Enes Talha Coşgun translated this story from Turkish to English.
The sound-waves spread from the floor, climbed onto my pillow, reached my brain through my ears, and woke me up in the middle of the night. The adrenaline was wandering in my blood. My eyes opened as if I hadn’t slept. I was on my guard, listening to the rattling sounds coming from the living room, imagining scenarios in my head where I kill the owner of the sounds.
I was holding my breath. My heart was beating so hard that it was almost going to pop out of my chest. I put my hand under the pillow and felt the comforting coldness at the other side of it. Then a sharper cold touched my fingers: The metal handle of my pistol. I set the gun and stood up. I lay in ambush in front of the bedroom door and watched inside. I looked funny and scary in pink pajamas, a worn-out shirt, lion’s mane hair, and flowing makeup. I crawled into the cellar, threw myself inside, and took a deep breath to calm down.
There was only the light of the green screens. He was hitting the wall with spoiled plaster and bags of pulses on the floor. I blinked a few times to get my eyes warm and sat down at the CCTV system. Surveillance cameras with night vision was providing me full sight from every corner of the house.
The intruder was in the living room. He skipped the expensive TV, the figurines, the chandelier and looked under the seats. Obviously, he was a fool, so it would be easy to take him out. I knew what he was looking for, but he didn’t know where to look.
He was going to follow the path of the others. He will come out of the hall, stand in the hallway, and look around with indecision. And soon he will notice the corridor with the bedroom. He will look first… And look… And will wait to see something. He will notice the green light coming out of the CCTV screens leaking from the old door of the cellar.
That’s when the light will grow because I will open the door.
The light will take him away, because I will shoot him right in the middle of his forehead.
The cameras got into motion. The intruder was coming out of the hall. He looked exactly as the way as I expected, waited, noticed the cellar, and approached. The door to the cellar opened. The green light grew, and a gun went off inside the house.
A scream came from the children’s room as my enemy collapsed like a chopped pine tree. The kid’s awake! My heart twisted because his sleep was interrupted for nothing. It was happening in this way every time.
“Don’t go out, baby, go to bed!” I called out. I didn’t want the little soul in the room to see a bloody corpse lying on the floor. When I realized that I had convinced the boy, I took a sigh and walked down the hallway and turned on the light.
The first sentence that comes to my mind was “How am I going to clean this?”. When they were wounded by a gunshot, their blood flows more than people’s. The floor was covered with a sticky blue liquid. I grimaced with disgust, turned my head away from the gel-looking gray-skinned freak, and headed to the bedroom to bring a sheet.
I thought, “This is the eighth attack of Shirean in the third month of the year.” Sometimes I speak to myself when I am thinking. “How long is this going to last?”
I started crying because of stress and sleeplessness. I was looking for a sheet in the closet while wiping the tears on my face. The chain of events that caused my tears passed through my imagination one by one.
A night in December, four months ago… I was working as a security guard at a university. I was warming my hands with a mug full of coffee in front of the cabin. When a rumble blew me away, the whole coffee spilled on the floor. During the five-second shock, five thousand possibilities crossed my mind: We had been attacked by terrorists, we had been hit by fighter jets, gas had exploded…
When I realized that I still am capable of breathing, I had the courage to look at the laboratory building. I saw that the windows were broken by the intensity of the sound, that the students jumping out of the building ran away in fear, and that a child standing upstairs by the window was losing his balance and falling down. My feet moved independently of my consciousness. I crossed the distance between the security cabin and the laboratory building in seconds, opened my arms and waited for the weight which is going to break my bones.
But what fell on my lap was as light as a pillow. Although it was the same size as a four-year-old boy, its limbs were thin, and head was large. Its skin was dark blue, and there were blue irises in the middle of its yellow eyeball. The tiny lips were as blue as its eyes. It was not human, nor did it resemble an animal species we know. I thought it was a plush toy. I didn’t understand until its eyeballs were turned toward my eyes and the blackness of its pupils grew inside its purple irises as if a drop of paint had fallen into the marbling: That thing was alive and conscious.
While I was waiting in shock, the police came and drove us away from the building. They took the creature from my lap in a hurry. I found myself in an ambulance before I knew what was going on. They gave me a ride home after a general check-up. I hadn’t even taken my clothes off yet, but I got a call from my chief. I was told not to tell anyone what happened.
But I wanted to know what was going on. What caused the explosion? What was that strange creature that fell into my lap and looked into my eyes? The news reported the incident as a simple gas leakage. Rector, governor, mayor, other officials… They were all lying like a rug to the public.
I finally couldn’t stand it. On the tenth day of the explosion, I went to the head of the physics department’s office and asked him what happened. I had prepared myself for all kinds of bad odds. I didn’t care if I was reprimanded, fired, or even arrested.
Contrary to what I expected, the president received me quite calmly. He repeated the pretext for the gas leakage told in the media. I stated that I would not believe this, and I had the chance to explain my experiences that night in detail for the first time.
He listened to me to the end with a pensive, almost sad expression. “So that’s it.” he said. “You saved the child.”
“Child?” I asked.
He said “Yes”. “It is a child, technically a refugee.”
Then he explained that the explosion was the result of a meteor hit. “We’ve always looked for extraterrestrial life on planets, but we didn’t think to look the places close to our planet. There are more than six hundred thousand asteroids and dwarf planets in the Asteroid Belt…”
“What? I did not understand.” I interrupted the professor. “The asteroid belt?”
“The region between Mars and Jupiter. There are hundreds of thousands of small rocks here.”
“It must have been investigated!” I said. “In fact, I read in the news that spaceships have been landed on some asteroids.”
“I’m talking about six hundred thousand celestial bodies, Mrs. Melis.” said the president. “We can’t land spaceships on all of them. If there is an advanced civilization on any asteroid or dwarf planet on underground, it is very difficult for us to detect its existence remotely. Unless we didn’t encounter.”
“How?” I said, raising my eyebrows. “Did we, by chance, come across an alien civilization living underground in one of the asteroids?”
“Exactly.” he said, raising his index finger.
My questions rained down on the president like rain. How could satellites, planes, people looking up at the sky in the open air not have noticed the falling meteorite? Why was the existence of aliens not disclosed to other humans? Why was the child a refugee, how did they know that?
He gave satisfactory answers to all my questions. Land of Renka, that was their name, they had an advanced technology for invisibility. The spaceships they built from the carved rocks could not be detected by radar. And when we detect some of them, we thought they were asteroids, and most of them were without “aliens” inside, and were falling apart in the Earth’s atmosphere. No one at the university was aware of the existence of this new asteroid until it hit the roof of the building and blew out its windows.
A few hours later, Renka contacted Ankara. This communication was made in Turkish. In preparation for such an accident, there were special officers who learned common languages such as Chinese, English, Spanish. People of Renka had the capacity to learn up to twenty human languages. They gave information about themselves. They said that they were aware of the humans and did not want their existence to be known, and they made an agreement with the state, the nature of which we do not know exactly.
“It is the child of a group that committed a crime of rebellion against the Renka Government. The rebels disappeared as they entered our planet, and it is the only one who stayed alive.”
“What do you mean?”
“As a result of friction, their ships were burned.”
I remained silent, looking at the tips of my feet. I thought about what it would be like if I lost all my loved ones in a country where I did not speak the language. Even in this scenario, I was better off than the alien boy, because I might have had a chance to go back to my country, but for him, there was no such possibility. Besides, I was going to stay with the beings of my kind anyway, but he was going to be alone for the rest of his life.
A torch shone within me. “I want to take care of it.” I said. “It shouldn’t be living in hospitals or laboratories. No matter what the type, it is a kid, and needs a family.”
“This is impossible.”
“Why, because I live alone? Do you believe I can’t provide a family environment just because I’m single?”
“Melis, I understand you, but we don’t know anything about that kid’s species. What does it eat, what does it drink, what is its gender; we don’t know anything. We need to examine it under laboratory conditions. Don’t worry, no one will hurt it.”
He spoke a little more and persuaded me to wait at least a week. Within a week, they would observe the effects of the Earth’s atmosphere on the child, detect possible microorganisms in its body, and allow it to live with me if it turned out that it was okay for it to live in a home environment. I also had the chance to visit the kid every day in college.
I waited for the end of seven days as if I were waiting for the holiday in my childhood. I took the lab route early every morning. While the blood was taken from the kid’s arm, I sat next to it and gave support, took its urine sample for analysis.
The doctor interpreted the results of the blood and urinalysis and said that the Renkas had more calcium in their blood than a human. He gave me some advice. After washing, boiling for a few minutes and drying the eggshells, I could grind them to get powder. If I mix this powder with a glass of milk and give it to the kid mornings and evenings, I could feed the kid ideally. I definitely shouldn’t give him a sugary food, because its body couldn’t handle it. However, the kid had no teeth. That meant it couldn’t eat like us.
It had a tiny body that could be fed with only two glasses of milk a day.
I prepared one of the rooms in the house for it. I made a bed with a mosquito net and bought toys. It found its place odd at first, but soon got used to it.
One day it started talking, said its name. “Ayo.”
“Ayo!” I repeated.
I melted when it said “Melis!” with its mouth without lips.
When it had learned enough of our language, it began to speak of its country. It said the name of the comminity it belonged to. (I don’t know how to spell it, it can be “soreen”, “sorean” or “soregen”.) In their alphabet, this word is written in a hollow circle, “O.” Their alphabet wasn’t phonetic, just like the Far Eastern languages, they had a different letter for each word. Ayo said that even scholars do not master all the letters in the language of sorean.
Ant there were “shireans”, a community of chosen ones who, although they came from the same origin as the others, they changed the composition of their blood and gained a long life and a structure that doesn’t get sick. Shireans decided to destroy the soreans on the grounds that they consumed limited resources.
Ayo hugged me and said that I couldn’t protect it even if I wanted to, that the shireans will kill it somehow. “No.” I said to myself. “I will prove you wrong.”
I was thinking about this with a sheet in my hands to cover the corpse of the shirean. I stroked my face and straightened my hair. I had to call the commissioner.
Once I was having a hard time, asked myself why I put up with all this. Did I have a “mother’s heart”? No, compassion wasn’t peculiar to mothers. Could I expand the expression “the essence of the human being, the human heart”? And that was also inadequate, because I knew; I had witnessed the compassion of the animals and the sorean, who is flying through the unknown dreams in its bed at the moment.
I wasn’t actually doing anything. Among all living and non-living beings… What can I say? How can I tell? There was a bond of light. Some kind of net. I was just clinging to this web, thus I could understand better a being else of me, and feel they were alive, and I was acting accordingly.
Psychologists call it “empathy,” while mystics call it “a drop from the ocean of God’s infinite mercy”.
While I was holding Ayo’s tiny fingers, I was looking at its blueberry and chocolate dragee-like whiteless eyes and convinced that we shared a common heart.
The heart of the universe.