Alien Signpost

Submitted into Contest #103 in response to: Write about a character looking for a sign.... view prompt

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Science Fiction Mystery Fiction

“It’s just so hard to fathom, But, how are we going to gather a sign that this wonder was done by aliens? This place has been searched over and over again!” Arnold said, looking toward the top of the nearest of the three large Egyptian pyramids, the pyramid of Khufu. Arnold is a middle to old-aged, stout man of medium height, white hair, and tan skin, with dark eyes. He is dressed in the iconic wide-brimmed, domed, straw hat with khaki shorts and short-sleeved, collared, shirt as portrayed by the archaeologist of old movies. He used a white handkerchief to wipe away the sweat around the open collar of his shirt.

“There’s no way the enslaved Egyptians carted that much stone for bread and beer,” Susan, his wife, agreed. She was a retired structural engineer of the same age as Arnold, who had done the math. She was more pleasant looking than pretty, yet her sun wrinkled face belayed an attractive front that encouraged communication. She is blond, hair in a bun under that hat, blue-eyed, and garbed in the same ridiculous outfit as her husband.

It was a hot day under the direct sun.

“Time to climb back on board and we will drive right up to the edge,” Mohammad, the tour guide, called out in a voice loud enough to carry to all the Western and Asian tourists. Arnold and Susan clamored onboard the shaded couch and claimed a bench to share. A short time later they disembarked at the edge of the stonework to admire the construction stretching far into the sky.

“3 million stone blocks, weighing up to 60 tons, were transported from different quarries that were kilometers away,” Mohammad informed them through a megaphone.

“60 tons is a shoot load of rock,” Susan commented and, of course, Arnold nodded in agreement. “And without roads,” he added.

Mohammad droned on but then said, “Cut with a blade 50 times harder than diamond and with more precision than we can provide today.”

“I bet,” scoffed Arnold.

“As a builder, you know how hard it is to lay a foundation and keep it flat. There isn’t even a one-centimeter variance between the different builds. Just how the hell did they get these heavy blocks so strait that they could build all the way to the top without a wave?”

“It sure demonstrates that the labor had some help with cutting, toting, and design,” Arnold said soberly.

“It does, doesn’t it? Now that I see it first hand, I can’t imagine any way that primitive peoples could have done it. It just had to have been aliens, whether they even used laborers is more debatable than whether an advanced civilization is responsible for this work!” Susan asserted.

Mohammad was talking again. “The faces form two vertical planes making a small angle of 27 minutes. Therefore, the pyramid does not have four sides but instead, there are eight. With these characteristics, the pyramid builders wanted to point out the equinoxes and solstices.”

“Oh crap, they’re blowing my mind!” Susan spouted, throwing her arms into the air in supplication.

Arnold put his arm around her shoulders and guided her along the path that the others of the group were following. “Soon enough we’ll be out of this heat and we can share some bread and beer.”

Susan moved along but her head was spinning. “The trouble with this experience is that you can apply the physics and prove that aliens did this, maybe before the civilization along the Nile river even reached its height, but the conclusions can’t be sold to the common man. It just doesn’t sink in!”

At the end of the tour, they boarded the chartered bus for the ride through the city streets back to their hotel. Everyone they passed, that didn’t work the tourist industry, looked up at them through the windows with ill-concealed jealous hatred. At the hotel entry, there were two non-native and alert guards stationed in a blind with disguised cover. They were armed with M4 automatics with extra clips slung across their torso.

“Maybe we’ll find some definitive proof at our next stop,” Arnold soothed as they entered the bar for their beers. While relaxing, they decided between a visit to Machu Picchu in Peru, or The Pyramid of the Sun in central Mexico. They decided on the Inca treasure in Peru and then went to their room to settle in for a cool afternoon nap.

Before a week was passed, they flew into Cusco and took a train up the mountain to the strongholds’ depot. From there they took a bus with many other pilgrims to the ruins.

“I’m not going to climb to the top of this mountain Huayna Picchu. This is far enough,” Arnold announced. He was dressed, both of them were dressed, in the adventurer costumes they had worn in Egypt.

“No, it isn’t necessary to climb further. These buildings are what I wanted to see. Look at these boulders! They fit together without the slightest crack, after all this time,” Susan enthused.

“And this ground rumbles from time to time,” Arnold added. “These paths have been picked over, too. I don’t think we are going to find any evidence of alien activity here either.”

“But it’s impossible for these stones to be cut so precisely and moved so far without help from an advanced culture,” Susan stated.

“Everyone on the train up here expressed the same theory – that these stones were placed with help. Every one of our fellow tourists thinks so.” Arnold said.

“But again, not proof,” Susan said.

“Maybe we should go somewhere that hasn’t been explored as much as these ruins?”

“We could try China,” Susan said and Arnold agreed. “This is an amazing place. I’m glad I came.”

In just two days they found themselves in the middle of China, in the city of Xi’an. After resting for two days in their five-star tourist accommodations, they booked a trip to the largest of the pyramids, the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, located a short distance into the countryside. For the tour they dressed in their explorer outfits, again.

After they parked they were encouraged to exit the bus and form a line. They were encouraged with hand signals, the Chinese guides did not speak English, but they went about their business without a hard glint of hate escaping from their eyes.

“They are covered with weeds!” Arnold exclaimed as they approached the large mound. The path didn’t travel up the sides of the ruin but transversed around the sides.

“The brochure said that the government hasn’t opened it up, or the others surrounding in the near distance. It seems that the intent of privacy by the builders is being respected.”

“That’s nice,” said Arnold, and he meant it. “Let’s see if we can fall to the back of the line then climb a little way up the side, into the untouched weeds. It’s very unlikely, this doesn’t really look like an alien site, but we can try to find something.”

Susan nodded and soon they were skulking along the side of the construction and then a short distance up the side. They kicked in the soil trying to turn up a relic. Suddenly there was a ruckus put up by the tour guide, soon followed by the second one. Both guides deserted their tour positions and ran in their direction yelling something indecipherable. It wasn’t difficult to understand what the guides wanted, however, and the pair rejoined the line looking as innocently stupid as possible.

“Well, there is a newly discovered pyramid in Bosnia. It hasn’t been fully explored. Let’s give that a chance and then go home.” Arnold asked.

“OK, but we are in the middle of China in a great hotel. Let’s explore the culture for a week.”

Arnold didn’t object.

A week later they flew into the Tuzla International Airport. In no hurry, they traveled the scenic route on the bus to Old Town of Visoko. They booked a room in an inn that made up in friendliness for what it lacked in amenities. After a day to recover from jet lag, the inn's owner drives them out to the tour depot where they meet a van that takes a few tourists to the isočica hill. The driver tells them that Semir Osmanagić named the place The Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun, As they approach the hill, it certainly looks like a pyramid under the dirt. The driver tells them of the work that has been done on the 220-meter high attraction. He tells them that a structure has been found where some of the dirt has been excavated. The building of smooth planes is made of concrete that has been tested in a Paris laboratory and found to be five times the strength of normal concrete.

“Five times! What would that be? 15 thousand PSI?” said Arnold the builder.

“That does sound impressive. Very impressive! We’ll see,” said Susan the engineer. They were both very excited by the prospect of alien concrete.

They parked at the foot of the hill and got out with the rest of the site seers. It certainly wasn’t as impressive as the well-traveled sites they had recently seen, but for the pair, dressed in their explorer outfits, it met their needs and they were delighted.

There was a rope line bordering the trail that led from the parking lot to the top of the hill, but the two were able to scale the rise without it. Once they reached the top they marveled at the small expanse of exposed concrete. The other tourists didn’t quite share their delight but they did treat them with polite indifference.

“How the hell did this get poured under this dirt?” Susan asked Arnold.

“Nobody seems to give a darn what we do, either. Let’s go over that way and kick around in the dirt,” Susan said.

They had separated fifty feet or so from the others and were kicking around in virgin soil. Arnold was displacing some dirt when he unearthed a brown sphere. The orb was lodged between two stones and he was able to get a grip on the thing and pull it up. He dusted the brown ball off – it was shiny, almost sparkling when exposed to the sun, and very, very light. He put some pressure on it to no effect and then increased the pressure between both hands, again to no effect. It looked like metal, it felt like metal, but it was a shiny brown and not heavy.

“Look at this!” enthused Arnold, taking the orb to Susan. She stopped her own exploration, her eyes shining as she looked the object over.

“Let me see it!” she said, reaching out her hand.

Arnold passed it to her, it was about the size of a baseball but didn’t quite get it in her hand. It came loose and she fumbled for it while Arnold also reached out to retrieve it, as it fell.

But it didn’t fall. It rose. The two grabbed for it like disjointed puppets, flailing without effect. Arnold managed to bump it to the side but missed the grab. It rose and continued to rise. Soon, they could only watch as it inexorable went up. It rose for a long time until it finally shrunk with distance and disappeared. Arnold looked at Susan and Susan looked at Arnold, both with their hands on their hips and distressed expressions on their faces.

“Son of a bitch!” Susan said.

July 18, 2021 13:37

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4 comments

F.O. Morier
06:28 Jul 22, 2021

hello You commented on a story of mine- and I don´t know why - I cannot reply to it. So I´m trying it here. (Internet is still very weak due to the floods here- which by the way was also the reason i posted my story so sloppily.) thanks for the advice on the app. i have one, but I think - the app thinks - it´s still the 18 th century. LOL. Thank you for your comment! Fati i liked the story above. it is very inviting - that is: I had to read it to the end right away! it also gave me travel blues! I loooooove your descriptions - it´s like bei...

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John Hanna
18:13 Jul 22, 2021

App thinks it's still in the 18th century! Hah! Sorry about the floods, I'm very pleased to get a message from someone with such a great sense of humor. Thanks

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Chinmoy Nath
06:03 Jul 29, 2021

Hi John, I am entrusted by the critic circle to read and leave feedback on your short story 'Alien Signpost." It was a nice read, I felt I was flowing with the flow of the plot. It was just like traveling with a team of Archaeologists. It reminded me of the program ' Ancient Aliens.' The description was very perfect in creating an image in the mind, but it made me feel like a travel journal rather than a short story. Hope to read more interesting and descriptive short stories from you in the near future. Keep writing, best of luck.

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John Hanna
18:04 Jul 29, 2021

thank you, Chinmoy

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