One summer evening, four teenagers in Newport, California went through their nightly routines of brushing their teeth, saying goodnight to family members, and pulling their bedcovers up closely around them before they finally drifted off to sleep, dreaming of love and ostriches and whatever their subconscious dragged up.
"Good night, Seth."
"Good night, Ryan."
Ryan snored in reply.
"Sleep well, Summer."
Summer murmured something under her breath as her eyes fluttered closed.
Marissa turned over in bed and pressed her pillow around her head.
They didn't know that when they woke up the next morning, everything would change for them. For now, they were comfortable in their idyllic summer peace.
Summer Roberts opened her eyes. There was a bright pastel sunrise outside the window, and she could hear birds chirping merrily in the distance. Something wasn't quite right. She closed her eyes and opened them again, and instead of a window, it was a screen on her wall. She cranked her head up, and the sounds of birds were being piped in through loudspeakers discreetly tucked against the wall.
"Damn it," she muttered under her breath as she stood up, "I must have had too much to drink last night. Did I have anything to drink?" She fell slightly, grasping onto the bedpost. "This isn't my bedroom." Making her way over to the wall, she looked out the window - the real window, not the weird-looking screen thing she originally thought was a window.
Below her was a sea of black, punctuated by the occasional pinprick of light, and she could see a green and blue orb surrounded by white swathes of cotton. It looked like those images taken from satellites that showed Earth from outer space. She felt the odd sensation of something cold dancing up her spine. This was a good practical joke on Cohen's part; she'd have to congratulate him later. For a minute, he really had her believing that they were -
Knock. Knock. The sudden sound of knocking on the door startled her out of her thought process. Before she could acknowledge the person on the other side, they asked, "Summer? It's me. Do you know what's going on?"
It was Seth, and while she was certain that he could possibly be a decent actor - after all, he had managed to hide his crush on her for so long, his skills were at least average in that area - the high-pitched whine in his voice made her fling the door open. "No," she said, collapsing against his shoulder in relief, "I thought it was you playing a joke or something."
He shook his head. "No. I thought this was a dream until I pinched myself." She looked up at him, her eyebrows furrowed, and he chuckled slightly. "Okay, maybe five or six times."
"Are any of the others here?"
"I am," a voice said from behind Seth, and Summer thought she was going to faint at the sound of Ryan's voice. "Not sure about anyone else."
"If we keep following the hallways around here, we should be able to find a person in charge sooner or later," Seth said. "It's one of the number one rules of any good space movie."
"Doesn't that generally apply to people holding lightsabers or guns or whatever though?" Summer asked.
"Well, yes, but we have to make do with," Ryan paused as he looked around for anything that could be made into a weapon, "a blanket?"
"Ah, yes, because all great space battles end with the bad guy running around looking like a rejected Scooby Doo villain. Brilliant plan, Ryan. It would have brought Darth Vader to his knees."
"I don't see you suggesting any bright ideas."
"Whoa. We're getting ahead of ourselves, now. Besides, we still have to figure out if we're the only ones here."
"This looks much too nice to be a UFO, Seth."
"Yeah, I don't think aliens have access to Neiman Marcus," Summer replied. "It's getting kind of stale in here. Let's go."
"Don't have to ask me twice."
The hallways were sterile in blinding white metal - "this place looks like a refugee from 2001," Seth muttered, and Ryan and Summer only nodded - and every step they took pinged loudly against the walls.
"I feel like a rat in a maze," Summer grumbled, "because we're not going anywhere. We're going around in circles." She stomped her foot for emphasis; the resulting sound reverberated around
"I'll feed you cheese when we get out of here," Seth said, patting his hand on the back of her shoulder. He paused. "Do they have cows in space?"
"That's one question I never thought I'd hear anyone say," Ryan remarked.
"Hello - you can have cheese without cows! Goat cheese, duh."
"Which still begs the question of whether or not you could get goats out here."
"If they can get us on board this stupid thing, then they can get a block of cheese or two, okay?"
They continued walking; there was nothing to talk about, nothing that didn't lead to a million questions at least, none of which they could even begin to explain. The expanse of white became repetitive and monotonous, with no change other than the fact they were moving forward; it almost seemed like they were walking in place. And then the hallway ahead shifted from white to a darker gray, and all three stood there, shell-shocked for a moment. "That's something new," Ryan said.
"Do we really want to go down there?"
"What other options do we have?"
"I think the window for running around screaming and banging on things for attention closed a while ago," Seth said, kicking at the wall morosely. "Our only other option is to come back the way we came."
"No," Summer replied, "I'm not going back the way we came. Not yet. Not until we get answers."
"Then onwards it is."
"Is that what I think it is?" Seth pressed at the edge of a closed opening in the wall.
"Yes, Seth, it's a door."
"I can see that - but how do we open it?"
Summer leaned over to investigate at a closer distance. "I don't see any doorknobs." She paused for a moment, before laying her hands flat on the cold, metallic surface and exerting pressure. "Ew. Not only do these creepy aliens not have Neiman's, they don't even conform to building standards." A loud popping noise emitted from the door, and it swung open, away from them. "Or..."
"This would be the point in the movie where the heroes would brandish their weapons, since they're entering the heart of the ship."
"Seth. We're not in Star Wars."
"It would be awesome to have a lightsaber right now, and you know it."
"He's right," Ryan replied. "It couldn't hurt - you know, if they existed, and we had access to them."
"We - I mean, you two - can take down any creepy aliens with your bare hands though, right?"
Seth and Ryan exchanged a look and shook their heads. "We'll see," Seth said. "No guarantees. Watching something isn't the same as doing it."
"And that's why the porn industry does so well."
-to be continued-