‘We’re Coming to Get You!’ – Short Cut
By Jeffrey Bishop
This is the ‘Short Cut’ version of the story, ideal for telling. Look for the ‘Extended Cut’ version for a longer edit of this story, ideal for personal reading.
Tom’s no-good, very bad day looks to take a turn for the worse when strange visitors try to take him bodily from his home!
Tell Time: 9 minutes
Scare Rating: 3/5 Ghosts
The Walsh family was a farm family, so their lifestyle differed greatly from what you and I are used to. They lived in the country, and had long days filled with work and school and chores. So the entire family looked forward to getting away from the farm once or twice a month when they had to go into town for business – to get supplies for the farm and to shop for groceries, clothes and other needed sundries – and to have some fun, too.
The crops were in, but it had been a wet October, with heavy rains almost every day for the last two weeks of the month. By early November, when it was time for another trip to town, the family was ready, if only for a break from the rhythm of the rain on the farm.
But this time, there was a problem. Tom, the older child, had really been rotten over the prior weeks, incessantly teasing and harassing his little sister Sally. His imagination was always keen, and he’d lately turned this on his sister, who, if only because of her young age, was particularly sensitive to the spooky stories he’d started telling her. When some of these actions started bordering on bullying, dad decided to put a stop to it.
“Son, as you know, we’re heading to town now,” dad said. “But with the way you’ve been treating your sister, there’s no way I’m taking you along. So I want you to stay here and think about your behaviors. We love you and we know you can do better than that. Do your chores, and there are some extra things on this list that’ll keep you busy and out of trouble while we’re gone.” Dad tapped his finger on a piece of paper on the table. The list had a lot of writing on it.
With that, Tom’s family departed, and the young man was alone on the farm – with a heavy heart and a long list of chores.
Getting the chores done early – especially the outdoors ones – was a good thing, because the rains – which had ceased just the night before – started up again that afternoon, and came down in torrents.
By the end of the day he was feeling better. Despite the storms – in the home and in the skies – he felt some pride in what he’d accomplished and had an improved outlook on his situation with his family. He was just ready for Sally and his parents to get home, so they could reconcile with one another.
Tom looked out the window at the road to their home, to watch for the family truck. As he stared out the window, the moments turned into minutes, and the daylight dripped away with the rains. But in the waning daylight, he saw something that instantly chilled his blood. Impossibly, he saw a huge wave of water roll across their fields. As Tom looked on in awe, he saw the water, as high as the trees in the orchards of the neighboring farm, roll toward – and then over – the roadbed that his parents were supposed to come down. The Big Creek dam, about two miles upstream, must have failed!
The waters were still coming, and quickly wrapped themselves around the Walsh farmhouse as they kept rolling across their family farm and the surrounding countryside. A loud but muted pop – like a firecracker set off under a plastic trash barrel – sounded, and with it, all the lights went out. The power was lost, and Tom found himself alone and in the dark.
Still rising, the waters had soon seeped in to the ground floor of the home, finding their way into the canvas sides of Tom’s sneakers the same way they’d found their way into the sturdy home. He ran upstairs and grabbed the phone in his parent’s room, but found that it was dead. He felt even more alone. In less than five minutes, Tom’s hopes of being reunited with his family were dashed. But that was much less a concern to him now – now he had to be in survival mode.
Sitting at the top of the stairs to think, Tom watched as the water slowly climbed the stairs. The water stopped rising when it reached almost to the 8th step – there were only 14 steps in the staircase. Tom looked at his wristwatch. It was 8:30. His parents and Sally would have been home by now if not for the flood. He had no idea where the were at this moment, and he prayed that they were as safe as he was. He decided to try to sleep – there was nothing else he could do. He’d have to figure out a way off his island home in the morning light.
Exhausted, Tom fell into sleep quickly, but it was a fitful rest. At some point, he imagined a bright light hovering over the countryside before rapidly approaching the house with a throbbing “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” sound. In this dream-vision, the light belonged to a flying saucer. As the craft got closer to the homestead, the glare changed from a bright ball in the sky to a sharp beam – a beam that searched from window to window in the farmhouse, looking for human victims to draw up into the alien craft.
Tom tossed and turned. “No, no!” he murmured in his sleep as he ran to avoid the suction light beam. His protests got louder and more frantic, until he finally managed to wake himself up. He looked around the room and saw that all was as it had been before – quiet and peaceful. He remembered the rains and the flood, but as bad as that was to recall, he was relieved that his dream of aliens was only that – a dream.
Mildly embarrassed to have been so scared by such a silly dream, he smiled to himself in the dark as he lay back down to try to sleep again. As he settled in, he thought that he could hear a faint “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” sound in the distance – the same sort of sound he’d heard in his dreams. He sat up straight, as a chill covered his body. Listening more intently, he heard it again, and it was growing louder – and closer: “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp, whoomp, whoomp …”
Tom slinked out of bed and crawled to his window. He couldn’t locate the source of the sound – it sounded like it came from everywhere all at once. Then, from his right, he saw the pinpoint of light. It was quickly moving toward the home, and just like in his dream, the glowing ball of light sharpened into a beam. Tom was scared – just as scared as he’d been during the dream. But not as scared as he became seconds later, as a crackly, electronic voice sounded out over the din of the craft:
“We’re … coming … to get you!”
The light was pointing in Tom’s window now, and he was certain he’d been seen!
“We’re coming … to get you!” the eerie voice repeated, laid over the incessant “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” of the craft’s propulsion system.
Tom’s mind raced. Maybe they’d blasted the dam – of course they had – they’d trapped all the farm families in their homes and now could come and harvest them more easily! The craft was almost upon the house. He had to do something. Tom had read enough comic books and seen enough science fiction movies to know what these alien creepers might do to him if they abducted him. He wasn’t going to be a live autopsy subject or part of an alien buffet dinner if he could help it.
Sitting under the window with his back to the exterior wall, he could see from the fading glow in the sky that the light had passed over the front of the house. He had to make his move now, while the beam was pointed away from him. He had to make a run for the stairs and the wet main floor – away from where the aliens might look for him!
As he dashed for the hallway, he heard a heavy thump on the roof of the house, quickly followed by a crashing sound. Tom froze with fear, as the crashing and crunching sounds continued. It sounded as if a monster was taking big bites out of the roof! Then he heard the voice again.
“We’re … coming … to … get … you!” it intoned, more urgently than ever.
There were scurrying sounds in the attic space now, like giant rats shuffling around. Tom made a dash for it – it was now or never! He reached the hallway and headed for the stairs when there was a final crash, and he saw the ceiling over the stairs fall in. Looking up, he could see the ship’s broad white beam trained on the attic space, along with a number of smaller red beams flashing around, like evil eyes searching in the dark.
He made a run for the steps, only to be caught up in the grasp of a large, dark arm that had swung in his path. The arm grabbed Tom, and with raw strength, lifted the young man into the attic. It was all over, Tom thought. With one eye squeezed shut and the other squinting against the light and against fear, he braved to look into the face of his abductor, to see …
Before his gaze, Tom saw a camouflage-covered helmet. Affixed to it was a tactical headlamp, glowing red in the dark night. And under the helmet was the warm, smiling face of a soldier.
“We came to get you,” said the man’s voice, which he could also hear echoing electronically from a speaker on the bottom of the craft above. “You’re OK now, Tom, and so is your family. Your parents told us where to find you. We came to get you! It’s all over!”
Tom was hoisted into the “alien spacecraft” – a National Guard helicopter – and was ferried to drier land in town, where he was reunited with his family at a makeshift shelter. Tom told them all about the adventure of his rescue. But it was quite a while before he told them about the alien abduction!
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