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 episodes 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 continues in the Vision section of the Roswell Daily Record, which started Sept. 23.
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 of being 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 successfully in plain site as art in the welder studio of Alan’s mom. The next morning, they find out that photos were leaked, and the decision is made to announce the reality of alien robots in Roswell at the UFO Festival and GalactiCon planning committee meeting in the UFO Museum. The reception is friendly, but Iron and Matt sneak downstairs to meet the tourists with Alan and Carbon in pursuit to stop them, but they are too late and a confrontation with tourists and locals is unavoidable. Fortunately, the day ends well when everybody poses for a photo.
Can you believe there are really aliens going to our school? How cool is that?”
“Completely, but did you see who they came in with? Alan and Matt? Really?”
Alan grimaced and pushed between the two students walking in front of him. The two girls muttered a few words under their breaths that he ignored. A quick glance at the clock showed him that it was almost time for lunch.
Farther down the hall, he could see Matt excitedly talking to Iron and Carbon. Carbon was gazing around her with an indifferent expression. Her eyes lit up when she saw him coming. A familiar blush heated his cheeks as he came to a stop in front of the trio.
“Hey,” he greeted.
“Hi, Alan! Guess what? Iron is in three classes with me!” Matt said with a pleased grin.
“That’s cool. Uh, what about you, Carbon?” Alan asked.
He shifted to the side when several students walked by him. One of them purposely bumped into him. He stumbled forward into Carbon with an apologetic smile and pushed his glasses back up when they slid down on his nose.
“What a nerd,” Pete Longman commented to the two guys with him.
“Sorry,” Alan muttered.
Carbon glared at the boy who had purposely jostled Alan. “It isn’t your fault that boy is clumsy,” she replied.
Alan could feel the smile on his lips turn into a grin. He looked over his shoulder at Pete. Pete was on the baseball and the basketball teams. He thought he was hot because he was as tall as most of the high school kids in town.
“So, how did your morning go?” he asked.
Carbon shrugged. “Boring. We sat in the front office while your mom and my parents tried to calm down the principal who was freaking out that aliens were wanting to go to school,” she said with a grin.
“It was so cool. Do all humans need to breathe into a brown bag?” Iron asked.
“Nah, just when they are hyperventilating. My mom does that when I bring home a good grade. She just knows that I must have cheated to get it. I happen to be very good in art,” Matt shared. “Are you guys hungry? I’m starving.”
“I could use a recharge,” Iron said.
Iron and Matt headed down the hall, but Alan stayed with Carbon when she hesitated. She was fingering one of her coils and looking thoughtfully at Pete, who was leaning against the wall near the bathroom, talking to his friends.
Alan didn’t like the way they kept looking over in his direction. He knew what that usually meant. He reached out and gripped Carbon’s elbow.
“We’d better go to the cafeteria. We’ve only got a half-hour for lunch,” he said in a low voice.
“Those boys are planning on embarrassing you,” Carbon said as they quickly walked down the hallway.
“Yeah, well, they like to do that when they are bored,” he replied.
“There is only one of you and at least three of them,” she said with a frown.
“That sounds about right,” Alan muttered.
“Mhm,” Carbon said.
Alan wasn’t sure what Carbon’s response meant. A look at her face didn’t tell him much. She had a thoughtful expression and her eyes were glowing. He hoped that didn’t mean more trouble.
Carbon walked over to the table where Matt and her brother were already sitting. Iron was plugged into an external power pack he’d brought to recharge himself while Matt was eating something that looked suspiciously like worms in a red liquid. She wiggled her nose. Humans ate some very strange things.
“Uh-oh,” Matt murmured when he noticed Pete and three of his friends taking up positions near where Alan would be coming out of the food line.
Carbon had overheard Pete planning to make Alan trip so his food would fall all over himself. They thought it would be funny. A slow grin curved her lips and she rubbed her fingers together.
“Uh, Carbon, remember what Mom said about not causing any trouble,” Iron reminded her.
“I’m not causing it,” Carbon retorted over her shoulder as she started walking across the crowded room.
“Where’s she going?” Matt asked, slurping a long spaghetti noodle into his mouth.
“I guess to help Alan,” Iron said with a sigh. “We didn’t even make it through half a day. At least this time Carbon will be the one grounded for life.”
Alan paused as he exited the serving line. Well, ‘paused’ might have been too wimpy a term. He more like ‘froze in dread.’
He wasn’t scared. In fact, he kept telling himself over and over that people didn’t die from humiliation and that he could always move away when he was old enough, so everything would be fine. He also acknowledged that this could very well be the worst day of his life.
Swallowing, he forced his feet to move forward even as Pete took a step to block his path to the table where Alan’s friends were sitting. Alan’s fingers gripped the edge of the tray. Beyond Pete’s shoulder, he could see Carbon walking toward him with a determined expression on her face.
He honestly didn’t know what came over him. It was something he’d have to analyze later — if he was still alive.
He forcefully tilted the tray towards Pete’s arrogant grin, and the mass of red sauce, gooey noodles, dressing-covered salad, and bits of fruit cocktail flew through the air — and all over Pete.
Silence filled the cafeteria. In fact, the only sound was the plop of noodles hitting the floor after the gooey mess slid down Pete’s face. Pete’s shocked and disbelieving expression would forever be burned into his memory. Then, laughter bubbled softly and uncontrollably out of Alan’s throat, getting louder as he realized that he’d actually done that — and it had felt good.
His chuckles ended abruptly when Pete’s expression turned angry. Alan darted to the side as Pete reached for him, but then slipped in the pile of food and landed on the floor. Pete lay sprawled there as the entire student body began to laugh.
“Get him!” Pete furiously yelled.
Alan reached for Carbon’s arm, but she shrugged him off. He watched in disbelief as the coils in her hair began to pop and snap. He could see electrical charges sparking along the red strands. She lifted her fingers, which had tiny balls of electrical charges glowing at their tips.
“I don’t think so,” she said with a wicked grin.
“Wrong Turn To Roswell continues May 5 with episode 17: Trouble in Roswell
S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY and 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 last year’s UFO Festival and GalactiCon where she gathered more information about the town and its people to include in her story. Smith 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 book is “Core’s Attack,” about a chief security officer going through a portal and finding the planet Baade, a world filled with an annoying, male-dominated species called Prime. Readers can check out her website at sesmithfl.com and chat with her on Facebook at facebook.com/se.smith.5 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.