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‘Wrong Turn To Roswell’

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Heather Donahue Art As cute as robot dog Rover One is, his owner is thinking of tightening his bolts if he doesn't stop leaving oil puddles everywhere.

Episode 13: And … Here comes Day 2 …

By S.E. Smith

The children’s story, “Wrong Turn to Roswell,” by USA Today and The New York Times bestselling author S.E. Smith started with episode 1 and 2 in the Vision Magazine, published on Dec. 21, 2017. The magazines are available for free at rdrnews.com/special-publications.

The story continued in the Vision section of the Roswell Daily Record, Sept. 23 and Oct. 21.

What happened: A spaceship with a vacationing robot family had to land for repairs in the back of an artist’s welding studio in Roswell. The robot father Copper and their mother Diamond warn their son Iron and his sister Carbon to not get into trouble. Despite the warning, the kids run out after their dog Rover One and encounter two human boys, Alan and Matt. The boys promise to help, but the robots are in danger to be found because of Dr. Lancer who is an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. A mob gathers, but Alan has a plan. Together with the help of Stanton Friedman, Roswell Daily Record reporter Christina Stock, the Roswell Police Department’s Chief Deputy Shane Baker and the publisher of the Roswell Daily Record, Barbara Beck, the robots hide in plain site as art in the welder studio of Alan’s mom.

Alan groaned when he felt something cold touch his cheek. Mumbling under his breath, he turned his head and rubbed his cheek against his pillow. He reached around to grab the covers and pull them over his head.

His fingers froze when they encountered something hard, cold and very metallic. Feeling along the metal, he grimaced when he felt his bed shake as the metal piece began to wiggle. He lifted his head and slowly opened his eyes. The rumpled sheets on the twin bed across from him were empty.

He turned his head and promptly emitted a smothered yelp when he received a long, metal tongue across his mouth. A shudder ran through him and he buried his face back into his pillow. It hadn’t been a dream — there really were aliens in his house.

He released a smothered giggle when Rover One began sniffing his neck, trying to get to his face. The laughter quickly turned to a groan when the heavy robotic dog decided to lay on his back. Alan rocked back and forth until Rover One hopped off of him. He rolled onto his side and looked at the dog.

“What are you doing in my bed?” he growled.

“He likes you,” Carbon explained.

Alan released a startled yelp. He pulled the covers up to his chin and shot Carbon a blurry glare. Reaching out a hand, he fumbled for his glasses that were on the nightstand next to his bed. Sliding them on, he blinked at Carbon.

She was sitting at his desk. Her coils of hair bouncing as she swiveled back and forth in the chair.

“What are you doing in my bedroom?” he demanded, holding the covers up to his chin.

She tilted her head and grinned at him. “You need more recharging time than we do. You also make strange noises when you are in your charging bed,” she informed him.

“What kind of noises?” he asked, struggling to sit up.

“Your noises sound like this,” she teased.

Alan listened with a wary expression as she made a series of snorts, mutterings and groans that sounded more like a recording than an imitation. He decided that they weren’t too embarrassing. His hand dropped down to Rover One when the dog nudged his arm.

“I had a lot of dreams last night,” he defended. “I don’t usually make so much noise.”

“It was much better than Matt. He made these strange noises that sounded like this,” she said.

He winced when Carbon imitated Matt’s snoring and more than one type and magnitude of farts. He raised his hand and waved it. He’d gone to sleep with the sounds, he didn’t need to be reminded of them.

“Yeah, that sounds like him. Where is Matt?” he asked.

“Downstairs. Your mom asked if I could come see if you were ready for your renourishment program,” Carbon said, standing.

“My … oh, breakfast. Yeah, sure, I’ll be down in a minute,” he replied.

He watched Carbon as she walked over to his bed and scooped Rover One into her arms. She grinned at him when he scooted back a little. The breath he was about to release caught in his throat when she paused.

“I like the robots on your covering,” she said before she turned and walked out of his room.

Alan blankly stared after her. It took a second for what she’d said to register. He slowly lowered the sheet and bedspread that he was holding and looked down at his pajamas. They were the ones his mom had bought for him last Christmas. They were covered in tiny alien robots and flying saucers.

“I’ve awakened in an alternate reality. None of this is real,” he muttered before he shook his head when he saw the damp spot on his bedspread. “Who am I kidding? Of course, it is real. I have an alien dog’s oil stain on my favorite bedspread!”

Alan tossed the covers to the side and slid out of bed. He quickly grabbed a fresh change of clothes out of his dresser and hurried to the bathroom down the hall. Fifteen minutes later, he was ready to face the day — he hoped.

*.*.*

“And I found this really cool helmet to help me pass my science class. I don’t know what it does. Alan says there are probably alien spiders in it that are going to eat my brains. Are there really spiders that do that? I mean it would be kinda cool in a really gross way. I wonder if they eat the brain or if they just lay eggs in it and the babies eat your brain until they grow big enough to cause your head to explode,” Matt was saying as Alan entered the room.

Alan stopped and stared at the table that was normally filled with just his mom, himself and two bowls of cereal. Today, every one of the six chairs were occupied. Miss Christina shot him a little wave.

“Alan, here you can have my seat,” his mom said.

He nodded his head and silently slid into the chair. He looked down when she placed a plate filled with pancakes in front of him. His mouth watered when he saw the chocolate chips in them. Looking up at her, he gave her a weak smile.

“Thanks, mom,” he murmured.

“I thought you could use some extra love this morning,” she whispered in his ear before straightening. “Would anyone like more pancakes?”

“Sure! I’d love some more. You make really great pancakes, Ms. Whitehead,” Matt immediately said, lifting his empty plate.

“I talked to Barbara this morning — she said that Herb Lancer has posted pictures online. I guess no one checked out his cellphone,” Christina said with an apologetic look at Diamond and Copper.

“What do you think will happen? Copper and I need to work on our ship. I’m afraid there was more damage than we realized,” Diamond explained.

“We aren’t even sure if we can find the parts we need. It is going to take us several weeks at least to go through everything and see what needs to be repaired,” Copper added, reaching over to grip his wife’s hand.

“What about the UFO Festival and GalactiCon planning committee? They meet today. Why don’t I introduce them there? I can say they are new residents of Roswell,” Stan suggested.

Christina nodded. “I can post my interview with them online. It won’t go out in print until the next edition runs,” she exclaimed.

“You have UFO Festivals?” Diamond asked in surprise.

“Yep, my dad even helps judge the alien pets,” Matt mumbled around a mouthful of pancakes. “I bet Rover One would win next year if you entered him.”

“Oh, that reminds me. He’s still leaking. He left an oil spot on my bedspread,” Alan added.

“Rover One! I swear I’m going to tighten your bolts if you don’t quit doing that,” Carbon groaned, glaring down at the robotic dog who was enthusiastically gnawing on a wrench.

“Hey, Alan, this looks like Rover One,” Matt said, holding up the bottle of syrup and letting it run all over his pancake.

Carbon shook her head at Matt. “You are as gross as Iron,” Carbon declared.

“That was good, Matt. It’s even the same color,” Iron snickered.

“I think that is a great idea, Stan. When do you want to introduce them?” Christina asked.

Stan grinned. “Well, I’ll be meeting with the committee at eleven, why not then?” he stated.

“I can bring them over in my van,” Alan’s mom replied.

“Then, I’d say we should introduce Roswell to a new improved version of aliens. I never expected a quick stop to say hello to one of my favorite reporters would turn into such an exciting adventure,” Stan said, rubbing his hands together in excitement.

Alan groaned and poked at his pancake. It looked like Day 2 was going to be just as bizarre as Day 1. He looked around the table at the excited faces. Matt and Iron were snickering and casting looks at Carbon.

“What’s wrong?” Carbon asked, leaning closer to him.

“Nothing except that the world is about to find out Roswell really is the alien capital of the world and I’ll probably never get rid of Matt now,” he muttered, picking up a forkful of his pancake and stuffing it in his mouth as he watched Matt and Iron quietly conspiring together at the other end of the table.

“Wrong Turn To Roswell continues Dec. 16 with episode 14: Introductions and Pandemonium …

S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, international award-winning author of science-fiction, fantasy, paranormal and contemporary works for children, young adults and adults. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away. Smith was part of this year’s UFO Festival and GalactiCon where she gathered more information about the town and its people to include in her story.

Smith also has a book series about the fictitious town Magic, New Mexico, which was inspired by her first trip to our area in 2015 and is located somewhere between Roswell, Artesia and Carlsbad.

Smith’s newest short story “Heart of the Cat: Serafin Warriors Book 3” is featured in the “Pets in Space 3” science fiction romance anthology, which is available for a limited time as ebook. For more information, visit sesmithfl.com/embrace-passion-pets-space-3.

Proceeds of this anthology go to hero-dogs.org, which provides service dogs to veterans.

Readers can check out her website at sesmithfl.com and chat with her on Facebook at facebook.com/se.smith.5.