Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | January 3, 2010

Eyes to Discover

Sherborn, MA. November, 2009.

I hear music, high and strange — the notes wandering from tone to tone without any pattern or melody. And yet it’s beautiful. My feet leave no footprints in the carpet of fall leaves as I walk toward the source.

“Where are you going, Allie?” I ask myself. “Why so far?”

I spoke softly, but my words knocked against the trembling notes, and I nearly lost the thread of the song. I decide to say no more.

Even my thoughts interrupt the flow of music through my mind. But who can stop thinking? I can’t.

I think: It is like they are playing just for me – but that couldn’t be. It’s someone practicing an instrument. Clarinet? Oboe? But the sound never stops. They have to breath, don’t they? Well, what if it’s a piano? Not in the middle of the woods…

And so on and so on. Ahead, the trees form a dark tunnel. I think of intersteller travelers flying through wormholes. I imagine dark beasts waiting in the shadows. Bears or cougars or maybe even dragons. But my feet don’t stop. The music is louder — I’m getting close.

At home, my sister will be worried about me. It’s not the first time I’ve disappeared into the woods alone. I’m twelve, almost thirteen. I can handle it.

I step into the dark embrace of the tunnel. The sun struggles to shine through a thick curtain of pine boughs, but the light just breaks into a million tiny sparkles at my feet and prickling my hands.

The music turns stacatto. Quick bursts of pattering sound, like raindrops or… gunshots. I’ve heard those often enough from my back porch.

Maybe I should turn around. Explore this tunnel later.

“There are crazy people out there, Allie!” My sister says. But I’ve never met anyone that wacky, unless you count our neighbor Mrs. Friedberg, who always loses her teeth and blames you for stealing them.


Now I know what it’s like to stop thinking. My mind emptied, and then it filled up again. Like a pitcher dumping out dirty water then scooping up fresh.

I’m standing in front of a cube–it’s dark, but seems to change color when I move from side to side. Only the colors are ones I don’t understand. Neither is the way the thing sits in space. It seems to be tilted, but then it seems split in two. And the music comes from within. This I know as clearly as I know that my sister will yell at me when I get home and my Mom won’t even notice.

I know I shouldn’t touch it, but it looks so smooth, almost fluid — like it’s made of water. That’s impossible, I think, and my fingers connect with the surface and indent into it, sending out ripples.

The music stops. I try to yank my hand back, but it’s stuck. The last thing I see is the cube growing, expanding, until the forest disappears.

The voice comes from all directions. Inside and outside my head. It speaks like the music sounded, only now I understand.

“We are travelers, as are you. We seek to understand, as do you. Do you speak?”

“Yes?” I try to see the person who’s talking, but my eyes don’t work right. All I see are shifting colors and corners — like I’m in a space that doesn’t know what shape to be.

“Yes!” The voice repeats. “We cannot travel within your space. Will you be our eyes to discover?”

I don’t understand what this means, and suddenly all I want is to be home again. I don’t care what my sister says, or what my mom doesn’t say. I’ll never tell them where I was, and they’ll forget about it soon enough. “Will you let me go?”

“Yes. But take this.”

A speck hovers over my eye, then descends. “Help!” I shriek, but I feel nothing as the thing settles in.

I am in the woods again, and the trees seem to sparkle with inner light. It is only now that I wonder if I was just abducted by aliens. Aren’t they supposed to fly in saucers over cow pastures? I turn to look at the cube again, but it’s not a cube anymore. It’s a thin line, and if I didn’t know there was supposed to be something there I wouldn’t see it at all.

I rub my eyes, trying to feel the thing they placed there, but I can’t.

Eyes open, I start walking home. It takes only a few steps before I figure out what’s changed. I can see music everywhere. And I understand it. The trees, the river, a family of ants. They are all speaking. And I will be the one to share with the aliens what they say.



  1. I love all your ideas you come up with- all so different. Both the last post and this one were very…refreshing!

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