Free Short Story by Florence Witkop

It was the weekend. I could sleep all day. But that would mean missing what the noisy bird and strobe-like sun beyond my bedroom window promised. Sunshine and garden chores. So I got up, went through my getting-ready-for-the-day routine and headed for the kitchen and breakfast.

And stopped halfway through the living room because if I’d have taken another step I’d have stepped on the man lying in the middle of the floor. A man with deep golden hair and golden skin and muscles in all the right places and no flab at all who was probably just the right amount taller than me and dressed in some kind of shimmering gold outfit straight out of Star Trek.

I didn’t know what color his eyes were because they were closed but I bet they’d be golden, too. Because that’s what he was. A golden man. On my living room floor. Sound asleep.

I had the best security system I could afford, locks and all. I looked towards the door. The locks were still locked and the security alarm wasn’t tripped.

Somehow an intruder had entered my my home. Violated my privacy.

I should call the paramedics. Or the police. Or someone.

I bent over to examine him more closely in the hope something would tell me who best to call. His breathing was even and not labored so he was alive. So not a coroner. But he didn’t move. He could be hurt. The paramedics? Or merely asleep in which case I should let him know he’d better leave pronto.

I decided on the latter approach. “Hello.” I spoke tentatively, ready to run to the kitchen and grab the largest knife I could find if necessary.

His head moved, the rhythm of his breathing changed and his eyes opened slowly, with effort, and, yes, they were a deep gold. Then they closed again and he relapsed back into whatever state he’d been in before I said anything, murmuring something so low and muddled I couldn’t make it out.

“Hello,” I said again, a bit louder because he wasn’t likely a threat if he couldn’t stay awake. “Are you okay?”

The eyes opened a second time and this time they stayed open longer before closing once more as he settled more comfortably on my faux oriental rug. As I tried to figure out what to do next, it occurred to me that golden eyes weren’t the norm. Not even close. The thing was, his weren’t light brown as most eyes are that are described as golden. Instead they were the precise color of the gold bracelet I’d inherited from my great-aunt Jess. Which was odd. Truly, really, frighteningly odd.

But interesting.

I shook his shoulder and this time his eyes opened and stayed that way as they focused fuzzily on me and he asked, “Who are you and what went wrong?”

“Huh?” An interesting person who was obviously out of his mind.

He blinked and looked past me. He inspected the room with a puzzled expression. Then he frowned and there was uncertainty in that frown. “Who are you? What are you doing here? How’d you get past Security?”

“I belong here.” I pointed to the security system lights glowing beside the door. “This is my house. I don’t know how you got past my security system and you are trespassing but if you’ll kindly get up and leave immediately I won’t call the cops.” I hoped I sounded stern. I was afraid I didn’t.

“What are cops?” He winced as he tried to sit and got half-way up before being forced to prop himself on his elbows. He was that weak. Then he glared at me and his glare was way better than my bluff. “I’ll ask again. Who are you and why are you interfering with the experiment?”

“I’m Ellie and this is my house and you are tresspassing.” I folded my arms and glared at him every bit as hard as he’d glared at me and this time I did it right. I was awesome. Scary. Tough as nails.

He blinked. Looked around again. Drew back imperceptibly. Frowned. Took a deep breath. Looked around again. And seemed to realize where he was. Which clearly where he didn’t expect to be.

He said, “I’m sorry. I thought I was somewhere else.” He licked his lips. “I should be somewhere else.” He sank back and didn’t know what to do. “I’m supposed to be somewhere else.”

He gulped, licked his lips again and thought silently for a long time. Then he spoke slowly, the way people do when they don’t expect to be believed. “It’s too complicated to explain but evidently something went wrong.”

He sat up in evident pain. “I apologize for being here. I’ll leave. Immediately.” He tried to rise. Instead, he fell back to the floor. Flat on his back. “And I will leave as soon as I regain my strength.”

I examined him. He clearly couldn’t leave. He couldn’t even sit up. “You’re too weak to do anything right now.”

He groaned in pain and frustration. “Nevertheless I should leave.”

I tapped one foot on the floor. “I agree. You must leave.” I considered his body that couldn’t even sit up. “When you’re able to.”

He nodded slowly. “Okay.”

“In the meantime, you’ll recover faster if you’re not on the floor.”

It took a long time and a lot of work to get him onto the couch but he was eventually propped against pillows though he refused the blanket I tried to throw over him, saying he only needed a few moments of rest after which he’d be gone.

Then he fell asleep and I covered him with the blanket anyway and tiptoed around him because the more rest he got the sooner he’d be able to leave and that was what I wanted.

Wasn’t it?

He was intriguing. He was pure gold. What race was that? None that I knew of. And how’d he end up on my floor without tripping any alarms? And what was with his thinking he was here because something went wrong?

The more I thought about it the odder it seemed. Until his eyes opened again and stayed open. They checked out the room and then focused on the ceiling. Which, now that I noticed, had an odd looking stain on it that hadn’t been there before.

And he said, “I fell. That’s what happened and is why I hurt. It was a nasty fall.”

Yes, the stain was kind of goldish — like him — if I squinted hard enough and, yes, it was person sized. “People don’t fall through ceilings.” I pushed my point. “Besides, there’s no hole in the ceiling. Just a stain. So you didn’t fall through the ceiling.” I checked the ceiling and my strange visitor again and said with not quite so much assurance, “You’d have a dozen broken bones if you fell that far.”

He moved each part of him and shook his head. “Nothing broken but my suit was designed to protect my body if something went wrong. Which it did.”

“And you fell through the ceiling without making a hole.”

“That’s what happened. I’m sure of it.” He sounded like a scientist who’d solved an equation. Then he smiled. His smile lit up the room. “If I figured it out so did the rest of the team. Which means they are working on it and will fix things.” He finished with a happy look my way. “And I’ll be able to leave.”

His stomach growled. So did mine. “Are you hungry?” He looked hungry. “Would you like something to eat?” I considered my options and decided food was acceptable under the circumstances. Like we were both in need of food. “I can fix us both breakfast.”

“What’s breakfast?”

“Food.” I closed my eyes. He was gorgeous, male, every female’s dream including mine, and obviously lacking in some fundamental way because he didn’t even know what breakfast was. “You do eat, don’t you?” A snide comment I regretted the second I said it.

Those golden eyes widened. “Of course.” Then he added in a hurt tone of voice, “I’m not from around here. That much is obvious from the fact that I fell into your home.” He continued, “And is why I didn’t understand. I know what food is but I’ve never had breakfast.” He took a deep breath and added, “Is it good? I don’t believe I know what it tastes like.”

I laughed. Doubled over because by then I needed something to break the tension and laughter worked. “You’ll like it.” And I went to get us something to eat. Bacon and eggs and everything that went with them, wondering as I cooked what he’d think.

He liked breakfast. And lunch because he was still there when lunchtime rolled around. And dinner. And chocolate cake while watching Ancient Alien reruns. He brushed crumbs from his chin and pointed to the TV. “They got a few things right. Mostly wrong, though.”

“What did they get wrong?”

“All those aliens. Too many kinds. There aren’t that many different alien races.”

And so the evening went. He was quite knowledgeable about aliens of one kind and another and we had a rather animated conversation about them. I learned a lot.

And somehow, between the first episode and the last, I ended up against that golden chest with those golden arms around me. In a friendly way, of course.

By the time Ancient Aliens was replaced by a twenty-year-old sci-fi movie, I kind of wished he’d never leave. Ever.

He finally sighed hugely. “I have to leave.” Saying what we were both thinking. How well we got along. How much we had in common. “Because we must finish the experiment. And we will as soon as someone figures out what went wrong. Then I’ll leave.”


“Because . . .” He went silent for a long time. “Just because.”

We fell asleep on the couch and only the bright morning sun woke us up. I woke first and wished we could stay on that couch forever.

Then he woke up with a start, his eyes going wide, looking first at the ceiling and then at me.

“What are you thinking?” I watched those golden eyes and knew I’d never get enough of them.

“I’m wondering when it’ll happen.”

“When what will happen?”

“When they’ll figure it out. What went wrong. And fix it. And I’ll leave.” He didn’t sound as eager as the previous day. “I’m sure they are working night and day so it’ll happen. I know it will.”

And it did. In the middle of the afternoon a golden glow appeared, first in the ceiling in the exact same spot as the stain, then dropping lower and lower until it reached the floor and created a cone of golden light. I knew what it meant and so did he.

“I have to go.”

“I’ve enjoyed having you around.”

“I can’t stay.” He sighed hugely. “Because I’m the test subject. They’ll want to examine me. Ask questions. Figure things out.”

We stood there and regarded that cone of golden light. Then he touched me lightly, leaned over and gave me a gentle kiss on the cheek and moved towards the cone of light and stepped inside. And disappeared.

When the light rose through the ceiling it took both my golden visitor and the stain with it. I wished that stain had stayed because it was all I had to remind me of what had happened. Now I didn’t have even that.

A week passed and I’d just about convinced myself the whole thing had been a dream. I’d stopped checking the living room every morning in the hope there’d be someone gold and gorgeous on the floor because it never happened. He was gone. If he’d ever been there and I was beginning to think he hadn’t been.

The next weekend in the middle of the afternoon I was surfing channels when a bright golden light flashed beyond the window. I looked but saw nothing so I went to the window to check things out. And there in the middle of the lawn was a small, round saucer-shaped craft.

I started to smile. Grin. Laugh. And sure enough, it wasn’t long before a door opened in that odd craft, a ramp appeared, and a gorgeously golden man slightly taller than me with golden hair and eyes dressed in a suit of gold walked down the ramp.

I met him at the door. “Took you long enough.”

He touched my hand, grinned broadly, and asked, “Want to go for a ride?”

“Sure.” Then because I was curious and not because it mattered because it didn’t, not even a tiny bit, I asked, “Will we come back?”

“If we want to. Or not. It’ll be our choice.”

I grabbed my sweater and said, “Let’s go.”

And we did.

And, yes, it’s lovely out here. Interesting. Dark unless we are approaching a new star. Then it gets all bright and shiny gold, like the golden man at the controls. I love to watch when that happens.

Wouldn’t trade it for anything.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: