I was slowly being shaken awake. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was a young woman. She had a sweet, warm, friendly face, like the kind you'd expect to see on a vet or a nurse. She had these gentle eyes and short, blonde-ish hair. Maybe if she were walking down the street, she wouldn't catch your attention, but she had a face that made you feel safe and content. It was a face you wouldn't mind waking up to every morning.
She seemed relieved to see me awake. What had happened to me? That smile on her face, though, seemed to have an almost magical quality that immediately dispelled my worries. I excused myself to the bathroom.
I splashed water on my face in an attempt to wake myself up. I still wasn't quite sure where I was. And who was that woman? I decided to check my pockets. I had no wallet, but in one of my back pockets was a photo. It was her! But it looked like a professional photograph, and I couldn't even be sure it was really the same person. She was wearing an expensive-looking dress, with perfect make-up and hair. But there was that unmistakeable smile -- was that her trademark? Was she some sort of music star? On the photo, I found what appeared to be her name: "Krystal."
I left the bathroom, and on the way back to the living room, a bedroom to my right caught my attention. I went for a closer look and found no one was there. There was a bed, some posters on the wall, and minimal furniture. I wondered whose bedroom it was, and suddenly an image of a different young woman flashed in my mind. She was small, petite, with long black hair back in a ponytail. She wore this look on her face as if she'd just eaten a disappointing meal, and it seemed stuck that way. But despite that, I knew she was a genuinely good person -- a friend. For some reason, I felt there should have been some folded towels piled on the bed, but they were absent. Where were they? The laundry room?
I quickly brushed that concern out of my head and returned to Krystal in the living room. She was wearing a large, puffy jacket. I guess it was pretty cold, and it must've only been colder outside. She suggested we head out to the diner. Without really knowing what she was referring to, I grunted in approval and followed her out the door.
As I stepped out the door, I could feel the cold air bite my lips. The heat was slowly leaving my face. I followed her along and I could see the diner a short distance away. She was quiet, and I wasn't really sure what to say.
"Say... Are you... Krystal?"
She slowly turned to face me, and at first I was worried I'd said the wrong thing. But then I saw that face, that smile... She looked as if she'd just found someone she thought was dead. She let out a small scream as she pounced on me and threw her arms around my neck, and before I knew it, she was kissing me. What was going on? Who is she? I couldn't feel her body against me, just her puffy jacket. But I felt the warmth on my lips, and my cares were brushed aside.
I was standing on the edge of the sidewalk, so I stumbled backwards a bit from her attack, but I didn't want to let go. It seemed people were exiting the diner and approaching us.
"Hey! What are you doing? You didn't hurt her, did you?"
The accusatory tone instantly filled my head with rage, like boiling water into a cup. I jumped back from Krystal, from everyone. "What are you talking about?" I screamed at the crowd.
My gaze turned to Krystal and words flew from my mouth before I knew what they were. "What did you tell them about me? WHAT DID YOU TELL THEM ABOUT ME?!"
It took a few moments for me to see her face through the cloud of anger. She was standing straight, but her eyes were cast down at the ground. She looked like a child being scolded by a teacher. I could tell she wanted to cry, but was able to hold it back -- not out of strength, but out of practice. She had lost her smile.
What was I doing? I quickly snapped to my senses. Where did I even find those words? The anger quickly drained.
But before the rest of the words could tumble out of my mouth, I heard a noise behind me like a loud click followed by a low hum. It was as if someone flicked on the switch for a fluorescent bulb the size of a house. The noise was loud, and my mind quickly leapt to an old Sci-Fi movie with a UFO.
I turned around and instinctively looked up, and was somehow surprised to see a large circle in the sky blocking out the sun. It was low to the ground, probably no more than 20 feet away from us, and had three large blue circles of light. From that point of view, it seemed impossible to guess at the overall shape of the object before us. But while I was staring at it in disbelief, I could hear the crowd behind me cheering and hollering as if a local hero had just returned home from war. Why was this thing so familiar to these people? What had I missed?
What is this?
What IS this?
WHAT IS THIS??