It was supposed to be a quiet camping trip. There weren't supposed to be lights in the sky. Nobody was supposed to go missing. Nobody was supposed to die...
Here's a short sample from my UFO/First contact thriller...
Joe turned back to the grill and shuffled the foil-wrapped corn around as Alex and Wilt belted out an enthusiastic rendition of Bob Dylan’s Stuck Inside of Mobile. Joe wondered how true it was they would surely return. Little Annabelle coming along would certainly change everything, and he couldn’t help the swell of nostalgia that rose in him. He loved these trips and couldn’t share in Alex’s certainty they’d return. If anything, Alex was probably just saying it to make him and Wilt feel better, knowing how much they loved it up here. The heat from the coals warmed Joe’s face and the fire crackled in the background.
Joe could hear the fire. They had stopped playing.
‘Hey, maestro, where’s the music?’
Joe turned to look at his friends. They both sat slack jawed, gaping at the woods across the lake.
Wilt pointed. ‘It’s back.’
Joe went cold. He reluctantly turned to where his friends had fixed their astonished stares. It was back. He still thought it could be a helicopter or ball lightning, but through the trees across the lake the pulse of a yellow light pierced the darkness. For a minute or so, time stood still. The buzzing and chirping bugs backing Alex’s playing all night had lost their voices. Wilt stood. Alex put his guitar down, then rose to his feet. Joe checked for signs Wilt and Alex were as nervous as he was.
Alex looked over at him. ‘What do we do?’
Joe had no idea. Part of him wanted nothing more than to be back in Boston. In O’Malley’s, watching the Patriots with the guys from the firehouse, preseason or not. But he was curious about what the light was. So was Alex.
‘Let’s go. Have a closer look at it,’ Alex said, that same excited gleam in his eye.
Wilt’s shocked response came out in a thick Boston twang. ‘What? Are you fuckin cuckoo?’
Alex looked at Joe.
He doubted Wilt would go for it. It was a chance to find out once and for all what the light was. It could have been anything. Ball lightning. Experimental government craft. He just wanted to prove to Alex it wasn’t little green men.
‘It would be interesting to find out what it is...’
Joe wanted an adventure. He always did. But what he really wanted was to debunk the whole thing. Then they could get back to reality and fishing and screwing around like they were back in their teens.
Alex smiled a little and turned to Wilt. ‘What do you say, buddy?’
Wilt saw Alex’s grin and smiled a little himself. He glanced over at Joe as he stared at him.
‘I say I must want my fuckin head examined.’
Alex gave a small cheer of victory, Joe quickly wrapped the food he was grilling, and they left the roaring fire behind. Instead of heading for the Beast and back to their favorite Boston bar and the Patriots, they headed for the rowboat and the light.
They should have picked the Patriots.
Wilt’s huge fire was a match light in the distance as they reached the far shore of the lake. Joe stopped the recording he had been making on Wilt’s cell and handed him his phone. Alex led the race through the woods toward the pulsating light, filming on his own phone all the way. The light flashed its green glow through the trees as Joe dragged Wilt ever closer to the next lake. Nobody spoke. It was difficult to judge the distance through the trees, but it looked as if the light was about halfway across the second, smaller lake as it hovered silently above the calm waters.
‘It’s fuckin huge.’ Alex’s voice trembled as he spoke.
He was right. Now they were closer, it was clear whatever they were looking at was more than just a light. It was a craft. A metallic, saucer-shaped flying machine. The color, like the lights, was nothing Joe had ever seen before. Silver, gray and blue all at once. Looking now it was hard to say if the craft had lights or was made of light. Either way, Alex didn’t care. He continued on, turning back every few steps to check the others were still behind him. If Wilt had suggested there and then they go back, Joe would have gladly obliged. Unfortunately for all involved, he didn’t.
For as long as Joe could remember Alex always had a genuine fascination with the unknown, but it was clear to see even he was terrified. In all the time he and Joe had known each other, Joe had never seen him afraid. They had to deal with some pretty hairy situations with their work - they dealt in life and death on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. Joe had seen this guy do things that would turn your hair white. When he’s on the job, he’s all business. Now he trembled. His face was chalky. Joe should have seen it as a sign to stop. To turn back, get in the Beast and drive back to Boston as quickly as possible. To the bar where the rest of Ladder Company would be watching the game.
Joe wanted to stop. Pick a tree to hide behind. Turn and go back, as far away as possible, and yet, he couldn’t. He had to go on. He had to know what this thing was. He gulped uncontrollably, even though his mouth was as dry as the soft ground beneath his feet. Perhaps it was the unknown element of this that was the source of fear for Alex. It had dawned on him this wasn’t a game. Now he had Annabelle to think about. When you’re unsure of what’s going on around you, instinct is a pretty reliable survival guide.
The men were all in good shape (as members of Ladder Company, they had to be), but by the time they cleared the trees at the edge of the second lake they were breathless. Joe and Wilt stopped alongside Alex and stared at the glowing object some two hundred yards away. Wilt continued filming. The saucer was a hundred feet across, suspended silently fifty yards above the water’s surface. The friends all gaped as it rose slowly. When the idea came it could be leaving, Joe was shocked his overriding emotion was sadness. That was short-lived as the disc dropped back to its original position, bobbing like a buoy on water. Again it rose and fell, like it was putting on a show, then, the third time, when it dropped it stopped just feet from the surface of the lake. Huge circles expanded across the water from the center as if something massive had breached the flat calm.
Alex whispered, ‘Guys, I don’t like this. I changed my mind. I want to go back.’
No sooner had the words left his lips than the object rose to twenty yards above the surface, then, in the blink of an eye, it was in the air above them. Just like in Joe’s dream. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end, and the air was thick with electricity. Joe had felt faint, now his knees gave out from underneath him. Somebody caught him at one side and the other shouted, ‘Run!’ He would struggle to tell for sure who did what.
They raced back through the woods. Joe’s legs felt empty as though he’d just run a marathon, energy sapped, he was in the slow-motion sprint of a nightmare. A beam of white light pierced the canopy and fell upon Joe. He did his best to zig and zag, to remove himself from the beam’s intrusive scrutiny. He felt weight lifting from him. A lightness came. Time slowed and sounds faded, and he looked down to see shadows growing beneath twigs and stones. They were levitating. That was the lightness he felt. Then it was gone. Unable to get a fix on him the beam had moved on.
The sounds of breathless endeavor rushed back, feet pounding the soft earth, lungs gasping for air. As they dashed through the trees, the beam flashed from one of them to the other. Wilt overtook Joe, gripping his phone. Joe peered over his shoulder to see Alex dodging the beam. Round Alex’s feet, twigs and leaves floated then fell as the light passed over them. Then the beam was gone.
Joe looked up to see Wilt clear the woods. He was halfway between the trees and the rowboat, feet spraying pebbles across the beach as he raced for the sanctity of that roaring fire and the cabin across the water. Then, the bright white beam fixed on him.
Joe watched on, awestruck as small stones levitated around Wilt’s feet as he ran. Joe was a few yards behind, and Alex a few behind him, then, just as Wilt reached the boat, he let out a bone-chilling scream. He was frozen, paralyzed by the beam. Joe stopped dead and Alex ran into the back of him, throwing both to the floor. There was a blinding flash and a roar like thunder. They looked up.
The boat rocked lightly back and forth, and gentle waves lapped the beach.
The disc was gone.
So was Wilt.
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In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.