This week's story is a continuation of last week's from Joe's perspective. What else do you think might happen if you've been absent for thirty-seven years?
The story that he was dead was mind boggling for Joe. Seeing little Sandy all grown up and the mother of two was a shock in and of itself. Then he went to try and get a place of his own only to find he’d been declared dead over a decade earlier!
Then again, it’d apparently been over thirty years since he was taken.
Time in space is a strange thing. Without the endless cycles of day and night, seasons and years, time blurs together. Thirty years passed in what seemed like just five or six to him flitting about from one adventure to another.
He’d aged, true. Joe had a few more inches of forehead than he had as a young man, and what was left of his hair was more silver than brown. He had a few lines in his face, but far less than he would have thought for a man in his sixties. He’d paid no mind to these things, gradual as they were. Who notices a few less hairs or a new wrinkle or two when you’re exploring the stars, discovering wonders and running for your life?
A strange couple of fellows showed up at the farm house door after a full week of making calls and waiting endless hours at different government offices trying to set things straight. Joe was reluctant to let them in, especially with the family gone. Then they read him his life’s history right up to the evening he disappeared, and when they mentioned a flying saucer, he made the decision to let them in.
Joe asked them to sit and went to pour them each a glass of lemonade. With as hot as it was, he was half afraid one of them would drop from heat exhaustion wearing black, wool suits as they were. That, and it gave him a minute to collect himself.
“So you fellers are here because a dead man’s come back?” Joe asked as he sat the glasses in front of the agents.
“Yes, sir,” said the woman. “It happens now and again, and it’s our job to debrief the travelers and help them reintegrate back into society.”
“You want me to snitch on ‘em then.”
“Not in so many words.” The lady agent grimaced and shifted in her seat.
“Anything you can tell us would help pinpoint any troubles you may have in coming weeks,” the other man broke in. “Illnesses or PTSD and such. Sometimes travelers had and easier time of it and picked up useful skills that allowed us to get better positions for them than we would have been able to otherwise.”
“I couldn’t have asked to be snatched by a better bunch than the Zolacksians,” Joe said. “They were more curious than anything, and they let me tag along for a while.”
“Zolacksians?” asked the female.
Joe nodded. “Funny little folks. Real long fingers, big eyes, crazy hair, and they’re always listening to music.” He chuckled. “They love banjos!”
Each story in this series is 500 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first line generator like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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