CHAPTER TEN- Life in the fast lane.
I've heard people say that they'd love to see a UFO. Not me, pal. No, thanks. Don't need to see a flying saucer, shoot video of bigfoot or have lunch with Elvis at Burger King. Not this guy. I’m happy to see just the normal stuff. I don't want to have to explain what I saw and defend my sanity at the same time. One at a time is hard enough. Right now, Ray Meadows was thrilled beyond words. He was watching something move across his back yard. Something he was going to have a hard time explaining later, but he wasn't thinking about that now. For now he was simply amazed.
Whatever it was, it was no longer frozen. It had watched the keys hit the ground, took one look over at Ray and went back the way it came. In three long bounds it was across the yard. One leap and it was in the tree and gone. Ray walked as quick as he could to the limb- that infamous limb- and looked up into the tree. Nothing there. Nothing that he could see, anyway. Branches and leaves, leaves and branches. No, there was nothing there. Whatever it was, it was gone now. Short gone, long gone, but gone. Ray looked around the yard. The yard lights were still on. And Ray was trembling.
What's next? He backed off away from the limb and out from under the tree. By the time he had backed up to the middle of the yard, he was looking everywhere above him for some sign of the thing. In the trees, on the rooftops, over the garage, everywhere. It was nowhere. How could it get so far away so fast, and yet not make a sound? Ray was sure he hadn't heard a thing. No footfalls across the grass, no scratching noises on the limb or trunk of the tree. Nothing. And it was gone. Or was it? Ray felt that awful pit in his stomach as he did what he had to do: He walked back to the tree.
As he went back under the limbs and toward the fence where that one big limb hung, he thought about the thing he saw. Those lights coming on had confirmed just about everything he thought he had seen the first time on Rosser’s roof. The shape, the weird coloration, the head and even that tail. He had been right and Barbara had been wrong on two counts: It didn't have ears- not that he could see, anyway. And it wasn't a cat. In the darkness under the tree limb, he thought about something else he had seen in that moment before it turned and ran: the eyes. Large, almond shaped and pure black. No whites, no iris, just deep shiny black. All pupil? That would help to explain its incredible night vision. This thing walked in total darkness as well as Ray walked at noon. With eyes that good, it didn't need ears. Ray had to think about it. Maybe it didn't hear him raise up on that bed. Maybe it saw him.
Under the tree and looking up, Ray was straining his eyes to get every last bit of light that wasn't there. It was dark. It must be one o'clock by now, he thought. Maybe later. Too dark for Ray to see much detail up there. How long had he been out here? That thing could be just above his head, looking right back down. How would he know? He knew how he'd know. He had that flashlight in the pocket of his bathrobe. Slowly, like a kid trying to get away with something, he reached in to his pocket and pulled it out. It was just the little one, but better than nothing. Ray tried to point it up in the general direction of where he wanted to look, and hit the switch. It was bright enough to make him squint for a moment. Nothing. Well, mostly nothing. Did he see something move up there? Or was that just a trick of the light bouncing off the tree trunk? Was that even the tree trunk? Ray stood motionless, watching above his head for something. Anything. Then it landed on his forehead.
That single, fresh green leaf made no sound at all as it came silently down, spiraling in from somewhere above