(WP) Merely Curious

(WP) Merely Curious

My insomnia has me up in the middle
of the night again.

I sit up, being careful not to disturb
my husband, who is fast asleep beside me, one arm thrown over his eyes. It’s
tempting to wake him, but he’s been working so hard that I ignore the impulse.

Maybe a late-night walk will put me
to rights; exploring the starlit streets usually does the trick.

Getting up from the bed and tucking
in my husband again, I change into a pair of sweats and a muscle shirt,
grabbing my keys and a pair of sandals. I walk out the door, closing it behind

The night around me is quiet; the
only thing I hear is the chorus of the insects singing. It’s surprisingly
peaceful, and the restlessness I’m feeling releases its grip on me slightly.

I let my feet take control, trying
to escape from my racing thoughts.

I don’t know how much time passes
as I wander, but eventually, my mind quiets, and I run my fingers through my
hair. I hear the water and realize that I’ve come to the pier. I stand on the dock,
staring up at the star-studded sky. Across the way, I study the large water
towers, glaringly white in the black.

For a while, the sound of the waves
lapping at the worn wood of the pier soothes me.

I stand up, intending to finally
head home, when I am blinded by a searing, white light.

There is a distant whir, and no
matter how hard I squint against the glare, I can’t see, and tears stream down
my face.

What’s going on?

The moon shines down on the water
like a solitary silver eye in the sky, watching over all.

Mist rises from the water as if it’s
boiling, and before I realize what’s happening before it even occurs to me to
run, I’m hovering in the air, the wood of the pier vanishing from beneath my

For a moment, I think that I’m
having some kind of twisted nightmare, that I imagined all of this and I’m back
in bed with Daniel.

But then the light beams me upward,
and I land in a heap with a metallic thud.

The light in this place is harsh
and blinding, and I open my eyes. I’m being lifted onto a cold table and
stripped of all my clothes.

I’m beginning to feel like I’m
stuck in an X-Files episode.

There are two beings standing on
either side of the table, blurry in my vision. They’re chattering to one
another in a language that I can’t understand. Honestly, it’s all I can do not
to piss my pants in fear right now. Or laugh at the absurdity of it all, I don’t
know which.

I can hear machines in the
background, not unlike those at a hospital. Then a mask is put over my face,
and I’m hyperventilating; the room wavers.

Then the words I couldn’t
understand suddenly become intelligible.

“Worry not, human, we are not going
to hurt you.”

The voice has a cadence that is
impossible to identify. I can’t tell whether the speaker is male or female.

“We were… merely curious.”