“So what’s the plan?” asked Ben as he joined Scarlett in at the window.
“Plan?” Scarlett stared at him.
“You don’t have a plan?”
“Stay the fuck away from any cows. Scare the kids off. That’s about all I got.”
Ben frowned. “Do you think they’re dangerous? I could grab the shotgun.”
Scarlett winced. If there was one thing she liked less than cows, it was guns. “It would scare me away, that’s for sure.” She shook her head. “I don’t think they’re violent, no.”
Ben shrugged. “I feel like I should have something to defend us, though.”
“He said, ‘us’” Scarlett’s brain pointed out.
“I know,” she said to herself as she smiled.
Ben looked at her quizzically. “What’s up?”
“Oh,” she shook her head and waved. “Nothing.”
“Ohhhhhh-kay,” said Ben. “This is your area of expertise, not mine.”
“Right, well,” she turned to him. “We could try to scare them. Make it seem like an actual UFO is showing up.”
Ben chuckled. “I bet they’d shit themselves.” He frowned. “That seems like a lot of work, though. Unless you have an alien costume in the trunk of your car.”
“Do not admit that we have an alien costume in the trunk of our car,” Scarlett’s brain instructed. Scarlett stayed silent.
“You don’t actually have an alien costume in the trunk of your car, do you?”
“No,” she said somewhat unconvincingly.
“You know, you’re pretty hot and all, but you’re a little weird.”
Scarlett shrugged. “Completely normal people don’t tend to become paranormal bloggers.”
Ben thought through the truth inherent in that statement, then shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I guess I should get used to it.”
She smiled, then took his hand and squeezed it. “I’d like that.” After a moment, she asked, “Do you have a tractor?”
“I think I have a plan.”
Meg was high. Her friends were high. Meg and her friends were very, very high. Being outside, sitting next to a campfire under the stars, getting stoned with her friends, and worshipping the sky gods was what high school was all about, she thought.
Actually, she thought that the sky gods thing was a load of crap, but her boyfriend, Jared, believed that he’d been abducted by aliens on multiple occasions, and she loved him, so she rolled with it.
He also had the absolute best weed around, so all of her other friends were more than happy to hang out in a field and sing and dance and praise the sky gods along with the two of them. Hell, some of them might have really believed in it, too.
“Friends,” Jared began, “we are here tonight to pay homage to the lords of the nighttime sky.”
“And get high!” screamed their friend Jay.
“The sacred herb is the gateway to communication with the sky gods,” Jared replied in a more than mellow fashion. “So yes, we are here…”
“To get high!” Jay screamed again. Everyone else cheered. Meg thought that Jay was kind of an ass.
“Friends,” said Jared, “let us sing our song of praise!”
“To getting high!”
“Dude,” said Jared.
“Sorry, man,” said Jay. “I just like to get high.”
“It’s cool, man,” replied Jared, “let’s just say the chant first, and then you can get baked.”
Meg had already used a stake and twine to draw out the same intersecting circle pattern that Jared had tattooed on his bicep a year ago onto the grass of the field. Jared had then traced the pattern with lighter fluid, and now stood ready, lighter in hand, to set the grass ablaze.
“Oh, awesome and benevolent sky gods,” Jared intoned, “please hear our shout out to you, in all of your infinite awesomeness.”
“Fuck yeah, Sky Gods,” the group responded in unison.
“We are here to pay homage to you, in all of your infinite awesomeness.”
“Fuck yeah! Sky Gods!” the group responded, louder this time.
“We are here, to partake of the sacred herb, and listen to your song, in all of its infinite awesomeness.”
“Fuck yeah! Sky Gods!”
Jared bent down and lit the interlocking circles on fire. Flame raced along the ground, tracing the path of the vesica piscis through the field. It burned out within a few seconds, at which point everyone clapped and cheered.
Suddenly, a rumbling sound, low and rhythmic, filled the air. Jared motioned the group to be quiet as he stared out past the light of the campfire, into the darkness.
Then, from the direction of the rumbling, a powerful cold light, more than ten times as bright as the light produced by the campfire, snapped on, blinding the group. Meg grabbed onto Jared with one hand even as she shielded her eyes with the other. Everyone was silent, waiting to see what would come next.
A tall, slender figure finally appeared, silhouetted against the source of the light. The light was so strong that it seemed to bend around the edges of the figure, blurring it, making it impossible to focus on, and accentuating its otherworldly proportions.
Its legs and arms were far too long, and its body far too slender for it to be human. Finally, it slowly stretched out a single hand and pointed directly at them with one of its inhumanly long fingers.
“Holy shit!” shouted Jay, “It’s an alien!”
Meg screamed, and then Jared shouted, “Run!”
“Ha ha! Fuckers!” Scarlett muttered as she watched the group of teenagers take off into the darkness, screaming as they sprinted across the field.
Once the sounds of their screams had faded, Ben turned off the tractor and hopped down from the seat. “Man, that thing is bright,” he said as he shielded his eyes from the LED floodlight that they’d attached to the front.
“I think I recognized one of those kids,” said Scarlett as she pulled the alien mask off. She turned toward Ben and wobbled forward, the stilts built into the legs of her costume sinking into the soft earth of the field.
“Wait, really, where from?”
“He’s a UFO blogger. I’ve met him at conventions.” She reached out toward him. “Help me back to the tractor.”
“Oh shit,” said Ben as he took Scarlett’s hand to support her while she walked. “He’s not going to write about this and turn my field into UFO-spotters central is he?”
“I don’t know,” said Scarlett, “‘I Pooped Myself and Ran Away’ doesn’t make for a great blog title. I think he’d lose any credibility he had in the community if he wrote about it.”
“Good God, I hope so,” he replied as he helped her back into the tractor.
Suddenly, a rumbling sound, low and rhythmic, filled the air.
“Oh, you’ve got to be shitting me,” Scarlett whispered as a bright, cold light suddenly appeared in the sky above their heads. It was powerful, about ten times as bright as the campfire, and Scarlett grabbed Ben with one hand while she shielded her eyes with the other.
The two stared skyward as the light hovered, motionless, above them.
“Fuck yeah, Sky Gods?” Scarlett’s brain whimpered.
“Scarlett?” asked Ben.
“Is this bad?”
Before she could respond, the light suddenly accelerated, moving faster than any aircraft Scarlett knew of, and flew north - disappearing over the tops of the trees in the distance in a matter of seconds.
“What the fuck?” shouted Ben. He stared at Scarlett. “Was that what I think it was?”
She nodded slowly, “Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.”
“Whatever we do, we can’t tell my dad about this,” said Ben. “He’ll be so pissed off that he missed it.”
Scarlett’s heart sank - she knew he was right. If she wrote about the encounter on her blog, his father would read it, and he’d be devastated. “Damn it,” she whispered.
She sighed. “At least I got a cute guy out of the deal.”
Ben smiled at her. “It is always like this with you?”
She thought for a moment, then shrugged. “Pretty much.”
He laughed, then shrugged in return. “Sounds cool.”
“So tell me about this guy,” said Jeff, Scarlett’s best friend, as he sat in her kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee. Scarlett sat across from him, sipping from a cup of green tea.
Scarlett smiled, “He’s really hot.”
Jeff shook his head.
“And…he’s used to weird people.”
“Well, that’s significant, actually.”
Jeff chuckled. “I’m happy for you.”
“Hey, I’ll tell Mary about him - maybe we can go out on a double date!”
“Maybe. I kind of want him to myself for a while, first.”
“Well, sure. You’ve got to get all the sex out of the way.”
Scarlett laughed. “Yes. Yes, indeed.”
“So anyway, you coming to church on Sunday?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there. I haven’t missed a week yet.”
“Good. There’s a couple that wants to meet you. Friends of Mary’s. They think their house is haunted.”
“Oh nice,” said Scarlett as she leaned back in her chair and relaxed. “I could go for a good haunting right about now.”