the Last U.F.O. Report

by James Bronson


Chapter 10 - Time Out

            I walked into the empty cafeteria and sat all alone.  I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t remember when I had had my last meal.  I wasn’t tired, but I wasn’t sure when I had slept last.  I looked up, and for the first time realized there were no clocks anywhere to be seen in this underground facility.  I checked my wristwatch.  It had stopped; the battery must have died.  I began to believe that it hadn’t failed on its own.

            The specter of my night visitor still haunted me.  I couldn’t help thinking that the aliens were confusing my mind.  Maybe I was only dreaming that I was awake.  I know that we are all subject to constant brainwashing, but at least most of us still know when we are being sold a bill of goods.  We know that when we order that $19.95 slicer and dicer that it will probably take off our fingertips the first time we try to use it and that the money back guarantee is a joke.  Somewhere in the fine print, loss of fingertips is proof that the product works as advertised.

            Our reality is really a series of probabilities.  If I go to work, there is a 1% chance that my boss will fire me, or a 1% chance that he will give me a raise, or a 98% chance that my boss won’t have a clue how hard I work at my job. 

            We gain comfort in the fact that life usually works out as we expect, and that comfort empowers us to carry on.  On the odd days that things aren’t happening according to Hoyle, the tick of the clock on the wall may be all that we have left to keep us from falling into the abyss and becoming human lemmings skydiving without a parachute reaching for a ripcord that’s not there.  There is nothing to brake our fall.  Spat…the last sound we hear when we hit the concrete at over 200 miles per hour.

            In short, this tunnelers’ paradise, with its putrid odors, and the vision of bug eyes crawling around in my head is bad enough, but no clocks on the wall is the last straw.  I must get to the surface and back to the real world.  I need fresh air, a big cheeseburger, and a cold beer, and a nubile female companion.  I need to plunge into the feminine sea to wash away all my fears and frustrations in a spasm of mutual pleasure.

            In a panic, I climb the corrugated steel staircase that takes me to the airtight door that opens into the basement of the Still Waters Mining Office.  I feel the whoosh of the sliding steel door as it automatically closes behind me.  I realize that it’s midday and that I’m standing in a virtual oven and that my cookies are starting to brown.  Worse yet, I’ve forgotten the code to reopen the door to air-conditioned comfort.  I’m alone, without even a bottle of water to cool my thirst.  For relief, I must climb the rickety old stairs to the main floor. 

            It too is deserted, but I’m sure that there are technicians working above on the second floor monitoring the valley.  With the airflow coming from all the broken windows, the office is cooler than the basement.  In the corner, I spot a plastic cooler.  Inside are a dozen plastic water bottles.  Without ice, the water is just cool enough to drink.

            Two 12oz. bottles later, I’m beginning to adapt to the midday heat.  I’ve lost the closed in feeling of the underground base.  All I needed was a chance to get back to the real world.  The clean desert air filled my lungs.  The filtered air below always seemed short of oxygen, but maybe that was just my imagination.  Perhaps I was suffering from claustrophobia below.

            Whatever the reason, the panic I felt had disappeared.  I found myself outside walking the dirt road towards Still Waters’ boot hill, “the Shadow of the Moon Cemetery.”  I recalled the professor pointing out its location when we arrived in town.  Why?  Was he giving me a subliminal suggestion that I should pay it a visit?  Are the aliens somehow connected to Boot Hill?  If the aliens are masters of interdimensional travel, they could turn up anywhere in our multidimensional universe including purgatory or even Hell itself.  The implications of cockroaches scurrying for cover when I walk over the miners’ decomposing corpses made me nauseous. 

            To my side was an old lean to giving shade to a wooden bench.  I walked over and sat down.  The clarity that I felt aboveground suddenly left.  Again I was feeling overwhelmed.  I couldn’t look at the grave markers only a few feet from me for fear that I might read my own name on one of them.

            I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I couldn’t turn my head to look.  I was frozen with fear.  Then I heard the comforting voice of the old man.

            “Relax, son.”

            I turned and looked up, eager to see a familiar face, only no one was there.  Instead of shock, I started to laugh uncontrollably.  The lonely ghosts of Still Waters were screwing with me.  Apparently, when you’re a ghost there isn’t much to do.  The opportunity to scare someone must be their favorite sport.

            Speaking to the invisible dead, I said, “I’m no medium, but even I can tell that you boys are really bored.  Gather around, my paranormal buddies.  My name is Sparks Malone.  I’m a reporter on a mission to save mankind, and I need your help.  This is your big chance to move up to the big leagues.  Don’t blow it.  The yellow brick road to redemption is paved with self-sacrifice for the souls of others, so don’t miss this bus because there won’t be another one along for another long boring century or two.”

            I felt excitement in the air.  I had a team of allies.  Together we would face the cockroaches and hit them from two dimensions, not just one.

            “Give me five.”  I held up my hand.  I could actually feel the enthusiastic souls of a dozen men pass through my body, and I had a glimpse of the loneliness and despair of the infinite wasteland.  Exposure to such pain and suffering made even desolate Death Valley glow with the light of paradise.

            Somehow I knew that it was time for me to return to the underground base.  I remembered the code to open the sliding door.  I climbed into my bunk and instantly fell asleep.  I wasn’t alone anymore.


Next Chapter


 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10



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