Louis was home in the middle of the day, because he was sick. If it was up to him, he would have been at school. Today they were going to make ice cream as a science experiment. That was much better than staying in bed and staring at the ceiling.
Unfortunately, Mom said that if you have a fever and a runny nose, and a terrible cough, and a sore throat and can’t stop sneezing, then you should stay home. Throwing up after breakfast hadn’t helped his argument at all, either. So, Louis blew his nose again and sneezed and looked at the ceiling. Ceilings are boring.
“Mom, I’m bored,” Louis yelled. Then he coughed. Ouch. His throat really hurt.
“Then take a nap,” his mom yelled back. “You need to rest so that you can heal.”
Louis scowled. He was much too old for naps, and he wasn’t at all sleepy. Well, he was maybe a little bit tired. But not really enough to fall asleep yet. He turned and watched the shadows on the wall move. The wind must be blowing through the tree outside.
And then, the shadows started to fade, or maybe the room started to glow. Louis wasn’t quite sure. It was all a little strange. Everything looked a little bit foggy. Louis blinked, and when he opened his eyes, he wasn’t in his bedroom any more.
He was in a strange metal room filled with blinking lights. Something was making a clicking sound. Three tall skinny beings with greenish skin and bright blue eyes looked at him. They were definitely aliens. Louis looked back. One of the aliens said something, but Louis didn’t know what he was saying. “I don’t speak your language,” Louis said.
The aliens approached and one of them looked closely into Louis’s face. The aliens smelled like dust. Lots of dust. Louis sneezed right into the alien’s face, and then he couldn’t stop sneezing.
The alien backed up, but the other two crowded closer. The sneezing hurt his throat and upset his stomach. Louis threw up on the other two aliens. The aliens backed up and bowed. One of the aliens pushed a button on the wall, and the room started to get brighter. Everything looked foggy. Louis blinked.
And he was back in his room looking up at the ceiling. Had any of that really happened? Mom knocked on the doorframe and came in. “How are you feeling?” she asked. “Any better?”
“Mom, I was just captured by aliens,” Louis said. “I threw up all over them, so they let me go.”
“That sounds like a nice dream,” Mom said. “Is your stomach still upset?” She put her hand on his forehead. “Oh dear, you’re still quite warm. Would you like some ice cream?”
“For lunch?” Louis asked.
“Why not,” Mom said. “You’re feeling sick.”
Maybe being sick wasn’t so bad, except for the staring at the ceiling part. Even being captured by aliens wasn’t terrible. It had been kind of interesting. If it really happened at all, of course.
Two days later, Louis was back in class. He’d missed the ice cream experiment and a math quiz, but otherwise things had been pretty quiet at school. Susie said that Dan threw up on the slide just a day ago.
Louis decided that being sick probably happened to everybody at one time or another. He was glad that he felt better now and could move forward. He hoped he didn’t feel sick again anytime soon and that he never threw up on the slide. That sounded embarrassing.
Hundreds of thousands of miles away, the crew of an alien space ship coughed and sneezed and stared at the ceiling and tried not to throw up. “I thought it was too eager to give us the samples we required. It was completely suspicious,” one said.
“I thought it believed we were peaceful scientists,” another replied. “How was I to know it recognized us as a possible threat.” The alien sneezed and sneezed and sneezed.
“Well, I’m going to recommend we don’t try to colonize this world. The inhabitants are far too hostile. And they don’t fight fair, either,” the last one said. And then he threw up.