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A freshly rejected story. It was written during that flash fiction course I mentioned in another post. The story probably could have been stretched out more if I wasn’t writing by the rules of flash fiction.

Reach

    By Ronald Cypress

The small radio that Melissa had constructed didn’t look remarkable, but the thirteen-year-old girl swore that it was powerful enough to reach another galaxy. Before using it to contact the boy from space, the radio had been used to earn Melissa second place at her school’s science fair. While assembling it there was nothing that suggested the radio would be able to reach another planet. At the time that the prize was given to Melissa, the radio had only been able to pick up most of the stations that any other radio could. There was heavy static on many of the channels, and Melissa believed that was what kept her from coming in first place.

“I think it was the alien interference.” Melissa told her dad a few weeks after the science fair. “That’s why there was so much static.”

She had told both of her parents about the alien voice her radio was able to pick up as soon as she began hearing it. Her parents had initially ignored her and didn’t address the issue until the next night. Melissa had tuned her radio to the channel that the alien voice usually came through. Her parents stood and listened, waiting to hear the voice that Melissa had described to them. The only thing they heard was static.

“Maybe they’re asleep,” Melissa’s father said. He and his wife smiled at each other. “It is pretty late.”

“He’s not asleep,” Melissa said. She pulled the radio towards her and began talking into the speaker. “Hello? Hello?”

“Darling.” Her mom put her hand on Melissa’s shoulder. “It’s not that kind of radio.”

“I know.” Melissa looked up at her mom. “But we communicated this way before. He spoke some English to me.”

“Okay,” her dad said. “Well, we’re off to bed. If the voice comes back on the radio, and it happens at a time when we’re awake, you just let us know.”

Her parents left the room. Melissa realized that she wasn’t going to win them over. It was going to be hard to get anyone to believe what was coming through her radio. Even Melissa had some doubts about what she was hearing.

The voice came back shortly after Melissa’s parents left the room. It would continue to come through the radio and talk to her while she was alone. At first, most of the words sounded unintelligible, but the more she listened to it the more Melissa was able to understand the alien. It wasn’t long before the two were frequently corresponding.

No one at school knew about the friend she talked to on her radio. The other kids barely spoke to Melissa, and the ones who did wouldn’t have believed her if she did talk about her new friend. Throughout the school days, Melissa sat alone as often as she could and thought about her friend who was so far away. She realized that she was starting to feel something that was completely new to her. She had planned to keep it a secret but couldn’t stop from telling her dad one evening when they were watching TV together.

“I think I’m in love.” Melissa told her dad.

“In love?” her dad grinned. “In love with who? Some boy on TV?”

“With the boy I talk to on my radio.”

“Oh.”

“Last night he told me that he would really like to meet me. He said he wants to make the trip to our planet as soon as he gets his vehicle working. He wants to come visit me.”

“What does this boy look like? Are you sure you want an alien boy visiting you?”

“I don’t know what he looks like. We haven’t talked about that.”

“If he’s from another planet, he could look very different from you. It could be hard to adjust to the way he looks.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Melissa said. She let out an exaggerated sigh. “Whatever he looks like, I will still love him.”

“Okay. Just be sure you let your mom and I know when this boy plans on coming over here.”

Melissa didn’t respond.

Several days later, while she was eating dinner with her parents, Melissa brought up something she considered to be very serious. She told her parents that the boy she had been speaking to on the radio had fixed his vehicle and was on his way to Earth.

“He should reach us in about five days,” Melissa said.

“Right.” her dad didn’t look up from his plate. “What is this boy’s name?”

“It can’t be pronounced in the English language. Or any Earthly language. It’s very native to his planet. We can’t even spell it.”

“How old is this boy?” her mom asked.

“I couldn’t tell you that either. They don’t age the same on his planet.”

“What can you tell us about him?” her dad finally looked at her.

“Just that he’s amazing,” Melissa said. “ He’s smart and funny and very nice. He wants to take me back to his planet. I was thinking that I might go along with him once he gets here. It wouldn’t be for long. I would come back in a year or two.”

Neither one of her parents responded.

Melissa didn’t talk about the boy from the radio again until the Friday night that he was scheduled to arrive at her home. She told her parents that he would be coming for her during the night and that she would see them again soon. Her parents didn’t seem concerned about the possibility of their daughter going off to another planet with a boy they had never met. They weren’t alarmed until the next morning when they went to Melissa’s room and discovered that she was gone.

“She probably just went out to play,” her dad said. “You know how she is.”

“Yeah.” Melissa’s mom agreed.

The two went about their usual Saturday routine and didn’t give much thought about their daughter’s whereabouts until the evening arrived and she was still gone. They called the police and told them about their missing daughter. Whether she had run away or been abducted, her parents could not say. All they knew was that Melissa wasn’t home, and there wasn’t a clue as to where she could have gone.