(This is the second of seven days of Science Faction).
It wasn’t the first time that humans had landed and wandered around Mars. Each time – I believe it was seven – a new landing site had been selected to measure and collect and ascertain.
It was during the eighth Mars landing that Astronauts Eugenia and Estelle got the fright of their lives. They immediately beamed back photographs to Earth. There, in the sandy soil, were fresh footprints. In fact there were footprints of several creatures. The creatures were clearly quadrupeds and each foot had seventeen toes. Eugenia and Estelle followed the prints. When they turned a sudden rocky corner, there it was! Sitting on the sand was an octagonal space craft. No creatures were to be seen. The space craft was about the size of an average house.
The astronauts didn’t know whether they should approach or not. Was it dangerous? Surely the space aliens would have seen the Earthlings’ landing machine, and if they didn’t want to be seen they would have immediately taken off. Obviously, in this case, they wanted to make contact. Eugenia and Estelle slowly approached. It was naturally nerve-wracking.
There was still no sign of life. Suddenly Eugenia whispered. “Don’t look now but I think we’re been followed.” Their steps froze. They began to feel cold in their space suits. Estelle held up a small camera and pointed it behind her, to send the moment back to earth. No sooner had she held the camera up and pointed it behind her then it disintegrated in her hand.
A fuzzy image of shapes, out of focus and too dark to distinguish anything, was the last picture received on Earth. Extensive digital enhancement revealed what some thought looked like a vase of grey dead flowers and others imagined a scattered cloud formation on a stormy night. Astronauts Eugenia and Estelle were never heard of again. When yet another craft to Mars landed at the same site, the old craft was nowhere to be seen. It had been taken away.