The place we are taken to is clinically cold,
exactly as alien abductees have always
described the environs they encountered.
I see sections of wall screened off
making booths or cubicles, where I glimpse
people — ordinary people like me, but looking
pale and still. They are restrained by cords, attached
to their bunks, and to alarming, strange machines.
They are for the most part silent, but
some moan or groan. Then those others, the ones
who look like us yet subtly different from us,
go to them and stop their cries. I see them probe
the inert sufferers with instruments, just
as we have been told of in all the stories
that we didn’t seriously believe.
I am conducted to a figure reclining on pillows.
‘Here is your husband,’ I am told as I recoil
from the creature before me. I cannot describe
that head, the bulbous appendage where you and I
have a nose, a mouth, a chin, a neck. Those organs
have become one single swelling, machine-like,
growing all over its face. It speaks, harsh-voiced,
incomprehensible, in a sort of rasp. I think, ‘Is this
what I am doomed to for the long rest of my life?
Eventually my time there is done — until next time.
I must come back, no help for it, but for now
I may return to my home. So I do. How odd, how
altered my home appears after that episode.
The cats are welcoming, but they can tell
I am edgy. Nothing is as normal, nor can be.
I am simply thankful things were no worse.
He’s off the oxygen now, and that disconcerting
mask. They’re monitoring his heart all night
and they think, all being well, I can bring him home
tomorrow, thank God. (Don’t you just hate hospitals?)
April PAD Challenge #17: SF and/or Fantasy
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