Home > Fiction > The Patient Ones

The Patient Ones

It’s Storybook Corner time again! As usual, I’m getting this in just under the wire.

This is a 300-500 word story based on a photo prompt, and is hosted by Adam Ickes. This week’s photo is quite open – just a door – where could it lead?

But first, the logo!



You can read the other stories for this month (March) by clicking on the little blue froggy below.

And here’s the photo for this month’s prompt.



Marcus took a deep breath and walked through the door, shaking the snow from his boots. It was warmer inside, and warmer too at his ultimate destination, he hoped.

They had arrived twenty-two years ago amid world-wide panic. “Invasion!” was the word on everyone’s lips. “Aliens!” followed close behind.

After a few days nothing untoward had happened. Contact was made.

The Vonotvi, they called themselves. A peaceful race from the far side of the galaxy, their planet had died when their sun exploded. These two hundred were the last of their race.

They brought new culture, new technology. Technology like Space Fold Unlimited Travel allowing almost instantaneous travel across the planet between any two terminals. Operated by SFUTlinkTM under the guidance of the Vonotvi, this building held one such terminal.

Today Marcus was travelling to warmer climes. The last of his family lost in a flaming mass of twisted metal, he was leaving familiar shores and painful memories behind.

He’d heard the stories, of course. People disappearing, walking in one end and never seen again. Nobody was particularly worried. Did they really disappear? No-one had reported them missing. Most were transients. Who knew if they were missing or not?

The Vonotvi had been on Earth for decades with never a problem and besides, there weren’t enough of them to cause trouble. Conspiracy theorists, they’ll always find something. Everyone used SFUT. Commuters, celebrities, hell, even world leaders. Perfectly safe!

And so Marcus walked up to the desk, swiped his ID and joined the queue of travellers. Men, women, children. Families. Families like the one he’d lost.

He swallowed to clear the lump in his throat and approached the Threshold. A swirling, pulsating mass of colours, the Threshold was everything popular science fiction had promised. One by one the travellers entered, to emerge on the other side of the planet. Marcus closed his eyes and crossed into the “tunnel”.

Immediately the air exploded from his body. He felt weightless. He opened his eyes but had no air in his lungs to scream as his eyeballs threatened to burst from his skull. He was floating in blackness, unable to breathe. Something had gone horribly wrong!

As consciousness left him, he imagined he saw a dark shape approaching.

When he opened his eyes again, everything was clear. He stood in a large metal bay, a hanger maybe, amidst many others. A huge screen flashed images of a planet – clear blue seas, huge cities, open countryside, somehow familiar? – his enhanced brain absorbed the information. Power generation centres, transport hubs, seats of power. Tactics. Mission parameters. The vicious pincers at the ends of his arms, bonded to his flesh, felt wrong somehow. Everything felt a little wrong, but he put that thought aside as he screeched the Vonotvi battle cry, echoed by thousands of others in the hanger.

Ka Vonotvi kee’ash! “For Vonotvi to the death!”

In the gallery above, two Vonotvi, or “Patient Ones”, smiled in grim satisfaction.


  1. NotAPunkRocker
    April 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Oops. Wrong door, maybe?


    • April 19, 2014 at 5:43 am

      Definitely! He should have chosen an alternative mode of transport I think (if conventional transport still exists).


  2. April 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    LOL! Those Vonotvi are even more clever than the Kanamits! Have you ever read a short story by Stephen King called “The Jaunt?” It also deals with a futuristic teleportation system… only without the aliens with an ulterior motive


    • April 19, 2014 at 5:45 am

      I don’t think I’ve read any Stephen King to be honest. Which is weird because I would imagine I’d like his books – maybe I should start with some of his short stories and see how it goes.


      • April 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm

        That’s all I have the attention span for is short stories. I’ve read three and a half of King’s short story anthologies over the years… most of them are very good reads, even if science fiction/horror isn’t your thing….


        • April 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm

          I actually prefer to get into a nice long novel, but short stories are an ideal way to try out an author, and they’re often very clever as the author doesn’t have much room to tell the story.


  3. April 18, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Sneaking Patient Ones. The humans will never see the true invasion coming. Great piece of SciFi here!


    • April 19, 2014 at 5:47 am

      Thanks! I imagine they’ll be able to beam their new army in through the travel terminals as well. I expect world leaders have their own personal ones sitting inside their security perimeters, so they’re screwed.


  4. April 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Law of supply and demand. The Vonotvi understood it to a T 🙂 didn’t even need to try really hard to get the specimens they needed. This was excellent!


    • April 19, 2014 at 5:48 am

      A bunch of aliens arriving and giving us what we want certainly turned out to be too good to be true.
      I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂


  5. April 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    “To Serve Man” redux?


    • April 19, 2014 at 5:53 am

      Adam mentioned that as well – I Googled it (“The Twilight Zone” hasn’t shown in this country since I was almost too little to watch it).
      Silent invasions have certainly featured in several programs, it’s true. One particular “Stargate SG-1” episode, “Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict”, maybe (I can’t remember how that ended), “V” of course.
      People forget just how sneaky aliens can be!


  6. April 19, 2014 at 6:35 am

    This reminds me of an old tale I read when I was about 10 or 11. It was by H.P. Lovecraft, but it was unlike his regular stuff. A guy travels through space & time & gets switched with a Great story again Dr. Ali. I love all this scary stuff 🙂


    • April 19, 2014 at 7:31 am

      I think people being quietly kidnapped and turned into mutant soldiers is more scary than a simple “Independence Day” style of invasion 🙂


  7. April 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Draliman, I just came by to wish you personally a Happy Easter 🙂 Thanks for stopping by our bloggie. Pawkisses for a wonderful time 🙂


    • April 20, 2014 at 4:05 am

      Thank you for the pawkisses 🙂 Happy Easter!


  8. April 19, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Hope you enjoy a great Easter dinner with a few chocolate eggs tossed in.
    I like your longer story’s.


    • April 20, 2014 at 4:07 am

      I have the chocolate eggs lined up and ready to go 🙂
      It is good to have a higher word limit. Maybe I should start working my way up to longer and longer stories and see how it goes.


  9. April 20, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Good sci-fi story, Al. There’s more than one way to get an army I guess. We’ll have to be careful of new, innovative methods of travel. Well written. 🙂 I agree that you should try for short stories. Sci-fi stories should be very popular.


    • April 21, 2014 at 5:48 am

      Thanks! I’ll stick to the bus 🙂
      Both Sci-fi and horror work well as short stories I think.


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