Thomas Fultz – "Relativity"

Frank and Martha were sitting on the back patio discussing Thomas Jefferson the day it happened. Martha taught at the local middle school, a veteran of thirty-five years, and the following day’s lesson was on the Founders. Frank didn’t bother much with the intellectual side of things. He built his home on a nice plot of land — freedom. Deer in the clover fields, the sweet smell of pines, winged bards — all shared with the woman he loved — inspired passion in him that could never be taught in a classroom. His senior employee and friend managed the contracting business now, allowing him more time to enjoy his independence.

“Read that last part again sweetness. The ‘We hold these truths’ part.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Crea-.” A strange whistling interrupted her, as though a bomb approached to destroy their contented lives.

Frank leaned forward in the rocker. They spotted the streak of smoke, trailing what looked like a Stealth Fighter aiming to plow up some dirt. Martha dropped her jaw — and her glasses. Frank spilled his sweet tea as he stood and fell against the railing. They watched the craft send waves of brown and green into chaos. The object halted just before the line of pines, which showered in the raining earth.

“C-call 911.” Frank fumbled down the steps and geared into a sprint. Martha was catatonic.

Frank’s pace slowed to a stop as he approached the craft. Fear swelled his body. The surge could have blown a transformer. The alien craft hatched. His Declaration of Independence withered away.

He turned and ran. He could see Martha coming. “Get the gun. Get the gun.” The picture evolved as he glanced over his shoulder.

“Get the rifle Martha,” Frank yelled. “Get the gun.” Martha ran back to the house, snatched the rifle, and met him at the porch steps.

As they looked to the wreckage, they saw two humanoid shapes dressed in gray and white. They walked normal enough, and began waving their arms as they grew nearer. They looked like men.

“Get in the house,” Frank motioned. Martha concurred, watching through the screen door. She too, felt the flames of liberty being extinguished — even the spark which commands them.

“Stop.” Frank fired the rifle into the air. Everyone flinched.

“Don’t shoot.” The figures stopped. The voice was human. Frank thanked God, but the gun stayed focused.

“Who are you?” Frank moved closer.

“We don’t want to hurt anyone. We just want to leave here.” They took off the helmets. The fear returned. Frank saw human faces with golf ball eyes and hairless heads. Nostrils replaced the nose; the ears omitted.  They had golden skin and the lips were thin — almost non-existent. Martha screamed.

“Wh- what do you want?” Frank’s rifle began to tremble.

“We have studied your planet for years. We were about to move on before we crashed.”

The other spoke. “We desire a better home for our families. Sadly, your planet too, has the income tax.”