Scary October – Day 4

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:

Carpet slippers are not very good at negotiating asphalt shingles. Not that Ethan had much time to consider his footwear – or much else for that matter – as he scrambled up his downspout in a groggy panic.
 
What was worse was that he had no one to blame but himself. He heard the warnings that accompanied the weather forecast on the evening news but was too lazy to pull an all-nighter. “I’ll board up my windows first thing in the morning,” he thought. He overslept, however, and now his house was full of loitering zombies who were leaving trails of blood and pus all over his hardwood floors.
 
The weather was beautiful, though. The sun calmed him, and Ethan soon discovered that, despite the dozens of undead squatters on the floors below, he could still find a little serenity on this most unusual spring day.

Ethan sounds like a glass-half-full kind of guy! 🙂

And now, by popular demand (to be truthful, only one person said they wanted to read more) here’s the next segment in my Little Green Men? story. (If you missed yesterday’s post, the first part can be found here.)

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! 🙂

Scary October – Day 3

I was planning to post a Spooky Crafty Wednesday, today, but for some reason the jump drive with the pictures on it isn’t showing up when I hook it to the computer. Yesterday, the computer disconnected it for some unknown reason, so there might be a problem with the drive. I did get it working one other time last night, but this morning, it’s being stubborn. Maybe it’s the ghost in the machine! lol

So, I guess I’ll just go ahead and do something different. I still have some spooky kids stories and a link to a friend’s blog. At Stacks and Ranges, she talks about zombies, so if you’re a zombie-lover, pop over to read Midweek Geekiness – the Zombiefied Edition.

Another scary thing that I discovered this morning is that a good blogger friend of mine has been kidnapped by a Martian called The Blue Lady! Please head over there and plead for Jennifer M. Eaton‘s life. You might even win an ARC of her new anthology Make Believe, which I will be talking about more in December when it’s launched.

Now, let’s see. What story shall I tease you with on this sunny October Wednesday? How about, since I mentioned the Martian, that I tell you a little bit about a WIP I’ve tentatively titled, Little Green Men?

 

Somewhere near midnight, on an access road between two cornfields in southern Manitoba, two young men lay on the hood of an old Chevy pick-up watching diamond chips streak across the star-filled sky.  The two had been friends since the third grade and would soon be starting their final years at the University of Manitoba.

Jake stood just over six feet tall.  His wavy ebony hair was short along the sides but longer on top, parted in the middle.  His square face sported a shallowly cleft chin, a long straight nose and intense brown eyes.  A former quarterback for his high school team, he was well proportioned and prided himself on keeping fit.  His field of study was Medicine and he was looking forward to his internship.

Mark, by contrast, was a couple of inches shorter with sandy hair and hazel eyes that changed colour with his mood and surroundings.  His slim build was deceiving for, beneath the baggy clothes, his wiry muscles poised like a cat’s ready to strike.  He had a youthful energy and enthusiasm, which would help him in his chosen profession as a high school teacher.  He held a double major in English and Science, but his real passion was astronomy, hence the reason they were out in the middle of nowhere watching the sky.

Mid-August was the perfect time to catch the annual series of meteor showers, but this year’s display was especially spectacular.  The boys ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ as though watching fireworks when, suddenly, they were blinded by a bright streak of light and deafened by an ear-splitting whistle as a fireball shot past them, narrowly missing the roof of the truck to land in the field not more than a hundred meters away.

“Whoa!  Did you see that?” Jake exclaimed.

“Kinda hard to miss, bro’,” Mark commented.  “Come on!  Let’s check it out.”

Hopping off the hood onto the dirt road, the pair plunged between the rows of tall corn stalks following the acrid smell of sulphur as a thin trail of smoke snaked skyward from the crash site.  Expecting to find a hunk of burning rock, the college students were surprised to find a teardrop-shaped metal object about the size of a new Volkswagen beetle.  It was almost invisible, its mirror-like surface reflecting images of the surrounding corn.  Jake and Mark could only detect the object by the compression of the stalks and the door that yawned open.

“What do you think it is?” Jake asked.  “Some kind of experimental aircraft?  After all, Shilo’s not too far away.  They could have all sorts of military stuff there.”

“I don’t think it’s from anywhere close to here,” Mark said with awe in his voice.

“Come on!  You don’t expect me to believe it’s a flying saucer!” Jake scoffed.  “It’s not even saucer-shaped.”

“Actually, it could be a life-pod of some kind, you know, like from a bigger ship.”

“You watch too much Star Trek,” Jake said, shaking his head.

Peering into the smoking interior, all they could see were sparks and flashes of colored lights on a control panel.  The symbols visible to them were unusual and definitely not any language or letter system the young men had ever seen before.

“Something must have escaped from the pod,” Mark said, pointing his penlight around the site, illuminating a trail of bent stalks.

Placing his forefinger against his lips, he tugged Jake’s jacket sleeve.  Together, they followed the path until it stopped, almost tripping on the unconscious body lying face down at their feet.  They gasped as Mark’s light panned over a thin, green creature with long slender limbs.  They estimated its length was nearly seven feet but, judging from its width, it could not weigh more than a hundred pounds.  Its hair was the color and consistency of corn silk, flowing from the top of its head to its knees.

“Looks like you were right about it being an alien craft,” Jake whispered.  “This thing is definitely not from around here.”

“Is it breathing?” Mark asked, tentatively reaching for the flaxen hair.

Jake knelt to place his ear against the upper torso.  He heard a steady heartbeat and felt the rib cage expand and relax with an even rhythm.

“It doesn’t seem to be having difficulty processing our air,” Jake said.

With medical curiosity, Jake examined the unusual body, shocked to see many nasty red welts crisscrossing the back and shoulders.  Turning the creature over, he studied its face, which was flat with large eye sockets, two small nostrils with no bulge for a nose, and only a slit for a mouth.  Jake drew aside the hair from the side of its face and noticed an opening, but no earlobe.  It also had no outward indications as to its sex, but what concerned Jake most was the nasty gash on its forehead.

“We’ve got to get this thing out of here,” he said.  “It’s hurt – badly.”

“What about that pod thing?” Mark asked.

“I don’t know.  If we leave it here, someone’s bound to find it and come looking for this, uh  . . . creature.  If that happens, the poor thing will be off to some scientist’s lab table and who knows what will happen to it.  Maybe I can help it recover.”

“So, what do we do about that pod thing?” Mark repeated.

Jake thought a moment.  “Is it hot?”

“I have no idea.  I didn’t touch it.  What if it’s radioactive, or something?”

“We can think about that later.  I think it’s small enough to fit in my truck.  We can take it to my place.  The barn should be big enough to conceal it.”

Jake picked up the creature and carried it to his truck, then drove back through the field to the crash site.  Wrapping their jackets around the pod, he and Mark lifted the surprisingly lightweight object into the back of the pick-up.  Although it didn’t fit inside the deck, they set it on the box sides, securing it with bungee cords before heading for Jake’s place…

books by Chris Rutkowski

 

I’ll leave it there, for the moment, and let you wonder – is the creature dangerous? Where did it come from? Are there others like it that have fallen to earth? What is its intentions? If I get enough interest, I might post a little more, tomorrow.

If you like reading about aliens and UFOs, you’ve got to check out Chris Rutkowski’s blog, and his books.

Chris is a member of my writers group, Off The Wall. I’ve known him since 8th grade and he’s been interested in the unknown as long as I’ve known him and probably long before that. He has investigated all sorts of unusual phenomenon and in Unnatural History, he explores scary sites in Manitoba where ghosts are said to roam. He’s been up to Lake Manitoba where the Manipogo Monster, much like Nessie from Loch Ness, is said to swim. He’s interviewed people who have spotted UFOs in the sky, who claim to have encountered aliens and UFOs, as well as those who say they have been abducted. He keeps track of UFO reports from all over. Not only does he write all this non-fiction, he has written a series of short stories about unusual stuff that happens to a man who owns a diner on the outskirts of town. I will be interviewing him later in the month but if you are at all curious about him, click on the links above.

Happy Wednesday, everyone and don’t forget to send me scary links or stories of your own! 🙂