"Knowledge is power, power comes at a cost." I hold the pamphlet up to my face for most of the ride. My father is bringing me along on this trip, far from home. He never told me where I was going, just that I deserve to know. I don't know what he's talking about when he says it. We are in a strange place, in a desert, in a limo, driving farther and farther away from the airport.
"Daddy, are we there yet?" I ask my father.
"No, not yet." He responds, never taking his eyes away from the window.
"But I'm bored!" I scream, throwing myself on one of the luxurious seats. "I want my laptop!" I scream again in my shrill, childish voice. My father is rich, I am spoiled. The limo comes to a halt, forcing my little body forward.
"Now we're here" my father says, "be good."
The door opens, and my father steps out. I follow him and am greeted by a gun wielding tour guide. He wears a gray t-shirt with the logo "First Contact Inc." and a baseball cap made out of tin-foil that says the same. He looks down at me, resting the giant weapon on his shoulders.
"How are you, little fella?" He says, a smile on his face.
I suddenly become shy, and lose all ability to speak.
"Here take this" he says, handing me a tin-foil hat just like the one he wore. I suddenly become excited, the gift exciting me and I put it on my head with glee. The shiny, wrinkled aluminum foil feels rough against my hand as I grab the bill of the hat. I notice it is simply aluminum foil stapled to a baseball cap, and the 'First Contact Inc.' logo stapled onto that.
"Samael" my father says. I turn see him wearing the same hat. He kneels down, his eyes level with mine. "Do not take this off, do you understand me? Do not take it off." He says sternly, grabbing the front of my hat. "Come with me" he says, grabbing my hand.
A man comes in front of him, this one down not have a gun. He whispers something in my fathers ear, and looks down at me. He whispers something again, and my father hands him an envelope bulging with rectangular paper. The man flicks through it; all I see is the number 100 in green. As I said, my father is rich. This money is almost nothing compared to what we have.
My father kneels down to me again. "We are going to be separated once we go down the stairs. I'll be waiting for you when it's over, okay?" I look and see a rock ahead of us. I notice strangeness in the rock, and realize there is a secret covering to it. I think that the stairs must be hidden there. My father speaks again, "Listen to me. This is very important. Do not take the hat off, never take the hat off. You'll go with this guy. Listen to him, for once follow instructions." My father points to the man with the gun. He takes my hand and walks with me to the rock, the two strange men walk side-by-side of us.
The man without the gun puts his hand on a part of the rock, and the rock slides open. There are stairs within, leading downward. It is cold at the bottom, and it looks like a museum. It is quiet too. There are cases with small metallic discs, and figurines of large, gray human things.
The man with the gun takes me away, grabbing my hand and walking me away from my father. I do not protest, remembering my fathers words. He brings me to a room filled with other children. All of the others are wearing hats like the one I was given. It looks like a party, with loud music, food, and noise. There is a stage at the front, and rows of seats facing towards it. The seats are metal, and arranged in a big square. There is a long table at one end, with bowls and plates and strange objects that look like discs. The floor is cement and cold, very cold. Lights hang from thick wires on the top of the room, casting a bright, bluish light down the crowd.
A girl comes up to me. I can hardly hear her above the loud music. She is dressed nicely, in a dress with small flowers on it. She is holding a red, plastic cup and a plate of cookies. "Hi," she says, "do you know where we are? They took me away from my mommy, and I'm worried." I shake my head nervously. "Oh well, thank you." She walks away to a corner and blends into a crowd a anxious children.
I hear a metallic clink behind me, and see the man with the gun walk forward. I look behind, and the door has a metal bar across the wood. The music silences.
"Take a seat, take a seat everyone" I hear the man with the gun say, standing atop the stage. I sit along with everyone else. Four children walk slowly to the four corners of the square of seats, eyes staring ahead. "Now my boss wants me to say stuff like 'Courtesy of First Contact Inc. I reveal to you' blah blah blah and stuff like that. You want me to get to the fun stuff instead, right?"
A roaring "yes" comes from the seated throng of children. The lights turn off, it is dark. I cannot see in front of me. I hear strange noise, and a child screams that he is afraid.
The lights turn back on. The four children at the corners of the square of seats have changed. They are tall, taller than the man in front, with eyes bigger than my hand. They are thin, with a brownish gray skin color. They have long arms, with only two blunt fingers, like a dull pitchfork. They look like they are kneeling, their legs are bent. A thin line of brown skin connects the top and bottom of their legs, forming a sort of triangle. Their toes are like their arms, only two of them like a dull pitchfork. They have long slits of glowing, red eyes. There is no nose, and they are naked.
I run for the door. It is locked, and cannot be moved. Five others join me, screaming and crying for freedom. The rest are hypnotized, walking towards the front. I notice a door has opened in the middle of the stage; colors are coming from it and a bright light. Some mist comes from it, slowly filling the cold, cement room. I scream louder.
The four start to converge the five of us. They don't walk, but waddle. One of the children banging against the door drop their hat. He drops instantly, screaming about voices and that there is too much of something. He is shaking, begging for it to stop. The man with the gun rushes forward, and puts the hat back on. The child's screaming stops, and he walks like the others toward the front.
The four things come forward again, and I watch in horror as they touch the foreheads of my three other companions. They walk forward as well, dazed and hypnotized. I scream the loudest I have in my life, begging for freedom, or for the things to leave me alone. I now know fear, I am so afraid. I see an arm come towards my head.
It is like a dream. I see only fragments, children playing with anti-gravity toys, a four dimensional puzzle that stumped me, a piece of paper that wrote out my thoughts without me having to move, a hat to go over the one that I was wearing.
I wake up in the limo, my father staring out the window. It is cold now, and I know I am almost home. I feel different, smarter, artistic. I see a pad of paper with drawings that look like a professionals work, and know I had drawn them. I flick through the pad and see mathematic equations, biology sketches and notes, and much more. I know I have made all of it.
I look up stunned, looking through the window. I see my reflection in it, and the cap I was wearing. It was made of tin-foil with the logo "First Contact Inc."