They didn’t come as we expected, in gravity-defying ships from the sky.
Their first Sputnik-like apparatus fell out of the heavens like a meteor. No crop circles. No muffled radio signals. No stars that swelled at alarming rates until we realized they weren’t stars. It crashed down near our town in Nebraska, a suburb of Lincoln. Eyewitnesses – who somehow found their way into existence only after the first news crews noticed the ship – stuttered to explain it. Some said it was a light like the sun which flashed into spontaneous being. Others swore they saw little green men in spacesuits come waltzing out with alien machine guns.
They sent the last remaining SEAL Team to investigate it. When they banged on the capsule and no one answered, they destroyed it best they could. And found there was nothing inside.
It was space debris. It had to be. Some idiotic invention of our forefathers gone awry.
Were we not Man? Remolding the world in our own image, peeling away layer by layer the legacy of our simple-minded ancestors? Were we not in every way superior, in mind, in intellect, in society?
“Scientists are confident that the spacecraft was unmanned,” came the crackling voice of the news anchor, his image, pixelated. “It seems to – ” We never found out anything else from that broadcast because the one working TV in the town square cut out. Like it always did.
Our town found the first one a week a later. A little girl came crying to her mother one day that a “lightening doggy” had shocked her. More and more began to congregate around our homes, darting in and out of visibility. But it wasn’t until one – which seemed to be the master of the group – made us aware of its presence, publicly, that we began to think of them as aliens at all.
They weren’t humanoids. They were nothing like us, we thought. Animalistic bodies. And yet… they were strangely beautiful, in their own way. Pale, iridescent fur, slicked back like a black cat. It shimmied and rippled and exploded with color. Small sparks danced across it every few seconds. We all stared in wonder. They were so sweet, so unassuming.
But so powerful.
We assumed they were incapable of higher intelligence. Assumed we were in every way superior. Until one shimmied its way up to the power lines.
“– sightings of these apparatuses in Phoenix as well.” We stared at the creature. We stared at the town television, now functioning perfectly. We couldn’t decide which direction to wonder at.
The mayor soon sent a telegram to the office of the President that these creatures were not only unthreatening, but able to help us. And though we could not speak their language, strangely, they seemed to have a certain understanding of us; of our needs, of our habits, of even our words. And we loved them for it. Loved what they gave us, loved that they gifted us. Solving our energy crisis one town at a time.
More of their spacecrafts came, slowly. They crashed down at random, we thought. But they always landed outside of cities in crisis. They’d done their research on us, it seemed. But we didn’t notice. We didn’t ask why. Because we accepted their gifts that could save us. The more that came, the more we knew of their presence.
Then at some point, they brought with them something that could translate their language for us. But we didn’t notice. We didn’t ask why. Because they whispered all that which we wished to hear. And their voices echoed. They informed us that, if we could only put our faith in them, they could save us. Save us. Save us.
They came without guns and came without bombs. How could we fear them? Fear such beauty, fear such benevolence, fear such lovely creatures, over whom we – as man – were still in every way superior? Surely, were these creatures a threat, we would crush them.
To us, we were in complete control of the electric creatures.
To them, we were but frogs in pots. And they had patience when we did not.
Someone at the edge of town lost his mind and screamed that the water was getting hotter. We fixed his unbalanced brain with a shotgun. But we all envy him these days.
Because now… now the water is boiling.
*Inspired by The Twilight Zone and the soundtrack for Arrival.