Wednesday, April 24, 2013
It seemed like as soon as the trip began it was over. Another flash of light and I collapsed onto a carpet of what looked like moss. I couldn’t focus my vision yet, I had vomit over my clothes and was still gagging, I was covered in sweat, and was totally exhausted. My alien friends were chuckling saying the first trip is the hardest, but it gets easier. I slowly got up and scanned the landscape...Wow, how different. The whole area was covered with low growing plants with very large leafs. The sky was a bright but dark blue, I could see several moons, a sun, and what looked like another distant sun. It was a pleasant but cool day. Then I saw the largest flying insects imaginable. A creature that looked similar to a dragonfly, but was the size of a small car...there were all types of very large flying insects and fortunately they would swerve to miss you, otherwise the collision could have been deadly. I quickly changed my soiled shirt (I have to admit that I left my vomit soaked shirt behind). Jerry pointed to an insect that looked similar to a super sized bumblebee and said if one lands on a flower it would stay still long enough so I could get on its back and fly it. My weight would prevent it from gaining more than five feet above the ground. I looked around and said I didn’t see any flowers. He pointed to a nearby hill and said there were lots of flowers on the other side. I ran like a little kid to see. As I crested the hill all I could see was a landscape of super sized yellow flowers. Each one was at least 5 to 6 feet across and looked like a sunflower, but laid flat out like a table and bumblebees everywhere. We each jumped on a “bee” and went flying. They were easy to maneuver by just leaning to one side or another. I noticed all the plants were very close to the ground and their stems were corked screw shaped. I also saw lots of large holes dug into the ground with the remains of the soil piled next to them. The noise of all the flying insects seemed deafening at times. We dismounted our rides at the edge of a very large canyon. Tom stated this is the dry and calm part of the planet's year. In other parts of the year, it could have 8 feet of rain and winds in excess of 500 mph per storm. Jerry and I lounged back admiring the view as I munched on a package of peanuts I had brought with me while Tom went further along the edge of the canyon to explore. I then noticed the sky darkening and Tom running toward us screaming something. Jerry grabbed my arm and said, “run". As we ran toward Tom, I noticed all the insects diving toward the holes and the plants closing up, corkscrewing down and literally retracting into the ground. About that time, Jerry tripped on a retracting plant and got his leg trapped into the corkscrewing stem. He screamed in pain as the stem acted like a boa constrictor on his leg. I looked behind me and saw a wall of black clouds and debris rapidly approaching us. I immediately dumped my backpack on the ground to quickly access my knife. Hastily, I cut the plant stem contracting around Jerry’s leg as he struggled to pull free still squealing in pain. Freeing him, he put his arm around me and we scrambled to the nearest insect hole falling onto a bee. Its wings immediately began flapping, batting us around. I instinctively stabbed the bee which caused it to fly out of its protective den sending us falling to the bottom, but it promptly settled back into the hole pinning us under its belly. As Jerry and I lay compressed, but comfortable, we heard the winds of the storm above us. Then I heard the torrential rains start. I started to panic thinking about what Tom had said about 8 foot of rain and we would surely drown as water entered the hole, but no water was getting in. It seems the bee’s body had swelled to seal the holes entrance preventing water intrusion. Jerry was breathing fast and moaning in pain as we lay there for what seemed like hours. I finally dozed off awaking to a chilled rush of air as the bee left the hole. The storm was over. Jerry’s leg was swollen to twice its normal size. I climbed out of the hole to hopefully see if Tom had made it through the storm also. The insects were back to flying and all the plants and flowers were unfurling to enjoy the sunlight, but I could not see Tom. The ground was soggy. Every step my feet sunk about 3 inches in the soft moss filling the indentations with water. It was at that time I noticed it was rapidly getting dark. I made it back to the hole to find Jerry trying to get out. I helped him up and then we sat down on the edge of the hole. I told him I could not locate Tom--he didn’t say anything as he winched in pain. It was now dark. The temperature was comfortable--maybe 80 degrees I guessed. I sat there wondering what to do, Jerry not saying anything, and then I heard what sounded like crunching and chewing. I could make out large forms of something all around us chomping on the plants. Jerry and I scrambled back into the hole. The night was long with the occasional proboscis probing us. Thankfully we were not appetizing. The next day I was really worried about Jerry--his leg was still really swollen. I was extremely hungry and thirsty. I drank the water in puddles out of desperation. Jerry finally said something that really scared me--He and Tom had not told anyone where they were traveling to and if Tom was dead we were doomed on the planet. I sat there dazed for a moment and immediately started to think about food, water and shelter. Then to my total delight Tom appeared from a bright light with his “traveling stick”. He immediately engulfed us with the light and again, as I collapsed in pain, we were traveling through space. The next thing I knew we were back at the hotel, I was vomiting from nausea, and Tom stating he had to get Jerry help for his leg and immediately they were gone. I called my friend Barney to come get me. When he arrived, I told him that I would explain later what had happened, but I needed him to back me up on a wild fishing story to tell my wife--what a great friend he was--he took all the blame.