Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This is the second installment of the Author's unsold science fiction story "The *********". The first installment was posted yesterday, JUST LIKE CHARLES DICKENS USED TO DO .

... The country air was sharp and still the next morning when the men walked back to the *********. The sun bore bright through the leafless trees and the fallen leaves cracked under their feet as they moved through the woodlot.

But as they approached the *********, they saw something much unexpected. Deer. Lots of them, maybe a hundred. Bucks, does, spike yearlings. Standing, milling around, or kneeling around the *********. And not running from Cal and Dean. The deer paid little notice to the men, merely scooting aside as Cal and Dean approached the *********.

Dean, the dimmer of the two, asked the obvious question.

“What in God’s name are all these deer doing here? If deer season hadn’t ended yesterday, I could club one of these somebitches and dress him out. Pick me out a nice big buck.”

“Damn, Dean. This ********* is some kind of shrine or something and all you can think of is boppin’ one of these deer over the head? This is more than a *********. It’s a fantastic thing or some kind of device that can talk to these animals. How else could these deer know it was here? How else could they know to just stay here when us humans come around?”

Dean shook his hunter-orange capped head in perplexity. And stroked his straggly beard.

“I don’t know Cal. I just don’t know what we got here.”

Cal and Dean knelt beside the ********* among the unusually placid deer. They muttered, “I’ll be damned”, and “who knows” a few times.

Cal rose.

“Come on, Dean. Let’s get away from these deer so we can figure some things out.”

They walked about fifty yards away from the deer out into the soybean field.

“Dean, I’m thinking that this *******, space shrine, or whatever it is, is something more important than I thought.”

“You think the ********* is a ‘shrine?”

“I don’t know. A shrine, maybe a communication device. But it has got to have some kind of power or these deer wouldn’t be lollin’ around,” Cal said.

“And I don’t know if we can keep a lid on it, if these deer keeps hanging around or if more show up. Somebody will be sure to notice,” Cal added.

”Could be. But maybe not. Nobody comes back here ‘cept me. And you.”

“Why don’t we just come back later? But if these deer are still here, or if more come, we might have to tell somebody so we can get the credit and maybe make some money of it. If the cops or the government comes out here, they’ll take it for sure and cut us out.”

The men trekked back to the house. They agreed that Dean would go out later in the day and check things out. Then Cal would come out tomorrow after work and they would decide what to do next.

About 6 o’clock Dean called Cal to report that some of the deer remained, but most of them had left. Nothing else had changed.

Cal left work at the feed mill at 3:00 pm and raced out to Dean’s aunt’s farm. Dean wasn’t home yet, so Cal sat on the porch swing in the remains of the autumn day’s sunshine.

The *********. The *********, he thought. What would human-looking aliens fight over and drop off here, in Daviess County, Indiana? And what could bring the deer like it did? And what should they do with it?

If it was a religious shrine or something with unusual powers, Cal thought, maybe it was left here for a reason. Maybe that alien left it here because he thought it would be safe. Or maybe it has a special purpose that is waiting to be revealed. And maybe he would come back for it. He might not be too happy if they took it and sold it.

The late fall sun hung low in the depthless blue sky. The leaves were off the trees and he could see the farm fields across the road. And then he noticed it.
Cows. Herefords, milk cows, were lining up against the fence across the road. They weren’t hurrying, just poking along, as cows are like to do. But they were lining up, side-by-side, nose near the fence and tail to the field.

This thing with the ********* was going to get hard to keep quiet. First deer, now cows, Cal thought. This thing must be more than a damn *********. It had to be a damn sight more.

Dean’s truck turned up the driveway. He was driving fast and skidded in the gravel as he stopped next to the farmhouse behind Cal’s vehicle.

Dean jumped down from the truck. He was carrying a sack.

“’Did you see them cows,” Dean hollered.


“They’re doing that all the way down the road. Down to Dale Cooper’s place, almost,” Dean added.

Dean reached into the sack and pulled out a beer. He gave it to Cal.

“I figured you’d want a beer after you see what’s happened.”

“What happened?”

“Well, I know we agreed that we wouldn’t move it. But I got to gettin’ worried about it. So I went out last night and brung it back up here. It’s in the old machine shed.”

“You moved it? You shouldn’t have done that, Dean. They might have put it there for a specific reason. That could have been some special place back there in the woods.”

“Come on out to the shed. It’s in there.”

Cal followed Dean to the shed. Dean swung the heavy doors open. The ********* was sitting on the concrete floor, next to an old Ford 8N tractor. Cal walked over and knelt next to it.

“It’s flashing”, Cal said.

“It’s what,” said Dean, and he approached it.

“Damn. It is flashing.”

The ********* was emitting a red light from inside. It was flashing regular, too, about every three seconds.

“Was it doing that when you brought it up here?”

“No. It looked like it did before. It must have just started flashing.”

“How’d you get it up here,” Cal asked.

“I just put on a pair of welding gloves and carried it up. It’s as light as a feather.”

“Damn, Dean. I hope it will be okay that you moved it. I didn’t want you to move it. Why did you move it?”

“I just got worried about somebody coming by. You know, some poacher or just some guy coming out there, seeing all them deer and comin’ up on it. I didn’t have no clue that it would start flashing.”

“Well, it’s done. Was there any deer back there when you brought it back?”

“No. That’s part of the reason I brought it back, cause there weren’t no deer around it just then.”

“Well now it’s attracting cows,” Cal observed.

“Yeah. Ain’t that weird. Now it’s got the cows attention.”

Dean and Cal went into the house and finished the beer. They decided that they had better tell somebody. Like they figured, if they called the cops, the cops would tell the government and they would haul the ******** off to some secret laboratory somewhere and they’d never see it again. They’d cover it up and Cal and Dean would look just like the other idiots saying the government was covering up a big secret.

They agreed that Cal would call the Bloomington, Indianapolis and Evansville television stations so they would send out news teams. If they got on television with the *********, even when the government took it, they could still prove they found it. And if all the channels came out, there would be even more proof and publicity. And at least one of them was bound to come out.

Cal told Dean that he would tell them to come out at 4 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Dean was too excited to go to work tomorrow and would call in sick. This was the busy season at the grain elevator so Cal had to work. But he said he would be there at 3:15, right after work and before the TV station people showed up.

“What are you going to tell them news reporters what the ********* is,” Dean asked Cal.

Cal sniffed in a breath through his nose, shook his head, and said, “I don’t really know what to say. If that alien dropped if off here when he was being chased in that other universe, or wherever he was, it has to be very valuable and important. And the way that the deer acted. And them cows….’

“That’s why I think it must be a shrine or some religious thing. Its gotta have some kind of special significance and some special power. That’s how religions get started, you know. People find something with special powers like a burning bush or some angel leaves gold tablets with lost books of the bible.”

“You don’t think that alien was an angel, do you. He didn’t have no wings or halos. He looked just like us,” Dean said.

“No. But people back in the biblical times, back then, they might have thought aliens was angels, not being as advanced and as smart as we are. I don’t know. I just know we might have something here that is real important. Maybe the most important thing ever found.”

Cal left a little while later. He stopped in at the Rusty Nail to pick up a pizza to go. While he was waiting for the pizza, Jim Hitchcock, a hog-farm operator, told him that his sows were highly agitated and he’d never seen anything like it. Cal then called Dean and told him that the ********* was now affecting hogs.


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