A YEAR UNDERFOOT – entry #36

A Year Underfoot

 

 

August 20th, 2033

One Molotov cocktail, and forty-eight hours later and I’m laying low in a drainage ditch along side a fallow field three miles east of Gorman. Whether or not I walk away from this remains to be seen, but either way, live or die, I’m happy as hell to say my first born hit its mark and there’s now one less alien transport rolling up and down Interstate 5.

Not a game changer, – but it’s a start.

It all went down two nights ago just after sunset. Under the cover of darkness, I slipped down out of the hills and sidled up along the interstate and made my way north, – careful to stay well hidden, but still moving quickly enough to make good time. Thirty minutes later I was within a quarter mile of the alien checkpoint and I could see the dark silhouette of the last transport waiting in line.

Close, but not close enough.

I heard the rumble of an approaching transport before I caught sight of it and hit the deck. The ground shook underfoot as it rolled past, and when it stopped behind the last in line at the northbound checkpoint I checked my watch. It was nine fifteen, right on time, – the last transport of the night.

I smiled and kept moving. My plan was coming together, but as I crept closer, I was struck by the dark realization that the transport might actually be carrying people, – prisoners being ferried to the air base before being shipped off to only God knows where. The odds may have been against it, but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities. After all, I had seen it before, and not too long ago at that.

I stopped and took stock, but I already knew the score. If I couldn’t exclude people as cargo, then I’d have to wait until I could. No two ways about it. End of discussion.

I pulled my infrareds out of my pack and trained them on the back of the transport and waited for the troopers to come and inspect the load. A few minutes later, a trio of troopers made their way to the back of the vehicle and popped open the enormous hatch and peered inside.

At such a short distance, I could see inside as well. Much to my relief, there weren’t any people on board. Only a few assorted shipping containers and dozens of transparent glass containers holding an equally clear liquid.

I pumped my fist in the air.

Yes!

I watched the troopers seal the hatch and walk back to the front of the vehicle. They spoke with the driver for a bit and then backed away from the cab. The engine pitched higher and the rig jerked forward as the brakes were released.

This was it.

Lying back in weeds, I looked up at the stars and took a deep breath. The moment had come and I was more than ready. I reached into my pack for the twelve-ounce soda bottle I’d pre-filled with eight ounces of gasoline and unscrewed the metal cap. I crammed an oil-soaked rag into the bottle, making sure to leave a few inches sticking out to act as a wick and said a little prayer.

I rose up and had at it. I turned slightly, shielding the wick from the wind and rolled my thumb across the tumbler. A spark hit the oily rag and I was in business.

I sprang to my feet and heaved the bottle at the transport. As soon as it left my hand I knew it would hit its mark and I took off running.

I heard the bottle shatter and I stole a glance back at the transport. The right rear end of the vehicle was on fire, and the flames were spreading quickly. I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out the molded material the transports are made of is quite flammable, – a little bonus I hadn’t expected, and virtually assured the fact I’d be doing this again real soon.

Klaxons blared and a throbbing blue light enveloped the area. I kept my head low and my legs churning. I had no time to hang around to admire my handiwork, but judging by the rising sounds of chaos behind me, I’d done a bang-up job.

The first of the warbirds appeared overhead a few minutes later, but by then I’d already hightailed it nearly half a mile down into an open field where I had a hidey-hole all staked out. My plan was to lay low until the sun came up and then slip out when they expanded the search and their footprint in the area thinned out.

Well, that was two days ago and I’ve been lying in this ditch with a sheet of weather-beaten plywood pulled up over me ever since. The area is still lousy with troopers and I’m not moving a muscle until I’m certain they’ve cleared the area. I have enough food and water to last a couple of more days, and as long as the afternoons aren’t too hot, I should be all right. I’ll just have to ride it out.

amazon.com/a-year-underfoot

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About paul nevins

Fiction writer, reader and baseball fan.
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