Chapter Twenty-Four


Upstate New York

Jake watched from a natural berm about a hundred yards to the north of Mike’s position as the aliens burned like electric generators struck by lightning. His shot had been true and had pierced the gasoline can then ricochet off the stones on the ground causing the spark that lit the gas. That had been luck. He had expected to have to shoot again to cause the spark.

His plan had been to meet Mike at the burning silo and light one of the cans with a burning stick, but the alien ship had beat him there.
  Now there was nothing else he could do for Mike. He was too far to hear his shouts of warning, and Mike was unaware. 

Jake saw Mike watch as the vessel took flight, just as the last one had done when the alien had been killed the day before. Mike had not noticed the second vessel land behind him, beyond the fiery remnants of the silo. He had not seen the three aliens exit that vessel and approach him.  He had gone limp the moment the leading alien touched him with a quivering tendril.

Jake could do nothing. Any shot might hit Mike, and although immediate death might have been better than being killed by those things, he had to think about himself; bullets were priceless. Why waste them on a dead man? A government man, at that. 

Jake released the spent cartridge from his Mark V Deluxe rifle. The rifle could place 6 bullets within a four inch radius at 300 yards. He admired the blued barrel and the fine walnut stock, sighed, and slid it into its leather holster tied to the ATV.  He sat on the wide plastic seat and covered himself with a tarpaulin. He watched through a slit as the second alien ship took off with Mike, or at least his body, on it. Despite the fact that Mike had been a government man, he had liked him well enough. Now he was alone again - Alone in the whole world?

Jake did not think he could handle that.
  He decided he had two options: One, pull the rifle out and put an end to the nightmare he was living once and for all; or two, find the government people Mike had spoken about. The first choice was simple and attractive, but, Jake decided, had the minor inconvenience of being final.   The second choice allowed for further choices down the line, like killing himself later or killing the government bastards that had allowed this to happen.  

He waited for the ship to disappear and removed the tarp. He folded it neatly and tied it to the back end of his ATV.  He would sit here and wait for nighttime. He figured that Washington was a four to seven day trip, depending on the condition the terrain.
  He leaned forward and placed his hands together. He was not a religious man, but he prayed to God for guidance and protection.

He also prayed for Mike’s soul.

Glessian Lander 431


The darkness did not dissipate when Mike opened his eyes. He sensed movement and felt a hard slab under his back- His fingers could feel the rounded edges at his sides, but he could not move his hands, he was strapped down at the wrists, ankles, and chest. He could elevate his head, but only slightly, and the pounding headache he felt worsened every time he moved his head an inch.

He smelled them first, the smell of electrified ozone mixed with rain on hot tar. How did he get here? He could not remember. He had been watching the aliens burn, then the vessel leave, then… nothing - Darkness no darker than the one he found himself in now.

He heard them next, the sound of static electricity popping over and over, mixed in with the sound of a broom sweeping softly. Where were they? Close to him or far? He couldn’t tell, and the not knowing drove his rising claustrophobia sky-high.  

He felt them last, and the touch burned like fire. He wanted to scream… tried to scream; but his throat refused to expel any sounds. They touched his feet, and his hands, and his face, and each touch burned like a hot iron pan on a campfire. His eyes shut tight in a grimace, his throat constricted further with each burn, the fire seemingly racing down his windpipe.

Then they touched his eyelids and opened his eyes, and a scream gathered at the dam at the top of his lungs.

When they touched his eyeballs, the dam broke. He passed out just after hearing the echo of his own scream.

Puerto Rico, mainland


Pudge could hear the swishing sounds of the aliens moving on sand and Pocho’s shuffling footsteps as they got closer. The sand tickled his nose and he needed to sneeze something fierce. He was pretty close to standing and giving himself up just so he could scratch his nose.

They were close. He could hear the aliens making a strange electrical sound a few feet away. He tilted his head up just a bit to get a sense of where they were, and as the sand trickled off his forehead, he was blinded by a bright light and startled by a loud sound. He instinctively raised his arm to cover his eyes and managed only to fill them with sand and expose himself.

The noise sounded like loud shouting, as if through a megaphone, and Pudge panicked, unable to see the aliens and confused by the racket.
  He felt someone or something  grab him roughly and drag him away. He fought back as best he could, but managed only to knock himself down.  

“Pudge, we have to go, man,” He heard Pocho shout. “Jump in the ocean!”

“Pocho? Is that you? What is… I can’t see. I can’t even open my eyes.” Pudge said.

“Hold onto me. Jump when I say, you hear me? Jump when I say.” Pocho said.

Pudge could hear footfalls to his left and right as he held onto Pocho and began to run blindly. He jumped when Pocho yelled now.
  The salty sea-water greeted him nearly as soon as he jumped. He could not reach the bottom with his feet so he paddled with them as he used the salt-water to clear his eyes of sand. His eyes stung immediately, but he was able to open his eyes and see Pocho swimming away just ahead of him. Pudge swam in the same direction, fear propelling him. With each breath he took after each set of four strokes he looked ahead to reorient himself to Pocho’s direction. He could also see two other bodies swimming ahead, and he supposed that they were Luis and Miguel. He had no time to think about where they were headed. He imagined they were just trying to get as far away from the aliens, but then, why were they swimming toward the alien voices booming ahead?  

His hand struck a hard surface mid-stroke. He looked up and saw a large black mass towering over him, and the other three men scrambling onto it. A strong pair of hands grabbed him and pulled him out of the water. He let his body go limp, not wanting to get onto the alien ship. He was manhandled by more and more hands until he had reached the top of the structure, his cast never touching the ground. Aside from a blinking red light and the stars above, the night was as dark as the vessel.

At the very top he was pulled over a ledge ahelped to his feet. His three friends stood nearby. A face stepped forward, lit from below by a bright hole.

“My name is Alexei Dimitrov, Admiral of the Borey-Class nuclear submarine ‘Vladimir Monomakh’, pride of the New Russian Federation,” The disembodied face said. “Welcome aboard. Now, if you don’t mind, please follow me. We don’t have much time.”

Pudge opened his mouth… and sneezed.

Chapter 24+

funny bunny says:
09/08/2007, 06:45:39
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Me says:
10/27/2007, 13:33:53
Este e o novo método de comentar...
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01/21/2008, 04:36:22
This rocks...
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