Definition of Emotion: “a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” A key word in that definition is natural.
For those living on Deimos, a moon of what humans call “Mars”, emotions aren’t natural. For billions of years, my kind has lived in what I call “emotional neutrality” without one instance of deviation. However, that would soon change.
I awoke to the sound of the monotonous doorbell tone and three hollow knocks on the metal front door. I opened the door to my bedroom and looked down to the first floor. To my surprise, standing in the doorway were three odd looking beings wearing white suits with black spheres encasing what must have been their heads. Small green bumps began to grow on every inch of my body as the miniscule hairs on my arms became straight as pins. My eyes widened and I frantically rubbed the skin on my arms trying to smooth over the green bumps. I ran back into my room, slamming the door behind me and effectively knocking down my portable Auto-Wash stall.
What was happening to me? My face suddenly felt scorching hot as an unfamiliar moistness began to replace the green bumps. My very reality was melting at its seems. However, this episode would only intensify when I heard a sudden blood curdling blend of screeching followed by dead silence coming from the first floor. I burst through my bedroom door to see my parents lifeless blue bodies being dragged through the door by the white suited beings. I stumbled down the stairs and out of the house. As the door swung shut, I was blinded by a bright white light coming from a silver cone-shaped ship. Seconds later, I passed out with the last image ingrained in my brain being a sticker with “USA” plastered boldly under a rectangle that sported red and white stripes and a blue square with several five pronged shapes sitting inside it.
I woke up to the flat tone that emitted from my EWALL system every morning at 07:05. I looked around. Nothing about my room looked any different from last night. My Auto-Wash was back upright and my bed was neatly made over my body. I ripped the sheets off my body, threw on one of my seven grey matching shirt/pant/sock clothing packages and rushed downstairs to my older brother and sister sitting at the black Onyx table that we had breakfast at before school. My plate contained the usual gelatinous cube of Evol along with a glass of water.
“What are you guys doing? Ima and Abba are gone!”
“They are at work, ퟦퟦힺ,” my brother responded with eyes devoid of care.
“No they’re not! They were taken last night! Something took them!” My eyes lit up but then focused back on my carefree siblings. It occured to me how odd it was that my Auto-Wash was back upright in my room and that I awoke in my bed.
“ퟦퟦힺ, they go to work every day at 06:24,” my sister mumbled equally as detached as my brother. Her head tilted robotically to the right,”Why were you outside last night?”
“Because Ima and Abba were taken! I was trying to rescue them...wait, did you bring me back inside?”
“Yes. My EWALL said that you left your bed,” she replied, unwavered by my uncharacteristic behavior.
“And none of that seemed even remotely odd to you?”
“No,” she responded flatly, “You tend to sleepwalk so I brought you back inside.”
But it felt so real? Was I dreaming? I stormed out of the house. I began to try and assess what had happened when something caught my attention. There was a checkered mark on the ground next to the house. I put my index finger on the mark and raised it slowly to regenerate it. To my surprise, the scuff marks had come from the ship with the strange sticker. I knew then that something awful had happened. As I climbed into the ship, the sensation I’d felt the night before washed over me. The ship was equipped with a plethora of screens, dials and thousands of wires and miscellaneous devices strewn everywhere. Before I knew it, the door slammed shut. I frantically looked around for some way out when suddenly, the screens illuminated the dark cavern of the ship and an automated female voice began to speak.
“PASSENGERS OF THE KRONOS 187, PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS. TAKEOFF WILL BEGIN IN T MINUS 20 SECONDS.” One screen turned pitch black. Green letters slowly began to unfold on it.
ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL TO EARTH: 4 MINUTES
LANDING POINT: 44.310624, -69.779490
I crawled hastily to the door trying to yank it open with all of my strength. But before long, the automated woman’s voice came back on.
“TAKEOFF SEQUENCE INITIATED. HAVE A GOOD FLIGHT MR. WOODS, MR. LAWRENCE AND MR. MARRKANAN.”
The ship lurched upward, throwing my body against the floor. I could feel my insides pressing against my rib cage and back. After 30 seconds of being nearly flattened, the ship went into orbit and finally relaxed. I floated sideways into a seat. I took a deep breath and tried to gulp down the nonexistent saliva on my tongue. Before I knew it, the automated voice came back on.
“ LANDING SEQUENCE COMPLETE. PLEASE EXIT THE VEHICLE,” the voice exclaimed.
I ripped open the door and was immediately met by the brightest light I’d ever seen. Heat seared my back as the orange beams glanced off the ship making smaller white lights. I shielded myself from the light and looked around. I was surrounded by the most violent mix of color I’d ever seen. Two my right and left, dark brown structures held out trothes of small green needles. Directly in front of me stood a building that had to be at least four or five thousand feet tall with a huge sign with the letters “NASA” stuck near the top of it. But before I could figure out how to get into the building, several beings came out of the building wearing the white suits without the head compartments.
As absurdly small as their heads looked in their clunky suits, they were still quite intimidating. One of the being’s head tilted to the side as its miniscule eyes peered out at me. As if a switch had been turned on in their heads, all of the beings began to furiously charge at me. My legs turned rock solid and refused to move as my eyes widened, nearly filling my face. The white suited beings were now within ten feet of me, all of them now brandishing long black sticks with blue electricity weaving in and out of them. I finally regained control of my legs and sprinted as fast as I could as my wiry toes buried themselves in the ground. The beings slowly began to get further and further from me until they disappeared behind the hundreds of brown structures. I slowed to a stop.
Between a several brown structures, I could see a long grey path way with yellow dashes dividing the path in two sections. On the other side of the path there was a small blue sign that read “WELCOME TO AUGUSTA, MAINE’S CAPITAL CITY”. I stopped dead in my tracks. I had just found a new planet. I was the first being from Deimos to find the planet of Augusta Maine’s Capital City!
The corners of my mouth began to climb upwards towards my eyes. I tried to move my mouth back down but it continued to climb up my face until my mouth made a “U” shape. I walked onto the path and over to the yellow line. I put one foot over one line then the next foot onto the next one. I slowly got the hang of it and within minutes I was rhythmically bouncing from one yellow line to the next. My mouth opened and excreted a shrill shriek as my body buckled and shivered. However, my episode of shrieks were interrupted by the shrill cry of an odd ship. The red vehicle sported six rectangular windows, two bright eyes, and four thick disks that the the ship seemed to be moving on. I looked inside the vehicle to see who was controlling it.
Vigorously clutching a round black disk attached to the front of the vehicle’s interior was an odd looking creature. It had an unhealthy amount of hair on its ridiculously small head along with small dashes of hair above its multicolored eyes. It had a triangular structure protruding out of the center of its face along with hair sandwiched in between the structure and its mouth. Its pink lips hid two rows of ovular teeth along with a small tongue. The being stopped its vehicle and sat glued in its seat. It stared at me, mouth agape.
I looked around nervously to figure out what to do when a gigantic sign caught my eye. The fading brown sign read “FIX YOUR TEETH WITH DOCTOR KEITH” along with a picture of being that looked like it was the same species as the odd thing in the vehicle. The being had long brown hair and wore an odd expression. Its red lips seemed to be yanked as far apart as possible revealing two rows of ridiculously white teeth. As odd as the expression was, the being seemed to experiencing enjoyment. I looked back at the being in the car who was still frozen. I pushed my upper and lower lips apart as much as I could and widened my eyes as much as I could. I figured it was common courtesy on this planet to do so. Not the case. The being passed out cold.
I skipped over to the yellow line and started to walk on it when I realized the vehicle could easily move faster than walking. I put the being into the seat next to the seat with the disc in front of it. I sat down in the disk and tried to figure out how to operate it. I moved the disc to the left and write, but the vehicle would only shift slightly. I started to press random buttons, most of which turned various lights and temperatures on in the vehicle. I looked under the disk to find two petals. I slid my foot on top of the left petal and pressed hard with my foot. The vehicle lurched forward throwing my body against the seat. I jerked my foot off of the petal and the vehicle began to slow down until it was barely moving.
Catching my breath, I moved the disk to the right a couple inches. The vehicle followed. I centered the disk back to where it was and the vehicle followed. I pressed my foot on the petal again and moved the disk accordingly. Soon enough I was moving steadily down the grey path in my brand new land ship. As I steered the ship, the monstrous bright light that had bullied me when I landed seemed to be moving downwards creating a orange glow that spread all along the gargantuan dark green and blue mountains. I pressed the right petal and the vehicle jerked to a stop. My eyes were glued to the light that slowly descended behind the mountains. My chin stayed glued to my lap as time seemed to slow to a crawl. It was the most beautiful melting pot of color I’d ever seen. Harsh yellows and oranges fought for attention from the deep blues and greyish blacks that had started to invade the sky. These wars created elegant purples and reds whose sleek waves fluttered across the sky, sliding on top of both dark and light sides this epic. Slowly but surely, the darker colors covered the sky with animalistic tendrils that made sure to secure every corner of the sky. Before long, the entire sky was pitch black but bore tons of white lights that looked like they’d been poked into it.
I needed to find somewhere to sleep. I shook the being awake that had been knocked out stone cold next to me for the past couple hours. Its eyes slowly blinked awake.
“Honey, it’s the weekend,” it mumbled. “I told you not to w-”. The beings eyes were now wide open and it began to shake. “You...you’re an...a-alien,” it said.
“What? No, you’re an alien. How does that even make-,” I stopped, realizing that this must be the first time it had ever seen anything like me. “Look, I need somewhere to sleep. Where can I go?” I clenched my teeth as my foot began to tap rapidly against the vehicle’s floor.
“But...but how do you know-,” its tongue seemed to stumble every time it tried to speak. These beings were clearly idiots. I cut him off.
“Ugh, I don’t have time for this!” I pressed my finger in between his eyes and he immediately feel back asleep. I shrugged.
“Huh, never did that before,” I wondered aloud.
I turned the vehicle back on and steered it for at least an hour until I saw a lonely, poorly constructed house made with an odd red rock looking material. It loosely held three windows in place, barely held its roof up, and had a door that looked like it had been sitting under a ship for decades. The house looked primitive at best, but it would have to do for tonight. I stopped the car, got out and was immediately berated by an awful smell that was alien to me. Brown glass bottles littered the outside of the house all sharing the same stench that emanated out of the house. As I approached the house, I could hear screaming in the house along with the loud groans of the barely stable house moving with every scream.
“Shamus please! Calm down, you’re scaring him,” a female voice sobbed from the inside of the house.
“The kiz fucking retarded! He dzn eev know w scared is!” A man with a hoarse voice bellowed, slurring his words in the process.
“Don’t call him retarded! He’s just as capable as you and me!” The woman responded, barely being able to speak clearly.
Just then, a small being sprinted out of the door waving its hands over its head frantically. I stared as it burst through the door of a dilapidated square structure that seemed to be made out of the same material as the brown structures I’d seen at the NASA building.
I creeped over to the structure, opened the door, and slid inside. Inside the structure, visible only by a small light strung from the low ceiling, was a small being with its legs crossed still making the panicky waving motion with its hands. Its back was bent forcing its head to awkwardly hover over its feet. Its brown matted hair stuck to its head covering the top part of its murky brown eyes. One eye was the color of the night sky. I tilted my head to one side. What was wrong with this thing?
I closed the door behind me and sat down across from him with my legs crossed. I put my hand on his small shoulder, my long fingers easily wrapping over it. Slowly, it began to stop waving its hands over its head and looked up. Stained with some sort of liquid substance, he blinked twice and gave me a hollow stare that never quite caught my eye.
“Are you going to pass out?” I asked, remembering how odd the being who operated the vehicle had reacted to me.
“No,” it sniffled. “Why would I?”
“Because when I was on a grey pathway, there was a being that passed out when it saw me. It called me an alien.”
It wiped its eyes. “Your eyes are big and black. Your head is big. Your body is thin. You’re different. I like you,” it said with almost robotic inflection. “My name is Sam Hutchins. Do you have a name?”
“ퟦퟦힺ,” I responded.
Its mouth curved upwards slightly. “That was funny. How did you do that.”
“Its...my...name.” There was something really off about this small being that was also strangely familiar.
“Well, I can’t pronounce that. Can I call you something else?” He asked surprisingly lacking a condescending tone. He looked at a metallic object with a plastic handle that rested on a battered shelf. “How about Finn?”
“Uh,” I shrugged. “Sure.”
“Hey, why were you waving your hands over your head when I came in?”
“My dad’s drunk again,” he responded matter-of-factly. “I have autism so I’m not very good at dealing with stressful situations and when my dad gets violent, I come in here so I’ll be safe.”
“W-wha-,” I was utterly lost. “Three questions. What’s a dad, what’s a drunk, and what’s an autism?”
“You’re not very smart, are you,” he stated.
My face got hot. “I discovered a planet with inferior life on it! And I figured out how to operate a land vehicle within less than an hour!”
“W-Yeah, a car,” I tried desperately to make it sound like I knew what I was talking about.
“I’ll answer your questions only if you answer mine afterwards. I like to research so acquiring as much information as possible is ideal.”
“Deal,” I smirked.
“A dad is a male human who is the father of another human,” it responded. ”Him being my father would make me his son. A drunk is an asshole like my dad who consumes too much alcohol on the regular to be a good father, and according to Autism Speaks.org, autism is a disorder that impairs your ability to have social interactions, pick up on social queues, understand others emotions, among other things.”
“What’s an emotion?”
“An emotion is the natural reaction the body makes to certain situations, people, or moods”
“So that’s what’s been happening!” My eyes lit up, I finally figured out the reaction that had forced my body to awall. “I’ve been feeling hotness in my head, liquid all over my body, and these weird green bumps! See?!”
I held my arm up to reveal the surplus of green bumps that had covered my arms. The son started with his mouth ajar.
“Alien goosebumps,” he sounded out every syllable. “Ok, I have some questions for you. Where are you from? What’s it like being an alien? Do you have any special powers? Why are you here? Are you gonna suck my brain out of my ear? Do you like lobster? Maine has some excellent lobster. I caught one one time with an old lobster trap grandpa Rod gave me and mom cooked it for me and it was amazing. Are you here to annihilate the planet? If so, can I rule the world with you? Oh and-”
“Sloooooow dowwwwn,” I put my hands up defensively. “Give me some time to answer.”
“Ok,” the son pulled a rectangular device out of the shelf and opened it. It made his entire face glow with a dim light.
“I’m from Deimos, a moon of-”
“Mars. I know.”
“What? Oh, that’s what humans call it. Ok, um I don’t really know how to answer that question because I’ve never not been an ‘alien’ and the only ‘superpower’ that I know of would be that I can make humans fall asleep with my finger. I’m not here to kill anyone or rule your planet and I have no idea why anyone would want to eat a brain. I can’t imagine that they’d be healthy. I’m here because my parents were taken by some humans with white suits. And I have no idea what a lobster is.
The son finished clacking on the keys of the rectangular device and looked up.
“With white suits?”
“Yes. They had huge white suits on with rectangular packs strapped to their backs.”
The son’s eyes widened. “Astronauts.”
“Astronauts. According to Wikipedia, Astronauts are people who are ‘trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft.’”
“How do you know all of this stuff?”
“Part of my condition is the acute attention I give to certain things that interest me. I have to know about my disorder and I like knowing about places other than my hometown, including outer space and all places in the United States.”
“So what you’re saying is...you could get me to my parents?”
“Maybe. You know where they are?”
“Well, when I was in the ship, the automated voice said that we landed at...uh...44.31..0624, -69.7...79...490. But I have no idea what that means.”
“They’re coordinates to the Augusta Space Station!”
“Well Sam, that’s my next destination,” I grinned at him. “Thank you, for everything.” I got up to leave when he tapped my heel.
“Can I come with you? I’ve never really been on an adventure and I’ve always wanted to leave this house,” he asked with a hopeful twang stitched into his tone. “I have a shotgun. It’s a weapon used to hurt the people who took your parents from you.”
“I need all the fire power I can get,” I said.
We both got up and walked out of the small structure and walked toward the car I’d steered to get to the house. By that time, the screaming had stopped and the bright light was rising into the black sky spraying rays of light against its colorless counterpart. The two of us, an autistic human child and a formerly emotionless alien, walked into the sunrise ready to conquer my parents white suited captors.