by Christine M Layton
No one heard the crash the night it came to Earth. There were no alarms or calls to the police. The wreckage was actually discovered by a couple searching for the perfect picnic spot. There, in the middle of a clearing, the saucer stood out against the ground. A spray of soil showed the force of impact the ship must have made when it crashed.
"Oh Clark, don't go near it!" The shining curve of the saucer filled Marcy with dread. "It could be dangerous."
"I'm just going to take a look," Clark said calmly. He walked slowly toward the ship.
The saucer was made of metal that gleamed in the mid-morning sun. When Clark reached the space ship he peered into the dome. Then he turned and started to call out to Marcy. And then he vanished.
Just one month later there had already been more than a dozen attempts to examine the wreckage. Everyone who came close to, or touched the strange ship would suddenly disappear into thin air. The story was an international sensation. Claims that it was a hoax were disproved as again and again people vanished when they came close to the crashed saucer.
There were many theories about the disappearances. Some thought the ship had a self-defense mechanism that would eliminate anyone who tried to touch it. This theory had inconsistencies, though. Sometimes a person would walk around the ship two or three times before they disappeared. Other times they would disappear immediately, without even coming close enough to touch the ship itself.
Others saw the space ship as the beacon for a new religion. They came to worship at its perimeter and wait for the answers to all life's questions. There were a few who saw it as a form of judgment. "Let he who has not sinned step forward and touch the vessel," they preached. And none who had gone so far were worthy.