I will be writing a series of stories starting in the meaty middles. They will be like many of the stories Ernest Hemmingway wrote only in different genres. Maybe they will inspire other writers to either write some good lead ups or good continuation of the stories.  

     “It is perfectly harmless. I don’t care how weird it looks. Just because we don’t know where it came from and it looks like nothing we have ever seen before doesn’t mean it is some kind of alien life form,” said the scientist to the others wearing hazmat suits.  

     “Why aren’t you suited up like we are?” asked  a young man who was using a robot to handle the thing and place it in a sample box the size of a picnic cooler.  

     “As I said, it is perfectly harmless. But if you’re afraid it might be carrying something that can kill you, go ahead and take precautions. As they say, better safe than sorry.”

     Down the beach a couple other people in hazmats shouted, “Down here. Down here. There’s a bunch of them.”  

     Everyone took off and headed where the scientists were using robots to handle the things and place them in sample boxes. As the scientists were in mid-stride, one of the scientists down the beach began convulsing. She tore off the suit and screamed as if something was tearing at her legs. She furiously slapped her legs and then the rest of her body.  

     “Grace, what’s wrong?” asked the suitless scientist as he ran toward her.

     “It’s on me. Someone get it off of me,” she screamed.  

    concreteHer partner tried to grab her. But seconds later, he also began convulsing and tore off his suit. He slapped at his legs and the rest of his body as the woman ran out into the ocean to try and find cooling relief from something that was turning her exposed flesh red. Her partner followed suit. By the time he reached her, she exploded. Blood, chunks of flesh, and pieces of bone pelted him. Seconds later, he also exploded.  

     Smoke started to emerge from the sample boxes like a white mist. Suddenly, the robots began to malfunction and melt onto the sands of the beach. Like the two scientists, the robots also exploded.

     “Everyone, off the beach,” the suitless scientist yelled. Everyone ran for their lives.  

     Another scientist began to convulse and tore off his suit. He stumbled and rolled down to the beach where he also exploded.

     Everyone rushed to the showers that were located at the top of the bluff that overlooked the beach. Everyone with a suit tore them off and discarded them like so much filthy garbage. The people soaked their clothes until the water ran off onto the concrete. A few minutes later when it looked like no one else was going to fly apart, the scientists headed for the research tent dripping wet. But at least they were alive.  

     The scientists gathered at the conference table. One of them popped a memory chip out of his camera and inserted it into his laptop. Seconds later, an image of one of the things on the beach appeared and was frozen.  

     One of the scientists glared at the scientist that hadn’t worn a suit and said, “I thought you said they weren’t dangerous. We have three good people dead out there and three expensives robots that are useless junk out on the beach.” 

     “Remember, they were wearing suits. I hope the rest of you are all right.”  

     They all agreed that they felt fine.  

     “Let me zoom in on the thing,” said the man with the laptop. Seconds later, the thing was magnified to such an extent that it was like putting your nose next to the what-ever-it-was.  

     “Dr. Hays, it does look harmless like you believed it was even at extreme magnification,” said the scientist with the laptop as he turned it around to let everyone see the image.  

     “Is it sitting on wet sand or is something oozing out of it?” asked one of the two women at the table.  

     “It looks like the ooze is coming from the thing. But no one physically touched one of the things,” said Dr. Hays. “Too bad we couldn’t examine one of the things in the flesh, so to speak.”  

     “If there are at least three of those things on the beach, there should be–” 

      The scientist was interrupted by some screams coming from the beach and a couple explosions. The scientists rushed out of the tent and headed for the bluff. They yelled at the people on the beach to leave the beach. But they didn’t need that much coaxing. But the warning was too late for two more people who convulsed and exploded.  

     One of the civilians ran up to where the scientists were standing, cursed a bit, and then spoke his mind.

     “Why didn’t you close the beach before I lost my best friend down there?” 

     “We didn’t know how dangerous it was down there,” Dr. Hays confessed. “I also lost some good people down there. I just hope we can find some samples before they kill us or explode on their own. They seem stable as long as no one disturbs them.” 

     “We have a small backhoe behind the tent we can use to dig under one of those things.  Maybe the sand will contain whatever caused the deaths and if we’re lucky, maybe we can examine one of them,” said another scientist.  

     “I’d torch the beach,” said the civilian. “Those things are evil.”  

     “We don’t know that,” said Dr. Hays defensively. “It could be a way it protects itself from those that want to kill it.”  

     “Call in an airstrike and drop some napalm on whatever is out there, “the civilian recommended.  

     “I wouldn’t go to that extreme,” said Dr. Hays.  

     “How many more people need to die before you go scorched earth on those things?” the civilian complained.  

     “We’ll take your suggestions under consideration,” said Dr. Hays dismissively.  

     “Sure you will,” the civilian said sarcastically. “Nuke ’em,” he said before he ran toward where the people that had been on the beach were gathered.  

     “I think he’s onto something,” said the second woman in the group. “Why must we act like scientists instead of sensible individuals? If the things are known killers, why must we study them and then die?” 

     “I know we lost some good people to those things. But this isn’t “The Thing.”  You know. The movie with James Arness. A scientist said he wanted to understand the thing and then he winds up dead. This isn’t a movie and those things aren’t James Arness. We’ll be as careful as possible. “I’ll go man the backhoe,” said Dr. Hays.

     He stared at one of the scientists who normally operated the backhoe.  

     “Have at it. You’re the one who didn’t think the things were dangerous.”  

     I’ll stop the story at this point. I don’t know what is going to happen next. Maybe I’ll return to it later. For now, it is out there for someone to pick up and finish.  

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