Short story

The Visitor

The debris of the FS 918 had been washed up the coast of Australia after fifteen months, thus confirming the plane had crashed on that fateful night of July 15th and there had been no survivors. They had found bits of the plane, and even baggage but no human remains. The plane had been flying from Singapore to Tokyo. It was a budget airliner. Suddenly, it lost contact with the ground crew and then disappeared. The airline office had been hounded by bereaved relatives and friends of the 230 passengers and crew. They could give no definite answers as no trace of the plane could be found.

Amar had lost his pretty young Japanese wife, Miko, in the crash. They had been married for only six months. Miko had been flying to visit her family. She was only twenty-six. Miko’s mother died of shock. She, a heart patient, could not bear the news of her daughter missing and had a massive heart attack and died. Her father and siblings were very sad. For them, it was a double loss.

Amar had become a sad widower. He had loved Miko with his heart and soul. After the wreck had been found and it was confirmed that no passenger or crew member were to be found, he did not want to continue in Singapore. Everything reminded him of Miko. He went back to India, found a new job and his family encouraged him to find a new life and a new wife.

After six years of loneliness, Amar tied the knot for a second time with Gita. She was the daughter of a family friend and had known Amar from childhood, long before he met Miko. They lived in New Delhi, where Amar worked in a multi-national. They were not unhappy and had a little boy.

Ten years had passed. One day their son, Shammi, came home and told Gita, “ Mamma, I found some bright lights towards Qutub Minar. It was like a beam from a flying saucer.”

“ You read too many comics,” said Gita to her eight-year-old.

“ No mamma, I am sure there was something shimmering in the sky. The light was too strong and it was impossible to see things clearly against the orange and golden sky of the setting sun.’’

Gita dismissed him. “ Enough of all this. Finish your homework now before your baba gets home.”

That night they all had dinner. Shammi was in bed by 9pm with the lights switched off. Around an hour later, the front doorbell rang. Thankfully, Shammi didnot wake up.

Amar rushed to the door, saying, “ I will get it. Who can it be at this hour?”

Gita followed behind. She was worried.

Amar opened the door and stood frozen. He could not believe his eyes! Seeing his stance, Gita went forward and saw a diminutive woman wearing a frock staring at Amar. Initially, she was a bit nonplussed. Then she screamed, “ Oh! My God!” For she recognized the woman from pictures Amar had shown her…Miko.

“ Who are you?” Gita shouted out. “ Oh my god!”

Amar swallowed.

“ I am Miko,” said the woman

Amar had recovered by now. “ You went down in the crash. I can’t believe it!”

Miko said, “ Please do not panic. I am just here for a visit. If you let me come in, I can explain everything.”

“ How do we believe you are Miko?” said Gita. “ She is supposed to be dead in the plane crash.”

“ Amar when you saw me off you said I was your life and must return to you safe and sound. Do you remember that? You would not let go of my hand. I had to shake you off and make a run for it. No one but I would know what you said to me as we were standing away from the crowds,” said Miko. “ Now, do you believe me?”

Gita looked at Amar. And he nodded.

“ Come in,” said Gita.

Miko came in. Amar noticed she looked just as did when she left for Tokyo and she was wearing the same dress. He swallowed again. He felt awkward! Was he a felon? He had two wives before him. What would he do? And there was Shammi, his heartthrob.

Miko started, “ Amar, I came to you to make sure you are all right before I plunge back into my new life.”

Amar and Gita looked puzzled. Amar said, “ I am very confused. Can you start at the beginning? How did you survive the crash?”

Miko sighed. “ It is a long story. There was no crash. We were teleported to Europa, the watery moon of Jupiter, by inhabitants of Xana 15, which you refer to as Kepler 186f on Earth…”

“ What?! You were abducted by extra-terrestrials…” began Amar.

“ Hold on. Hear me out,” said Miko. “ I have only a short while to tell the tale. Tomorrow before the crack of dawn, I must be back at Europa, where I will need to board the warpcraft, their high speed rocket, back to Xana. I have only a fortnight of leave and it takes a whole week to travel across. So, please hear me out.”

“ The FS 918 was teleported to the Xanelian space station under the oceans of Europa. It happened in a flash. Their technology is so advanced that they could shut down the plane and open the doors of the aircraft without communicating with any of us. Then one of them entered. They look pretty much like us except they are taller and have almost pale white skin, the color of paper.”

“ We were all panicking and screaming. The Xanelian just sprayed a can of something. And before we knew, we all passed out.”

“ Next, I woke up on Xana15. By this time, their translator had picked up English, Japanese and a number of other languages that the passengers spoke. They had studied our brainwaves to figure out the best way to communicate with us. Then the data had been fed into their translators so that they could communicate with us with ease. Initially, they looked like ghosts in clothes because of their skin color.”

Amar who could hold himself no longer said, “ You do not need to go back to them. We will work…”

“ But, I want to go back,” said Miko. “ Listen to me please.”

Amar and Gita looked aghast.

Miko continued, “ Initially, I was terrified as were the others. They were very clever about awakening us. Each group of scientists had a four or five humans to study. In all, there were fifty groups of scientists. They woke us up one by one. When I woke up, I felt a tremendous sense of well being, like I was waking up from a long restful sleep. But, when I saw one of them, I was terrified. Before I could scream, they telepathically conveyed, ‘We only want peace and well-being of all creatures great and small. Please bear with us. If you want to get back, we will take you to your home planet again. But, please bear with us. We have brought you here with the full intention of helping mankind.’ That was really calming. I was amazed. I had many questions and they were willing to listen. I told them I wanted to get back to you and my mother was sick. They knew and they were compassionate.”

“The shock of your disappearance killed your mother. Do you know that?” said Amar

“I know. They broke it to me later. They were very gentle and kind.”

“How can you justify their action? It caused the death of your mother and lot of pain to all of us. You have really changed,” said Amar.

“ That I have,” said Miko. “ To continue with my story…the Xanelians treated us well. They told us that they were the peacekeepers of many galaxies. Lot of the planets with evolved societies and advanced technologies were amazed at the way in which Earthlings, for that is how they address all creatures from Earth, were bent on destroying themselves. They were also afraid that if we continued with our destructive mode of existence, the rest of the galaxies would be affected. Our whole attitude to anything new or unfamiliar is one of fear and animosity. We have lost touch with the wonders of the universe, instead we spend time blowing each other up with weaponry that could damage the equilibrium of the universe. Also, we are bent on polluting the galaxy with our wasteful, consumerist technologies. Nuclear energy is a clean energy but we use it to self-destruct. We do not look for balance. They are saying that unless we rethink and reinvent our ways, we will bring unmitigated disaster to the whole universe in the course of the future.”

“ They are studying the passengers on the plane to arrive at a solution for all of us. We are giving them input to help improve our own future. Not one of us has returned permanently. About twenty of us have come back to meet with our families or friends and we all return tomorrow. We love our life there. I am part of the team that will find a new way of life on Earth that would be beneficial to all. We are working all together, not just the Xanelians and Earthlings but all other intelligent life forms in outer space.”

“ You mean there are variety of aliens,” said Amar, “ and you are working with them?

“ Yes,” said Miko, “ and enjoying it too.”

“ You want to continue with them rather than here?” said Gita, in an incredulous tone.

“ Yes,” said Miko. “ I love the life there. It is peaceful. There is no violence, no hatred. There are no guns, weapons of mass destruction, police or army. Everyone has a say. We are not more than a thousand five hundred inhabitants. Out of that one thousand are Xanelians, two hundred and fifty are Earthlings and the other two hundred and fifty are from various other planets. We all live and work in harmony.”

“ You mean there are only one thousand Xanelians on the planet?”

“ No. There are many more. I am talking of our facility. Xana has no police or army. They have no weapons. They have no nations. They use their technology and knowledge to benefit all creatures, great and small. The total population is one billion. The people are peace loving and kind. They mostly die of old age and communicate telepathically. The children are taught till the age of twenty and then they mature and marry at about thirty. Some go on for higher studies and some become scientists. The cleaning and menial jobs are done by Xanelians too. They regard all labor as dignified. They live up to two hundred years on an average.”

“ It is a Utopian world and they have made it happen,” concluded Miko.

“ Can you breathe normally there?” asked Gita

“ Yes. The atmosphere is like that of Earth. It looks and feels like Earth, even has four seasons! That is what makes it a perfect place to reinvent our society,” said Miko.

“ The Xanelians informed me about my mother and that you remarried as I had voiced my concerns to them,” said Miko.

“ How do they find out?” said Amar.

“ Xanelians sometimes visit Earth to collect data. They can disguise themselves as humans by drinking Earth juice. In fact they have invented a range of drinks that help them to become like inhabitants of different planets for a given time. As long as they have enough supply of the drink, they can keep living on the planet like one of the local inhabitants.”

“ One of them tracked you and visited you, disguised as a human.”

“ Who?” asked Amar.

“ Does it matter?” said Miko. “ I came down this time to reassure you that I am fine and happy. I knew you were very sad about me. I know that you can never feel whole till you know I am happy. I came for my peace of mind. You have a lovely wife and son. Enjoy them.”

A watch-like gadget on Miko’s wrist had started beeping. She looked at it and said, “ I need to go now. They are going to start back from Europa at the crack of dawn. Goodbye. God bless.”

And she walked out of the front door.

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