“How to Get Inside of a Ship That Won’t Let You In” by Debbie Urbanski
Everyone had assumed the blues came here for some pressing reason. That’s why the scientists wasted days with them in those tiny rooms. “Where. Is. Home. You? You? Home?” the scientists repeated into their microphones, their smart faces peering out from the helmets of their hazmat suits. When a blue finally pointed to a map pinned to the wall, a blank spot in some other galaxy, the scientists tittered excitedly, we all did. Communication! Understanding! “Here? Right here? This is your home? Your home? Home?” Only the blues then touched another spot on the map, then they touched a different map, you see, it was all just a game to them. There were cameras in the rooms, the footage streamed live to our screens. They blinked only once every three minutes, like they were animals watching other animals, and when they did talk, they kept asking the scientists bizarre questions. Where were the thousand lakes? And the sweet water? And the enormous trees? And the animals who lived in the woods who helped the lost children? And the giants? And the people who talked to the animals and the trees? And the people who sounded like music when they talked? And the women with powerful wings? Their questions made us think that they were in the wrong place.
The scientists kept the ship at first where it landed, beside the woods in Indiana, though they brought in barbed wire, flood lights, armed guards, and dobermans. For days, they tried to get inside but they couldn’t find a door of any kind or a hatch, and the blues had no idea either. “Before the ship was open,” a blue male explained, the white mist oozing off him, it made the scientists cough. “We came onto the ship, it flew us away. Now the ship is not open.” So the scientists cut into the hull of the ship using their wet saws. There was something sad about watching this, like we were conquering some golden giant. But it was also exciting. We never before had wrecked such a thing.
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Debbie Urbanski Artist Statement:
Debbie Urbanski’s fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The New England Review,
The Sun, Nature: the International Weekly Journal of Science, and The Southern
Review. She lives with her husband and two small kids in Syracuse, New York and is
currently at work on a linked story collection concerning aliens and cults. You can find her at
debbieurbanski.com or on twitter @DebbieUrbanski.