“Use the Force, Luke.”
Sir Isaac Newton* #quote
Today I went to my costuming club. Last meeting for awhile though, but hey, had some fun, and next year I hope the convention we'll hold will also be rad. Anyway onto the flash fiction!
The Officer And The Being
Three hours. That's how long the military needed to dispatch proper aid. The Beings appeared in many places all over the world, but whenever they arrived somewhere new the military required time to create a new base of operations and bring all the necessary equipment to eliminate them. So my meager squad of ten officers, including myself, were stuck defending our little town tucked away in the middle of nowhere.
One Being arrived at our town. It perched on the top of City Hall using five twisting appendages similar to spines ripped straight from the body covered in some form of clear slime. Hips covered in skin that resembled bloody bedsheets connected to these limbs. The skin of the hips led into a spherical body covered by thick armor made of strange, sparkling otherworldly metallic alloys. Symbols of a language unknown to humanity covered the armor. From the spherical body ten arms appeared in various places all of various sizes. The arms appeared to be made out of miniature storm clouds, condensed and flattened until they made the meat and muscle of a limb. I couldn't see a head on the thing. On all the Beings that ever appeared in their various forms no one ever had. This made it all the more terrifying. I couldn't tell if it was looking at me, or any of my fellow officers. Should I protect them or myself? I've seen them on the news, but in person they are go from being a terror to a nightmare.
“Chief Smithson, do you even think we'll last long enough for the military to get here?” Officer Garfield was right. We may not last the three hours before the military arrived. Our town's population made us such a small speck that we only needed ten police officers. I used to live in a bigger city, dealt with problems like gangs. Headed out to this little place and became Chief hoping to just run the place till I retired. And now I left the gangs to have the luck to run across something that could vaporize me instead of shooting me.
I set it up so all my officers took cover behind our squad cars. I talked to the military over the cellphone to at least get some guidance as to what to do. Nothing to stop the thing unfortunately. I wanted to pull out the last of all my gray hairs when they kept insisting to evacuate, and the only other option was to hide. The only road out of town lie beyond City Hall where the Being perched, making evacuation impossible.
I whispered to my fellow officers. “Don't fire until it becomes aggressive. We're waiting it out.” A S.W.A.T. team might have something to fight this thing. However the only thing our town afforded our officers were a gun, taser, and pair of handcuffs apiece.
“Yes Chief,” they all responded. Did I make the right choice? From all accounts bullets couldn't kill Beings. The military used a special kind of laser to do it. But my options involved slowing the thing down.
We all watched the thing closely. It moved its arms and legs slightly. I tried to discern some intention. With an animal like a wolf you can look into their eyes and anticipate their actions that way. But with a Being and their strange bodies with unknown means of perception and lack of faces, I couldn't find a way to predict them. No eyes to stare into to find out what it thought. If it thought at all. People assumed the Beings had some form of intelligence because of how well they behaved in groups, but with how it stood there with its cloudy arms moving in the air like tree branches I didn't know how much of a mind it had.
Waiting for it to move made time turn into an agonizing crawl. But I never ceased to keep alert, paranoid at its every movement. In the big city where I used to work, especially when I was young and my body wasn't this wrinkly beat-up peach color I'd spent hours and hours on stake outs.
So when the Being moved its arm in a way different than it had in quite some time I caught on. I noticed the creature begin to adjust its limbs out of place to control momentum and spring itself forward. My mouth opened and its spine-like legs pushed off the building at the same time.
“Fire!” I yelled. Most of our bullets hit the creature in mid-flight. It crashed into the squad car two of my officers and myself were using as cover. The impact blew me back. I couldn't see a single bit of damage on it. At least physical. When I looked at the Being its stood differently on the rubble of the squad car. When it perched on the squad car, completely surrounded, it appeared neutral with no form of definitively expression. I've never seen a being show anything but that still neutral stance or the movement of attack. Here though its arms moved pulled away from me, along with all its legs pulling slightly backward. All like someone carefully backing up against a wall when faced with a wild animal.
I didn't harm it, but did I scare it? When I thought of the past few moments, I could think of only one thing, I predicted the thing. Shot as it moved. The beast stood tranquil only to surprise and I reacted fast enough. Faster than I even did in youth. I did feel an obligation to the people in this town and the officers I looked over as Chief. But also I will admit my own self-preservation must have played a role.
More time passed, a lot more time. I soon heard the loud sound of choppers. The military? They'd come to kill the Being. How long did it stand on the squad car? How long did it stand in fear, and my officers keep looking at it in fear after their first barrage of bullets did nothing? I will never know the specifics, but I know it's long enough to tell me that any intelligent living thing, no matter how powerful, feels fear.