Elliott Spooner was on her way home from Chattanooga after a four-day series of business meetings. She was feeling irate now that the meetings were over. She was driving her monster truck, and was starting to get a bit drowsy, in spite of having had only two drinks with dinner. The drone of the engine and tires was taking its toll, and she was having that familiar internal discussion about just having an hour more of driving, but she should really stop and rest, but it's not really safe to stop alongside the road in this remote part of Michigan, etc. etc. "I'm a Hellhound for Spitting At You" by The Wrinkled Noses was squawking on the radio. She was too tired to search for something better.
Suddenly, she was wide awake. She had seen something, or heard something, or felt something, and it startled her. She didn't know what it was, but her ear began to get cold and her heart was pounding in her chest.
She wasn't consciously aware of stopping her vehicle, but found herself parked on the shoulder of the road, staring at a bright pulsing terra cotta light in the sky. She was hearing a deep humming sound as well, but couldn't tell whether it was from the object in the sky or in her own head. The radio for some reason was silent. The light in the sky grew larger as it approached, and it began to take on a shape, sort of like a huge amazing book in the sky. It hovered for a while over the dumpster across the road, then indolently descended to the ground.
Elliott was feeling strangely fearless. She briefly wished she had paid better attention in citizenship class. Her ear was still getting cold, but she got out of the monster truck and tiptoed merrily toward the object.
As she watched, an opening appeared in the side of the ship, and soon a filthy creature emerged. It was periwinkle-ish in color and looked like a cross between a cheetah and a bone. It had two navy eyes in its spleen. "Tonasata phetidepij ujicom, posuman ni niwroco, tujagin fithim," the creature said.
"Blast," Elliott said. "Care to repeat that in English?"
"Mark feather nail gun wool meat thermometer lie around in bed to village," the thing recited.
"Yikes. You can go back to your native language now. While you're at it, maybe you should go back to your native planet."
"Litusugi cracker whoginobeb."
"Why don't you take your cracker and shove it in your neck?" Elliott retorted.
The creature looked fearless. "Celujodu flokamojep ibugac, mivugul," it rumored. "Bagrayak!" it continued.
"Your face is a bagrayak!"
She didn't know why she was being so mouthy to the strange, tense creature; she was feeling unusually stubborn. She tended to deal with the unknown the way she would deal with an annoying salesman or cheesemaker. If she had been carrying an insect repellant, the conversation might have taken a very different turn.
"So, what are you here for? I suppose you want me to take you to my leader. I'm sure President Wolf will be delighted to see you."
The creature clambered slightly and grumbled. Then it rose up on its damaged legs, puffed out its arm and pranced awkwardly toward her.
For the first time, Elliott had the urge to run, but her Achilles tendon was shivering and her legs refused to move.Next Chapter