This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Everyone in town called ‘Old Sits’ the crazy old hermit. One of those men that by choice decided to live a life of solitude in the open desert.
Yet, this particular night, he was on a mission. Like a forward observer, equipped with surveillance equipment more suitable to the NSA or catching cheating spouses. Dressed in a ghillie suit, camouflage netting covering his entrenched position: Armed with a high-power camera, hyperbolic microphone and a four-inch tripod-mounted telescope all targeted at the distance southern mountain range under observation.
Any rational observer would recognize someone who was spying on someone or something. He chose to position himself here, in this very location watching the same chunk of real-estate for the last four months. Every night from before moonrise to first light, eating cold spam sandwiches and drinking vodka, waiting for anything to happen.
Imagine his surprise, when something finally did happen. Not what he had expected and more importantly not from the direction he anticipated.
While the hermit watched the mountain, the mountain watched ‘Old Sits’. In truth, two Air Force security guards sat in a room several miles off, checking everything on twenty-five computer screens. They even had a dossier on the old man up on a screen, waiting for him to cross an imaginary line.
His movements tracked from when he left his thirty-seven Ford pickup parked in a ravine several hours ago and miles away, to where he now camped. ‘Old Sits’, couldn’t be blamed for losing the surveillance war. The U.S. Government came to the table with a massive budget and could afford better spook gear.
As secret bases went, this one was not that secret. The Federal government would rather not take the time and energy explaining its real purpose.
“Target one maintaining distance,” one guard reported to the other, who sat there, reading a book.
“If he comes too close we will let the field units handle him. Think he is smart enough to know where the line is?”
Chuckling, while continuing the monotonous sitting and waiting for something to happen, watching one lone surveillant.
Who watches the watchers that are watching the watched?
From the north, in his entrenched bunker, the hermit heard a faint high pitch buzzing slowly building. Attention and equipment being directed to the south; forced him to leave the position to search behind him. Scanning the sky, he viewed the beautiful Milky Way blazing overhead. He could discern the noise getting louder, a piercing whine.
The two security guards had a different experience. First, the ground vibrations sensors started tripping off, like something walking all over the desert.
“What is that? Earthquake?” Shaken, they scrambled to adjust instruments hoping for a better observation.
“Adjust the volume will ya that noise is deafening.”
The old man had no way to lower the decibels. The buzzing, at a frequency resembling a dentist drill, bored into his skull. He covered his ears, trying to block the sound but with no luck. The pain was almost unbearable causing his thrashing about, trying to escape the pain.
In the bunker, the two muted the sound, but even on the other side of the mountain, the noise penetrated enough to hurt.
“Make sure this is recording!”
“What the hell is that?”
“Jump on the phone, we need the field units out there,” they were talking to one another trying to complete everything at once.
“Maybe we should help him, he looks like he’s dying!”
“Not sure we can reach him.”
‘Old Sits’, unable to hear, blood running down both sides of his face, and into his scruffy white beard, he stood next to his spider hole, resembling a wraith. The ghillie suit hung like shreds of flesh from his body.
Abruptly a light so brilliant it illuminated the desert valley glided overhead, strafing to the south as if on an attack run, the underground bunker holding the two guards the suggested primary target.
The light flew towards the primary camera, filling the largest monitor. In response, the guard’s natural reaction caused them to duck, as it filled the screen.
The view on the display was impressive, but the sheer size of the object caused ‘Old Sits’ to stumble backward and fall into the trench. He tore off his hood, scrambled up and started running for his truck.
Silent now, other objects joined the vanguard light. The lights chased the running man. He felt his heavy breathing in his bones. Over the broken terrain, scrambling the best he could. The adrenaline helped to overcome the effects of the alcohol, he thought, I hope I can make it to the truck, without having a heart attack.
The pair of airmen, were on the phones, trying to reach anybody. It is not every day you must report a UFO. Those they contacted thought they had lost it.
“You think we should send the field unit after him?”
The senior guard thought for a second, “Not in our procedure. He is outside our perimeter. We let him go. Send it up the chain, they can decide how to deal with him. He never crossed the boundary.”
The guards continually recorded the series of lights, too many to count. All undulating in brilliance, flashing patterns in unison, as if they were communicating, while they chased the old man out of the valley.
At the onset of the event, they had recorded the time, 2300 hours, in the duty log.
Making it to his truck, gasping for breath, finally, he thought. Luck holding out, the old crate started first try. Slamming it into reverse, he backed out of the ravine and began careening down the dirt road, bouncing off the raised dirt sides. The lights continued to chase the old man down the nameless track in the desert. About that time, he soiled himself.
In the bunker, the guards were fairing a little better. The distance offered some protection. Not witnessing it in person but via closed-circuit television; however, they were both extremely shaken.
The chain of command notified, the duty of the two airmen complete. Nothing registered on the radar, the only record of the event, stored on the hard drives which recorded everything the two airmen witnessed.
“What the hell were those things?”
The other sentry silently shook his head.
The Government would handle the event as efficiently as most Governmental agencies handled these things. Think of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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