“You’re frustrating…” sighed Riley, “Perhaps another time.”  Chel didn’t say anything else.  Riley took her silence as a real end to the conversation.  “Crescent.”  He clicked his tongue to get the dice’s attention.  She immediately let go of the lightning bug she was about to eat and bounced up to Riley and up onto his shoulder.

Chel watched as the alien waved goodbye, smiled and then stepped into an invisible door.  She sighed and leaned against the house.  The wind was gently rustling the leaves on the bushes nearby. Crickets were chirping in the grass and the lightning bugs were floating around like little glowing orbs.  Everything was so normal.

There were not any aliens in her backyard.  There was not one to be seen.  Her gaze drifted upward to the starlit sky.  Lexx was up there somewhere.  She remembered the look on his face.  It wasn’t the look of someone who had intended to hurt her.  He had said her name, and she had kept on walking.

‘I wish I could ask mom or dad what to do…’  Chel searched her thoughts, ‘But I can’t mention any of this to them.  I don’t want them to know how stupid their oldest daughter was this summer.’  She went over her past choices again.  They had seemed appropriate when she’d made those choices, but she had not thought very far past the thrill of doing something nobody else had.  She had not considered the dangers she might be exposed to as well.

‘They would be disappointed in their daughter, the one who is supposedly really smart, who is always responsible and never makes any serious mistakes,… I wonder what happened to her.  How did I get here?  Where do I go?’  Chel glanced around the yard again, relaxing herself with a few more deep cleansing breaths.  Then she opened the door and walked back inside the house.