On the night of 9 August 2013 I was abducted from a public park in Brooklyn, New York, by beings who could only have been — and for whom no other explanation even remotely serves — extraterrestrials.

It had been a typical summer day in New York City — too hot and too humid. In the evening the temperature dropped just enough to feel pleasant. After putting my infant son to bed and having dinner at home with his mother, I stepped out for a walk. It was a Friday sometime between 9:30 and 10 o'clock. I strolled past the imposing facade of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and then the main entrance of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Both institutions were closed at that hour.

The trees in Mt Prospect Park loomed above me. They were amongst the oldest and tallest trees to be found anywhere in Brooklyn. Their upper branches swayed in a slight breeze. The air smelled of grass and earth. The thought passed through my mind that city parks, dark and isolated, could be dangerous places at night. I ascended the walkway into the park anyway.

Hardly larger than a typical city block, Mt Prospect Park lies atop a hiccup of a mountain between the Botanical Garden and the main branch of the Brooklyn Library. It stands in comparison to its far larger and grander neighbor, Prospect Park, as an ant to an elephant. From a vantage point just past the playground it can be viewed in its entirety. The park is ringed by an iron fence that separates it from the Botanical Garden. At the park's highest point a row of benches sit against the fence beneath a trio of flag poles. A steep set of steps at the park's western end descend down almost directly to the entrance of the library's children's section. The park is separated by Eastern Parkway from the nearest residential buildings; it is almost never crowded no matter the occasion. At that hour I was its only visitor.

I had been feeling anxious for several days before that night, for reasons I could not explain. There were no approaching deadlines for any projects at the office. I had no financial or other difficulties. My family life was a source of joy. But nevertheless I was consumed with anxiety.

As a I walked across the park's lawn, a mist, milky and opaque, chased after me just above the ground and billowed ahead of me as it rose. In front of me, the mist was illuminated by a white light. My first thought was that the light must have come from the library, but then I realized that the light was too close, the library too far. The light hovered gently a few yards above the ground. The movement was too deliberate to be a flashlight held by a person, too conspicuous to be from a street lamp or another fixed source.

I stopped. The light was directly ahead of me. The park had disappeared beyond the mist. I noticed that I felt light-headed, almost joyful. I had not a care in the world. The anxiety had vanished.

Five or six little men stood beside me. I had not noticed their approach. I am not tall myself, but these beings were much shorter, the tallest barely reaching my chest, the shortest not even my belt buckle. I was not alarmed nor fearful. My whole consciousness had entered a state I had never experienced before—my senses perfectly lucid, but not a trace of anxiety.

The little men's eyes were large, entirely black, solid marbles the size of apples. Their heads were enormous. Their skin was gray. All of them were naked, their bodies as hairless as silicone.

I felt myself rising above them, levitating off the ground. They guided me with their hands, their fingers as long and thin as wires, as if I were a helium balloon. The light above me grew larger. Everything about me became white. I had floated into a cloud.

* * *

I awoke in a room with pale blue walls, floor, and ceiling. It was clearly lit although no source of light was evident. I lay on a table in the center of the room. My wrists and ankles were restrained. The room was as cold as the meat aisle in a grocery market. I was naked.

A woman stepped up to the table. She wore a white, one-piece suit, devoid of creases or wrinkles. She was taller than the men who had approached me in the park, but she had the same huge black eyes. Her head tilted down towards my face, but because her eyes lacked whites or visible pupils, it was difficult to discern upon what her gaze was fixed. I had no way of knowing if she was actually female; it was more an intuition that I had no reason to doubt.

I did not know where I was. I knew nothing about this strange being or her intentions. I tried to sit up and found that my head also was restrained.

The woman waved a hand over me. Her fingers were twice as long as my own, but as thin as pencils. I immediately felt calm.

She raised her other hand. In it she held a long, thin, chrome rod. The end she held was half the width of one of her fingers but the rod tapered to a white bulb no larger than a pin head. She lowered the rod to my face until the bulb rested at my left nostril. Then she pushed the rod up and in. This was one of the most painful experiences of my life.

When she finished she probed the other nostril. Then she probed each ear and after that jammed the probe between my lips and down my throat.

She stepped back, far enough that I could see her hands. The probe was gone. A soft whir, almost a purr, could be heard from somewhere above my head, beyond my view. My scalp began to tingle. The tingles became tiny pricks, and the pricks became needles.

"What are you doing to me?" I shouted at the woman. She did not so much as flinch. The needles continued, spreading down the back of my neck. Only after my scalp had gone number did the needles stop.

The whirring noise ended. A different machine puttered to life. It made a whooshing sound, like a piston forcing air of out some container, over and over.

Pressure was applied to my face. This procedure did not hurt. It was more strange than unpleasant, like a dozen fingers being pressed into my cheek, forehead, nose, lips, chin. The pressure points descended from my face to my neck, spread over my shoulders, then down my arms. Next the pressure hit my chest, stomach, pelvis, and continued on down until it reached my toes. At the point the piston--or whatever the machine consisted of--stopped.

No new sound followed. The strange woman did not budge.

A cone, its pointed end attached to a white tube, descended from the ceiling. It stopped descending when it reached my pelvis. Its open end enclosed my genitals. I felt no feelings of sexual arousal whatsoever, and yet I am certain that something uncanny occurred. The procedure lasted only a moment. I felt a quick squeeze on my penis and heard a soft click. Then the cone rose back up towards the ceiling and disappeared.

A portal emerged in the wall where not even a line or a mark had appeared previously. Beyond the portal was a narrow hallway, perhaps a tunnel of some kind. The woman turned, stepped through the portal, and continued down hallway. Soundlessly, the portal sealed shut behind her.

* * *

I felt the shackles about my wrist and ankles and head release. But I was in a daze. My head was buzzed, as if I were half drunk. So rather than stand up or even just sit up, I lay on the table just as before.

The hands on my watch had stopped, and yet I knew that some significant time passed while I lay alone in that room. Whether it was fifteen minutes or an hour I had no way of knowing. But I never grew annoyed or bored; I was in too much of a daze.

The portal opened. A male in a dark gray jumpsuit stepped into the room. He was as tall as the female had been. His eyes were larger than hers and yet still entirely black. He stood just beyond arm's length from me, hands folded behind him, back straight, feet planted together.

"Hello," he said. It was a soft voice, almost a whisper. It took me a moment to realize that he had not spoken aloud at all, that his small mouth, a mere slit beneath a bulge where his nose would have been had he been human, had not opened or moved. Somehow he had beamed his voice directly into my mind.

I was in too much of a daze to remember every word he spoke. He explained that I was on board a spacecraft. We were far from Earth, at the outer reaches of the solar system, but that craft would return to Earth soon. He asked me whether I feared for the fate of humanity and for the planet Earth, and I replied that of course I did.

There was no way of knowing, except in the most general way, where his gaze was directed. But he tilted his head a bit to the side and forwards, towards me, and proceeded to explain matters of a much more private nature.

They had needed me for their breeding program. The Earth would not be habitable indefinitely and the creation of a new race of beings was necessary in order to colonize a distant planet. They were in a race against time now. They had calculated the exact moment when the Earth would no longer be habitable, down not just to the date or the hour but the minute.

I asked him to tell me when the end would come, when our planet would no longer be habitable. That is, I wanted to know the date and time of the end of the world. He replied that he could not divulge such information.

I begged him. I had a child.

And then, with the caveat that I must never tell another living being, no matter the person or the circumstances, he told me the exact date and time, down to the minute, when the world would end.

* * *

I found myself standing in the middle of Mt Prospect Park. My watch was ticking again; it was past three in the morning. I had been aboard the spacecraft for more than five hours.

The mist was gone. There were no little men, no unexplained lights, no spacecraft.

I was dressed. My shoelaces had not been knotted with a double knot — a habit of mine — and I felt a bit funny around my chest and neck because my shirt was on backwards. I knelt down and fixed the knots. I pulled my shirt off, flipped it over, and put it back on the right way.

At home my child and his mother were fast asleep.

Adrian Lafond <>