MEDIAShort fiction

Encounters Group by GF Willmetts (story).

a story by: GF Willmetts

‘Hello and welcome to our second close encounters group. I’m glad to see more faces than the first time and sure the change of venue has helped. If anyone is here for the bigfoot encounter group, you need the room down the corridor. Just follow the footsteps on the ground. Thank you.’

The host-therapist waited as a few people got up and left and a couple others came in from the opposite direction before she repeated her opening speech. Then there was the usual wait for the assorted people sitting around her in the ring to settled down and draw their attention.

‘My name is Maeve. Like all you people here, I’ve had a close encounter of an unusual kind so I know what you’ve been through. However, rather than talk about me, which I did at the first meeting, I am here to listen, as are you, as we share our experiences and know that we are not alone. For many of you, you’ve had problems when you’ve disclosed your encounters and are nervous about being ridiculed. Here we can talk freely. You might be nervous at first but that’s all right. As with any encounter group, you are here for support for many for what we appear to have all shared in one way or another. For those of you who want a coffee, we can stop at a suitable time to take a breather.’

Maeve paused and looked around at the group. Which one would speak first or would she have to relate her own experiences again? Surely, these people here would have something to say.

They all looked at each other briefly in turn, wondering who would have the nerve to go first. Usually, with other encounter groups, there would always be someone who wouldn’t shut up and that was often used to break the ice. If they were all shrinking violets then it meant an early coffee break and maybe some small talk to get someone started.

One of the men stood up. ‘My name is Walt and I had a close encounter.’

‘Hello, Walt,’ everyone else responded.

‘What happened, Walt?’ Maeve asked. ‘Can you tell us?’

Walt nodded. ‘Can I talk sitting down? I don’t like drawing attention to myself. They might be watching.’

‘I think once you’ve identified yourself, you can stand or sit. Please continue, Walt.’

The man sat down but leaned forward, elbows on knees and hands to his face. Some of the others raptly adopted the same posture. A gesture of solidarity.

‘I was driving home one night when I saw a light in the sky. I didn’t think much of it until the light caught me in the middle of the road. I must have blacked out. The next thing I knew, it was several hours later and couldn’t remember what happened. Regressive hypnosis had me describing my own abduction and inspection by aliens.’

‘What made you take regressive hypnosis, Walt?’ asked one of the people.

‘I didn’t believe in UFOs and didn’t like gaps in my memory. I thought it was a medical condition. Y’know. A stroke or something. Rather scary that it was an abduction and not even someone human. I kept it to myself but realised I probably wasn’t the first this happened to but I need answers.

‘That’s a common occurrence, Walt. Has it happened to you again?’

‘I try not stay too long in any one place.’

A sudden gloom as if they were all comparing that experience swept through the group.

A curly-haired man stood up. ‘Hey, things aren’t always that bad. My name isRoy.’

‘HelloRoy’, they all chimed in by rote.

‘It was about thirty five years ago. I wasn’t so much abducted, just a matter of getting around the military who didn’t want anyone not in their team. When they realised my alien buddies wanted me and I was willing, I went as a passenger. I enjoyed my experience. I didn’t even miss my dysfunctional family.’

‘Excuse me,Roy,’ one of the men drooled ‘but were you a kid when you went?’


‘Then how come you ain’t looking yer age? Yer gotta be in yer grey seventies by now?’

‘Relativity, man. We only stopped for a few days an’ I didn’t age very much.’

‘So why are you here,Roy?’ Maeve asked.

‘Well, Maeve, it’s just to balance the books an’ I haven’t been back long an’ want to see what the current situation is like. It was pretty paranoid back then. Everything is still as top secret about these things as ever. Whoever you others are meeting, they aren’t the ones I met.’

Roysat down and looked into his hands, before looking up and giving a wry toothy grin.

‘Thank you,Roy, for your happy experience. Anyone else?’

A more dishevelled man stood up. ‘I envy you people. I keep chasing down UFOs but only ever get second hand accounts of events.’

‘And you are?’

‘I’d rather not say. Keeping anonymous will protect my sources.’

‘We can’t just call you nothing. Would ‘X’ be appropriate?’

‘It’ll do, although I don’t like The X-Files connection.’

‘We could call you ‘Y’ but that sounds too much like a question.’

‘We could call you the author. I think I’ve read some of your books,’ another one chirped in. ‘Your identity would be safe here, man.’

‘I ought to go.’

‘Please…X…have your say first.’

‘From all my interviews, the biggest stumbling block with any government is proof. With digital cameras now, it’s impossible to get evidence that won’t be tinkered with. So grab something or have an x-ray to ensure you are or aren’t carrying some alien tracking technology inside you first and then contact me.’

‘How do we contact someone who doesn’t give his name?’

The man shrugged. ‘I’ll know you and I do come to places like this from time to time. Excuse me, I have to go.’

‘Aren’t you going to listen to any more today?’ Maeve asked.

The man shook his head. ‘It doesn’t sound like the group today has anything new to offer.’

After he left, the group looked at each other.

‘He sounds a bit stuck up. Paranoid even.’

‘He’s probably got the placed bugged.’

The group turned to Maeve.

‘I’m well aware of your…our own need for privacy, hence the late announcement for this venue. Once I made the call, I was the first one here. No one would have had a chance to lay any bugs here first.’

‘Maybe we should hold the next group out in the open.’

‘Like in a cornfield?’

There was a brief chuckle from all of them.

‘That’s just an invitation to be picked up again.’

Hello. My name is David and I used to be a believer…then I saw her face.’

‘My name is Bill and I really need a cigarette. Can we take our break now?’

Maeve nodded. ‘OK, folks. Take ten. Anyone who wants to smoke can do it outside. There’s a coffee machine in the corner.’

The break was an unusually quiet one. No one really seemed willing to talk to each other yet, Maeve noted. Well, maybe a couple were. Maybe she should have insisted on them all wearing name badges or at least with a number on it so they could at least have something they could call each other. It did wonders for those village folk.

Finally, she called order and they all returned to their seat circle.

‘Hello. My name is…Vincent. Vince.

‘Hello Vince,’ they all called out, settling back into their seats.

‘Do you notice how these aliens often choose off-the-beaten track places? I tend to be less interested in their spaceships than why are they here specifically after my encounter.’

He paused and looked around, expecting a rebuttal.

Seeing none, he continued, ‘Experiments and using us as test rats is all very well but what they really want is the planet. Resources that they might not have or need for an expanding civilisation. We’re just in the way.’

‘Or from a failing civilisation,’ another man said standing up. ‘I’m Ed. I was discussing this with Vincent…Vince over coffee. A high-tech alien civilisation with failing resources would have a similar problem. There’s a need to be vigilant over either option.’

Both men sat down as another stood up.

‘Hello. My name is Morris.’

‘Hello, Morris,’ they all chimed in again.

Morris raised his hands and grinned. ‘I hate to put a clamp on this group but there aren’t any aliens. All these UFOs are used to mislead people fromUSstealth technology. No one addresses the government on the matter so people still see UFOs although without the photos.’

‘Tell me, Morris, why aren’t people snapping them with digital?’

‘As ‘X’ pointed out, who’s going to believe that the photos weren’t fixed through a computer, although that’s not true. Under full magnification you can spot clone spots and other alterations but no one’s going to take a chance. Without the photos, it actually helps them have more radical stealth jets out there.’

‘So you’re saying that the government was responsible for digital cameras?’

‘Hell no, but they did ensure they were cheap enough for everyone to afford and got rid of film cameras. Gets rid of one problem in at a stroke.’

‘Quite, Morris,’ Maeve interrupted. ‘I must say that this encounters group is doing well but I have to be aware of the time or we’ll have to pay over-time for the rent of these rooms and we’re nearly at the end of our time here. As you’ve all indicated that you’d rather not be tied to a single place, I’ll text in the usual place in about three weeks where the next monthly encounter group will be and we can take this all further. Thank you all for coming.’

Outside on the porch, three of the men paused to look around.

‘I suppose we should be lucky that we didn’t have any reporters posing as abductees like the previous encounters group.’

‘Remember that big guy with glasses?’

‘As if a man could fly.’

‘That guy was too heavy trying to prove it.’

All three of them chuckled at that.

‘I wonder who the guy in the grey alien costume was in the corner?’

‘That really wouldn’t fool anyone but another guy in a grey alien costume.’

‘And did you see the fancy lights on his car?’

‘That really did fly over my head.’

‘See you again?’



© GF Willmetts 2012

All rights reserved

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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