the Last U.F.O. Report

by James Bronson


Chapter 5 - Probing Question

            The darkness swallowed the evening sky, leaving behind a carpet of the brightest stars I’d ever seen.  The air temperature dropped so fast that my own sweat chilled me to the bone.  My whole body shivered to compensate.

            Then again, maybe it was the ranger with his big gun pointed at my head that made me shake.

            The ranger spoke, “Come inside, gentlemen, before you catch cold.”

            I looked at the professor; his expression told me that there was no way that we could resist.  The ranger could gun us down before we could run six feet.  If we both charged him, the results would be the same except the bullet exit holes would be bigger.  To my surprise, the ranger lowered his gun in a friendly manner.  “Relax.  I’m not here to shoot you.  I’m under orders to protect you.”

            “Of course, young man,” responded the professor.

            “Whose orders?” I asked.

            “Washington,” he answered.

            “Come on, son,” said the professor. “Let’s get out of the cold.”

            “I don’t trust this guy.  He’s no forest ranger,” I observed.

            “You’re lucky I’m not.  I’m leading a team of six men, not counting the armed helicopter five minutes away.”

            My heart skipped a beat; I felt faint.  This guy was for real.  I was in danger, but the conditions were so bizarre that it was still hard to take seriously.

            “I’m just a reporter.  I’m no special agent.”

            “Relax, son,” replied the professor.  “It is what it is.  There’s no backing out.  We’ve come too far, and we know too much.”

            The professor took me by the arm, and we walked into the mine office.  It was dirty.  Its wood floor was warped, and white paint was peeling off the walls exposing red bricks underneath.  The windows were filthy and either cracked or missing.

            There were three wooden desks with captain’s chairs.  Above, four industrial light fixtures lit the room.  There was a counter across from the double-door entrance.

            The professor walked me around the counter and sat me at one of the desks.  The chair squeaked as I leaned back to look around.  I watched the professor help the ranger light the logs in the large brick fireplace.

            “Thank you, doctor.  I meant to have this going before you arrived.”

            I interrupted their reverie.  “Hey, ranger, how did you get here before us?  You couldn’t have passed us on the trail.”

            The ranger smiled a knowing smile.

            The professor spoke for him.  “This whole area is crisscrossed with old mine shafts.  He most likely passed us underground.”

            “Affirmative,” answered the ranger.

            I continued, “If you’re not a forest ranger, what are you?”

            “I’m a private contractor.  I provide men and services for agencies that need a crew that can’t be traced back to them.”

            “Soldiers of fortune?”

            “We prefer Exceptional Forces Unit or E.F.U.”

            I paused.  “What do I call you?”

            “Ranger Bob will do.”

            “I write for the tabloids, you know.”

            “I’ve seen your stuff at the supermarket.  I was a big fan of the WWT (World-Wide Tabloid) and used to read your column.  I really liked your story, ‘Big Foot Stole My Pickup Truck and Drank All My Beer.’”

            “That really happened, you know.”

            “I’m sure.  Those big foot creatures are always looking for a free beer.”

            “You obviously have read my crap, so tell me…why am I here?”

            “I think the space folks picked you because nobody would take a story that you wrote seriously.”

            “Possibly,” said the professor.  “It does bring up some interesting scenarios, but I think the aliens believe everything you write.”

            “You mean they’re stupid.”

            “No.  At some level, everything you write is true.”

            Ranger Bob and I looked at each other with disbelief.  We both started to laugh.  Ranger Bob said, “You really got us with that one, Professor.”

            “No, I meant every word of it,” replied the professor.  “Open your minds; reality has no boundaries.”

            “Sometimes you doctors have funny ideas,” replied the ranger.

            “You mean like space aliens living in Death Valley?”

            “Doc, you’re giving me a headache.”

            “Pop, don’t you mean alternative realities?” I piped in.

            “Yes, and it gives me a headache too.  This old mining office on Still Waters’ old main street is being observed, just as its observers are being observed, and so on and so on.”

            “I see what you mean, doctor.  It’s time for me to check up on my crew.  Why don’t you get something to drink?  There’s soda in that cooler.  I’m going upstairs.”

            Ranger Bob left, taking a rickety staircase up to the second floor.

            “What do you think he’s got up there?”

            “All those spy cameras with their night vision lenses have to broadcast to somewhere.  His men must be monitoring the surrounding area, trying to figure what the aliens are up to.”

            “You mean they might attack us tonight?”

            “Attack, no.  Abduct…maybe.”

            “Not the probe?”

            “Ask our ranger friend.”

            Bob was just coming down the creaky staircase.  He answered the question he overheard.  “Gentlemen, you might consider sleeping with your pants on tonight.”

            As if on cue, the howl of a lone coyote travelled across the valley floor.  An eerie sound to start what promised to be an eerie night.  Then the whole building shook violently; the noise was deafening, and outside, the sky lit up bright as day.

            “Now what?” I thought.


Next Chapter


 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10



Copyright © 2012 James Bronson, All Rights Reserved.
Site by Crossbow Computer Consulting