dontravis.com blog post #574
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week, we left ten-year-old Tommy in the dark on a stormy night when his parents
can’t get back to the farm because of a washout. Is he dreaming, or are there
aliens in his father’s potato patch? Let’s find out.
I didn’t hear them, but Brute
did. He hopped off the couch and ran to the front door barking his head off.
And from outside the door, came, “Yip, yip, yip!” He scuttled back to the couch
and wiggled his way underneath it.
Something brushed against the
“Go ‘way! I shouted.”
“Go ‘way!” the thing echoed.
I heard others at the windows.
The creatures had surrounded the house. I snatched up the tactical flashlight,
ran to the closest window, and pressed the lens against the pane before
switching the light to strobe. By the flickering light, I saw a monster
outside, but he wasn’t flinching, and his head wasn’t deflating. He wasn’t
doing anything but peering in the window, his eyes covered by something dark.
Sunglasses! Well, not like any I’d ever seen, but they must have done the same
thing. When he swung an arm at me, I dropped the curtain and scrambled backward
on my behind. I heard it scrape the glass, but the window didn’t break.
I scrambled up and ran to my
room. Without knowing why, I put on my Cut Scout uniform. Maybe my brains were
scrambled from terror, but I felt more prepared. Until Brute started going
crazy in the living room, that is. Then I heard a different kind of yelp.
Racing back to the front room with
my weapon—it wasn’t just a flashlight anymore—I found one of the creatures holding
a terrified Brute by the nape of his neck. I’d have thought my buddy was dead
but for his eyes frantically searching the room for me.
“Leave him alone!” I yelled
and rushed forward with the light strobing fiercely. I didn’t get far.
Something snatched the flashlight from my hand and lifted me off my feet with
what felt like a cable wrapped around my chest. It took a second to realize it
was another creature holding me against him. Before I lost reason to terror, I
remember thinking the thing wasn’t flesh and blood at all. It was a machine,
like in that old movie the War of the Worlds. But it wasn’t metal
imprisoning me. Not flesh, either. Not human flesh, anyway. It was something in
No matter how much I
struggled, I couldn’t get free. Kicking the thing holding me didn’t seem to
bother him. He marched out the back door, which they’d opened without kicking
it in, and started for the potato field. Others fell in beside him, making me
think of army guys marching in step. An occasional whine let me know the one
carrying Brute was right behind me.
In the trek across the yard
and the field, I forgot to be scared, especially as we neared the big ship
sitting partially buried in the mud. Big and black and mysterious, it had a
ramp in the side where we seemed to be headed. Lord, were they kidnapping us? I
mumbled the first prayer I thought of, which was the one about laying me down
to sleep, as fear took possession of me again.
Several of the creatures
swarmed around holding what looked like tools, working at another hole in the
side. One that seemed like a compartment of some sort. As scared as I was, a
little common sense penetrated my brain. Something had happened to their ship.
They’d crashed—it seemed more like a crash landing—and were trying to repair
things. A thousand-million crickets seemed to be chirping like crazy as they
chattered among themselves. A sudden bolt of lightning struck about a mile or
so beyond old man Wilson’s farm across the road, and every one of the creatures
ducked. The ones without the sunglasses—or whatever—held arms or tentacles to
their heads. Then they went about their business again.
Light! They couldn’t stand white
light. That’s why all the lights around us were blue.
We entered the ship and went straight
to a big hall where one of the creatures sat in a big chair raised up like it
was a throne or something. A few other creatures clustered around a nearby
table studying something, maybe the operating manual for this big airship. The
chirping noises stopped as they all turned to stare at us through huge
uncovered eyes as we neared.
The one holding me threw me to
the floor before the throne; the other one dropped Brute. As my fearless
protector scrambled over to cower between my legs, the creature holding my flashlight
bowed before the one on the throne and handed over my weapon. The one in the
chair examined it briefly, accidentally turning it on. Everyone cowered before
the flashing light, but the creature managed to get it turned off. Suddenly, he
leveled a finger or claw or something in between at me and emitted a loud,
scratchy sound My knees went weak, almost dumping me on top of Brute.
Another creature, bent and
leaning on a stick of some kind, addressed the creature cricketing at me. The
king or chief or ship’s captain or whatever he was stopped chirping and looked
at me. He extended a long, cable-like arm and raised his chin—if he’d had one.
I blurted the only thing I could think of.
“I’m T-Tommy,” he parroted.
I shook my head and managed to
keep from stuttering. “Tommy.”
He leaned back and pursed tiny
lips. “Tommy.” He folded his long whip-like arm and touched his chest. “Akachetto.”
He waved his arm toward the others and said something that sounded like
“Mixterns,” so that’s what they became to me.
He chirped some more, and others
came bearing what looked to be stretchers. They folded back metallic blankets
to expose two of the creatures with withered heads. I caught my breath and
“Dead” he parroted, pointing
first to me and then to the forms lying before him. “Tommy. Dead.”
My heart about jumped out of
my chest before I figured out he was trying to ask a question. I nodded and
said. “Accident. It was an accident!”
“Accident.” He chirped back
and forth with the old one before nodding at Brute. One of the creatures
snatched him up before I could protest.
“No!” I yelled as they handed
my pet to the old one. He pulled out something that looked like a hypodermic,
except it had no needle. He pressed it against Brute’s neck, and the thing made
a hissing sound. Brute yelped and went limp. One of the others—guards, I
guess—handed Brute to me.
The touch of his soft, fur,
the half-closed lids on his once-bright eyes released me from my paralysis.
“You killed him! You killed my dog!” Tears came flooding, making speech
“Bobby dead Mixterns,” the
thing on the throne said. “Akachetto dead dog.”
At his bidding, the guards
shoved me in a far corner of the big hall and stood by as the minutes and hours
tolled. I sobbed over my dead friend until exhaustion brought me a troubled
Loud, excited chirping roused
me. Mixterns came flooding into the ship, jabbering at one another like
crickets gone wild. At last, Akachetto took his place on the throne and one of
the creatures bowed before cricketing at him rapid fire. Akachetto nodded and
pointed in my direction. The guards came for me while the rest scurried about
like they were on a mission. And I guess they were. The problem with the ship
was probably fixed. Now we’d soar off into space, and I’d never see Mom or Dad
again. I tuned up for a little crying before the two guards prodded me to my
feet and herded me through the ship, me still holding my dead friend. Then I
saw the ramp. Were they gonna let me go? Before they shoved me through the
hatch, the old one with a cane appeared with his syringe in hand.
I jerked away. “You can’t kill
him twice!” Leave him alone.” Oh, Lord! Was he gonna use it on me and leave our
bodies in the potato field?
The old one ignored me and
pressed the thing to Brute’s neck. It hissed again before I managed to tear
away and run down the ramp. I didn’t stop until I got to the windbreak, then I
turned, expecting to see the creatures coming for me.
But they weren’t. The ramp was
folding in upon itself, and the hatch was closing. They were leaving. I felt
movement in my arms. I glanced down through the still-dark night and saw Brute
give a big yawn. Then he reached up and licked my face.
“Brute! You’re not dead!”
Joy flooded my whole being. My
friend was back. They’d undeaded him.
I glanced up as a loud hum
built. The earth shook as the craft pulled itself out of the mud with a big
sucking sound. It hovered a moment a few feet off the ground before moving
straight up in the air and then simply vanishing.
Putting Brute down, I skipped
around to the back door, which still stood open. I examined the door and the
frame but didn’t find any damage. How’d they get in?
All of a sudden I was so
tired, I almost didn’t make it to the couch. I’d barely stretched out with
Brute snuggled against my belly when I passed out.
I woke at the sound of my
mom’s voice “Tommy! Tommy! Let us in.”
“He’s barred the door. Smart
kid. I’ll go around back,” my dad said.
I still wasn’t completely
awake when he came into the room and headed for the front door. “How you doing,
sport?” he asked, as he let my mother in.
“Fine,” I mumbled. Then I came
awake. The Mixterns. I needed to tell….
But my lips remained sealed.
I’d probably dreamed it all. Bad dream. Nightmare. Except… it came out all
“Tommy,” my mother exclaimed.
“Why are you in your scout uniform? And there’s mud all over your boots. Did
you go outside?”
“Yes’m. For a minute.”
Despite that, I convinced
myself last night had been a dream… until my dad looked out the window and
hell happened to my potato patch?”
I dunno if he was dreaming
or not… but something happened in that fallow field.
my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say…
so say it!
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you next Thursday.
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