The Carriers; Part Two
February 26, 2013 6 Comments
Dry twigs snapped under David’s footsteps as he tromped through the woods, trying to follow a path overgrown with brush.
“Are you sure you saw it fall this way?”
Robbie Wiseman walked a few feet ahead of him. David’s best friend, Robbie’s curly orange hair was a sharp contrast to the green leaves that blocked their path. “Pretty sure, but it’s been a while since I was down here.” He stopped and turned to one side. “I didn’t think it would be this overgrown, though.”
David stopped. “We’re lost, aren’t we?”
Robbie didn’t say anything.
His friend put his hands on his hips. “Maybe?”
David rolled his eyes. “Great. Just how I wanted to spend my afternoon.” He pushed away some low branches and walked past Robbie. “Are we even going in the right direction?”
“I’m pretty sure we are.” Robbie followed behind. “I know I saw some of the debris fall this way. I’m surprised it didn’t catch the woods on fire.”
David moved a branch out of his way. “Well Dad said there’s no way any of it fell around here. How are you gonna find it anyway?”
“I’m just gonna look on the ground.”
The walked a few more meters in silence.
David stopped. “Hey, I can hear running water.”
“That’s gotta be the creek.”
They pushed their way through the brush and came to a small clearing. A small stream of water gurgled a few yards away. David sat down on a nearby log and pulled out his cell phone.
“Aren’t you gonna help?” Robbie asked, as he walked by.
“So,” David played with his phone. “Are you going to the dance Friday?”
“Why would I go there?” Robbie searched the shoreline, kicking at the loose rocks.
David put away his cell. “I don’t know. Something to do?”
Robbie bent down and picked a rock up off the ground. “I have something to do Friday night.”
Robbie didn’t look up. “What?”
David rolled his eyes. “I mean something fun.”
Robbie tossed the rock away. “That’s fun.”
David slumped forward. “Don’t you want to get away from your folks for one night?”
Robbie picked up another rock from the shoreline. “Why? So I can spend it with people I really don’t like.” He checked the rock over, and then tossed it in the stream. “Why? Are you going?”
“I was thinking about it.”
Robbie waded into the creek. “Really? I didn’t know you liked those things.”
“Then why are you going?”
David didn’t say anything.
Robbie snorted. “Wait. Are you going because Beth is going?”
David looked off to one side, “Maybe.”
“Dude, I thought you gave up on her.”
David picked at his fingers. “Kinda, I guess.”
Robbie splashed as he walked out of the water. “Look, either you like her or you don’t.” He took a closer look at the shoreline. “Hey, I think I found one.” He picked up a palm-size rock from the ground and examined it closer. “Yeah, this is nothing like any of the rocks around here. It’s got little pot-marks all over it. Like air bubbles were trapped inside when it was fluid.”
David smiled. “You’re such a geek.”
He held out the rock again. “Here, touch it. The bumps feel really weird.”
“What’s wrong, chicken?”
“No, I just don’t feel like touching your stupid rock.”
“But it came from space!”
“Don’t you want to touch something that came from space?”
The look on Robbie’s face said it all. “But it came from space!”
David rolled his eyes. “Fine.”
The rock didn’t look like anything special. More like a chunk of coal than a meteorite, but there was something about the way it didn’t reflect the sunlight that bothered him. Like the light was sucked away somewhere deep inside the stone.
He held out his hand as Robbie held out the rock, but Davie hesitated and drew his arm back. He didn’t know why, but he really didn’t want to touch it.
“What are you boys doin’ down here?”
Both David and Robbie jumped as a middle-aged man in camouflage stepped out from the underbrush. He was carrying a rifle and the dark metallic colour of the metal reminded him of Robbie’s rock. Behind him, a young boy a few years younger than them followed.
“Hey, Mr. Harmer,” David got up from the log as the new arrivals came closer. “How’s everything going?”
Ernest Harmer was the last person David wanted to run into, especially in the middle of the woods with a rifle. He was known around town as a survivalist, but everyone knew he took it to the extreme. A dangerous extreme.
“Y’didn’t answer m’question. What are you two doin’ out here?”
“Just looking for meteorites, sir.” Robbie said, keeping several yards between him and the adult.
The young boy popped out from behind. “Did you find any?”
Robbie’s face lit up. “Sure did! Right down by the water, but I’m sure there’s a lot more-”
Harmer reached out and pushed the boy back behind him. “Just you don’t bother with that, Dixen.”
Dixen walked around his father. “It’s just a rock, Dad.”
Mr. Harmer didn’t look too please, and David kept a close eye on the man as the young boy took the meteorite from Robbie.
“So,” David took a step toward the man. “What’d you think about all those explosions last night? Pretty wild, eh?”
Dixen chuckled. “Dad though we were under attack. Made us come out to the bunker in the middle of the night.”
Robbie chuckled with the boy, but David didn’t like the way Mr. Harmer kept quiet.
“Too many of ’em if you ask me,” Harmer said. “All them explosions. How do we know what they really were?”
David frowned. “What do you mean? They were meteorites. I saw them streak across the sky-”
“You saw them all? All the ones all over the planet?”
David frowned. “Well…”
“I went on the internet. Seems these meteorites of yours were exploding all over. Europe, Asia, Middle East, Asia.” He paused and looked straight at David. “Australia.”
David swallowed. “So what? It’s just a bunch of rocks.”
“Your Dad tell you that? You’re old man bein’ military and all. Probably brainwashed you into thinking that.” He nodded at his son. “Come on. You’ve played with rocks long enough.”
Now David kept quiet. No use arguing with him. Harmer saw conspiracies everywhere.
Dixen handed the dark rock back and headed over to his father’s side. “I might come back here and look for my own meteorites.”
“If you want,” Robbie held out his hand. “You can have this one.”
“He don’t need any space rocks.” Harmer said.
Robbie pulled his hand back. “It’s okay. I’m sure I’ll fine-”
“I said no! Now go on!”
David stared down at the ground as Dixen trudged back the way they came. Robbie walked over to the log and sat down. They kept quiet until both father and son disappeared into the woods.
“That guy gives me the creeps.” Robbie said.
“Dad told me to stay away from him. He thinks Harmer is missing a few screws.”
Robbie snorted. “Few screws my ass. He’s missing a whole box.” He slapped David on the back. “Come, on. Let’s get outta here before he thinks we’re gonna raid his bunker or something.”
David followed Robbie away from the stream, but kept an eye on the woods around him. He’d feel better once they were back in town.
The Carriers; Part Two
© 2013 Dark Conteur Collection of Works