It Starts With a Kiss

A woman meets with a visitor from another world for a rendezvous that transcends her further than she's ever been.

Luanne fidgeted nervously with her fingers. The bed creaked with even the slightest movement. Why did she come here? Well, she knew the reason why, but why in this place? It was very seedy looking, and the whole room had a musky smell to it. It wasn't at all like she pictured it would be. She assumed the first time meeting one of them would be in a bit nicer of a place. Then again, this wasn't an interview for a position on their vessel. God, what would her children say if they knew she was here and why?

A knock on the door. Luanne jumped up as if a fire drill had gone off. She rushed to the door and peered through the peephole, despite seeing very little due to the dim lights in the hallway. She made out a tall figure in a black coat. It was him! Or it? What is the proper pronoun for an Iln?

Another knock. Shit! How long had she left him standing out there? She swung the door open, nearly hitting the door handle against the wall.

“Luanne?” asked the Iln in the coat. “I am Zeth. May I come in, yes?”

“I...yes! I mean, of course. Please come in,” she muttered. He did, but she must've blinked for a moment as she didn't see him walk past her. The long slender being was sitting on the bed, lightly bouncing up and down on the mattress, seemingly enjoying the sounds the bedsprings made.

“Before we start, could we--?” he began.

“Oh, right. Yes!” Luanne gasped, as she fumbled through her purse and handed him the envelope. He skimmed through its contents, which included money, bags of tea and a pack of Lotus biscuits, and pocketed it. He smiled broadly at Luanne, as he opened his jacket, revealing his nearly nude body save for a pair of yoga pants.

“Did you find this hotel all right, yes?” he asked.

“I did. But why did we meet here?”

“It's quiet and allows my clientele to enjoy their time with me with some sense of anonymity, as well as keep the authorities out of our hair, yes,” the slender creature said with a chuckle.

“But why this place? It's so...so--,”

“Dirty? Run down? In disrepair?”

“Well, I was going to say so unbefitting of...your kind.”

“You believe this place to be beneath me, yes?” he said,

“Well, yeah,” she admitted. “Your people always look so regal, with your giant silver domes. Why come to a place like this, to be with someone...like me?”

Zenth laughed. “Someone like you? So now it is not just this establishment, but you who are beneath me, yes? Dear Luanne, my kind may be more advanced in our ways, but we are not gods. We are no different from you. We have the same thoughts. The same wants. The same needs,” he said. In the time it took for air to enter Luanne's lungs and expel from her nose, Zenth had gotten up from the bed and stood before her, stroking his finger through her hair.

Her eyes wandered over his strange silver-hued body. She wondered why her girlfriend Jane always referred to them as the rainbow people when they looked so drab. Still, standing alone in a hotel room this beautiful creature as he stroked her hair made her heart race. Luanne could feel her face getting redder by the second.

“So, how does this go? I mean, I don't--,” she stammered.

“We can get into that later. Tell me about yourself first, yes?”

“Me? What's to tell? I'm nobody special,” Luanne chuckled.

Zenth played with the hairs between his fingertips, mesmerized by the texture and color. “What color is this?” he asked. “Is it chestnut? Or mocha, yes?”

“I duh-don't know,” Luanne stuttered. “I just tuh-thought it was brown.”

“No, you didn't. You chose this color for a reason, yes? It's a new one. You've yet to get used to it yourself. Why do you paint your hair?”

Luanne bit her lip. She didn't like these questions. What right did he have to interrogate her like this? “This was a mistake. I shouldn't have come,” she said. “I need to go.”

She felt her wrist being held tightly in his hand. He pulled her back to him using only the slightest bit of force, spinning her into his arms, bringing his face but an inch from hers.

“Don't leave. Did I say something to offend you, yes?”

“Yes...I mean...look, I didn't come here to be interrogated by an Iln on why I color my hair, okay?”

“Then why did you come here?” he asked. “Tell me. I've heard so many reasons. Lonely neglected wives of feeble older men. Curious teenagers who want to know what it is to be with an Iln. How did you come to seek me?”

“Can we not get into it?” Luanne pleaded, averting her eyes from his golden pupils and their intense gaze.

The slender alien suddenly loosened his grip on her wrist. “Please, tell me, yes?” he asked.

Luanne sighed. “My...friend, Jane, she told me--,”

“Ah, Jane. Say no more. I remember her, yes.”

“You do?”

“I remember everyone who meets with me, yes,” he said. “Did she tell you what her experience was like?”

“Yuh-yes,” Luanne stammered.

“And what are you afraid of, that you are resisting now?”

“Maybe of my kids finding out I'm doing this? Or getting caught by the police, maybe. Knock on wood, right?”

“Knock on wood?”

“Forget it,” she said. “Forget this whole thing. It was silly of me. And dangerous. We could've ended up in jail.”

“It is not dangerous. There are no side effects, and it does not violate our laws against interspecies sexual conduct.”

“But we could've still been arrested,” Luanne interjected.

“Maybe,” said Zenth with a self-assured grin. “And yet you came here, knowing the consequences. I'd say Jane's recount of her experiences must've piqued your curiosity, yes?”

Luanne hesitated. “It's just...I'm scared. Scared of what could happen. I have no idea--,”

“Why don't we start with a kiss,” Zenth said, lifting her chin up.

Luanne closed her eyes as the Iln leaned in. His kiss was intense, as was his grasp on her hair. Luanne was startled by the forcefulness. She didn't know if she liked it or not, but it was the most passionate kiss she'd had in years. She broke free from his lips and wanted to speak, but the words wouldn't come out. Instead, she noticed that her hand seemed to be turning a blue color. She had barely a second to comprehend this when her mind exploded.

#

The walls ceased to be made of plaster and wood. In fact, the whole room seemed to become liquid. Every breath she took was like she exhaled flames that scorched the air. Even though she knew the Iln man was holding her close, he seemed a thousand miles away. Looking at him now, she realized Jane was right; every part of his body was a different color. His chest became a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. His proportions seemed to be all over the place, as he seemed small enough to fit in the palm of her hand, before becoming a giant that cradled her between his long fingers.

Luanne wondered when gravity stopped working, as she found herself going up into the sky. She flew higher and higher, passing by a million little balls of glass and fire that danced around her, like marbles in a whirlpool, sucking her in with them.

Then, from out of the vortex, a thousand silken ribbons with the colors of the spectrum flew out and began caressing her body. She felt the tendrils pass through her and swim into her bloodstream, before pulling her along into the furthest reaches of the infinite.

A silver sphere hovered before her, reflecting an image of a woman. It was her, and yet at the same time, it wasn't, as the woman kept shifting between young and old, long haired and bald, minuscule and colossal. Touching the sphere was like sticking her hand in Jell-O, although the deeper she pushed her hand inside the more powerful of an electric current passed through her.

When she blinked, Luanne found herself on the surface of a small world. But the little planet was made entirely of water, allowing her to see Zenth standing on the adjacent side of herself, looking down and waving up to her.

She tried to speak, but the words came out like notes from a pan flute, causing her to laugh. And laugh she did, laughing into the farthest reaches of the universe, forever and back again, as the galaxies that held the room together danced for her to the rhythm of her heart. Luanne was given eternity by a technicolor alien, encompassed in a hotel room made of the ultraviolet.

#

It took nearly two hours for Luanne to come back to her senses. The colors faded and the furniture finally stopped dancing. She laid there on the bed, panting like she'd ran a million miles under a minute. Her skin felt like it was both on fire and freezing cold to the touch, while her hair was a tangled mess and her shirt was half open. She couldn't remember when she'd kicked off her shoes when she stared at her bare feet and curled her toes. Sitting on the foot of the bed sat the Iln man, his skin having turned back to its original silver hue.

“Would you like water, yes?” Zenth asked, holding out a bottle.

Luanne used all of her strength to sit up. She took the bottle from Zenth's hand, but she was too frazzled to take a drink just yet.

“Wow,” she muttered. “That was...wow!”

“I'm pleased that you are pleased,” said Zenth.

Luanne broke out in a burst of laughter. “I can't believe I just did that! What even happened?”

“I assumed Jane explained it to you, yes?”

“Something about your spit making you high. I dunno. I don't remember,” she muttered, nearly falling asleep. She then sat herself up. “Do you feel like this all the time?”

Zenth chuckled. “Ask yourself; is there always saliva in your mouth, yes?”

Luanne giggled some more. Hallucinogenic spit; who would have ever imagined? Had she known she could feel this great, she'd have kissed an Iln years ago. “I could get addicted to this,” she muttered.

“Knock on wood, yes?” Zenth said. “I looked it up.”

“Can that really happen?” she asked with some concern.

“As far as I know, not really. But there's always a first time for everything, yes.”

Zenth pulled his coat back on. “You're leaving?” Luanne asked.

“I have more clients. But feel free to contact me again in the future, yes.”

Luanne sat up. “Wait, if all you do is kiss people, why stay with me?”

“Can't leave a person alone while on a trip, yes?” he said, brushing his fingers through her hair one last time. With that, he vanished as quickly as he had entered.

Luanne laid there for a few more minutes, still basking in her reverie of her high. She assumed she'd feel a lot more guilty for going to this part of town and getting high off of alien saliva. But it was wonderful, and she couldn't wait to do this again.

It was then she remembered that she'd left Jane waiting in her car on the street. “Shit!” Luanne snapped. She bolted up, fixed her hair and ran out the room that would become the place of her many future transcendent moments with Zenth.

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It Starts With a Kiss