Unidentified Floating Object
“You’re probably the only guy I’d let bring me out here in the middle of the night.”
Sammy winked when she flirted.
“You know that, right?”
I always dug that little wink.
“Well, except maybe Lennon, you know, circa Rubber Soul.”
She couldn’t even do it right. Her right eye seized up every time. We called it the double wink. But she still looked damn cute trying.
“I could never get into the later stuff.”
That wink might as well have been a green light.
“I know, I know.”
Just not then.
“Everybody loves Revolver, or White Album, or Let It Be. But it’s not for me…”
Not that night.
“Maybe it was the beards. Maybe the whole acid thing.”
I had an agenda.
“I don’t know. Who am I kidding? That man could fuck me sideways, anytime, any place.”
My old Honda hit a bump and nearly exploded.
“We’re not going to see anything out here, you know,” she smirked. “But it’s cute that you think we will.”
Sammy had these tight black jeans with little brass buttons by the pockets. Sometimes when she was feeling feverish she would take my hand and push it down past those buttons. I can still feel the rough way they rubbed up against my wrist.
“Why aren’t you talking?”
My cheeks flushed.
“I’m not. I mean, I am. Fuck, I don’t know. Sorry.”
She noticed something was up.
“Seriously,” she laughed. “The light?”
I couldn’t get it out of my head since Wednesday.
“Baby, it was just some upperclassmen,” she giggled. “They pranked you. That’s all. They do it all the time.”
I kept my eyes on the road.
“Oh God, you’re serious,” she groaned. “Really? Is that what we’re doing tonight? Playing ghost hunters? Oh. No. I’m sorry. Alien hunters?”
“No you look. This just wasn’t what I had in mind…”
“When you call me and get me out of bed at three in the morning.”
“I know how it sounds, just…”
“I thought we were just going to park here… maybe make out for a little bit… maybe talk about our future, for once…”
“I know. We still can, just…”
“Matt… MATT… Stop!”
I slammed the breaks.
“Do you see that?”
One hundred yards away and just behind some trees. A flash of motion here, a snapping of twigs there. And then a light.
I inched up.
“Turn your fucking lights off.”
Somebody heard that. The windows were open. Of course the fucking windows were open. It could have been our only downfall. The motion stopped in the distance. Then a voice called out.
“Help me please.”
Sammy dug her nails into my forearm. “Do you have a gun?” she asked.
“I have a bat.” I replied.
She opened the door before I could say argue.
“Help me,” the voice called in retreat. “Help me please.”
Sammy took off to the sound of thrashing water. I raced to my trunk and retrieved the bat. She got ahead of me and shouted,
“Oh my God, what are you doing?”
To the voice I hadn’t yet seen. A woman answered her.
“I’m drowning it.”
I raced down a water logged path and slipped into a mud pile twice my own size. Sammy was screaming when I rubbed the rain out of my eyes. Standing in a small pond was a short older woman with white hair. She was holding something underneath the water.
“Can you help me?” she asked. “It cut me.”
She quickly raised a blood soaked hand.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked her. “What are you doing? What is happening?”
“Take the bat,” she gestured. “Hit it in the head. Hit it hard. I’ve got it here. Not much longer, though.”
“Ma’am… what are you doing out here… it’s late…”
“Hit it,” she hissed. “There’s no time.”
I got in the water.
“What is it?” I asked. “I can’t see…”
Something thrashed beside her.
“They breathe some underwater,” she mumbled. “Not much. But enough. I should have known. I wrote it down. I wrote it down and pasted it on the fridge. Just yesterday. Water’s no good. No good, no good, no good. Fire is better.”
I waded closer. Even though every instinct told me not to. I turned back to see Sammy watching me nervously. I didn’t want to let her down. I could see a shadow just underneath the waist high water. Something long and gray. It didn’t move much. I thought it might already be dead.
“Did you hurt someone, ma’am?” I asked quietly. “It’s okay… it’s okay if they hurt you. It’s okay if you hurt them back…”
The woman chuckled wearily.
“Not someone, something.”
I could see gray skin. That was the only discernible feature. Gray, pallid skin.
“They’re not human,” she whispered. “And they’re not animals. So what do you call that?”
Her hand held onto its neck.
“Unidentified drowning object,” she giggled. “I can only hold it here a bit longer, young fella, but we have to kill it. Before it kills us. Do you understand me?”
Another splash. Two gray hands wrapped around her arm. A thin line of blood trickled down her wrist.
“I know this is a lot for you. You didn’t ask for this. Neither did I. But you have to hit it.”
The creature fought back. She pushed back down with one good arm. Pure adrenaline held the woman’s feeble arms in place.
“You have to trust me. My name is Meredith. I live in town. I’m not crazy.”
Long legs. I could see long legs. As long as mine. Maybe longer.
“Hit the fucking thing, boy, do you take this long with everything?”
Two black eyes open.
I swung just as a nail scraped my face. Something fell back into the water with a splash.
I hit it again. Sammy screamed. I froze in place. Meredith grabbed me by the collar.
“We have to run now,” she urged in an oddly calm tone. “There will be more of them.”
“More of what?”
“Whatever you feel comfortable calling it.”
“That’s not a fucking answer.”
“I’ve seen your license plate here before. You saw something, yeah?”
“Trust that it’s real. My home is close. We need to leave.”
“I want to go home,” Sammy whined. “I didn’t want to…”
Bright white lights lit up the night sky.
“No time,” Meredith murmured. “They’re in the woods by now.”
She let go of my collar.
“You have to trust me.”
A horrible vibration filled the air.
“Do you trust me?”
Then everything went black.