Pulp, Jr.

Here's a short story I wrote for a contest a few years ago. It took third place.
Scared of You
by Bryce Beattie

Billy and Jeff darted out of the woods to the edge of the field. Although parents had chosen Warren and Albert, these boys’ middle name was trouble. Now, they never did anything really mean spirited, but they seemed to find pleasure in mischief, in so much that by the ripe old age of 13, they each had a rap sheet as long as a hot Texas summer’s pregnancy.

On this particular evening, the daring duo decided to kick up controversy by creating some crop circles in one of Farmer Jackson’s fields. Now Farmer Jackson was not actually a farmer by trade. He was principally a real estate magnate, owning a good chunk of the town. As a hobby, he owned a couple hundred acres upon which he attempted to grow crops.

Short pieces of rope fastened boards to the boys’ feet. The plan was simple, pat down a couple of shapes in the field, then hustle to the knoll in the fairgrounds on the other side of town, where the festival was being held, and make themselves seen, and provide an alibi. With no time to waste, the hooligans set out to make their first circle. Within a half hour or so, they stamped down two circles, and were on to the larger donut shape that was to be the pinnacle of their prank. Out of breath and ecstatic, they worked on.

Hey, Jeff.”

What?”

Farmer Jackson’s totally going to freak out when he sees this.”

Oh, yeah, and so’s everybody else. But it’s not like he’s even going to miss it, I mean, he owns like half the city.”

This is going to be great. I’ll bet it gets on the news.”

Yeah, I’ll bet they’ll probably interview the old man and he’ll be like, I'm not sure who or what did this, but…’” Jeff froze for a moment. “Billy, did you see that?”

See what?”

I saw a light in the sky.”

Oh shut up. I’m not scared of you or any of your crap stories.”

No, I’m serious, It was over there in the clouds and…”

It was probably just one of those search lights from the festival.”

No way. Those aren’t green.”

Yeah, but it might…” This time they both saw it.

A wave of uneasiness swept over the boys. There was no mistaking it. The light definitely didn’t come from the festival. The green light moved through the clouds toward them. The boys backed to the edge of their freshly made circular prank. Something was not right in the night sky.

Suddenly, they could hear a noise coming from somewhere in the distance.

Did you hear…”

Yeah.”

Panic began to take hold in the boy’s hearts. They glanced at each other and understood. The fantastic stories passed around the post office and café were true. Aliens did frequent this part of the state, and now these lads had inadvertently summoned them with their practical joke.

The light paused nearly directly overhead for a moment then was gone.

I saw it, the ship, I think. Right before it went in the cloud and left.”

Billy, shut up.” Jeff rasped as he crouched down. “Do you hear that? It’s not gone.”

A terrified countenance was the only reply. A steady hum emanated from across the circle. Paralyzed by fear the boys sat shivering in the warm air. A loud metallic clank ended the hum.

Minds racing and hearts pounding the boys crouched lower and drew shallow breaths. A noise in the corn broke the eerie silence. The noise seemed to be getting closer, too. Something was out there. It was hunting them. Young eyes strained in the darkness of a cloudy night to see what evil could be moving their way. Imaginations flickered as the boys considered what horrible fate awaited if extra-terrestrials caught them. If the being got too much closer, the boards and rope left at the edge of the circle would betray their position.

Maybe we can startle it then get a head start in the confusion.” Whispered Jeff.

Billy nodded.

And then the noise stopped for a moment.

It heard you.” Billy mouthed soundlessly.

We’re not scared of you!” Wobbled Jeff’s obviously false bravado. “If you come closer we’ll…”

The noise started again, this time much faster and coming directly at them. There was no time.

Run!” The boys commanded each other as they sprang to their feet. The other-worldly assailant let out a piercing scream. The boys glanced over their shoulders just long enough to see a lanky, green skinned, bug eyed creature emerge in to the clearing at a dead run about 30 feet away. Summer days playing football and nights playing steal the flag had the two in decent shape, but never before had they run so fast. They sprinted towards the woods and the bush by the road where they had hidden their bikes. They could hear the creature clamoring through the corn after them, and began to hear noises all around. Jeff and Billy could almost feel it breathing on their necks as it reached out with jagged claws to drag them to their certain doom. Lungs began to burn as the boys leapt over the fence at the edge of the field. Nothing, not sharp, snagging branches, not tripping exposed roots, not dangerous green aliens could stop or even slow down their escape.

Back in the field the creature was doubled over in laughter. It reached up and pulled off the green latex mask, revealing an old man’s face.

Well I’m not sacred of you, either!” He taunted in the general direction of the boys’ flight.

He only reveled in his victory for a moment, then Farmer Jackson’s aging frame bounced toward where he had parked his truck. After all, he had to clean the 13 layers of green cellophane off the search light and get it back to the festival before the kids could get there and figure out who had gotten the last laugh.

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