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 . . .


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