Their Arrival (Flash Fiction)

The night was cold and clear, and Bob and Brian stared at the stars from their folding chairs. Below the brilliant sky, the stars were mirrored by the stillness of a small lake. The sound of tiny waves lapping against the dock was broken by the opening of a can of beer.

“Well,” Bob said. “What do you say?”

Brian watched the sky streak with red. He rubbed at his chin. “I can’t say I believe, which is funny to me since I’m lookin’ right at it.”

Bob huffed half a laugh. “Yup. I feel about the same way.” He slurped at his beer. “Hell, even when they had me in their sticky hands I didn’t think it real.” He took another drink and unleashed a mighty belch. “Nope, there’s just somethin’ about it, isn’t there? Maybe it’s us, cause we’re human, that makes it so it can’t be real.”

Brian squinted at the words. “You think the animals think any different?” He opened the cooler with a plastic squeak and grabbed a cold can for himself. He pointed the can to the sky. “Look at that one,” he said. “Big.”

“Yeah,” Bob said. “Real big.”

Brian opened his can and they both took drinks.

“I don’t know about the animals,” Bob said. “I don’t know if it makes much difference.”

“Meet the new boss,” Brian said. “Same as the old boss,” they both said in unison. They chuckled quietly and tapped their cans together. “What’s that mean there?” Brian said. “That big red one, it’s breaking apart!” Brian leaned forward in his folding chair.

“Yeah,” Bob said. “I guess that one’s the mother ship.” The pristine sky was filled with space embers as a large object burnt through the atmosphere and splintered into tiny fragments. “They’ve got big ones and little ones. The big ones travel further and carry the little ones with it.”

“I can’t believe they told you all this,” Brian said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Goddamnit, Brian!” Bob shouted. “It makes perfect sense.” He crushed his empty can and reached for another. “Here we are, seeing it all happen just like I said, and you still can’t listen.”

“I’m sorry, Bob.” Brian took a long, slow drink. “It’s not that I don’t believe you. It’s just so damned hard to believe in general.”

“Well, believe it! They landed and took me. They did their probings and their rapings and all kinds of alien shenanigans. They told me what to tell the people of this good Earth and how things would be.” Bob kicked at the dry dock with his feet. “But did anyone listen?”

Brian tilted his head a bit. “You’d think they would have researched their messenger a bit.”

Bob glared at Brian and quietly slid the cooler closer to his seat. Above them, in the pristine night sky, the alien ships made their way into the atmosphere.

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