Hello all you monster/vampire/zombie/alien lovers out there. Today, I have a flash fiction piece from Mike Allegra over at heylookawriterfellow and author of Sarah Gives Thanks. You might remember him from one of my interviews. (If you don’t remember or haven’t read the interview and want to know more about Mike and his writing, hop on over to here.) His story is about zombies, sort of. Well, judge for yourself:
Noticing no lights on in the house, Jake commented, “Good. Mom and Dad have gone to bed.”
Jake drove past the house to the shadowed buildings at the back of the property. Flinging open the barn doors, he flicked on the line of bare bulbs that hung on chains nailed to the rafters. Jake rearranged the bales of straw, moving them away from the corner. The boys carried the pod to the space he’d created, re-piling the straw bales to cover it. Flinging the odd green creature over his shoulder, Jake eased up the ladder to the loft.
“Bring me the saddle blanket,” Jake ordered, gently laying his charge onto an old mattress he and Mark had dragged up when they were twelve.
A very round-bellied, orange cat rubbed up against Jake’s leg, mewing insistently.
“Not now, Mitsy,” he said, impatiently.
Unable to get attention from Jake, the pregnant female curiously sniffed at the alien. She pressed her cheek against the slim green arm as though she considered the creature a good candidate for a rub. When none was forthcoming, Mitsy turned her attention to Mark, whose head appeared at the top of the ladder.
“Give me a minute, would ya,” Mark said to her, lugging the quilted brown blanket up the steps. Handing it to Jake, he picked up the heavy cat and gave her the attention she was seeking. After Jake covered the alien with the blanket, he checked the forehead for signs of fever, even though he was unsure what was normal for this unusual life form.
“I’m going to go get my bag,” he said, finally.
Ten minutes later, he returned carrying a microscope and his medical bag, which contained essential instruments, which he had collected over the past three years. After setting up his microscope on a wooded crate nearby, Jake opened the black bag. With the stethoscope he checked the pulse, counting the heartbeats as the second hand ticked around the fluorescent face of his watch. He found it to be a little faster than his own.
He pressed his fingers on the abdomen to see if there were any signs of internal bleeding. Checking for broken bones, Jake found to his amazement that the skeletal structure was not completely solid, the bones more like cartilage that had not calcified. Jake pricked the end of a tapered finger that looked like a spine from an aloe vera plant with no nail bed. A red drop of blood oozed from the puncture. Smearing it on a slide and placing it under the lens of his microscope, Jake studied the cells.
“So?” Mark asked impatiently.
“They look almost human although the cell walls seem to stretch and contract. I see no sign of chloroplasts, which produce chlorophyll, so I don’t think it’s a plant. I can only guess that the green color is produced by melatonin like in frogs. The melanocyte-stimulating hormones secreted by the pineal gland are rarely seen in mammals. I wonder if the cells are light sensitive?”
“So it’s amphibian?” Mark asked. “A reptile-like . . . lizard or something?”
“The skin is not as cool and clammy as any reptile or amphibian I’m familiar with, indicating to me that it’s warm-blooded, mammalian, but without a DNA analysis and x-rays, I hesitate to make assumptions about exactly what it is.”
“Can you do DNA analysis?”
Jake shook his head. “I’d have to take a sample to a lab and I definitely can’t get the creature to an x-ray machine without arousing suspicion. I’ll just have to try to treat it here and hope it survives.”
With that, Jake removed an antiseptic ointment and smeared it on the visible wounds. As he taped gauze over the worst slashes and the gash on its forehead, the creature moaned, but did not regain consciousness.
“Do you think it got those injuries from the crash?” Mark asked.
“The gash on the forehead, most probably. The others…” Jake shrugged. “I’d hazard a guess and say they were inflicted by something else, like a whip or a thin belt. Fortunately, whatever struck it must have been very hot. It cauterized the edges, which stopped the thing from bleeding to death. I’d say this poor creature was flayed not long before arriving here.”
“Like punishment for something?” Mark suggested.
“I’ve seen marks like this on abused children at the hospital. It’s sickening.” Jake’s jaw set with determination. “This creature needs our protection and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep it safe.”
Mark glanced at his watch. “Man! Look at the time. I gotta run. See you tomorrow?”
Jake only nodded as his friend began his descent down the ladder, then remembered something.
“Mark!” he called, leaning over the edge of the loft. “Don’t tell anyone what we found. It’s got to be our secret.”
“Of course!” Mark agreed. “It reminds me of the time we found that puppy . . .”
“Yeah, but this time if they find out, our parents won’t let us keep it.”
Jake kept vigil in the barn all night long. Whenever the thing stirred, he checked to make sure it was not conscious enough to get up and leave. Shortly after dawn, the barn doors creaked open and his father started up the tractor. Jake remained very still so his father wouldn’t see him and ask a lot of questions. When he heard the tractor move outside, Jake peered out to make sure his father was gone.
Jake dozed off again until he heard footsteps in the barn. This time, it was Mark. Mark scrambled up the ladder and removed his iPad from his backpack.
“Man, you ought to see what’s going on out there!” Mark said, turning on the device and linking with his friends WiFi. “You and I got the pod out of there just in time last night. On my way home, people were already flocking to the field. The whole world seems interested in that crash site, although the media has been saying it was a meteor that slammed into the cornfield.”
Jake watched Mark sweep his hand over the screen, as though changes pages of a book.
“What, no coffee?” Jake asked with a grin.
“Sorry, bro’. I got too excited about what was going on in the news.” He paused and turned the screen to Jake, pressing the ‘play’ button on the video. “I found these news broadcasts on YouTube.”
“. . . has been receiving considerable attention around these parts,” a broadcaster reported. “During last night’s impressive meteor shower, neighbors in the vicinity of Portage La Prairie saw a meteor crash to the earth, leaving a dent in John Graham’s corn field. Officials believe the meteor split apart on contact leaving nothing but a hole. They also say it could not have been as big as witnesses would have you believe or there would have been much more devastation in the region.”
Mark found another report.
“According to this local expert on Astronomy and UFO phenomenon, it was not a meteor that landed in John Graham’s corn field.” She pointed the microphone at a tall, thin, middle-aged man with wire-framed glasses.
“I have been studying the area and have found no meteorological evidence to support the theory that a meteor landed here. There have been no fragments collected. Very little charring has occurred. One would expect much more burning than what was found. Also, there is evidence of blood near the site. It is my conclusion that some children, possible teenagers, are playing a hoax, smashing down the area to make it appear that something extraterrestrial has landed here. I have studied crop circles extensively, and found most to have been created by Earth-bound beings, not aliens.”
“This is interesting, too,” Mark said, quickly finding yet another video.
“There is evidence that someone was in the vicinity at the time of the crash. We have found tire tracks leading up to the crash site and believe the whole thing is a hoax. RCMP officers are investigating and will get to the bottom of it. Whoever is responsible will be charged with malicious mischief and destruction of property. Blood samples found near the scene will be analyzed and the perpetrators will be caught.”
“Oh, no!” Jake moaned. “If they analyze the blood they’ll know it’s not human. They’ll be looking all over for the alien.”
“What are we going to do?” Mark asked.
“I don’t know,” Jake said, running his hand through his hair…
I started this story a long time ago. There were sections of the story I realized I had to change, since it made reference to a portable TV and a VCR. I had to update it to ‘iPad’, ‘WiFi’ and ‘YouTube’. It’s amazing how much the technology has changed in the past few years! Anyway, I wasn’t able to answer too many of the questions I posed yesterday, but we’re beginning to see the kind of trouble the boys are in, having hidden the pod and the alien. Maybe tomorrow I will reveal more about the alien’s unique abilities and why it is here.
Stay tuned and keep sending me your links/stories!