the arse.

‘What are you doing?’ you say.

You gasp, using your legs to grip onto him tightly as he uses all the strength in his thighs to push into a standing position, his back sliding up against the wall. He’s baring his teeth, grunting, his handsome face all twisted up, but he somehow manages it.

He staggers forward, throwing up his hands against the opposite wall before he can crush you against it.

‘Jesus!’ you say, clutching onto him.

He lifts your arse up higher around his waist, settling you more comfortably on his hips, then walks out the door.

You sigh in relief at the feel of the cool ship air against your burning skin.

‘Are you all right?’ he says in your ear.

You jump a little at his words. You must be back in the range of the intercom. ‘I’m fine. Are you?’

‘I’m sorry,’ he says, his forehead all crinkled up.

‘For what?’

He moves over to the couch.

‘Wait! We can’t sit there. It’s white. It’ll get ruined!’

He doesn’t listen. Naked, stained with semen and dripping with sweat, he plonks down with a sigh. You’re still sitting in his lap, your knees on either side of his thighs.

‘I’m sorry,’ he repeats. 

‘What for?’

He purses his lips. ‘Back there. That was not me. Are you sure I didn’t hurt you?’

You take his face. ‘You did not hurt me. Not in the slightest. That was … that was amazing!’

He looks surprised, then grins. Laughing, you kiss him on the mouth.

‘I can’t believe your kind doesn’t have sex anymore,’ you say. ‘What a waste! Then again—’ he grunts as you squirm in his lap ‘—you can’t really make it a spur of the moment thing can you?’

He smiles. You twist and turn, glancing around the room at all of his semen. How can one person make so much mess? ‘This is going to take ages to clean up.’

He relaxes back into the chair, his hands resting on your hips. ‘I’ll get my drones to do it.’

You grimace. ‘The drones? I don’t think it’s really something they should see. And aren’t you worried they’ll talk to your ‘seniors’?’

‘I told you. They don’t have minds of their own. They don’t think.’

You shake your head. ‘I don’t believe that.’

You rest against each other, quiet, as you listen to the thumping of each other’s heartbeats. Finally, he thinks it might be time to separate.

‘Maybe we should do this in the bath,’ you say.

He agrees, hoisting you against him as he carries you inside. Slowly, he eases you to your feet, his penis sliding out of you. Immediately you drop into a squat, trying not to get his semen all over you like the last time. There isn’t as much as before but it’s bad enough, hitting the floor like a waterfall.

He speaks something in his language, and the steam turns back on.

He stands quietly beside you as he lifts out his arms, allowing the moist heat to clean him down. His chest is flushed. Blue stains his hands and legs and groin. For a brief, comical moment his balls remind you of two planet Earths dangling between his legs. You try to meet his eye but he refuses to look at you.

‘What’s wrong?’ you say.

He doesn’t answer. Is it because he doesn’t understand you or is it something else? After all your intimacy he suddenly seems so far away.

When the gush of semen slows to a trickle, you straighten. You’re about to wash yourself when he positions himself behind you and begins wiping you down himself. He remains quiet, his movements stiff and efficient, yet somehow gentle, particularly when he wipes you between the legs.

When he turns you around to do the front, he’s frowning.

Something he said before springs to mind: I’m meant to be precise, fastidious and logical. That is why all of this is so shocking to me.

You frown too. You really wish he would let his reservations go. You go to say something, then shut your mouth.

What do you say to someone like him?

20.

I’m glad you’re enjoying this. And I’m very glad I give you pleasure after all the terrible things I did to you in the laboratory. But please don’t try and convince me why I shouldn’t feel the way I do.

This whole situation with you gnaws away at me in a spot somewhere deep within my guts. It’s not that I don’t like you because I very much do. It’s me I hate.

What have I done? What am I doing? If my seniors were to know about this, they will ostracize me from the scientific community. Not only that—my planet will ostracize me. My name will be mud. I will be a pariah. I am a pariah. People will whisper about me for generations to come.

‘Do you remember that scientist who mated with his subject?’ they will say. ‘The one who used to be a great man?’

And they will be right to do it.

You watch me sadly but you don’t reach out for me and you don’t say a word. I appreciate it. Let me deal with this in my own time.

We exit the bath. Neither of us speak as we get changed. I know my silence hurts you but I can’t bring myself to say anything. I can’t meet your sad eyes and it makes me feel worse.

When I’m fully suited, I pause. I work all day in the laboratory but now that I’ve decided to abandon my research there’s nothing for me to do. The realisation paralyses me. I haven’t lived a day without a goal or a routine.

My eyes fall on the specimen jar filled with the blue glow of my semen, and I feel a sudden surge of excitement. I don’t have to abandon everything. As I march over to collect it, I feel your eyes on me, and finally I turn to look at you.

‘Would you like to join me in some research?’

You hesitate. ‘You mean on those two aliens?’

‘No. They will remain asleep and unharmed until I can return them to their origins. My drones will take care of them in the meantime.’

Your eyes widen in surprise. You smile, then nod emphatically.

On our walk together, I briefly explain what I’m going to do. I take you to a compartment adjoining the lab. It’s small already and it only gets smaller with the two of us squashed up together alongside the ship’s central microreader.

‘That’s a microscope?’ you say in awe. ‘I’ve never seen one so big.’

It hangs from the ceiling and fills up almost half the room.

‘It’s much more than a microscope. It goes beyond anything you humans have managed to build. This can see beyond subatomic particles like electrons, protons and even quarks and quasars, to the very string quartex that makes them up.’

‘The string quartex?’ You shake your head. ‘Never heard of it.’

I smile as I prepare the specimen for viewing. ‘There are many things you don’t know.’

You fold your arms with a challenging smile. ‘Then you can teach me.’

I’m about to say how much I look forward to it when I suddenly realise how little time we have together. The thought hasn’t troubled me before but since this morning things are so much different. At some point I’ll have to send you back home. I’ll never see you again.

I clear my throat and turn my face away before you can see what’s troubling me.

When everything is ready I direct you to the seat by the lens. The seat’s only small, meant only for one.

‘Where are you going to sit?’ you ask. ‘Oh,’ you giggle, shifting further to the front of the seat as I climb in behind you, my thighs on either side of your hips, my chest pressed up against your back. It’s an awkward position and not conducive to productive study but I can’t deny I’m enjoying it.

‘Let me centre it,’ I say, pulling the lens closer to my eye. It takes me several moments and when I have the slide in view, I pause in surprise. ‘This can’t be right.’

‘What can’t be right?’ you ask in concern. ‘Is there something wrong with your … stuff?’

Using the dials on the side of the microreader I access its computerised memory. I quickly find a recording of a previous slide I had prepared in my early days as a scientist.

As I compare the two my heart beats faster.

‘What’s going on?’ you say, sounding a little panicked. ‘What’s wrong?’

I pull back. ‘Nothing. Nothing’s wrong.’ I understand your fears. My sperm is inside you, after all. This situation must be as frightening for you as it is for me. ‘There’s nothing to worry about. There’s nothing wrong with my … stuff.’ I smile. ‘Here.’ And I push the lens over to you.

You laugh as you peer into it. ‘So these are your little guys. They look … different.’

‘Yes. Unlike the sperm of your species, their heads are sloped and they’re powered by two tails.’

‘And they’re blue! Wow,’ you say. ‘Look how quick they move.’ You laugh. ‘Eager to get somewhere.’

I flick a switch on the microreader. ‘Compare it to the specimen I gave ten years ago.’

You pause as you look at the two slides intently. ‘But they’re hardly moving—and there are so few of them. They almost look …’

‘Dead,’ I say.

You look back at me in surprise. ‘Is that normal?’

‘For my species it is. It’s been like that for generations.’

‘And you don’t know why?’

‘We have our theories.’

You look again into the microreader. ‘So, what’s made them change now?’

‘I’d have to develop a study to be certain, but from what I can gather, I can safely hypothesise that it’s because of you.’

You look at me again, dumbfounded. ‘Me?’

As I look into your eyes the back of my neck prickles—in fear, in excitement. ‘You’ve done something to me. Things are happening to me that have never happened before. I don’t get erections. I don’t get orgasms. I have never ejaculated. I don’t feel … these feelings. What we did this morning has not been performed by my species in hundreds of years.’

You think for a moment. ‘But then, how did you give the first sample?’

‘Via a needle through my testicle. We can’t give samples so we have to take them.’

You wince. ‘Ouch!’

‘It’s getting harder and harder for my species to procreate. Even with all our technology we fail at the most basic function of any multicellular organism—reproduction. In effect, we’re dying.’

You stare at me. ‘So …’ you nod at the microreader, ‘what does this mean?’

‘I’m not sure yet, but it’s something I’m going to find an answer to.’

21.

You look in the microscope again. You can see the two slides: the one ‘before’ and the one ‘after’. They can’t be more different. It’s hard to believe that they’re from the same person.

The sperm to the left are wriggling around like worms stuck on a hot pavement—and there are so many of them they practically fill the slide. On the right there are only a handful and most of them aren’t moving, floating in liquid.

Strangely, it makes you sad.

‘So that’s why you experiment on us,’ you say. ‘To find an answer to your infertility.’

‘Partially, yes,’ he nods. ‘And to find a way to fix it.’

You go silent, suddenly feeling sympathy for a people who don’t think twice about hurting yours. They’re not evil; they’re just desperate. Might not humans be the same when stuck in the same situation?

Looking down into your lap, you take his hands and entwine your fingers. You know almost nothing of his species, but if any of them are like him, the last thing you want is for them to die out.

Thinking of the laboratory and his role as a ‘galactic scientist’ makes you think more deeply about his situation, and you suddenly become fearful. ‘You say that you have to wait two weeks before you can send me back—for my safety.’

‘That’s right.’

‘But what about you?’

‘What about me?’

‘What about your ‘research’? If you have no evidence of research, what then? You said … you said you’ll lose everything.’

He doesn’t answer. You turn to look at him. His face is like a mask, so smooth it almost shines. His eyes bore into yours like shards of ice. ‘That’s not for you to worry about.’

You stare at him. ‘Use me.’

‘What?’

‘Use me. Continue with your research.’

His eye widen. ‘What? No!’

‘Not … not all of your experiments.’ You shudder at the thought of him extracting your eggs. It was so painful! ‘The … the other ones weren’t so bad.’

‘You can’t be serious.’

‘What else can we do? I don’t want you to lose your work over me. And if there is hope to save your people—I want to be a part of that.’

He stares at you, speechless.

You stand. ‘Come on. Let’s go.’

You don’t wait for him, leaving him behind as you walk into the corridor. You march over to the laboratory but as you reach its window and see the three platforms within, you stop and stare. Your heart begins to pound. You start to tremble. Your palms turn sweaty and you’re forced to wipe them down the legs of your suit.

A warm hand clasps your shoulder. ‘Are you all right?’

‘Not in there,’ you choke, clamping your hands under your armpits. ‘Not in there.’

‘Then where?’

His quarters have been cleaned. There isn’t a trace of blue anywhere. Even the bed’s been recently made. Behind the two of you, two drones push two carts of equipment that he will use for his research. Some of the equipment you recognise, most you don’t. The sight of them makes you nervous but not terrified like you were when you saw the laboratory.

‘Th-thank you,’ you say to the two ‘drones’.

They don’t answer, the door shutting behind them as they leave. You walk over to the bed and sit on the edge of it. ‘Here,’ you say, patting the mattress. ‘I feel comfortable here. Is that all right?’

He folds his arms, his white ponytail draped over a broad shoulder. His jaw is hard, his lips tight. His perfectly sculpted eyebrows sit low over his eyes. He doesn’t like this. He doesn’t like this one bit.

God, he’s beautiful.

‘Nothing is right about this,’ he says in his deep musical voice.

You scooch further back onto the bed, then start to peel off your suit. Before he can protest, you’ve slipped it down to your hips. From across the room he watches you, stiff and silent.

‘Well, you want to begin?’ you say.

As he pulls over one of the carts, you drag off the rest of the suit. He stops at the foot of the bed, staring at you intensely. Giving him a little wink to show him you’re still okay with this, you lie down and spread your legs wide.

He clears his throat, ‘You’ll have to move further down the bed.’

You do.

‘Further,’ he says. You obey, looking up at him between your thighs as he prepares his equipment. ‘Lift your bottom,’ he says. He lays a plastic sheet under you.

‘You expect it to get messy?’

‘It was the last time.’ He manages an uncertain smile.

You half sit up. ‘A bit tall for the bed, aren’t you? What about your back?’

‘That’s easy enough.’ He walks over to the wall and turns a dial. You flop onto your back with a laugh as it rises off the floor. ‘You sure about this?’ he asks as he returns.

You’re gazing at the ceiling as you try to control your breathing. ‘I trust you.’

So he begins.

He uses his fingers first. No gloves this time. There’s no point to all his precautions now. He’s gentle and responds immediately to anything that discomforts you. It’s nothing like it was in the laboratory. It doesn’t feel ‘scientific’ at all. He strokes you along your slit, enough so that when he slowly inserts his finger you’re slippery inside.

You lick your lips. ‘What exactly are you hoping to find doing this?’

‘It’s complicated.’ There’s humour in his voice.

You laugh, then groan as he begins to stroke your clitoris while pushing more deeply inside you. He pauses to pick up something from his cart. You jump as cold metal presses against your flesh.

‘Sorry,’ he grunts. ‘I’m just going to insert this alongside my finger.’

It feels like some kind of long, thin rod. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just cold. You gasp when you feel it press up against your cervix. Then he withdraws his finger, leaving the rod inside.

‘What’s it supposed to do?’ you say.

‘Just some rudimentary analysis: your core temperature, the acidity of your discharge, things like that.’

‘How long is it supposed to stay—‘

You gasp when he goes back to stroking your now very sensitive slit. You drop your thighs to the bed, then half raise yourself up to look at him.

He lifts a delicious eyebrow at you. ‘I’d usually use my equipment to stimulate you. You don’t mind, do you?’

‘No.’

You flop onto your back with a gasp when he starts back on your clitoris. Slowly, he rubs it in a circular motion. He’s so gentle. He knows how to touch you. His research has obviously given him some serious knowledge on how to pleasure a woman. None of your previous boyfriends had ever touched you like this.

Previous boyfriends. Previous boyfriends. Is he your boyfriend? This sexy, smart, gentle alien?

It’s too astonishing to consider.

You close your eyes as he continues with his exquisite masturbating. You can feel a slight vibration from the rod inside you, which only adds to the pleasure. It’s turned warm now.

You suck in a choking breath as he quickens his pace. Gripping the sheets, you arch your back. Just when you’re about to lose all control, he stops.

Panting, you open your eyes. ‘Don’t stop!’

‘I have to.’

‘You said it wouldn’t hurt.’ You can feel him slowly withdrawing the rod.

‘Does it hurt?’ Again, that humour in his voice.

‘When you stop like that it does!’ Your hips are aching. Your insides are burning. ‘You can’t just leave me like this.’

‘I won’t. There’s more to be done.’

You sigh, staring up at the ceiling in a daze. Your heart is thudding in your ears as you hear him doing something with his equipment. Then the ceiling slowly falls away; the bed is lowering. ‘I thought there was more to be done,’ you say as the bed lands softly on the floor.

‘Oh, there is,’ he says in an odd, silky tone of voice that doesn’t sound like him at all.

You raise yourself on your elbows to see what he’s up to. Your eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

22.

The look on your face makes me smile. Yes, I’m naked. How can I not be? What did you expect? How can I touch you like this and not respond?

Laughing, you flop back on the bed.

Look at you. You’re so playful. You’re so beautiful. You’re like no one I’ve ever met before. Are all your species like this? I don’t know. I only know your bodies, not your minds.

I want to know more. I want to know you inside and out.

You snort with more laughter as I crawl over the top of you. I still have my reservations. I still have my doubts. But as I touch your wondrous body and kiss your beautiful face and your lilting laughter rings in my ears, it’s hard to know anything but my urges.

I don’t hesitate, pushing deep inside you. My heart leaps at the sound of your groan. My mouth waters at the way you arch back your head, stretching out your graceful neck. I plant my lips on it as I thrust into you.

How is it possible that I can do this three times in one day? And the day is yet young!

I can’t stop myself. I grab your wrists, gritting my teeth at the sheer pleasure of it. I call it pleasure and yet it’s almost painful. I can’t imagine stopping. I can’t imagine slowing. My testicles feel like they’re twisted. The shaft of my penis feels so tight it feels like the skin is about to pop. How do the males of your species resist? How do they function at all?

I lift myself up on my knees so I can thrust into you more deeply. I’m a fit man. It’s expected of all my species that we remain strong and healthy. And yet I can feel the muscles in my abdomen starting to ache. I’m penetrating you forcefully and can’t help but feel concern that I might be hurting you; but your eyes close in pleasure and you wrap your ankles around my backside, pulling me in even more deeply still.

‘Open your eyes,’ I grunt. ‘Let me see your eyes.’

You do. I press my forehead to yours and with a grunt and a shudder I expel into you. I can feel the hot gush of my own semen as I throb hard. I can almost feel what my penis is doing. It’s pulling at you, sucking against the walls of your vagina so you can’t release me. It’s only made worse as you orgasm soon after. As your vagina tugs against me, my penis pulls against you until we’re blended almost seamlessly.

It’s not over, it’s far from over, as I continue to pulse at every ejaculation.

‘Well,’ you pant, looking into my eyes, our foreheads still pressed together. ‘Did you learn much?’

‘Much more than you think.’

Smiling, you close your eyes and push your hips up against me, then roll them in a circular motion. I groan. It makes me ejaculate harder.

I kiss your cheek, then rest against you, pressing my face into your throat as I wait for us to separate. You rest your warm hands against my shoulders, kiss my ear, then start stroking my back. I shiver beneath your touch.

I feel so comfortable and relaxed. My mind wanders and I can’t help but think about the two weeks ahead. The thought of taking you back to your homeworld and never seeing you again tightens my chest.

You seem to read my mind. ‘I’m going to miss you,’ you say.

I touch your cheek. ‘We’ve still got time yet.’

‘Two weeks is no time at all. What am I going to do? How can I just forget you?’

I don’t know what to say. Your hands move from my back to my head, where you drag your fingers through my hair. ‘I love your hair,’ you say. ‘I love your eyes. They’ll haunt my dreams forever.’ Your chin wobbles and it tightens my chest further. ‘Is there … is there nothing we can do?’

I hesitate, then sigh. ‘I don’t see what. My people won’t accept you and it’s too dangerous for me to be with yours.’

I hear you swallow hard and when I look up at you your face is turned away. A tear rolls down your cheek. Rising to my knees, I gently grab your face and turn you back to me. What can I say? There’s nothing I can say, so I kiss you on the mouth instead.

You kiss me back, desperately, hungrily. You wrap your arms hard around me and tighten your legs around my waist. We’re quiet a long time. All I can hear is the gentle humming of the ship and the wet smack of your lips as we continue to kiss.

Finally, I release you, looking into your glistening eyes as I stroke your cheek. ‘You okay?’

With a quivering smile, you nod.

‘I think it’s time,’ I say.

I can feel myself turning flaccid. Slowly, I ease out of you. It’s not so bad this time, only a small puddle of semen on the sheets. It appears I’ve mostly emptied myself from the two times before. You don’t move. You don’t get up to wash yourself in the steam bath. I can see you’re still sad.

I lie down next to you and take you in my arms.

We lie together quietly for a long time, touching each other, stroking each other’s skin before we fall asleep in each other’s embrace.

For the next few days I continue with my ‘research’.

I’ve always loved my work but I never thought I could enjoy it as much as I do now, with you stretched out naked and beautiful on my bed while I study you and pleasure you and take my own pleasure. I get to know you well. It’s a funny thing. When I get up in the morning, intent on starting my day, I don’t bother to suit up. I don’t even need to leave my room!

Each night my heart thuds as I go to sleep beside you, as I hold you in my arms eager to wake up early. My heart pounds harder still when the lights finally switch on.

 I can only assume you feel the same. You must feel the same. You’re always smiling and always willing to open your thighs for me.

This experiment is a little different.

‘On your hands and knees,’ I say.

‘Like this?’

‘Lower. Your backside needs to be in the air more.’

You lower yourself onto your elbows. ‘Is this right?’

I nod. ‘Better.’

‘What are you going to do?’

‘I’m going to penetrate you through your colon.’

You rise to your knees with a start and turn around to look at me. ‘You’re going to shove something in my arse? Why?’

‘There’ll be no shoving,’ I say, ‘and I’ll use plenty of lubricant. I want to identify your second pleasure point.’ You stare at me. ‘Only if you’re willing, of course. It won’t hurt. I’ve done this before. Do you trust me?’

You stare at me a moment longer, then nod and drop back to your elbows.

‘We can stop at any time,’ I say.

I pick up the gluonometer. It’s another thin rod with a ball-like head at the end which will stimulate your pleasure centre. There are sensors on either side of it which will check the health of your colon while it’s in there. I don’t tell you but my specialised equipment is also useful in identifying any problems or disease. I’ve already removed two cysts form your left ovary and radiated a suspicious-looking mass from your right kidney without your knowing.

It won’t come back again.

After carefully slathering the gluonometer in lubricant, I slowly insert it. You buck a little and give a gasp. I pause. ‘Okay?’

You nod, panting. ‘Just took me by surprise, that’s all.’

‘Inserting it further,’ I tell you.

You remain still and stiff as I penetrate deeper. Suddenly you suck in a breath and arch your neck. ‘There!’ you rasp. ‘Right there.’

I release the gluonometer. ‘Switching on the villibrator.’

23.

‘God!’ you cry.

Whatever he’s put into you is vibrating. Not only do you feel it in your arse but right deep in your vagina. It makes you burn so hot you feel the blood flood your face.

‘Jesus!’

You’ve never felt anything like it. It stimulates a spot inside you you never knew existed. You rise up on your hands and begin to rock in the air. Closing your eyes, you give a long groan.

Sweat drips down your spine. Your heart thuds. It’s hard to catch your breath. It’s not always like this—his experiments. Some are very boring: taking discharge or hair samples. He does a lot of scanning, using equipment that beam out green or red lights, and when you ask what he discovers he’s often tight-lipped.

You like these kind of experiments much more. Finally, your body spasms so hard you bite your tongue and draw blood. You continue to rock, riding what’s left of your orgasm. You pause as he slowly pulls out the instrument.

‘Well?’ he says.

You turn to look at him, about to say something, when your eyes drop to his groin. He hasn’t bothered to wear a suit for days. He’s spurted out a little semen. A trickle of it has trailed down along the lower side of his penis and has pooled onto his balls. You realise how you must have looked when you were moaning and rocking in the middle of the bed

Shaking your head with a smile, you slide to the floor.

‘Take a seat,’ you say.

He raises his eyebrows but walks over and sits on the edge of the bed. ‘What are you going to do?’

‘Something I’ve been thinking of for a while now.’ You kneel on the floor in front of him. ‘Spread your legs.’

He does. He grunts and jerks, his hands fisting in the bed sheets as you gently rub his balls. ‘Does that feel good?’

‘Very much,’ he pants.

He’s not kidding. His penis gives a hard throb and more blue dribbles out the tip. Shuffling in closer, you grab a hold of his shaft. You hesitate. You’ve never been big on oral sex. In your experience semen tastes disgusting and Michael never washed himself properly—he always smelled like sweat and BO—but you feel the need to do it now. You think about how you just let him penetrate you from the backend. You’ve never done that before either.

He gasps again. ‘What are you doing?’

You release him with a wet suck and smack your lips. Unlike Michael, he doesn’t smell at all, and his semen taste’s completely different. Thank God! It’s sweet, almost fruity. ‘You pleasured me. I should pleasure you.’

Before he can answer, you take him in your mouth again. As you suck, he grabs onto your head, knotting his fingers in your hair. His penis spasms a little in your mouth and a burst of fruity semen trickles down your throat.  

He’s a lot to take in. You move slowly at first, then faster, responding to how aggressively he grabs at your head. He starts thrusting along with you, grunting and breathing heavily. He shouts when he’s done and for a brief moment you wonder if you’ll be stuck to him like this as you were with your groins.

You let him finish ejaculating before you carefully ease your mouth away. No sticking. Thank goodness! You wipe at your mouth. He’s gripping his knees again, his shoulders heaving as he tries to catch his breath. You can see the muscles of his chest and stomach sliding under his now rather pink skin.

His forehead furrows. ‘You’re glowing again.’

You look down at yourself and laugh. This time it’s your digestive system that you can see: your throat, your stomach. He flops back onto the bed with a sigh, and you join him, lying at his side. You slip your hand into his and he grips you back.

‘You going to document in your log tonight?’ you ask.

‘Not tonight,’ he says. He’s still panting and flushed. ‘I feel tired.’

You both squirm further into bed. You cuddle up to him, pulling his arms around your waist. As you press your head up against his chest you can feel his heartbeat and it’s beating fast. You smooth your hands over his arse, then move them to the front and gently rub his balls. He doesn’t seem to mind, kissing you on the head with a little grunt.

The lights flick off. The glow in your chest, though fading, manages to brighten the room in an eerie, alien sort of way. It’s so quiet. It’s so peaceful. No roaring cars. No barking dogs. No screaming neighbours.

And you realise that you could easily live like this. If he asked it of you, if there was a way, you would leave everything behind and join him in a heartbeat. No matter the consequences.

One week has already flown by. Only one week to go. Tears prick at the corners of your eyes at the thought. He’s still holding you, his arms loose around your waist, as his breathing turns long and deep.

Gently, you kiss him on his adam’s apple. ‘I wish you could be mine,’ you whisper. You glance over at the viewing window looking onto space and bite your lip.

The next morning you wake before he does, which is very unusual. Carefully, you slide out of his arms. Still, he doesn’t wake. The lights are on and you take a moment to study him. You frown. He’s right; he needs his sleep. There are shadows under his eyes. Clearly, he’s been working too hard.

You can’t resist resting your hand against his perfect cheek. It’s then that he stirs, looking up at you with his clear blue eyes. He yawns, then smiles. ‘Good morning.’

‘Good morning. Have a good sleep?’ As far as you remember, he didn’t stir at all last night.

‘Very good.’

Giving another yawn, he stretches out his glorious body, resting his hands under his head as he stares up at you. It brings out all the big muscles in his chest and biceps. You grow hot. Your heart thuds. Is it your imagination or does he look bigger?

‘What are you smiling at?’ he says.

‘Nothing,’ you say, looking away as though you don’t notice.

He sighs as he grabs onto his erection. It’s sticky and blue. He’s come a little on his belly and when you look down at yourself you notice that it’s on you too. Another wet dream. The fifth night in a row. No matter how much you have sex, there doesn’t seem to be an end to his supply. It’s like you’ve started something—the strike that lights the match that lights the fire—and it’s now taken on its own life.

‘It’s something I’m going to have to get used to, I guess,’ he says. He raises his eyebrows. ‘In fact, that reminds me.’ Swiftly, he slides off the bed. He goes to his work table, extracts another specimen container, then scrapes some semen into it from his belly.

‘Another sample?’ you say. ‘Why?’

He twists on the lid. ‘Just a hunch.’ He scratches at his neck.

‘Can I come?’

‘No,’ he says too quickly.

Frowning, you cross your arms. He puts down the container and quickly gets changed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, you watch him. There’s so much he doesn’t tell you. So many secrets. Even after all you’ve done together.

When he’s ready he gives you a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. He scratches at his neck, looking almost nervous. ‘I won’t be long. I’ll meet you in the dining room in time for breakfast.’

Taking up the container, he marches out the room.

24.

In the communal dining room, you try to be patient as you wait for him. What’s he doing? What’s he up to?

Finally, he enters, looking flushed, and with a wildness to his eyes that fills you with concern.

You frown. ‘Something wrong?’

He pauses, hesitating. ‘No. Everything’s just fine.’

You watch as he pulls open the cupboard and removes two sachets. From there, he puts them into the ‘replicator’—it looks very much like a large microwave—which somehow expands them into full meals at the press of a button. He stands hunched over the bench as he waits, stiff and silent and avoiding your eyes.

Finally, the food is ready and he brings your dishes over. You don’t know what they are and you don’t care. Suddenly, you don’t feel so hungry. He hunches over his meal as he shovels some kind of green moss into his mouth.

‘There’s something wrong. Tell me,’ you say. ‘Are they still alive?’

He gulps down the moss, then takes a long drink of green liquid from his glass. Wiping his mouth, he peers at you, his eyebrows low over his eyes. ‘Very much alive.’

You’re about to demand a proper explanation when you see something curious. Tilting your head, you peer at him more closely. ‘What’s that on the side of your neck?’

Frowning at you, he touches himself.

‘No, the other side,’ you say. ‘It looks like some kind of rash.’ It’s a surprise; it’s the first blemish you’ve seen on his perfect skin.

He probes it gently with his fingers. His eyes widen, then narrow. A strange expression passes over his face, quickly vanishing behind a smile that you don’t believe at all to be genuine. ‘It’s nothing,’ he says. ‘Probably just an allergy.’

You start on your meal, watching him. ‘You were saying about your sample?’

‘Ah … yes. They’ve multiplied and they’re motility has increased. Whatever we’re doing, it’s working.’ He looks down at his meal, still avoiding your eyes.

There’s definitely something he’s not telling you, but you change your mind and decide not to challenge him about it. You know him too well now. Prod him too hard and he’ll withdraw.

He probes at his neck again.

He finishes his meal at a rapid pace before waiting anxiously for you to finish yours, tapping his foot against the floor. It seems even in his world it’s rude to leave the table.

Finally, you’re done and he stands. ‘I’m sorry but I must leave you for a while. I need my quarters to myself to attend to my research. I will come to you when I’m finished.’

You raise your eyebrows. ‘Of course. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.’

He nods, his eyes distant, and hurries out the door.

For several moments you just sit there uncertainly, thinking. You’re not going to let this rest. If he won’t tell you what’s going on, then you’re just going to have to find out for yourself.

You feel nervous as you march down the corridor. Though you know you’re being paranoid, you can’t help but feel eyes on you. You’re up to no good. What if they know? Every time a drone walks by your heart beats a little too fast.

You pass his door. It’s shut. You pause briefly to listen but hear nothing.

You reach the little room holding the giant microscope. Looking left and right, you step inside. Taking a breath, you sit in the seat. You touch the lens, then pull away, fearful you’re going to break something.

You study it briefly. There’s no way you’re going to be able to make this work. You study the dials along the side, trying to remember what he did—but it’s impossible.

Shaking your head, you dive straight in and look into the lens. You pull back with a start. You can’t believe your luck. He’s left it on! Pressing your eye back to the lens, you peer at the slides. There are three of them now. Two of them you’ve already seen. The third must be the sample he’s recently taken.

You purse your lips. It doesn’t seem all that different. You do notice there’s more sperm than before, all of them powered along by their whirling tails. As you look more closely at all three slides, you finally see something. It’s so subtle you almost don’t notice it. Not only are there more sperm but they seem to have changed form. They’re heads are no longer sloped but rounded, looking more like the familiar tadpoles of human sperm.

Why’s that a big deal? Is that what he’s so worried about? Pulling away from the microscope, you sit back in your seat, more confused than ever.

You look once more at the slides but can glean no new understanding. With a sigh, you leave the room. As you pass his door again, you stop. You rock on your heels. What’s he doing in there? You desperately want to go inside, but the last thing you want to do is disturb him.

Biting your lip you leave for your room.

As you step inside you hug yourself. It feels so cold and depressing. Immediately the old fear of being stuck out in the vacuum of space, helpless and alone, assails you. Through the viewing window you stare at Earth, once more thinking of your mother, before entering the waste disposal unit to relieve yourself.

You wriggle out of your suit and sit. There’s a blue streak of discharge in its crotch. You think about the sperm on the slides. You touch the streak and smooth its wetness between your fingers.

What has him so worried?

Shaking your head, you redress and step through the door. With a shriek, you jump back.

You’re not alone.

Five drones are standing in the middle of the room, staring at you. The last time you saw them in such a big group was when they caught you in the dining area after escaping the lab. You feel a rush of fear, recalling the giant needle. They must know what you’ve done!

‘I didn’t mean to look!’ you exclaim. ‘I just had to know, that’s all. I didn’t do any damage, I swear!’ Their big eyes stare at you emptily. You start to back away, but where are you going to go? You’re stuck on their spaceship in the middle of space. ‘Please.

Your heart races as one of them steps towards you. Wordlessly, it holds out its hand.

25.

I leave you behind in the communal eating area and rush towards my room. The door whooshes open and I hasten to my desk. I pop out the drawer containing a new needle of vaccine. Quickly I press the trigger and inject it into my arm.

A brief sting and it’s done.

I sit at my desk, panting, rubbing my hand across my neck. I feel bumps. It feels hot. I stand, zip down my suit and wriggle out of the top half. Then I stand before the mirror on my wall. My heart sinks. The rash has spread to just above my nipple line. It’s purple and when I press down on it with the tips of my fingers there’s no blanching.

This is not good.

You’ve infected me with something and it’s affecting me with astonishing rapidity. It’s not your fault; it’s mine. I should have known better. I should have taken proper precautions. I sit on the edge of my couch, gripping my knees as I take deep breaths. I can only hope the vaccine will work. If it doesn’t …

I can’t think about that. It’ll work. It must.

I wait ten minutes, then fifteen minutes, then twenty. At every five minutes I get up to check myself in the mirror, only to discover that it’s gotten worse. It’s spread down to my lower abdomen now and the purple colour has deepened to an almost black.

Sitting back down, I drop my head into my hands. I have no choice; I have to contact the mother ship. Though my life is in peril, I think only about you and your safety. If they arrive and discover you wandering around freely, they’ll kill you. But I can’t not contact them. If I die, my drones will take control of the ship and bring you back to them anyway.

I click my intercom. ‘Emergency. Room 6A2. Medical assistance required. Emergency.’ Every drone on board will hear it.

I grip my knees again, trying my best to expand my chest. My lungs feel tight. My throat suddenly feels unbearably dry. I try to clear it, only to give a hacking cough.

My drones are fast. The door opens and at least a dozen rush inside, dragging in the emergency hover system along with them. It has everything they need to save my life—if they can. Protocol dictates that they must immediately contact the mother ship at any emergency or distress call. My seniors will be making their way over now.

Time is short. The drones quickly surround me, helping me onto the floor in the centre of the room. I collapse. My joints are stiff. My limbs are heavy. My eyes turn blurry. It becomes a struggle to understand what’s going on as my drones rush about. They cut off my suit and attach electrodes to me and insert needles in my arms. They’re quiet and efficient. Except for their pattering feet and their muted jabbering, I hear only a faint ringing in my ears.

It’s agony to lift my arm but I manage it, seizing onto one of their skinny wrists. My voice is a croak. ‘Bring species … 821 to me … ASAP.’

He and four others rush away and I lie back, trusting in their expert care.

You arrive soon after. I hear you before I see you. ‘What’s going on?!’ you shout from across the room.

I try to call you over but don’t have the strength. I can’t even lift my head. I can hardly move at all. All I can do is stare up at the ceiling. Even rolling my eyes in my head is a fight.

Your pale, worried face suddenly appears above me. You see my rash and your expression twists in horror. ‘What’s wrong?’ you say. ‘What’s happening?!’

I can hardly hear you, my ears ringing loudly now. ‘Come close,’ I whisper.

You do, dropping to your knees beside me, your eyes bright with fear. The drones move around you as though you’re not there, continuing with their work. I tell you what’s happening and give you instructions as to what you must do. It’s imperative you listen. If you don’t, it’ll not only be my own life at risk.

Tears spill down your cheeks. Your eyes seem to sink into your face.

‘I can’t leave you,’ you say, resting your trembling hand against my cheek.

With a strength that astonishes me, I raise my heavy arm and grab your hand. ‘You must … they’re coming … do as I say … or die … Go. Go.’ I squeeze your hand as hard as I can to instil in you how important it is that you listen. You wince, then slowly rise, but hesitate. And I can see you’re not going to leave. You give me no choice. Through my intercom I speak to my drones.

 Several leave my side to grab onto you. ‘No!’ you shout. ‘No! Let me go!’

‘It’s going to be okay,’ I croak but you don’t hear me amid your screaming. You thrash and kick and hurl yourself around but my drones are strong and manage to drag you away.

I can still hear your screaming as they haul you down the corridor. I stare up at the ceiling, tears rolling down my cheeks. My limbs feel so heavy. My chest and neck and torso where the rash covers me feel like they’re on fire. I’m really struggling to breathe now. It’s like there’s a heavy weight pressing down on my chest. My heart is beating so hard it feels like it’s flopping around.

I lose sight of the ceiling. Everything starts to spin. I vaguely hear the beeping of the heart monitor amid the ringing in my ears. It’s not good; my heartbeat is too fast and it’s irregular. The drones act quickly. One of them clasps my face and tilts back my head. Another prepares an injection. I know what it is. They’re going to anaesthetize me. They’re going to intubate.

Death is close. I’m going into shock. I only have minutes. I know they’re going to need to resuscitate me. My heart will stop. You envy my knowledge, but you’d be surprised to know that sometimes I envy your ignorance. Sometimes it’s better not to know so much, particularly when in a position like this.

I’m at the mercy of fate now, and yet all I can think of is you. I close my eyes, shutting out the room around me, as I focus on how you looked that first day I beamed you onto my ship. You were nothing to me then, except an interesting subject I could extract important information from. I remember the first time you opened your eyes and looked at me. You were so fearful. I remember that tear. 

Then you escaped and I remember how you felt in my arms as you fell through the vent. You don’t realise it but you had me then. For the first time I saw you as a real being with a heart and mind and soul.

And how can I forget that night when you were sleeping on my couch? What a surprise that had been! That night when so much had changed. Despite everything now, I don’t regret a thing. For a brief few days you made me live. I wish we could have those two weeks. I wish for it hard.

Don’t feel guilty. It’s not your fault. I made the choice.

The heart monitor hums. The drone at my head grips my chin more tightly. I feel a rush of cold up my arm as the anaesthetic is injected into my vein.

Darkness falls.

26.

‘Let me go!’ you scream. You thrash and kick and squirm to no avail. Their slender, cold fingers are like clamps. ‘I need to go to him! I need to go to him.’

You know where they’re taking you. You know what they’re going to do. The same thing he instructed you to do. His ‘seniors’ are coming and they can’t know you’ve been awake. You must go back to the lab and be put back to sleep. It must seem like you’ve been there the whole time.

And from there …

The tears rush out of your eyes—you’ll never see him again. You won’t even know if he’ll live. ‘No. No! NO!’ you scream.

The door to the laboratory whooshes open as they haul you inside. Working together, they lift you bodily onto the platform. As they pin you down, another arrives at your side with a familiar long needle.

‘No!’ You thrash your head from side to side. It’s no good. With a sting, he injects whatever it is into your arm.

You continue to struggle while the serum takes time to have an effect. They pin you down too effectively, and slowly you lose your strength. You roll your eyes in your head, struggling to stay awake, but your eyelids keep shutting. ‘I have to … I have to get back to him.’ Looking into the deep, dark eyes of a drone, you feel yourself sinking. ‘I have to … I have to …’

Darkness claims you.

Are you dreaming or are you awake? It’s hard to tell. Is the serum wearing off already? You squint at the bright light above. Things move on either side of you but everything’s a blur. You hear voices; musical voices speaking in another language. Is it him? He’s awake. He’s alive! You try to sit up but your body weighs a tonne. You try to turn your head but it’s impossible. It’s just like before.

You’re stuck. Trapped. Helpless.

This time you hardly care. You no longer feel fear, only desperation to see him again.

Then a figure leans over you, blocking out the light from the machinery above, and your heart leaps in hope. A shield. A blue suit. A ponytail of white hair. You try to call out to him but all you manage is a splutter. He looks over his shoulder and says something. Why is he ignoring you? Another voice answers back. There’s more than one. And you realise the truth—it’s not him. This alien’s smaller with longer hair. And its voice is too high. One of the seniors?

You get the impression that it’s a female. What are they doing? Tears stream down your face as you try to speak. You care nothing for what they might do to you. They can do whatever they want as far as you’re concerned—they can harvest your eggs; they can prick you with any long needle they want—as long as they keep you on the ship with him.

As long as you can find out that he’s all right.

The figure pulls away. Don’t go! you try to speak, only to fail, spluttering and choking. More tears gush from your eyes. The figure returns, peering down at you through its shield. It places a gloved hand on your forehead.

The darkness swallows you up once more.

The next time, you wake slowly. You blink against the darkness, confused. You’re in bed. What time is it? What happened to the lights? His room is never this dark. You reach out to find him but the bed is empty. You sit up, clutching at your head with a wince at a sudden throb in your temples. Why’s it so cool? You grab at your arms with a shiver. The ship’s temperature is supposed to be controlled. What’s happened?

You start to get off the bed, then pause. What’s that noise? You turn, listening. Is that the sound of a car? A dog barks, sending an icy feeling shooting up your spine. You clap a hand to your mouth with a gasp.

Him on the floor. The rash. The drones. The alien in the face shield!

‘No!’ 

You scramble off the bed and race across the room, flicking on your light. Your light. You drop to your knees with a cry. It’s your room. You’re home. They beamed you back home.

‘No!’ you scream.

The tears come fast but you don’t give up. This can’t be the end! Leaping to your feet, you race downstairs, rip open the front door and rush outside. You stop in the driveway. The maple tree in your front yard rustles in the breeze. You look up. The stars are twinkling brightly but you see no ship.

He’s gone.

A panicky feeling tightens a knot in your stomach and makes you gasp for breath. Your heart is thundering. Your throat swells with hot, painful tears. They just left you! Of all the tortured, painful things they could have done to you, this is the worst!

You shiver, and you suddenly realise you’re naked. The drones would have cut off your suit when they sedated you. It would have been a suspicious thing for the ‘seniors’ to find you in their clothes. You don’t care. Nothing seems to matter anymore. You mind and body have turned numb. Minutes tick by as you just stand there. The street is empty. It must be very late in the night. Finally, the cold compels you back inside.

Closing the door behind you, you slide to the floor, naked and quivering as you grip your knees to your chest. You stay like that for a long time as the black of night slowly brightens to a gloomy grey. All you can think about is him: how he looked when you last saw him, on the floor with that terrible rash all over him, his eyes dull, his beautiful face screwed up in pain. How could it have happened?

You have a sudden flashback of that night when you snuck onto his couch, when you first saw him naked, standing in the middle of the room. He’d had an erection and was so frightened about it.

‘You’ve infected me with something.’

‘Infected you? With what?’

‘With some kind of bug. My species has little immunity against your diseases.’

You give a little choke. It’s because of you. It’s your fault! You clutch at your throat.

There comes the sound of a creak, followed by a gasp. You look up. It’s Mellissa. She’s standing at the top of the stairs dressed in her pyjamas, her eyes so wide they seem to bulge in her face.

You can’t hold it back now. You burst into racking sobs.

27.

It’s been almost three months since you were on his ship and in his arms, and every day you can’t stop thinking about him: worrying, hoping, praying. Is he alive? Is he well? Does he miss you?

Will he come back?

Almost every night after the sun sets, you sit for hours under the maple tree and watch the skies. At first, Mellissa would come and see if you were all right, then force you inside. But now, after several weeks of the same routine, she leaves you be.

So much as happened since he beamed you onto his ship. Seven days you were gone. When Mellissa found you huddled and weeping and naked at the front door, she feared the worst. After checking on you, she called the police. They wanted to take you to the hospital and have you assessed and examined but you refused.

They wanted to know what happened to you. Were you kidnapped? Did they hurt you? Were you sexually assaulted? Tell us anything!

But you kept your lips tightly shut. It would probably have been better to come up with some kind of story, but everything had happened so quickly it was hard to think straight. They brought in psychologists and social workers and forensic agents, but nobody could get an answer out of you.

‘Nothing happened to me.’

‘I’m not hurt.’

‘Just leave me be!’

And soon they did. Now everybody is angry at you: Mellissa, your friends, your boss at the bakery.

Not to mention your mother.

You’re close to your mother and you hate keeping secrets from her but what can you tell her? That you were abducted by aliens? That they performed sexual experiments on you? That a beautiful alien fell for you and you fell in love with him?

You fell in love with him.

With a sigh, you drop your hands to your belly. Pretty soon you won’t be able to get away with telling everyone you’re just getting fat. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be horrible. Everyone’s going to make assumptions. Everyone’s going to judge you.

You wrap your arms around yourself. No matter what happens, no matter how hard it will get, you’re glad. You’re glad because now you get to keep a part of him. For the next seven months you’ll be holding a piece of him inside you and when you do give birth, you can hold that little part of him in your arms too. You can love it and kiss it and embrace it. It may even look like him.

With this baby he can never truly be gone.

You’ve had a long time to think of all that happened. You were numb for a long time after your sudden return, and you hadn’t noticed your missed period until a week after the fact. When you finally realised, it was a lightbulb moment.

Suddenly you understood. His secrets and reservations became clear.

His semen. That last sample he had been so anxious about.

I can’t fall pregnant, can I? you had once asked him.

Not possible. My species’ sperm cannot penetrate the walls of your ova.

But his sperm had changed. Somehow, they had evolved. He’d known it. He knew something wasn’t right, enough to take another sample and be certain.

And now you’re here … like this. You wipe at the tears on your cheeks. The leaves of the maple tree rustle. A car toots its horn from somewhere in the distance. The stars twinkle. With a sigh, you get up. The bakery opens early in the morning and you have to get your rest.

You collapse into bed but as usual sleep takes forever to claim you.

The next time you wake it’s still dark, dark enough that the room is almost black. You feel thirsty, but when you reach for your cup of water you find you can’t move. You’re stuck. Frozen.

You’ve been this way before. How can you forget?

Your heart starts to pound. You roll your eyes desperately in your head but this time it’s not from fear. You gurgle in your throat at the sound of a queer tapping on the ceiling. It falls quiet. Then you hear more tapping, this time against your wall.

Then you feel it. That presence.

You blink rapidly. You try to squint against the blackness but can’t. Is it your imagination or is there someone standing at the end of your bed?

Suddenly, your room floods with light. You shut your eyes, then open them again. And that’s when you see. It’s not your imagination this time. There really is a figure at the end of your bed and it looks very familiar.

You choke and gasp and splutter. It moves to your side, right up close, close enough that it could touch you if it wanted. Its hair is white, its suit blue. It’s wearing gloves and a face shield.

Tears flow down your cheeks. Could it be? Your heart is throwing itself against your ribs.

‘Shhhhh,’ it says. ‘Calm.’

That musical voice. You know it so well.

He’s alive.

He’s alive.

You desperately try to move against whatever force is holding you down.

‘I’m sorry,’ he says. ‘I told them it wasn’t necessary, that they’re underestimating your intelligence, but they want to make sure you’re well under control.’ He chuckles. ‘They think you’re going to throw yourself at me, and the last thing they want is for me to be sick again after all that effort they put into saving my life.’

He sits on the bed beside you. It’s too bright to see his eyes through the shield and you hate that. All you can see is your own tearful face looking back at you.

He reaches over to brush the tears from your cheeks with his gloved hands. It’s a pointless exercise; his touch only makes more tears gush out.

‘I’ve come to take you back with me, if you’re willing.’

You splutter and gasp.

He continues to stroke your cheeks. ‘Is that a yes?’ He says it in a tone which suggests he’s grinning behind that mask.

You want to grab him. You want to smack him. You want to make him hurt the way you’ve been hurting for the past two months.

His musical laughter echoes around the room. He stops stroking your cheeks, holding your face instead.  He gazes at you for some time. Then, releasing you, he pulls down your sheet and lifts up your shirt. He sighs as he rests his hand upon your abdomen. ‘I’m sorry you had to go through this alone.’ He smooths his hand around your hip. ‘Not anymore.’ He stands and steps back. ‘Ready to fly?’

You’re choking now, and it’s almost as though you’re choking on your tears.

The light glows brighter, so bright it engulfs his figure utterly and he vanishes. Though it burns against your eyes, the last thing you want to do is close them. You don’t want to miss any of this.

Not this time.

Slowly, your body lifts from your bed, and it’s the best feeling in the world. You’re going to him. You’re going to him!

The room is shaking but you haven’t replaced any of the pictures that had crashed to the floor the last time. This time your ‘abduction’ is quiet.

You float towards your window. Unlike last time, there’s no need to open it. You’ve kept it open with the curtains pulled back every night since your return. Thoughts of your mother flash in your mind. A knot tightens in your stomach but you don’t let it get to you. You’ll find a way to say goodbye. If he’s come back once, he can come back again.

You feel the cool breeze of the outdoors against your feet and through the pant legs of your pyjama bottoms. Then you’re through the window. Slowly, your house and street drift away. The light becomes blinding. The air turns icy. The wind dries the tears on your face. And then you feel it—the hum of the ship’s engines. You can feel it vibrating through your bones.

You can’t see it but you can hear it. You can feel it. You know it.

You’re home.

You’re home.

Epilogue

‘Are you ready?’ I say through my intercom.

‘Coming,’ you say back.

Minutes later you enter the cockpit, carrying little Esther in your arms. Gurgling, she reaches out for me with her fat little fingers. I take her, and she laughs as I throw her in the air. Only six months old and she’s already so big! I kiss her on the cheek and she bites down with her mostly empty gums onto my chin.

She missed out on my white hair, inheriting your colour instead—and your mother’s. We met briefly before I took you away. She doesn’t know the complete truth as to why you won’t be able to see her again, but she knows you’re safe—and happy. I still feel some guilt over it, but life isn’t perfect and we’ve done all we can.

Smiling, you take a seat at the controls.

‘You confident?’ I say.

You scoff. ‘Piece of cake.’

I laugh.

Just over a year has passed since I returned you to me and so much has happened. I survived the disease I caught from you—obviously. But it had been a close call. Those from the mother ship had arrived just in time. Not even the skill of my drones was enough to sustain me. I needed every advanced piece of technology my people had to keep me alive: microcellular rejactors, protostatic electors, even a specialised quasar equalizer. There’re only two of those in the entirety of my world, you know that?

It was a long process. I was in a medical coma for three weeks before it was decided I was strong enough to breathe on my own. And it was weeks after that before I was strong enough to see you again; or before they let me see you again, to be more precise.

It’s interesting. Despite all that we’ve done to your species and to so many others, at our hearts my people are good. Even though I broke the rules and though my disease put so many others at risk, they did everything they could to help me. For no other reason than to save my life.

I guess we’re more alike than we originally thought.

I reach over and take your hand, smoothing my thumb over your knuckles. Smiling, you lean over and kiss me.

Even after all of that, it still wasn’t over. I couldn’t touch you for several months. Not until they could make a viable vaccine. It drove me crazy not being able to hold you or kiss you or embrace you or stroke your skin, particularly while my progeny was swelling inside you. Even now, I have to vaccinate myself every month to protect myself. It’s a small price to pay. One that I’m happy to pay thousands of times over.

Esther grips at my hair with a squawk, breaking us apart, demanding our attention.

You laugh. ‘Drama queen!’

I lift her to me, blowing my mouth against her belly until she squeals.

It could have been worse. Much worse. It could have affected Esther. With her carrying my genes, the disease could have killed her in the womb or while she fed from your breast or while you held her in your arms. We all watched closely, our most experienced medical staff and our most advanced equipment on standby.

She didn’t get sick. I still can’t believe it. She might have my genes but she has your immunity. It’s astounding to think I’m holding my very own daughter in my arms. I never would have thought it possible. Even for my species, my fertility was low. I am thankful every day that I’m so blessed.

Kissing her on the cheek, I sit her securely in my lap.

It was only when I woke up that my seniors discovered the full truth about you and my research. It seems you were right about the drones; they do realise more than we give them credit for. They had already communicated in their simple way what I was doing with you. You should have seen the looks on my people’s faces when they discovered the entire truth of it!

I was terrified at first at what they might do. Then I told them what I discovered. In some bizarre, hugely rapid evolutionary process, we could breed. You didn’t know it that last day before I became sick, but I was starting to suspect something was very amiss. That something might be happening beyond the physical level. That’s why I rushed out on you with my second sample.

I had to make sure. And I discovered I was right.

Astonishing. Impossible.

And yet here we are. Against all the odds.

We have more to learn from this unexpected revelation but there is growing consensus that it has something to do with ‘going back to basics’ as you like to put it. We still can’t pinpoint with any degree of certainty what triggered it. Is it our pheromones? Is it sexual stimulation? Or is it simply being close? Does love change the chemicals in our brain and thus in the rest of our body?

We are yet to find out.

And now look at us! Far from being pariahs, you and I are at the forefront of my species’ research. It’s an interesting predicament we’re in. I never thought I’d be my own research subject. But there you go.

You smile at me and I smile back. You’re so beautiful, and I can’t help but reach out to touch your cheek. I do it a lot—touching you. Can you blame me? After all we’ve been through? After almost losing everything? You press your lips into my palm.

Even after all that, you still don’t know how close I came to losing you. I still haven’t told you the true extent of it and I never will. When I woke and my people extracted the truth from me, they were still intent on dispensing of you. You were too much of a risk. You knew far too much.

It was with desperate hope that I scanned you from afar, hoping against hope that something more had happened between us. Something astonishing. Something miraculous. Something that could alter our teetering futures.

Then I discovered her—Esther.

You don’t know it. She won’t know it. But she saved our lives.

It didn’t take much convincing. A hybrid child. Rapid evolution. Interspecific breeding. The impossible made possible. We’re too interesting to destroy. And now here we are, on our own ship, safely away from my planet and safely away from yours; allowed to make a life for ourselves with little interference. All I have to do is fill out my log detailing our lives and send my findings back home.

We’re both living lives we thought we never could—together.

What more can we ask for?

You touch my hand, raising your eyebrows. ‘Something wrong?’

‘Sorry. Just thinking.’ I shake myself and straighten in my seat. Esther squirms in my lap. ‘So, where do you want to go?’

You turn back to the window. An irregular galaxy splashes across the darkness of space. Pink nebulae billow around us. We are many thousands of lightyears away from our homes and at the mercy of a future we cannot foresee.

‘I have no idea,’ you say.

I grin at you and you grin back. ‘Sounds perfect.’

***

Unnatural Instinct: Fallen

On angel wings he hauls you into hell where his master waits. Can you escape their clutches? Or will you lose your soul to the flames?

Part 3 of the Unnatural Instinct Series: the hard and fast, wacky and naughty sexual encounters between humans and their monstrous or magical lovers.

Now Available!