I live out in the country. My closest neighbor is better than a couple forties away. In the country, a forty is a forty acre parcel of land. Not beer. It is really late and I've been out listening to a friend extol the negative virtues of being in an unstable relationship. I am tired but can't sleep because of the caffeine in my whiskey cokes. I eat some smoked fish and drink a ginger ale to calm the stomach. Ten minutes of late night TV is enough and I am off to bed. I lay with my eyes half closed. The room is in a very slight spin. I am thankful to be horizontal.
I am drifting off into the nether and through my closed lids I can see a very bright light. As I bolt up from the bed my ears are filled with the sound of air being sucked out of the room. I glance out the window in time to see a blindingly bright light race into to sky. I stumble backwards and fall against the wall. All I can see is a sunspot for the next ten minutes. I stumble to the bathroom and put water in my eyes. They itch like I have welder's flash. I can barely make out my form in the mirror. It's like looking through jello. I grab eye drops and put them in. I empty the bottle. I sit until I can read the label on the toothpaste. I am shaking and sweating. I get up and head into the spare bedroom, open the closet and grab my 30-30...and some extra shells. I go back to the bedroom and get dressed in the dark. I keep looking out the window trying to see something. I think I see a lump or movement out of the corner of my eye, but they have yet to clear up totally. I still see a sunspot. Not bad, but enough to keep me from focusing completely. I move to the living room to get a better view. I can finally focus enough to see a shape out in the field. There are wisps of smoke rising off or it with a faint glow being emitted. I put on my hunting vest and my Holden Caufield hat, grab a flashlight and open the front door. I can smell burning alfalfa and scorched earth. I take the safety off and step off the porch. The gravel of my driveway is loud under foot. I realize that my ears are ringing...only it's not in my head. It's coming from out in the field. I step out onto the dew covered grass.
I am halfway to the lump when I think I see something move. I stop. My breathing seems louder than it has ever been. My heart is beating in a stilted rhythm. I am looking as hard as I can but see nothing. I am almost up to the lump and realize it is a crater. The lump is the edge of the crater about forty feet across. It is on the backside of a small hill and I could only see the top edge. I look down into it illuminated by a quarter moon and the stars. I see the ground all around move. It did not impact. It is burrowing. I can feel the ground twisting under my feet. It is nearly already covered. I flip the flashlight on and shine it down into the hole. The twisting stops. Right near the center I can still see the polished silver body of the ship. There is a hatch opening. I am leaning backward to run and I feel a shooting pain up through my foot. I look down and see a barbed spike protruding through the top of my boot. Barbs are spreading out and covering my foot. I can't lift my foot off the ground. I point the gun down and shoot. I hit one of the barbs and nothing. The barbs are becoming tendrils wrapping their way up my leg. I lever action the spent shell out and fire at the hub in the center. Working up to my knee. Fire again. Up my thigh. Fire again. Around my waist. Fire again. Crawling up my chest. Fire again. Around my neck. Fire again. Down my arms and over my head. Click. Empty. I feel the tendrils pulling me under the earth. Into the ship. Into a sealed bag. All the air is sucked out of the bag and my lungs. I feel the label being attached over my face as I'm blacking out. Specimen 5367.
I sit up. The sun beaming through my open window. My crumpled clothes on the floor along with broken beer bottle shards. I look down and see a cut on my foot. I shut my eyes to stop the headache. It doesn't comply. I hold them closed til I fall back asleep.