George was the first one up. By the time the rest of the guys had gotten out of bed, there was a roaring fire in the stove and fresh coffee percolating on top. George had cut up some scallions and was whipping some eggs for breakfast.
John opened the door to go to the outhouse. “Wow! Hey, guys, it snowed last night.” Lee and Gerald went to the door to look at the fresh powder. “It must be warmer than we expected. Maybe, we’ll be able to do a little more outside today than before.”
“Well, we are going to have to chop some wood for the next people,” said Gerald. “I’ll volunteer for the first shift after breakfast. You guys can relieve me when you feel sorry watching me hack at wood.”
Lee clapped Gerald on the back. “That’s great. We can do that. You’ll get some practice, and we won’t let it go too long.”
John chuckled. “I mean, if you want to. Otherwise, George and I can make quick work of the wood pile, and it won’t be too much sweat.”
“I figure you guys could get it done quickly, but it’s fun. I need the practice. What happens if I decide to go camping by myself?”
John looked seriously at Gerald. “This is Alaska. Never go camping by yourself. Always take someone, and you have three men here who would be willing to go with you if you need to get out of the city.”
“Right. The buddy system is important when doing outdoor activities,” Gerald smiled. “But what if my buddy is a romantic one?”
“Aaah, in that case, there’s the axe.” He pointed at the axe on the porch resting against the wall of the cabin. “And you know where the wood pile is.” John went to the outhouse.
Gerald and Lee closed the door.
“Who you thinking of bringing to a cabin?” asked Lee.
“Dude, it was purely hypothetical.”
“So, no one?” Lee asked.
“At this point, nope.”
John came back, and George served up the egg scramble he had made. It included sausage and paprika. The coffee was hot and strong.
“So, what are we going to do today?” George said looking out the window. The sun was shining. It would set soon enough, so the men knew they had to make the most of it.
“Let’s go see about the quality of the snow and figure it out from there,” suggested John. “Maybe, it’ll stick together, and we can throw snowballs at each other.” He grinned.
The men dressed warmly to go outside. The snow wasn’t really so much snow as it was ice. They still threw ice balls at each other.
Gerald grabbed the axe and started working on the pile. He wasn’t really getting any better at it, but the exertion and his coat kept him warm. The sun felt good on his face. After about 15 minutes, George took over; ha had finished half the pile when John decided it was his turn. John finished the wood chopping before Lee realized what had happened. When Lee protested, John said, “You can get it next time. No big deal. Let’s take this wood inside so it can dry off.”
The sun was already setting, and the temperature was dropping. The men ate a light snack and started making dinner. Once the table was set, they all sat down.
“To our last night,” said George as he raised his enamel mug.
“Cheers,” replied the others, mugs held high in the air. They drank from their cups.
George finished his meal first. “I guess I’ll get things rolling this evening. While you finish your meal, I want to tell you about something weird that happened to my brother and me. He won’t remember any of it, and you’ll soon learn why.”
My brother Steve and I were driving home late one night. The highway was dark and deserted, but it was always like that at night. There were no lights, and it was a country highway. My brother’s car was missing a headlight, but the worst we thought could happen was a deer or other animal leaping onto the road in front of us.
Steve drove slowly enough, and we made a turn onto our dirt road. The dust kicked up behind us as we headed toward our house. We got halfway up the driveway when the engine clunked and stopped dead. The headlight went out with it.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Aah, you know this car; it probably needs a vacation,” Steve said.
“It’s just a short walk up to the house,” I said.
“Yeah, but if ma comes home and finds the car here, she’ll have to walk up to the house. If she’s at home already, she probably has to work tomorrow, which means we’ll need to move the car out of the way. Might as well do it now.”
I sighed and looked at the house. It was quite a distance. “I guess we can push it.”
Steve turned the ignition key. Nothing happened. “I guess we’ll have to. I can’t fix it without light.”
I grabbed the door handle, and the locks clicked into place. I couldn’t open the door. “Steve.” I was annoyed.
“I didn’t do anything,” he said. “My door’s locked, too.”
I reached behind me to try the backdoors. A blinding light flashed through the windshield. There was a loud humming sound that vibrated the car and rattled through my teeth at regular intervals.
“George, what’s that?”
I looked at Steve to see him pointing through the windshield. I couldn’t see anything but the blinding light. “A black ops helicopter? I don’t think they sound like this though.” Dust kicked up around the car and it vibrated harder. “Do you have your rifle?”
“Not in the car,” Steve said. “It’s at the house.”
The light intensified and started pulsating. Steve stared transfixed. I closed my eyes. Then it was dark again. The night was silent.
I opened my eyes. Steve was still staring out the windshield. His eyes weren’t focused on anything. I said his name a couple of times, but he didn’t respond. It was dark outside. The house was dark, as well. The porchlight had gone out. I thought I saw a flash of light behind the house, so I tried the door again. It opened. I got out of the car and headed up the driveway.
The light behind the house grew brighter. I could feel vibrations under my feet. I tried the door to the house, but it was locked. My keys were back in the car. I walked around the house on the porch. As I made it to the backside, I could see movement in the corn planted in the dell. The light pulsated. The corn waved in one direction. Water ever was causing the corn to move wove around in a circular direction. The corn was getting lower and lower with each pass of a light.
I could see a similar light off to the left and right. The corn in front of me kept getting lower. It was like individual stalks would get pulled down, but the overall effect was to make the corn in the field look shorter. With each pass, I thought I could catch a glimpse of what was causing the destruction of the cornfield.
When I could finally see them, I realized they were glowing. The creatures went in a swarm around and around in a circle. Some would break off at regular intervals to head to another group. They looked like hairy, rainbow-colored caterpillars. The hairs must’ve been something else, because they would grab a stalk of corn and weave it with another stalk and another, all while the creature moved around.
The light pulsed through their bodies. It was mesmerizing. I found myself getting dizzy. I blacked out.
When I woke up, it was morning. There was a crop circle in our yard. I tried to tell my mom and brother about it. They didn’t take me seriously. My brother didn’t even remember anything after we turned onto the driveway. I figured if they didn’t believe me, no one else would. I haven’t told anyone about it since the incident.