“Seven minutes, sir, but we’ve been ordered to land three hundred yards north, just outside the safe perimeter. I’m assuming there’s land transport on the scene, but you may have to dog it in on foot, sir.”
“Roger that, son. Wouldn’t be the first time.”
That last bit had been muttered, but the transmit/receive unit the agent wore picked up the vocals, filtered out the background noise from the chopper and sent it to Bill’s unit, clear as a bell. He watched Agent Hartman turn and look his way.
“You copy that?”
“We’re not sure what we’re walking into here, and the bigwigs aren’t allowing flyovers so we’re gonna be short on reconnaissance.”
“Negative — this BEM caught us with our pants down, landed right in a blind spot. This area’s not scheduled for a pass-over for another sixteen hours. Even if we re-routed one of the other Eyes we couldn’t get any visuals for better than ten, and civilians are already on-scene. The Section needs to get a presence on the ground to take control of the situation, and it looks like we’re elected, kid.”
The senior agent’s face nearly creased into a smile. Nearly.
“Kind of a tough first day, Elvis. Sorry about that. But at least you’ll get to see right off the bat that it’s not like those bullshit buddy movies with Will Smith and Tommy Jones. This shit gets very real, very fast. Hell, I had to wait two years for my first shot at seeing a Bug Eyed Monster up close.”
Bill scanned pages of information on his tablet: first contact report, responding police officer’s reports, pictures confiscated from the first news crew to make the scene. He used some of the tablet’s special software to enhance one of the pictures of the assumed ‘craft’, and wasn’t really paying attention as he spoke.
“I beg your pardon?”
“My name, sir. Bill Presley. Not Elvis.”
The picture showed a sleek craft, built long and low. The front and rear of the thing were reflective, shining in what looked to be early morning light.
“Uh-huh,” said Agent Hartman in a flat tone. “Any relation?”
“Sir?” BIll said, staring at the image on the small screen. It may have been some sort of distortion, but Bill could have sworn the main portion of the craft was -- Bill squinted -- pink.
“I asked if you were any relation,” said Agent Hartman.
Bill looked up, confused.
The bland senior agent finally raised his voice.
“To The King, son! I want to know if you are related to The King, Elvis Presley himself. Well?”
“You ever hear the rumors that his death was staged?”
“Distant relation, sir. I don’t have any stories or know any family secrets. To be honest, sir, I’m not even a fan of his music.”
Agent Hartman stared for a few heartbeats. Then:
“Are you serious?”
Just then the pilot’s voice came over the cabin speaker.
“Gentlemen, we are over the LZ and will be in the ground in ten. Thank you for flying Air BEM!”
Agent Hartman slung the door open even as the chopper touched down, rolling out and staying low as he crossed grass that danced in the backwash from the prop. Billy followed suit. A blue-jumpsuited man, obviously ground crew, pointed them toward a waiting Army jeep with another blue-clad man in the driver’s seat, already revving the engine. They hopped in the back and the vehicle took off before Billy could get into a seat. He held onto the roll bar with a terrified grip as they bounced across the open field at speed.
The jeep ground to a halt a mere fifteen yards from the shallow crater that cradled the alleged ‘craft’, and Billy had his first good, clear view of their target.
Son of a bitch, it was pink.
Less than six feet high, the vehicle was close to twenty long. The upper half consisted of dark, semi-reflective panels.
Behind him Agent Hartman was issuing terse orders to their driver about ferrying equipment back and forth. Though volume did not appear to be something the agent was lacking, Billy barely heard the man as he stepped toward the craft for a better look.
The lower half of the vehicle was pink. Not pinkish, or light red: pink. The front, at least Billy assumed it was the front, had a half-dozen shiny round ports. From a distance they might have been gun turrets, but from up close Billy could see they were covered with some kind of semi-transparent material.
“What the hell are you doing?” Behind him Agent Hartman sounded agitated. “Get away from there, Rookie!”
Billy heard him, and he knew he shouldn’t, but he just couldn’t stop. On the side of the vehicle he’d found something protruding from the hull, just below one of those semi-reflective panels. It looked like nothing so much as a car door-handle, with the metal bracket to get a grip on and the button to release the latch. While the senior agent shouted, Bill put his hand on the bracket and pressed the button with his thumb.
The flash of light that surrounded him was blinding, and he staggered in surprise. He shook his head, clearing his eyes, and saw the vehicle, Agent Hartman, even the field... were gone.
There was noise in the background, rhythmic, lyrical. As his mind cleared the noise resolved itself into music... and words.
...Wise... man... says....
Before him stood a figure, humanoid, but nearly as wide as it was tall.
...only fools... rush... in...
The figure wore a white jumpsuit, a monogrammed EP on the breast.
...but I... can’t ...help... falling in love... with... you...
The music faded. The being spoke, its voice matching the one in the song.
Another song began.
You ain’t nothing but a hound dog...
Billy began to laugh.
Some people may have the complaint that this week's "Friday Fright" isn't very scary, the story itself being more Sci-fi than Horror.
These people would be right.
My apologies for the 'not-scary scary story this week, but this is what popped into my head while I was waiting for my son at his scout meeting this week. By the time I realized it wasn't at all scary it was kind of too late; I was having some health issues later in the week related to the heat we’ve been experiencing, and I wasn’t getting as much writing done as I really wanted to. Hopefully The Storyteller will be back on track next week and you will all join me for another little story.
As always, thank you for reading.
Talk to you later!