It's where I live; where I hide; where I shall end up, when I die
"When they do come, it will be a surprise to some, but it will not be a surprise to all"
It was after 11 p.m. I lay awake in bed. At first, it came across as little oddities-the printer for the computer kept resetting itself. The walls creaked as if there had been a sudden change in temperature. I mistook noises as footsteps. I raised my head and looked toward the bedroom door, half expecting someone to walk thru it. There was no one. Then just like that, I blacked out.
When I came to-what felt like seconds later-I noticed my wife was no longer in the bed next to me. I also noticed a hum. It didn’t come from inside the house, or from outside. It just seemed to be. It came from everywhere. I turned around in bed and stared out the window. There was a strange radiance. It was bright enough to spoil the beam of the yard light. And the light, like the hum, seemed to be contained within the air itself. I crawled out of bed and went to the east window of our bedroom. I lifted the window up, and I immediately smelled an electrical/mechanical reek. And the air felt heavy with static. Just then, my son stepped into the room. He came up behind me. I did not turn around because I knew it was him. He asked if I had noticed the strange aura outside. HIs words faded and I didn't need to answer because he was seeing what I was seeing.
The hum got louder. And the light now contained elements of movement. The air appeared to push aside like it was fluid. Then the nose of a large object appeared. It hovered just above the trees, not more than sixty yards from the house. It was huge and although it contained no light, there was enough light outside to illuminate the ghostly figure of a large bluish-gray U.S. fighter plane. It floated into view so slowly, it was like a whale in the sea. It circled this side of the house, and to my surprise, another object appeared behind it. This time it was an Abrams tank. Its 120mm main gun pointed directly at the house. That was 70 tons floating thru the air and it moved as if run by remote control. Someone or something had taken control of U.S. military equipment and was using it against its own citizens. And I knew by the way they floated thru the air, inconsistent with all the laws of nature, that it wasn’t being maneuvered by humans.
I suddenly sensed the seriousness of the situation, and realized ‘the force’ outside had now focused on me. I slowly closed the window-as if I expected it would hide me or stop the round from an Abrams tank. But as if relayed thru the energy that now encompassed the air I breathed, the message came to me that it didn’t intend to fire unless fired upon. Then bodies materialized out in the yard.
As many as fifty stood in the tall grass at the edge of the yard and on the driveway. All of them wore white chemist jackets and loose white trousers. They wore white helmets with sunglass windows that wrapped all the way around their eyes (where a human’s ears might be). I noticed that as they materialized outside, some must have materialized within the house as well. I could hear movement all over the house. I stepped back from the window and saw one moving in the room next to my bedroom. I backed up into the long curtain that separated the two rooms that now hung in a bundle to one side of the door. My son hid somewhere in the shadows of the walk-in closet. The being came for the room and I wrapped the long curtain around my body. The being didn’t appear to be conducting that thorough of a search, only scanning the open areas, and places where a human might be, such as beds, chairs and a quick scan of the floor.
It walked right past me. I became aware that perhaps it could not sense heat, or smell, nor could it register psychic presence. Twice it came near the curtain where I hid, but only passed by. Then it disappeared into another room. Again, I sensed the beings communicating with me via energy in the air. A message explained that they were collecting humans. And that they could see movement and respond to it quickly, so it didn't pay to run or be violent. I believed them. But, I also knew that the beings could easily be hidden from. And that's the message I had to get out to others. Then everything went quiet.
And suddenly I was back in bed. And although it only felt like minutes, I looked at the clock and saw it was quarter after two in the morning. It seemed really dark outside now. But I thought I could still hear a strange hum, somewhere, but the sound appeared to be moving away. Then all was silent. Then all was black.
Warning: Dreams sometimes don't make sense; don't have plots; don't have endings
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Fell from the Sky
My memory has seeped from my brain. It troubles me. My wife passed a few years ago. My kids have moved away. And it appears I am homeless. If I have a home, I can no longer remember where it is. I arrived in this town several months ago and they seem to put up with me. I feel like I have been here before, and for that reason, it feels a little bit like home. On three or four occasions, I have found myself standing in front of the same house. Two of those times, I made my way into the doorway, had been found and shooed away. And this morning, when I woke, I found myself inside it once again. I am not sure if I entered during the night or sometime yesterday. Because when I say "I woke," it just means that I came to. I am not sure if I was sleeping, and if I was, I do a pretty good job of it while standing up.
I am looking in the coat closet. It seems I had forgotten my coat in this closet when I moved out. I am looking for it. I put on someone else's thin jacket from the closet. It isn’t mine. It wasn’t the one I left here maybe 20 years ago, but I have it on because it could possibly be mine and I just don't remember. I am really thirsty and I want to get a drink, so I start for the kitchen. I stop when I hear someone moving around in the house. Someone is up and getting ready for work. I sneak back to the front door but am afraid to open it because of how much noise it will make. I stand there and pray they will leave by the garage door, but such is not my luck. Someone enters the living room and heads straight for me.
I turn and stare awkwardly at the wall where there isn’t a picture. I try to look confused. It isn’t hard. And I begin to hate the moments in my life when things do make sense. I hear her cry out, startled at first, Mr. Victorian. Mr. Victorian. (I look toward her) Then she asks, "What are you doing in here?”
"I am looking for my jacket," I mumble. Then I tell her how I had left it in the closet. The young woman is looking at the jacket I have on. I tell her how cold it is outside. She looks at me, then grabs the jacket sleeve to the one I am wearing, and says, Well, it appears you have found it. But now you must go. I have to get to work. And with that, she shoos me outside once again. I hear her locking the door behind me.
I walk off a ways and stand in the shadow of a pine, as if to hide. The sun is on its way up. I am not sure where to go, but I am a little warmer than I was. (A few days pass) When I "wake," I am walking along a dark sidewalk, early in the morning. The shops are opening. I look for a friendly face, one which appears inviting. When I see one, I will walk inside and visit while I warm up.
There is a man of my age. He still wears a military hair cut. I feel like I have something in common with him. He owns a shop on this street. He has let me come in before to warm up. This time when I come in, he offers me the chance to rest on an old wire-framed bed in the basement of his shop. He shows me the way down and I nod in agreement that this old bed would do me quite right for a few hours. He leaves, and I lay on the bed without even taking off my shoes. Through the day, I wake occasionally to hear his or his customer's footsteps on the wood floor above me. Then later in the day, I hear the door open at the stairs. It is the man, and he is leading other men downstairs. Through a thin slice of light and my eyelashes, I see the owner open a wood door, and behind it another door, a vault. He opens it and slides out a rack of weapons. They were rifles, but that is all I could tell. I hear muffled conversation. I lay motionless; play dead. I hear one man’s disgruntled comment when he sees me lying here. The owner tells him I am sleeping one off and probably out cold.
I continue to lie still. I see the shine in their black shoes, the lines in their pressed slacks. The threat of my presence passes, and they go on with their business. I put their voices out of my head. I don’t want to know what they are talking about. It makes no difference to me. I wouldn’t probably remember anyways. I wait patiently for their steps upon the stairs. Not long after, I will go up the stairs and slip out the front or the back door, whichever I can leave without being seen or heard. One of the men is holding a rifle in his hands, inspecting it. He shakes it lightly as if testing the weight. Then he takes a few steps towards me. Before he gets any closer, I close my eyes as tight as I can. Then all was black.
Fell from the Sky
I sat on a chair across from the television in our older, two-story farm house. We had invited friends over that evening. My wife had stuck a tape in the player to show them an odd and unexplainable piece she had taped from the television earlier that day. She explained to them how the static came first, and then what sounded like voices. Then after a bit, it went back to normal programming.
And coincidently, while we all watched, the static returned and we all witnessed the static and voices. Then a face appeared on the screen, fuzzy, yet clear enough to see definition. It talked in the background and disappeared, then reappeared. Whenever the face left the screen, a series of other nonsensical objects, numbers, shadowed heads and grey static screens appeared. Suddenly the screen went black.
There was a loud crack of what sounded like lightning striking a tree outside; odd since a storm hadn’t been forecasted. I and two other men opened the front porch door and looked to the south. In the distance, the highway passed thru, high upon cement pillars. In the foreground, about a quarter mile from our house, there was a side road that ran parallel with the highway. (The road that passed our place T’d up with that road and ran under the highway.) Two businesses were on the side road, a small old-style gas station with a few wood-sided out buildings just to the southeast, and an abandoned business a ways up the road to the southwest.
The side road had its share of traffic because it came from town and was easier for locals to take than the busy highway. I commented on how few cars were on either road that night. Then, a second lightning bolt struck near the abandoned building. It created an array of small lightning streaks that appeared to come out of the ground and shot up perhaps thirty or forty feet. I could hear the static affecting the television inside, again, and a few of the women asked what was going on. We three fellows by the door were awestruck by the sight. I am not sure if we replied. The ground lightning streaks appeared to be trying to connect with the sky lightning. And when it finally did, there was a loud crack like a thunder-boomer.
And then, from the sky came a large boulder, white like a ball of ice and almost the height of a car. I did not see it come down through the sky, rather than saw it hit the ground at an angle, then bounce several times before it landed on the side road and rolled with great speed heading east. It soon passed the gas station. There were two or three cars coming down the road, and all managed to avoid the object. One man swerved to the side and skidded to a stop. He jumped out of his car and watched the big ball roll away. Then he jumped back in and followed it. I ran down the porch steps and into the yard. The other two guys followed. We intended to go after it as well.
I was fifteen the day I saw the sphere of flaming death. It was a Friday night, and I was staying overnight at a friend’s. We were having a good time up until . . . the incident. After school, we went bicycling on the trails around their farm. And by we, I mean Brian, me, and his fourteen-year-old sister, much to Brian’s dismay. Nattie didn’t bother me a bit. She kept up with Brian as good as I, and was pleasing to look at, too.
That evening, their parents, their uncle and his fiancée all headed to town. Their uncle and his fiancée were living in their basement for reasons I never bothered to ask. We watched television until eleven, then we headed upstairs. Brian stopped off at the bathroom. Nattie grabbed me by the hand and pulled me inside a dark room. I had a fleeting thought that I was about to get a kiss, but Nattie quickly disappeared into the dark room. She turned a small lamp on. It was a long room, and it had a dark feeling to it. Maybe it was because everything inside of it was dark in color. The wood floors were dark. The rugs were dark. The walls were painted a dark color. The antique furnishings were all dark. Everything was dark but the bed. It had a bright ivory spread. And from a distance it appeared to glow. It looked ghostly.
As my eyes adjusted to the light or the lack thereof, I saw the room was filled with old things: An old sewing machine, a large traveler’s chest and a set of drawers. The only new items were a folding table and chairs. Nattie looked back to see me still standing in the doorway. She must have seen the look on my face. “It’s not that bad,” she assured me. “Come over here. I want to show you something.” Then she grabbed a folding chair and headed for the double windows. She plopped the chair down, then opened the window in front of her. She pointed at the lamp, and made a gesture that told me I should turn it off on the way over.
I grabbed a chair, turned the lamp off, and made my way around the bed by the glow of the yard light coming in the window. I set my chair beside hers, and both of us sat shoulder to shoulder and looked out over the farm yard. It looked eerie in the murky silence of night. Off to the left was the barn that wasn’t used for its purpose, only for storage. A tin shed stretched across the far southern portion of the yard about a hundred yards away. And just to the west and on the other side of the driveway were two piles of dirt left from one of their father’s projects. The one pile stood eight feet high. We spent a lot of time on those hills on our bikes earlier that day.
Brian joined us, and then the three of us sat there. We talked about the creepy shadows in the dark yard. We saw fire flies. Nattie told a story about the night they heard coyote’s yipping, and then the next morning they found a partially chewed up cat by their swing set. I told a story about a camping trip where my father pretended he was a bear by scraping his fingers on our tent. Nattie suddenly leaned into me. She felt warm. I could smell the shampoo she had used that morning. And it smelled incredibly beautiful to me. I talked about something else; kept the conversation going as long as I could to keep Nattie at my side. We had no intentions of going to sleep if no one was there to make us.
At midnight, headlights came down the driveway. I jumped to my feet, but Brian and Nattie remained seated. Nattie pulled down on my shirt. “They won’t see us, silly. Not with the light off.” I was about to ask what if they came upstairs, but before I did, Nattie added, “Their bedroom is downstairs, and if they did, we’d hear them in plenty of time.” I wondered how she knew what I was thinking.
Her parent’s car was followed by a little, rough-looking S10 Chevy truck. Their uncle’s. We heard car doors. There was movement downstairs. Brian stood up, and I thought we would go to bed now that they were home. I was about to fold up my chair when Nattie whispered, “Wait a sec.”
One of the vehicles pulled back out into the yard. It was the S10 truck. “What are they doing?” Nattie asked to no one in particular. I sat next to her again. I felt the warmth of her body that I had left behind moments before, and now I felt like wrapping my arms around her. In the glow of the yard light, I saw their uncle in the driver’s seat. He was drinking beer from a can. I saw at least one other person in the truck. The truck window was rolled down and a mixture of country music and loud conversation echoed across the yard and off the buildings. The truck got on one of the trails that we had biked on earlier that day, and headed toward the back acreage. We could still hear the music. It had gotten quiet downstairs. Nattie leaned into my chest again, and this time I did wrap an arm around her. She accepted it without even a flinch.
The truck crossed the driveway and moseyed the trails on the south side of the house. The old pasture. And when it wasn’t behind a building, we could follow its path by the parking lights that had been left on. The two orange lights bounced along in an unnatural manner, and we teased about it being extraterrestrial. Then the truck was back on the driveway to our right, facing the yard. We saw a hand reach out the window and throw a beer can. Then someone got out. We heard the truck door slam. Someone walked around the truck and stopped at the driver’s window. There was laughter. A moment later, we heard the motor in the little S10 rev up. Then it took off. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
It headed for the dirt pile while picking up speed. The little truck hit the slope we had taken earlier on our bikes. Then it was airborne. Both Brian and I jumped to our feet. Nattie was leaning so far forward in her chair that her nose almost touched the window screen. It was real life Dukes of Hazzard. I heard Brian whisper, “Wow.” The truck flew through the air twenty feet before it touched ground. The truck bounced so hard its wheels almost came off the ground a second time. I could tell the driver had lost control briefly because the truck swerved sharply to the right, then left, which left it pointing toward the barn. But the truck had slowed down, as if to stop. And that’s when something went terribly wrong.
Just as fast as it had almost come to a stop, the truck shot back off. I even thought I saw gravel fly behind the rear wheels in the yard light. The truck flew across the farm yard and picked up speed as it went. In the split second I had to think about it, I wondered if the driver’s foot hadn’t got tangled in the gas pedal. I silently screamed for him to stop. It was real. This was really going to happen.
The truck hit the side of the barn square on and disappeared into the darkness. There was a horrible screeching noise, then a huge explosion. I saw a bright orange glow from the back side of the barn, and a half second later, a ball of flames on wheels rolled out into the bean field and came to a stop. I heard Nattie scream. Chairs got pushed backward as Nattie ran past me. Just before I left the window to follow them downstairs, I saw a figure run across the front yard. They had several pines in their front yard, so it was only a glimpse. I couldn’t tell who it was, but I assumed it was their uncle’s fiancée.
The three of us ran down the steps. Their father ran past and hollered back for us to stay in the house. Brain started to say something, but his father was already beyond hearing distance. I was glad to see their father. I thought he might have been in the truck with his brother. I stayed by the kitchen window which looked out over the front yard. Brian and Nattie had gone into the living room and were looking out the window in there. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see any more of the results. I kept wondering where their mother was. I heard screaming outside in the yard. A car pulled up the drive. A few seconds later, another. Neighbors I was sure. They had heard the explosion easily from their beds, their windows open to the cool night breeze. And if they looked out their windows, they couldn’t miss the flames.
Then their mother appeared. She looked at me with a long, twisted face that was on the verge of tears. Her mouth hung partially open. She finally said, “I called 911.” And then, her motherly instincts kicked in. She shook off the bland, dull look of sorrow from her face and her eyes deepened. “Kids, where are you,” she called out. “Where are you,” she repeated more sternly when they didn’t reply right away. “Were in here,” I heard Nattie call out. “Come in the kitchen right now,” their mother said. It took a few moments but both Nattie and Brian appeared in the doorway between the two rooms. I was watching their entrance as their mother started to say, “I think we should go up . . .
There was a loud smack at the window screen just a foot from me. I jumped almost another foot in the opposite direction. The slap on the screen was immediately followed with a long howling wail that raised the hair on the back of my neck. I turned towards the window. The hands that had hit the screen were still there. Red as blood, and moist with puss. The face behind them so blistered and sooty it was unrecognizable. I heard sirens, and saw red flashing lights coming down the gravel road. I shifted my focus for barely a second, and when I looked back, she was gone. But the wailing continued as it slowly got farther and farther away. Someone yelled, “There she is. Go help her.” Their mother was already in the cupboard after a first aid kit. She pointed up the stairs, and we headed up one by one.
I found out later that their uncle’s fiancée had suffered such severe burns trying to pull her burning boyfriend from the flaming inferno that she had almost died herself. There was nothing they could have done for him, even if they could’ve gotten him out. My parents came and got me that night. I haven’t been back since. I can’t seem to get that warm feeling back for Nattie. Every time I try, I keep seeing the woman in the screen.