The Curious Cube

Bright stars glistened in the dark, celestial curio cabinet above a suburban backyard. Gabby gazed into the summer night looking for an answer as a bubbling brook streamed down her face, but her tears did not warrant the attention of the stars. She only had a broken heart, which was the result of a three-month, high school relationship that was destined to end with the school year. Apparently, she cared more about this silly boy than she thought.

The world was filled with a million more serious issues than the breakup of a short-lived high school couple, and Gabby knew that. She also knew that her heart hurt. A cool breeze dried her tears as quickly as they appeared, and she felt that the glittering trinkets in the sky were telling her they did not have time to mourn the loss of her teenage fling. She had not even told her parents about Bryan because she knew their relationship was not going to last.

Her phone chimed.

“You okay?”

Her friend, Helen, wanted to help.

“Yeah, I guess,” Gabby texted back.

“I can come over.”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to.”

“Alright… let me know if you need something.”

“Okay.”

She wanted to be alone. Her tears distorted the positions of the stars. From one moment to the next, the white dots moved across the sky. She wiped her eyes, and the stars were back in the same place. A rogue star skipped around as if it was mocking Gabby’s tears. She wiped her eyes again, but the star continued to hopscotch through the sky. She decided to close her eyes and take a deep breath, exhaling out the pain. Upon blinking her eyes open again, the stars seemed to be back in place, too busy with their own planets and moons to worry about the broken heart of an American teenager.

Then, the white dot moved again.

Distracted by the odd occurrence, her stream of tears turned into a minor leaky faucet. She sniffled up the remaining droplets and examined the moving star. It had no sensible path. It just seemed to move every which way without any purpose. She rubbed her eyes again, and then opened them up wide to focus. She could not tell if her eyes were playing a trick on her or if this star really was moving. This stupid breakup was now affecting her perception of reality.

She stood up from the patio chair in her backyard and combed her hands through her hair, closing her eyes and breathing deeply once again. She just needed to go to bed and sleep it off, so she scooped up her blanket from the chair, wrapped it around her shoulders and moved toward the back door of her house.

Gabby took another look at the sky, and the star was still moving. She squinted now, tracking its position. The bright, white dot seemed to be moving toward her now at a fast velocity. Her eyes widened with no more tears dribbling from her pores. She could hear a high-pitched whizzing as the bright object approached Earth. Both of her now dry eyes were lasered on the star.

The whizzing grew louder and the light glowed brighter, but the size of the object seemed to stay the same. Gabby’s heart started to race as she realized an unidentified flying object was catapulting into her backyard. There was no time to run even if she wanted to. With a brilliant flash of light and a loud splash, the object had landed in her pool.

Many thoughts raced through Gabby’s head. Am I alive? Did my backyard blow up? Why did my pool not explode into a million pieces? Is the object still intact? Was it really a star? Or maybe a piece of one?

A soft glow radiated from her pool, and she slowly walked to it. As she peered over the side of her deck and into the clear water, she made out a small, cubic metal device shining a dim light from circular openings on its sides. The impact left no hole in her pool or the ground. She grabbed the pool skimmer and maneuvered it near the object. After a few unsuccessful swipes, she finally scooped the object from the bottom of the pool and dumped it next to her on the deck.

It looked to be made of some sort of steel, and each side was smooth with four circles emitting light. It was some sort of celestial Rubik’s Cube. She reached down and touched it, but it seemed rather boring. She held it in her hand and examined each side. Nothing interesting appeared. She glanced toward the sky again, wondering what this could be and where it came from.

Then, it started to whizz again. Immediately, she dropped it, but it did not land with a thump. The metal cube hovered above the deck, and the circular lights burned brighter. A voice could be heard. Gabby was not sure where the sound was coming from as she did not see any tiny holes that would indicate a speaker. The voice started speaking in many different languages. Most of them did not even sound of her world.

“Hello?” Gabby asked the cube.

The languages stopped.

“Hello?” she asked it again.

“Hello,” it replied. “Please accept this message.”

Dumbfounded, Gabby replied, “I accept this message…”

“A crisis in the universe demands the attention of the intelligent beings on your planet. Please grab a hold of this device to be transported to the origin of this message. All will be explained.”

Gabby scanned the perimeter of her backyard. Was someone playing a trick on her? Could this be real? If this was a real message from some intergalactic species, how did it end up in her backyard?

“A crisis in the universe demands the attention of the intelligent beings on your planet. Please grab a hold of this device to be transported to the origin of this message. All will be explained,” the device repeated itself.

She should probably call the police. The device would then be sent to the FBI, CIA or some other agency that has a proper protocol for something like this. A suburban, teenage girl would not be able to help solve a conflict that might be thousands of light years away.

Gabby’s phone chimed.

“Hey,” Bryan texted her. “I think I made a mistake. Can we talk?”

The device repeated its message once more.

“A crisis in the universe demands the attention of the intelligent beings on your planet. Please grab a hold of this device to be transported to the origin of this message. All will be explained.”

She stared at the text from Bryan, and then smirked. There are more important issues out there than the breakup of a high school couple. The device had started its message once again when Gabby finally closed her eyes and grabbed hold of the metal cube. Before the fourth iteration of the message completed, Gabby and the device turned into a neon blue light. Less than a second later, the blue light flashed off, and the teenager disappeared.




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