Flash fiction: The Watchers

In the early part of the twenty-first century there were people who believed we were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s; those people were dismissed as loons, quacks who went out to New Mexico and watched for the Grays to emerge from Area 51.

At the time, I thought such people were at the very least misinformed, pretty damn weird, and probably sold jars of lime Gatorade to tourists believing they were buying alien urine. So it goes.

***

In my late forties I decided to begin taking a morning constitutional on the advice from the books of health gurus—to some these gurus are quacks as well—and on one of these walks, on a crisp cloudless October morning, in a quaint middle-class neighborhood west of my flat, I passed by a nice red-brick house of a family I knew only slightly, when I heard a slight rustling from their hedges.

I stopped and listened, thinking it was only a squirrel or a bird, or perhaps a lizard. But the sunlight dappling through the shade tree in the front yard revealed something else—an azure sparkle through the leaves. At first I dismissed it as perhaps some piece of trash, a beer can perhaps, caught in the leaves.

Later, after we knew the truth of the mattter, some who saw the pictures I took with my camera phone said they heard hissing in the night sky. Others heard nothing, but reported a mass of comets sho0ting through the sky,  an unusual enough phenomenon little reported by the media, which was too busy analyzing Kanye West’s decision to go into fashion design.

Anyhow, I started on my way once more, but then the rustling in the hedges erupted again. I stopped and turned and watched. Something was rising steadily above the leaves and limbs. I brought my camera into focus.

A glowing blue globe peeked from over the edge of the hedge. I trembled but felt compelled to approached, almost as if the Thing were laying some kind of Jedi-mindtrick on me.

The Thing rose silently. There were no visible means of propulsion. Clearly, a technology superior to any on Earth—as far a we know (who, after all, really knows just what the frak is going on at Area 51).

I moved closer. It hovered in place over the hedge. I saw no massive hole, no sign of impact whatsoever. It made no threatening moves, no sound, but I knew better. I knew from sci-fi flicks that nothing good could come of this.

I knew the invasion was on, and at the moment, was its only witness on this too quiet street . . .

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Books bought, books checked-out, books read: End of Summer, beginning of Fall 2011

An update to my pollysyllabic spree:

Books bought

  • The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman
  • Year’s Best SF 14

Books checked out

  • In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
  • Healthy Aging by Andrew Weil

Books read

  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
  • Embassytown by China Mieville
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke