CHAPTER 7 I turned around and sat on a rock. I looked around at the walls, as I found a spot where the aliens hadn't covered with fake trees. I saw my reflection in the metal, and I would've laughed if what happened hadn't been done to me. My short dark brown hair had turned a very bright lime green.

I thought what my friends would say. They would probably laugh. Or at least I thought they would. I couldn't remember them very well. I closed my eyes and tried to picture them in my mind, but I couldn't remember. I tried to think of that memory I had seen earlier. It had had me and some other girl, who was she? Oh yeah, she must have been some relative.

Suddenly, I got the worst feeling. I couldn't remember anyone back on my planet, what was it called? Oh yeah, Earth. "God, I hope this works. Or my life may end sooner than I thought it would," I muttered to myself.

I gnawed on a hard piece of fake food I had saved from last night, and I nearly froze to death because my shirt and jacket had somehow disappeared. I finally fell asleep with nothing else to do besides watch my fingers turn blue. A few hours later, I heard a voice,

"Chris? Are we still going to do this?" I sat up groggily from the floor and looked around. I spotted Elsea beside me in her cage. I ran my hand through my lime green hair and stood up.

"Yeah, let's get it over with. Watch very carefully." I backed up to the far corner of my cage. Then I ran, or tried to run, through the door. Again, the laser caught me and threw me back. I tried not to cry.

I slowly and shakily stood up and walked back to the front of the cage. "Did…did you see it?" I said, holding back tears. "Did you see the hole?" She looked excited.

"Yes! It's right over there." She directed me to the hole, which didn't look different from any other part of the opening. I nervously reached my hand up and through the opening. And the best part was I didn't get beamed. I twisted my hand around outside of the opening.

"How big is it?" I asked.

"It's about the size of half of your body," she answered. I stuck my whole arm through, and suddenly I heard a clicking noise. The whole opening lit up a soft green, and then disappeared.

"Did I turn it off, do you think?" I asked Elsea.

"You know there is only one way to find out."

I stuck my foot through at the bottom of the cage. Nothing happened. I stepped through all the way. Suddenly I was standing on the other side of the cage. I nearly cried in delight. Then my cry changed from joy to horror. There were two corsunans standing behind me, lasers aimed straight for my head. I thought fast.

"Hey!" I pretended to yell across the room. The aliens turned their heads slightly to see who I was yelling at, just long enough for me to grab one of the aliens guns and kick the other one out of the alien's hand. I aimed for the aliens and tried to figure out how to shoot the laser. There was no trigger or button or anything.

"Damn! How do you shoot it?" I cried. A bright blue laser shot out of the opening at the end of the gun and made a hole in one of the aliens heads. I aimed at the other alien.

I slowly said my previous words, trying to figure out what had triggered it. Then I thought, "Oh, it's shoot!" A beam exploded from the "barrel." Two dying aliens lie on the floor. I felt very proud of myself. Then I felt two cold tentacles slither up my back and curl around my neck, and heard an evil laugh.

CHAPTER 8 "Did you really think we would let you escape?" I tried to turn my head to look behind me, but the alien had a strong hold on my neck. He turned me around and I could see an alien about the size of Frotolo. He studied me.

"What shall we do with you? No other alien has ever tried to escape twice in a row!" You tightened his hold around my neck. I tried to reach up and pull his tentacles off me, but before I could move he reached forward and grabbed both of my arms.

"Don't get any ideas Christopher Andrew Emerson. When you are so near me I can read your thoughts."

"Chris!" I heard Elsea squeak my name. I couldn't respond though, because I was starting to black out from lack of air.

The Frot look-alike laughed sinisterly, making a hu-hu-hu-hu noise.

"What fun. I think I'll probably just make you go through torture and humiliation right now. This is quite amusing."

By that time, all the other creatures in cages had come forward to see an alien being tortured. Elsea was doing something that was an equivalent to crying, she was making a strange whining noise from inside her cage.

The Corsunan slithered over to her cage with me in his grasp. I almost fainted, but the alien let go of his hold on my neck just enough to let me get a few gasps of air. I gulped it in.

"There you go, we wouldn't want to spoil the fun, now would we?" I heard more hu-hu-huing and realized that more corsunans had come into the room to watch me being tortured. I heard Frotimitite yell gleefully.

"Delightful, Sonaflee!" So the agonizer's name was Sonaflee. He looked at Elsea and sneered in her face.

"Stop making that awful whining sound. You wouldn't want your little friend here..." he stopped in the middle of his sentence and thrust me through the opening of Elsea's cage. I cried out in pain as I felt the laser go up and down my body. I writhed and kicked in pain. He held me inside the laser for probably 30 seconds, but it seemed like eternity.

Finally he pulled me back out and finished his sentence. "You wouldn't want your little friend here to get hurt, would you?" Her eyes opened wide and she tried to stop crying.

I was almost completely paralyzed now, so Sonaflee let go of my arms. They fell limply to my sides. I looked over at her without moving my head. I tried to open my mouth but no sound came out.

"How glorious! This is so much fun!" Sonaflee cried like a 3 year old playing with a new toy. He stopped smiling and studied me. "What do you think, little creature?" he said, addressing Elsea. "Do you think that that is enough torture?"

She nodded her head quickly. Sonaflee looked back at me. "So does this creature," he said, shaking me. "Very well, we'll just keep you on mute for a while. It's torture enough not to be able to communicate!"

He smiled at me in a nasty way and threw me hard back in my cage, not bothering to turn off my laser, so I felt a spasm of pain as I went through the opening.

I hit the back wall of rock, knocked my head on the ground, and lay, totally numb, on the ground. I passed out after a few seconds.

CHAPTER 9

The next morning, I woke slowly up. A sharp pain ran down my body the second I could think. Mom, where are you? I thought, then stopped. Who or what was a Mom? Where did that word come from? I shook my head to clear my thoughts and felt an awful headache.

"Thank Zort you are OK!" Huh? I thought. Then I realized Elsea was beside me. I opened my eyes and saw a no-longer-foreign face staring down at me. I opened my mouth to ask why she was beside me, but no sound came out. I tried to clear my throat, but nothing happened.

I silently started crying, but stopped when I felt an 8 fingered hand on my forehead. I suddenly felt calm and relaxed, even happy. I realized that Elsea had done it.

I smiled at her and she smiled back. I guess she had some sort of power, but I couldn't concentrate on it. It made my head hurt.

"They let me come in here and see you as long as I stayed in here for the rest of our time on the ship. It's awfully cold though. You must have a warm skin to be able to stand it."

I shivered in response, and she looked questioningly at me.

"They allowed me in, but they didn't know about my species' healing powers." She looked at me sheepishly. "I'm young though, I'm not very good at it. I can handle only small things. What hurts the most? I may be able to diminish the pain slightly."

I weakly touched my forehead. She reached over to it with her other hand, which had only four fingers, and touched my head. Almost immediately the pain decreased dramatically.

Can you hear me, Elsea? She showed no sign that she heard me, so I figured she wasn't physic like the other aliens. "I bet you're already thinking of another way to escape! Well, forget it. I'm surprised they didn't kill you this time, I'm sure they won't just "have fun" next time." I glumly realized she was right. I was destined to be experimented on and live in a zoo for the rest of my life.

CHAPTER 10 Two days later, my voice had returned. Mostly.

While I was in "mute", I had been trying to think of another plan to escape. I would try as much as I could to escape while I was on the ship, because once I got to their world, there would be zero hope. Death would be better then having to be kept as a specimen in a zoo.

No plan I thought of would logically work, though. I racked my brain till my head hurt, and still I could think of nothing.

While I wasn't thinking of an escape plan, I tried to remember things from Earth. Anything at all. Sometimes a name or face would pop into my head, but I couldn't hold it long enough to remember anything. This made me so mad I wanted to scream, but luckily I couldn't.

Finally, I did think of a plan. And it had nothing to do with staying awake against my will or jumping into a door of lasers.

I would pretend to be sick. Which wouldn't be too hard, since I had been sick since I lost my jacket. But Elsea's healing powers had kept me from being in too much pain.

Anyway, if I was sick they would probably take me out of the cave. Hopefully, once I got out I could escape and free Elsea and the other aliens.

I told Elsea my plan.

"No! I won't let you try again. Let me do it. I can handle it."

"I won't let YOU do it. They already know I try to escape, they don't even know you're connected, except for that whole crying thing you did. I'll do it even without your help."

She looked at me weakly. "You're not going to let me do it, are you?"

"Nope," I said. "So I guess I should stop arguing, huh?"

"Yep."

"OK, what do I need to do?"

I said, "Nothing, really. Just act, I dunno, kind of scared are something, so they don't think it's an act."

She nodded. "Ok, I can do that."

"And you can't do your little healing thing because I'll want it to seem as real as possible."

"But what if you get really sick?" she asked worriedly.

"I won't, I can handle it." With that, I backed into the cave and laid down on a rock covered with fake snow. I closed my eyes and went to sleep. I would start acting. Tomorrow.

CHAPTER 11

I woke up feeling awful. My head was swirling and my fingers and ears were frost-bitten. I tried to sit up but my stomach heaved and I leaned over and threw up on the ground. No act. I was really sick.

"Great, just great," I said, and coughed. I lay there shivering until a Corsunan came into the cave.

"What's wrong with you?" it said.

I shrugged and coughed.

"Are you sick?" it asked.

I nodded.

He sighed, a strange noise that sounded like a whistle, and then said, "I'll go see if I am to waste our medicine on you, or if I should just kill you."

He slithered away. I lay waiting for him, cursing at myself for not letting Elsea heal me the night before. Soon he came back carrying a small metal box. He opened it and held it out to me. I looked inside. Gooey, purple slime filled the bottom.

"Eat this," he said. "Or we will have kill you."

I took the box and prepared to swallow it quickly. I held it up to my mouth and a nasty smell filled my nose. I almost threw up again but I held my breath and swallowed it. It actually had no taste at all. But after a few seconds my mouth turned completely dry. My heart started beating really fast, as if I had just been running. I started breathing hard. I could feel my eyes bulge and I suddenly felt dizzy. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, they were clouded. Then, slowly, everything went away and I sat there, panting.

The alien smirked. "I suppose it has a different effect on you than it does on corsunans." He turned and slithered away. I lay slowly down, but the medicine did help. I felt better. Now that I was feeling better, though, I could act.

An hour later, the alien came back. Act sick, I silently told myself.

I laid on my stomach and breathed harder than normal, and hoped I didn't look too healthy.

"Are you better?" it asked.

I coughed in reply and sniffled. I put my hand on my head and coughed again.

"The medicine didn't work?" The alien seemed genuinely surprised. I shrugged and curled up, hoping to look like I was in pain.

"Hmmmmmmmm," he said. "We really don't want to waste too much medicine on you, but you're the only specimen we have from Earth. So come with me, and we'll try to help you." He said 'help' like a cough, like it was some awful word. He walked forward and turned off the laser. I jumped up and slammed into him, pushing him onto the floor. I tumbled out after him and was immediately seized by two other aliens.

CHAPTER 12 "We figured you were acting. The medicine we gave you is 100% positive for any species. So we were waiting for you outside. Your friend here tried to yell at you, but we heard her." Elsea and I were in a small room, strapped to the floor on our backs by some type of laser that looked like ropes. The two aliens, one of which was Sonaflee, were standing in front of us.

"So both of you will stay in here for 5 days with no food. We will turn off all light sources and come back once a day to give you water." The aliens turned around and left. When they shut the heavy metal door, the room turned pitch black. We didn't talk for a long time. I lost track of time, then Elsea asked me,

"Are you scared?" "Yeah, I'm plenty scared. If you're not scared, I have plenty to go around." I realized I had sounded pretty harsh, so I said, "Sorry. It's just I'm not all that happy about this. Five days is a long time to have no food."

"Really? I can go without food for days before I get hungry."

We stopped talking for a long time, and I fell into a restless sleep.

Two days later, I watched as the door opened for the aliens to bring in water. My stomach felt like it was being torn apart, I was so hungry. The alien came up to me and held a tube of water over me.

"Open your mouth," he ordered. My mouth fell open and he poured the water into it. It gagged me because I was lying flat, and I coughed. Most of the water fell out of my mouth. Before he left, he slapped my bare chest hard with his tentacle. I screamed in pain. It felt like a cinder block and been dropped on me. I bounced off the ground and the ropes pulled me back down. Pain ran up and down my body. I closed my eyes and tears came spilling out from under my eyelids.

They closed the door and the room became pitch black again.

"Are you ok, Chris?"

I didn't answer because I didn't want her to hear me crying. She would get scared.

"Chris?"

"Yeah, I'm ok."

"Good." We didn't say anything else for a long time.

"Chris?" "Unhhh." "Chris? Listen to me. You have to hold on. This is the last day," Elsea said. Last day for what? Why did she have to talk about something so boring?

"Hmmmmm…. Have you ever had a sandwich?" I asked groggily.

Pause. "What?"

"You know, a sandwich. I personally love the classic ham and cheese. With mustard. And sometimes even peanut butter. Everyone thinks I'm weird because I like peanut butter on it, but I don't care. I'd like a sandwich right now. Can you fix me one?"

Long pause. "Chris, just, stop talking, ok? You're wasting too much energy."

I started humming some song that popped into my head. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

A few hours later, I woke up because I heard a door opening. The aliens slithered in. One came up to me and pressed a button on the laser stick. The ropes disappeared from my wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and neck. The alien wrapped its tentacle around one of my wrists and pulled me up. He let go and I fell down again, too weak to stand.

He reached down and stuck a long needle in my arm, a real injection. I couldn't feel it, but immediately I felt the energy come rushing back into me. I was refilled, not hungry or tired or anything. I stood up and walked towards the door with the alien beside me. I looked at Elsea and smiled, happy to be ok again.

We were put back in our cages again, and strangely enough it was like going back home.