by: Arlinda Vaughn

I was on an old derelict ship with a bunch of people. It was salvaged and we had just ended some type of fight for survival. We were damaged for the struggle.  There might have been six or eight of us.  The ship was large, but we decided to huddle into one room. Also around the edges of the ship was an aberrant dark matter that we knew we shouldn’t interact with. The room was dirty and cluttered. We wore T-shirts and jeans which clung to the sweat on our bodies.  Along the way some of us had caught some type of mind disease which could make us act irrationally.  We also had very little food. Enough to survive, but very little.  We were floating in a vast ocean and we knew we would be there for a while. We all chose to be in the same room for social reasons. After our ordeal, we didn’t really want to be alone. Some of us are contagious, so we set up little pods/bunks with seals around those bunks to keep in their germs.  We wanted to be able to see and talk to each other during the long hall.

At that point a black woman came in with a thick black kinky braid. She wore a normal, clean polo shirt and khakis and she held a semi-automatic gun. We had thought we had gotten rid of all the intruders and had never seen her before. She didn’t look or feel like the intruders but we were still weary. She aimed her gun towards me and I picked up a wrench to hit her with it, but I hesitated. It just didn’t feel like I should hit her. I had to give her the benefit of the doubt. She fired at something over my shoulder. When I turned around, I saw that it was an intruder. The intruders were a type of alien, like dark oil slicks that stuck to walls. Well the one she killed was, but I know there were others of different shapes. Most were men.

After she shot the last one, she was unemotional. Not like a borg or a robot, just unconcerned… as if nothing around was of any consequence. But not mean or callus.

Either she or someone else said that we had come to the shore.

We were so surprised because we had expected to be on the ocean for weeks maybe even months. But we were on the shore minutes after she arrived. On the shore, she handed some of my companions pre-packed suitcases that she had created based on what she thought they needed. Each was custom, fit to that person’s fate and personality. She provided no suitcase for me and my husband. The entrance was cluttered with clothes and old shoes. One of the people on the ship with us was in a wheelchair. We theorized that she had meant for him to fix the old shoes.

We went back in and got our laptop bags and suitcases which were lost under piles of clothes.

She showed me (or I figured out) how we moved so close to the shore. She had been manipulating the fourth or the fifth dimension.  She showed three-dimensional space with our earth as a plane. She then contorted and bent it so that one side of the ocean touched the shore at one spot. She attached the thinnest strand and we walked across. I asked her if she would leave it contorted like that. She hadn’t thought about correcting it. What was the harm? (Our three-dimensional space was unchanged). But she realized that the universe would be spending a lot of energy maintaining that fourth- (or fifth-) dimensional shape. That was inefficient. So she flicked the string holding the body in place. The energy escaped into the universe when the bond was broken.

I thought about her. She was an alien with control over other dimensions. She could destroy our world. She could destroy our universe. What should I do about her? Do I tell the authorities? They might try to destroy her. Would that hasten our end? Could the destruction of our world come because she lashed out against someone who made her our enemy?

I knew that she thought and reasoned in a mature way. But I knew she was also ignorant and innocent. She knew nothing of how we humans interacted with each other.  I needed her to be prepared before she developed a callus. If she left herself open to the wrong person, that betrayal might have consequences for everyone. I decided not to tell the authorities about her power. I would just talk to her and guide a bit. Just let her know that there are many different types of people, many different individuals. I would warn her about our very nature. Lies and truth, individuality. I got this feeling that she could read my thoughts. That I was already open to her and she accepted this.  Perhaps we would be real friends. And although she was all powerful, I would never act as if I were afraid. (And I also knew that I could not honestly say that I would never be afraid. How can you honestly say that you would never fear someone who could flick away a universe?)