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Science Fiction Adventure Fiction

I needed a break from work, hell, I needed a break from life. My workload had tripled at work and there was no way I was going to be able to function at the end of it all. Deciding I had had enough for one day, I closed down my computer and headed out

Unfortunately, going straight home was not an option. My four-legged friend, Artemis, was out of food. I teased her all of the time about how she was eating me out of house and home, but when you buy the largest breed of German Shepherd, a King Shepherd, you get what you pay for.

As I was checking out at my local grocery store, I saw a bulletin board near the exit. I stopped by to see what all had been posted. No big deal, usually just a bunch of ads for this and that, but there was one advertisement that looked like it had tear-off pieces of paper and only one was left. At the top of the main piece of paper, there was a picture of a log cabin and then written underneath:

Need a break from work and life in general? Give us a call and we’ll rent you this beautiful cabin on the lake! Pets are welcome, so give us a call now!

I almost ignored it, but my innervoice said to tear off the last piece of paper. When I got to the car, I loaded the groceries in the trunk and then called the number. The voice mail came on and there was a recording that basically told me that if I was interested in the cabin to text a number and someone would get back to me.

Somewhere around six a.m., my phone started ringing. I jolted upright in my recliner. I had fallen asleep watching another alien conspiracy show. It’s no wonder I get tired halfway through the day.

“Is this Trent Argus?” asked a female voice on the other end.

“Yes. Who is this?” I asked.

“We received your text about possibly renting the cabin. When and how long are you thinking?” asked the voice.

“I hadn’t planned on anything yet. I would still need to ask off from work,” I replied. “Who is this again?”

“I’m sorry, my name is Sheila with Interstellar Getaways. If you would like to go ahead and book a weekend with us, I’d be happy to get a cabin reserved. This particular cabin does not stay vacant very long, so you would want to act fast,” informed Sheila.

“Okay, just a sec, let me check the vacation calendar at work,” I said. I lied. There was no vacation calendar at work. It was me and another guy at the office. I worked in a special projects division for the government. I never saw anyone other than the other guy and we never talked, so I’m pretty sure no one was going to care if I was gone. 

I sent an email to my boss, who I also never saw, and told him that I was going to be out due to being sick. I sent the email and within just a couple of seconds got a reply email wishing me well and to come back whenever I felt well again. Let’s see, um, I’m going to be ‘sick’ for a long time, so ya know, I’ll be back at some point. Ya right!

“Okay, it looks like I’m free tomorrow,” I said.

“Great! Will that be for three days then?” Sheila asked.

“Sure. Three days of no work and a cabin in the woods, I’m pretty sure Monday will be productive,” I said.

“I sure hope so! Okay, so the total for the next three days will be three hundred and ninety five dollars. How would you like to pay?” Sheila asked.

“Um, credit card okay?” I asked.

“Absolutely. Let me just get those numbers from you and I’ll get that processed,” she said.

I gave her my credit card information and yes, I know that was stupid, but I had fraud protection on my card, so good luck with that. Once the payment had been received, she texted me the instructions on how to get to the cabin. It looked to only be a couple of hours drive, so that should be easy enough.

I ended the call and stared blankly into space. I had never done something like that. I must really be sick.

I decided to go ahead and get up and get three days of clothes packed. I always packed an extra day’s worth of clothes though. You just never know what might happen.

Once I was done packing my own stuff, I realized that I needed to bring three days of dog food for Artemis. Now that was going to be interesting because she literally eats enough for three smaller sized dogs.

“You’re going to have to eat light this weekend girl, but I promise I’ll make it up to you when we get back. Okay?” I asked Artemis.

She lifted her beautiful, giant head up off the floor and looked at me like was speaking gibberish.

Woof! 

“Yes, I promise. Go get your blanket and let’s go,” I told her.

She thundered across the house to where her bed was and grabbed her blanket and dropped it at my feet.

“Good girl! Okay, I think I have everything. Are you ready?” I asked.

She gave me a tail wag and a slight whine, which meant she was ready, but not really wanting to go. Artemis was a stay-at-home kind of girl. 

Despite leaving at the crack of dawn, I still managed to soak up the scenery. It’s kinda hard to beat a nice mountain drive.

Before I had left, I had entered the address into my phone. I didn’t want to have to look down at the screen while trying to drive. Especially in the mountains. All kinds of large animals had been known to jump out in front of vehicles.

My phone beeped at me, signaling that the turn off was up ahead. I almost missed the turn had it not been for my phone screaming at me reminding me that the turn was right there. How was I supposed to know though? There was so much growth right there at the turn, I wondered how many other people almost missed the turn like I did.

Now that I was almost to the cabin, at least that’s what my phone’s gps was telling me, I was starting to wish I had just stayed home and faked being sick.

The cabin came into sight finally. There was nothing that stood out about it. Nothing that screamed relaxation. It was just a log cabin- four walls, a roof and a few windows. It could have been worse I guess.

I got out and looked around. There were dense trees as far as the eye could see and it looked like the road I came in on was the only way back out.

“Well girl, no chance of being bothered up here.”

I pulled out my cell phone to see if I had any signal and the answer to that was a resounding no. There was no cell service. I hope there were no emergencies over the course of the next three days.

I grabbed my bag and Artemis’s dog food and headed towards the front door. The door looked like the rest of the house, plain. It’s a good thing I wasn’t paying for a real getaway.

I headed inside and set my stuff down. I looked around and noticed a bed in the corner, a couple of arm chairs by the fireplace, a kitchen, and a small dining table. There was nothing that screamed getaway. Well, at least I wasn’t at work.

As I was looking around the rest of the cabin’s interior, I noticed there was a note on the table. I picked it up to see what was written on it.

Trent,

Thank you for choosing to stay here! I hope you enjoy your stay. There are a few things you should know about the cabin. Tthis particular cabin has a few special features that some of our other cabins don’t have. If you look to the left of the front door, you’ll notice a small control panel. Feel free to check that out. It has some pretty neat features!

Also, if you go outside for any reason, you’ll want to stay close to the house. You’ll find out why depending on what you decide to do for the weekend.

There are a few other features in the house, but I’ll let you find those. I don’t like giving away secrets!

Have fun,

Sheila

I was thoroughly confused. What did Sheila mean by if I go outside I should stay close? I put the note back down on the table and walked over to the front door where she said there was a small control panel and sure enough, there was. There looked to be a small keyboard and a screen.

I tapped the enter button on the keyboard and the screen lit up and the word Welcome! appeared. The next thing that came up on the screen was a question asking me where I would like to go. 

“What do you mean where I want to go?”

I heard a strange noise behind me and I quickly turned around and saw what looked like a hologram in front of me.

“Greetings Traveler! My name is Sheila or also known as Sentient Housing Entity Illuminating Linguistics Automaton. I am here to take you anywhere you want to go, fulfill any desire, and simply to give you the life you’ve always dreamed about. Now, where would you like to go first?”

I watched as this holographic woman stood staring at me, more like through me, but I thought I’d play along.

“Sahara Desert,” I replied.

“Destination received. Buckle up cowboy, you’re in for a bumpy ride!” the hologram said. 

The floor beneath me started to vibrate and then somewhere within the cabin, there was a strange high pitched mechanical whine. I tried to look out the windows, but they appeared to be blocked off or covered over by some sort of window coverings.

“Destination arrival in thirty seconds. I hope you brought your sunscreen Mr. Argus.” Sheila said.

I was thoroughly confused now, but still willing to play along.

The floor suddenly stopped vibrating and the high pitched mechanical whine ceased as well.

“You may now exit the cabin, but remember to stay close at all times,” the hologram named Sheila said.

I opened the door and nearly fell backwards. Outside the front door lay a vastness of sand and a sun so bright it was blinding.

“Sheila, can I really go outside?” I asked.

“Yes, of course. Did you think I was kidding?” she asked me with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

“Um, no, sorry,” I replied.

I felt something bump my leg, it was Artemis. She too had seen outside and was curious.

“Well girl, shall we?” I asked her.

She looked up at me like I was confused. Something was telling her that we should not be seeing what we are seeing.

“Well, let’s go girl, but we better put a leash on you. I don’t need you out wandering the Sahara Desert.”

I got Artemis leashed and stood at the door. Something was still bothering me about all of this. 

The hologram was still standing there smiling. 

“This better be a dream and I’m really at home passed out in my recliner.”

We took a step forward and the warm sun above immediately started baking my skin. Artemis started panting. I reached down and scooped up a handful of sand. Yep, it was real.

Now I was curious. This cabin that was before me was no regular cabin. I wanted to try something.

“Come one girl, let’s go back inside where it’s cooler,” I said to Artemis.

We hurried inside and immediately started cooling down.

“How was your trip?” Sheila asked.

“Great, but can I pick somewhere else to go?”

“Of course, you just let me know where you would like to go,” Sheila replied.

I thought for a minute, but then an idea came to me. 

“Sheila, how about Earth's orbit? Somewhere we could just sit in stationary orbit and watch the Earth go by.,” I asked.

There was a pause, like she was thinking about it.

“Coordinates entered. Opening wormhole. Better get your space suit on!” Sheila said.

There was no way she was taking us to space! 

The floor began to vibrate and that same whining noise from earlier started up again.

“Thirty seconds until arrival,” Sheila warned.

I couldn’t see out any of the windows to tell if we really were in space or at least on our way up. I guess we’ll find out.

“We have arrived at your destination. Please be careful when exiting, so you don’t float away.”

I slowly opened the door and looked out. There was nothing but blackness. 

“You may proceed Trent. You are truly in space,” Sheila said.

“How is this possible?” I asked

“It’s a combination of wormhole technology and energy fields that surround us.” Sheila replied.

“Man, I gotta stop watching so many science fiction shows.” 

“Trent, if you look to your left and down, you should see the Earth. What do you think?” Sheila asked.

I spotted the blue green orb beneath me and gasped. I was literally hanging above the Earth.

“Any chance you are an alien?” I asked.

There was no answer. I turned around and saw Sheila staring at me. I had a strange feeling there was something behind the hologram that was staring at me. 

I closed the door and walked over to Sheila and looked her in the eyes. At first, everything seemed okay, but then I noticed a reflection in her eyes that moved. I looked behind me and there was nothing that matched what I had just seen in her eyes.

I turned back around and looked back into her eyes again and stared long and hard into them.

“How may I help you Trent?” she asked.

“You can start by telling me who you really are and don’t lie to me. Humans don’t like being lied to. Especially by visitors from another planet!” I replied.

Her gaze suddenly shifted and she now stared back at me, but with more human eyes.

“How did you know I was real? No one has ever been able to tell.”

“There was a reflection in your eyes that didn’t match with what was behind me,” I answered.

“I’ll have to change that. You are the only one to see me for who I really am.”

“Does this mean you are real?” I asked.

“Open the door behind you,” Sheila instructed.

I stared into her eyes for another second, but then turned around and went to the door. I turned back around to look at Sheila.

“Go ahead, open it.”

I turned back around and opened the door, but slowly.

Outside the door was a small craft the size of a small bus. A hiss and a sudden bump from the other ship and an enclosure came out and enveloped the area where I was standing in. A hatch opened, with emanating light coming from behind it, then an armored figure appeared. It started coming towards me, slowly floating in the vacuum of space.

She reached me finally and I backed up into the cabin so it would have room to move.

I shut the door and watched as a gauntlet came up and disconnected a hose from the helmet. A hiss came from the hose as oxygen escaped, then with the other gauntleted hand, the being took off their helmet. 

I had two blink at least twice before I realized I was staring back at what looked to be like a human.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“I am Sheilandria or Sheila for short. You are the first human to ever figure out the true meaning behind the cabin.”

“The what?” I asked.

“Long ago, before your star was even around, my race sent out thousands of these ships, or cabins as we call them, in search of other beings that would want to join us in our travels across the known universe. So far, you and maybe a handful of other beings are the only ones to have figured out the true purpose of this structure,” Sheilandria explained.

“Um, I don’t know what to say.” 

Woof!

“Your companion seems to know. Would you like to join me?”

“I, I have a place on Earth. A job to go to everyday,” I said.

“All of which will never miss you when you leave. I, on the other hand, will miss you if you say no. Please come with me Trent, this will be the most exciting thing you have ever done and will do!” 

“Is this the hologram talking or the real you?” 

Sheilandria stepped forward and leaned in and kissed me. I was just kissed by a freaking alien woman!

She pulled back her head and smiled.

“Now, do you want to go with me or back home to your empty house and your companion?”

“Well, as long as Artemis here doesn’t mind space travel, I don’t mind. Besides, the view isn’t half bad,” I said, then gave Sheilandria a wink.

“Good choice. Let me hide my ship, then we can go down to your residence, so you can get whatever belongings you wish to bring back with you.”

“Sounds good to me. What do you say girl, should we go make some new friends?”

Woof!

“I think that’s a yes!” Sheilandria said.

“See, you speak canine already!”

What a journey that lies ahead.

January 18, 2023 23:58

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3 comments

Wendy Kaminski
01:34 Jan 26, 2023

This was really cool and creative, Andy! I did not know there was such a thing as a King Shepherd, but I looked them up, and they are gorgeous! They look like big shaggy sweethearts, especially when I read something like "grabbed her blanket and dropped it at my feet." D'awww. :) I particularly enjoyed the finale where the main character got a chance to win a free space vacation, so to speak. I'd do it! :) Fun story, and welcome to Reedsy - good luck this week!

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Andy Sinclair
01:55 Jan 27, 2023

Hi Wendy! Thanks for reading my submission. I’ve been trying broaden my author horizon. I only have a few books out and brand new one coming out February 7th, opportunities like this one will help fuel the fire! Thanks again! Btw, I write under the pen name Stephen St. Clair. I also have a podcast called The Crafted Quill Podcast.

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Wendy Kaminski
02:04 Jan 27, 2023

Cool, thanks! :)

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