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User:Eirik/Once Upon a Country Road

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Once Upon a Country Road

Author: Eirik

When the ancient Chevy Citation sputtered to a stop in the backwoods of Washington, Kyle simply sat behind the wheel a few moments and fumed. It was certainly no surprise, the car had been old when he bought it.

Looking down the length of the two lane road, he didn't see any approaching headlights in either direction. That meant either a five mile walk to his house or three miles back to the plant. "This is what I get for switching to the night shift" he grumbled.

With a anguished grunt, he popped the latch for the hood and pushed open the door. It wouldn't hurt to take a look and see if he could fix it. Stripping off his security guards jacket and shirt, he walked to the front, pulled the hood up and peered in.

He had only barely started to look when he heard an approaching sound, the sound of an engine with a slight whistle to it. Looking up quickly, he scanned the road in both directions. Frowning, he started trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. It seemed to be close by, but it seemed like a car, and a high performance one at that. Certainly not the kind that you would find driving off road in the trees. Somehow, he suddenly realized where the sound was coming from.

The shape hovering above him was as dark as the night sky, only showing itself by the stars that it blotted out. It looked huge, bigger than any airplane he'd ever seen or heard of. It hung in the sky making only that same, high pitched rumble.

The darkness was shattered by the craft without warning. Startled, Kyle stumbled backwards away from his car, holding one arm in front of his eyes to shield them from a light so bright that he could feel its warmth. It blinded him through his closed eyelids.

The light changed color subtly, and suddenly didn't feel so warm anymore even if it was just as bright. Kyle started to feel different now, though. It started as an itching in his joints and an aching in his muscles, but quickly became a white hot feeling of pain as his body was lifted off the ground to the object hovering above the quiet pine forest. As he got closer and closer to the source of the light, the pain began to increase beyond all measure. Finally, mercifully, he passed out.

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Kyle came around slowly, unsure of where he was. The few seconds of memory, of being pulled into the light, seemed like a horrid dream more than reality. But as his vision cleared, he realized that he indeed was no longer on Earth. Surrounding him were creatures that were simply too real to have sprung from the mind of a Hollywood special effects man.

They didn't look like anything he had ever seen, or would have expected to see. They had a soft, orange skin that looked slightly moist or shiny. Their heads were not that much larger than a human's, but they had slight snouts that protruded downward. They didn't seem to have a nose that he could see. Their eyes were large and dark, but seemed to glow softly in the dim light like a cat's. He'd never seen anything like these creatures, even from the drawings of people who had claimed to have been abducted and released.

Kyle started to scream in terror. At first his cries were incoherent, but eventually he started yelling, "Let me go! Help!"

The aliens ignored him utterly, talking conversationally among themselves in a language that sounded of soft whistles. They poked and prodded him, occasionally turning to look at things on computer screens hung around the room at the edge of the darkness. Kyle tried to follow them with his eyes, but only could see two of the screens at all. On one he could tell that it was showing what looked like his x-rays, the other was a jumble of symbols that he assumed was the alien language.

Kyle came to realize what was happening. He'd been abducted by aliens! There could be no question about that, this was all too real to be even the most elaborate prank. He'd seen enough late night television to know that these creatures just wanted to study him, to examine him, and then let him go. If he was allowed to remember this, he might even be able to sell the story to the tabloids!

Slowly calming now, he watched his captors with more interest, taking mental notes. A few of them were talking more quickly than the others, making wild gesticulations as they poked him with their stubby fingers. There seemed to be a debate of some type going on, but there was no way for Kyle to tell what they were talking about. His hope was that it meant that it was something to do with letting him go. His still present fear was that it was deciding which cut would make the best sandwich meat.

Kyle shook his head of that last thought. It was common knowledge that aliens wouldn't want to come all this way to Earth just to eat people. Any race that could master faster than light travel could surely feed itself. Besides, he'd seen that speaker the other night on cable who had assured the viewing audience that aliens wouldn't even be able to eat human flesh, that it would surely lack what they needed to gain nourishment and might even be toxic.

Finally, the debate seemed settled. The small cluster of aliens turned and stepped away from the table just before the same bright light as before turned on. Kyle screamed this time, knowing what to expect. Mercifully, he passed out from the fear first.

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The room that he found himself in next almost didn't seem like the same ship. It was brightly lit, the walls lined with equipment of all shapes and sizes. There was an odor here, something that only now Kyle realized the other room lacked. It wasn't a bad or unpleasant smell, but it was present. When he came to, he was laying on his back, naked, on a dull silver slab in the center of the room raised only a foot off the floor.

Cautiously, he tried to slide off the slab and explore the room, but he found that it was surrounded with a completely clear barrier. Only when he touched it, leaving a smudge of human body oils behind, did he realize that it was even there.

Two of the aliens walked though a doorway on the far side of the room. They looked very much the same as the other ones, but there was a different air about these two. While the other aliens had been meticulous and professional, Kyle was struck by how casual these two looked in comparison. The others had looked like bosses, these looked like workers.

The pair only glanced at him long enough to confirm that he was present and then went to a terminal on the side of the room. While one tapped at an entry panel, the other was removing some bulky gloves from a shelf. The pair talked back and forth in what sounded like a casual tone, looking up from the screen now and then to Kyle and back down.

Kyle watched the pair, unsure what to do or say. There didn't seem to be much hope that they would understand English, but maybe these two were different than the ones before. "Hey!" He called out. "What's going on? What are you doing to me?" He felt a burst of hope as the two aliens fixed their unblinking gaze on him. "Yes!" he said, excited. "You can understand me!" The one with the bulky gloves started to walk over, talking over his shoulder with the other. "Please, tell me that your going to let me go! Please help me. I want to go back to my wife and... Gah!"

The alien creature had reached the edge of the clear barrier and simply reached through it, the gloved hands gripping him around the throat. The creature didn't squeeze, like Kyle expected, but simply held him as he slowly moved his fingers around his neck. At first, it was almost a comfortable, warm feeling. Soon it was hot, then burning. For a few seconds, it seemed that every nerve in his body was on fire. Kyle tried to scream, but only could manage a hoarse croak.

Just as suddenly, it stopped. Kyle fell to the floor in a heap, panting more from terror than anything else. The pain that had seemed so horrible only a few moments before was utterly gone. He opened his mouth to ask him what they were doing, but all that came out was a deep grunt. By the time that he looked up at the alien, hoping for some explanation, the one with the gloves was looking at the terminal over the shoulder of the other.

In all his reading on aliens, he'd never heard of any of them doing that before. They usually seemed to understand human language, even if they didn't care. These two had decided that they didn't want to hear him talk anymore so they paralyzed his vocal cords! Try as he might, Kyle couldn't manage to speak aloud as he lay there on the floor. The only sounds that came forth were deep, rumbling grunts.

It wasn't until Kyle tried again to stand that he realized that there was something more than simply stunning his voice. He couldn't bring his head down as far anymore. Try as he might, the lowest he could bring his gaze was into a position looking at the upper corner of the room. Any attempt to move further down was met by resistance in the muscles of his neck.

He was still mulling over what that meant when the alien was again at his side. He tried to run away this time, but only slammed into the barrier. The moment that the gloved hands touched him, though, there was no longer any hope for a struggle. His strength left him and he fell to the floor. This time, the alien had apparently decided to start with the other end, grabbing his feet with the gloves and kneading them with his fingers. Despite the blistering pain, Kyle couldn't pass out. Despite the horror of what he watched, he couldn't stop watching. His voice stolen, the only cries he could manage were those of an animal in pain.

His feet were gone as the alien moved up his shin. What was left in their place lacked toes, looking more like a ducks foot crossed with a dogs paw. His once light pink skin had turned a dull gray. He watched the alien move up his leg further and further, until he was forced out of his fetal posture and could only tell what was being altered by the slowly creeping feeling of the gloves. As the gloves passed his hips, there was an additional feeling of horrible queasiness. Kyle's gags started as a gloved hand passed through his skin as the alien worker added, removed and altered internal organs to fit a new plan and then moved the skin and bone and muscle to hold it all.

It wasn't long before the hands reached his head. They seemed to slow a bit there, perhaps because he had already altered Kyle's neck, perhaps because he wanted to preserve the brain. The hands passed over his eyes, which for a moment felt like they were being pulled from their sockets. His vision was filled with wild flashes of light and color even as one hand reached into his mouth and started molding his teeth like clay.

As before, when it was over, there was not even the hint of pain. The alien simply removed his hands and stepped back a few feet as if admiring his work. Kyle lay still, out of breath and still smarting from the memory of the torment. He knew that something was different almost instantly. The alien's skin, which had looked orange before, seemed now more red. It took a moment to realize that there was a gray snout in the bottom of his field of view.

Experimentally, he tried to stand, only to find that there was little hope of that. He managed to barely get to all fours and twist his head back to look at his new form. The first thing that struck him was how gray he looked. Not even a single hair seemed left on his body. Somehow, it looked like they had made his body larger, wider. His hips were splayed out far more than before, and a hairless tail stuck up in the air like a flag. Looking down at what had once been his hands, he found that they had become the same useless paws that his feet had become. He tried to reach one up to rub his face, to try and see better how different it was, but he couldn't manage to stand on three legs. He fell over in a defeated heap.

A realization started to dawn on Kyle. The aliens couldn't eat him before because he wasn't of their world. Now, as far as he knew, he was.

Panting now, he gazed up in fear as the alien returned, though now he didn't have the gloves. Producing a probe out of no where, before Kyle could react in any way, he jammed it into his hip.

A warm feeling flooded his body, this one actually pleasant. Kyle let out a slight grunt and rested his head on his paws as he fell asleep.

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The room didn't change this time, but something had. Kyle woke to find that he had grown fur while he slept. A coating of thick, white hair covered him. The tail that had looked so naked before was now more like a fir tree. His legs appeared to be three times larger than they had before. The coating was thick and warm.

There were more aliens there this time, too. Two new ones were talking with the ones who had so radically altered Kyle. He hoped to lay there, pretending to still be asleep for a while, but they seemed to know the moment that he was awake. The four approached the clear-sided cage and started gesturing at him while they spoke. Kyle stared at them dumbly, not sure if they were talking to him or each other, and certainly not sure what they wanted.

Finally, the four seemed to grow frustrated and one stepped to another equipment bay. Not wanting to know what was about to happen, Kyle try fruitlessly to run from the cage only to slam repeatedly into the wall. He clawed hard at it, praying that it would give way. But his movements were uncoordinated at best. Even if he had been able to run, he couldn't have gotten away. This body was simply too different, and he didn't know how to use it.

The alien returned with a small golden rod about the size and shape of a pencil. He stepped through the barrier and grabbed Kyle by his now rabbit-like ears. Once again, he felt his body go slack and slump to the floor. Then, holding his head still on the floor, he felt a tremendous pressure on the back of his head. He saw stars first, then started to feel dizzy. Then hungry. Then tired. Then giddy. When the alien stepped away the strange feelings passed, and he was no longer holding the pencil shaped rod.

One of them spoke loudly, right at Kyle again. Even while his mind was still trying to make sense of what was being said, his body leapt into action. He found himself on all fours again, waiting. The alien spoke again, and his body again betrayed him, spinning around and chasing its tail. Kyle with all his might to stop it, but something compelled him to move.

The alien spoke one last time and Kyle stopped. Feeling some control over himself again, he slumped to the floor, confused. What the hell was happening? Did they want to eat him? Or was this some sort of alien practical joke?

The four aliens walked to another doorway and paused as it slid open. One turned, seemingly as an afterthought, and barked out an order to Kyle. Even though the former human couldn't comprehend their language, whatever they had placed into his brain could. He bounded right through the barrier that had been so solid a moment before and to the side of the aliens. Even through they repulsed him, he found himself licking and groveling at their feet. Even as he tried to retch in disgust, he found that even that reaction had been stolen from him.

They led him to a low box and placed him in it. Like the last cage, this one was walled with the same clear barrier, though this time he couldn't get through it. As the four worked, a new light came on over Kyle. This one caused no pain, but he could almost feel it probing his body. He tried to make sense of what they were doing, but couldn't. What was he now? It seemed clear that he wasn't a food animal. They didn't need to grow hair on him if they intended to eat him.

Unless they ate hair.

Why the mind control stick, then? Why control the animal so utterly before you devour it?

Maybe you don't want it damaged before it's ready.

Kyle had no idea how long he lay there in that state, thoughts flying back and forth in his mind. At this point, he just wanted some answer.

The answer came in a form that he didn't expect, and for the rest of his days the images and sounds were burned into his mind. The doors opened again admitting a steady stream of alien creatures, each pushing in front of them a clear cage. Each cage held a human. Each human was wide with terror. Some were screaming, some were crying, some were praying. One young woman, it seemed, was trying to cut open her wrists with her teeth. There seemed to be no consistency to the humans that he saw enter. There were children and elderly, about the same number of men and women, and had come from all parts of the globe.

But when they left the room, they all looked the same.

The first was a teenage boy, perhaps sixteen. Stripped naked and wide eyed with terror, he seemed younger. One of the creatures placed him under an emitter and stepped away. The screams when the light turned on were blood curdling, both from the boy and the dozen or so humans who were forced to watch as he transformed into the same kind of creature that Kyle had become. The finishing touch was the insertion of the golden rod into the back of the brain. Briefly released from the his confinement, the once terrified boy bounded over at the call of one of the alien creatures. Like Kyle had before him, the boy licked the feet of the alien.

Realization dawned finally on him. Even as the next human was transformed, Kyle knew now what was happening. These aliens hadn't come to Earth to feed. They had come looking for companionship. They had come looking for creatures to grovel at them and beg for attention. Not finding what they wanted, they had simply created them.

They had come looking for pets.