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by Brett Pierce
“Don’t worry, I’ve been driving up and down this road for thirty years, I know every twist and turn” Uncle Burt said as the old pickup truck rattled down the dirt road far too fast for my tastes. Night had fallen and trees surrounded us on all sides, their bare branches stretching over us like the roof of a tunnel. “It’s a nice time to come up, we don’t start seeing the summer people for a few more months so everything’s nice and quiet”.
“Good” I said, gripping the handle on the door as we lurched around another corner. I had wanted to get away from it all, but Aroostook County was a little farther than I intended. “How long until we get to your cabin?’ I asked, staring at my feet so the trees whipping by wouldn’t make my stomach heave.
“We’re making good time, so about a half hour. In about twenty we’ll…huh” he said as I felt the truck begin to slow.
“What?” I asked, looking up. The headlights lit up some kind of creature the size of a snowmobile standing in the road on four legs. It was thin and covered in shining green scales with two whip-like tails flicking back and forth. It turned to face us and I saw it had moth-like fuzz around it’s chest and four red eyes, two on each side of its face. “W-w-wha?” I stammered as it ran towards the car with liquid grace. “What are you doing?!” I squeaked as I saw Uncle Burt rolling down the window. In seconds it was right next to his face, petal-like mouth opening an unleashing a torrent of screeches and pops.
“Are you lost?” Uncle Burt asked, speaking loudly. “Lost” he repeated when the creature was silent. “You know, lost!” he said, shading his eyes with his hand and looking around.
The creature popped twice and lifted its four-fingered hand to shade its eyes.
“Lost” Uncle Burt nodded. “You at the pond or the hill this time? Pond or hill?” he said, reaching past my frozen body into the glove compartment and pulling out a folded map. “Pond or Hill?” he asked, pointing to two pictures on the maps cover.
The creature reached up and pointed at something on the map, this time making a series of short, sharp screeches.
“The pond, I’ll bring you there. Get in the back. In the back!” Uncle Burt said, pointing to the bed of the truck. “I’ll take you to the pond, but you, have to get in the back” he said, pointing at the map, the creature and the bed of the truck.
It chirped and leapt into the back, shaking the truck as it landed.
“Friggen’ tourists” Uncle Burt snorted as he rolled the window up and stepped on the gas.
“Tourists?” I squeaked, daring to look behind me. I could only see the fuzzy chest of the creature in the back window, it must have been leaning over the top of the cab.
“Yeah, they usually show up in the spring. Just a little detour, won’t take five minutes” he said, yanking the steering wheel to the left and taking us down a road that was somehow even bumpier than the one we had just been on. I was about to ask him more but the creature let out a ululating wail that shut me up as we shot through pitch-black forest.
Uncle Burt was right, barely five minutes had passed until we came to an opening in the trees along the shore of a pond. Above the opposite shoreline hovered a metal pyramid as big as a house. It glinted in the sparse moonlight as Uncle Bert hit the brakes and the creature leapt out of the bed of the truck. The creature chirped and popped, slapping it’s two tails together. Uncle Burt waved to it as it turned around and ran along the shore of the pond towards the pyramid.
“Are those aliens?” I gawked as Uncle Burt ground the gears into reverse.
“Must be” he said, putting his arm behind my headrest as he looked over his shoulder to back up.
“What are they doing here?” I asked, watching as others leapt out of the pyramid as the creature approached it.
“They mostly climb trees” he said as he swung the truck around to face the road we had come from.
“Why do aliens come here to climb trees?” I asked, my voice approaching the same pitch it had when I first saw the creature in the road.
“I dunno, why do the Chinese come here to fish?” Uncle Burt said, putting the truck into drive. “If you’re coming here from that far away you’re looking for some rest and relaxation, so we don’t hassle them. They might not spend any money, but they don’t block the road, they don’t let their snot-nosed kids run wild and they don’t brag to me about their record profits” he laughed, driving back down the road, floating pyramid disappearing behind the trees. “Makes them better than the summer people in my book”
Modelling_Mushi - Brett, loved this the first time I read it and love it more the second time. Good stuff.
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