I was working on a screenplay based upon the true story of Carlie Brucia, a child that was abducted here in Sarasota a few years ago. It received national attention and even made the evening news in Los Angeles, where I was living when it occurred. On the night in question, the despair in which I had submerged myself by participating in this story was enhanced by the weather.
Sarasota, notoriously fortunate in avoiding any direct hits by major hurricanes for decades, was being buttressed by its fourth hurricane of the season. Having already been passed on the south, east, and west, the last remaining gusts of wind were still moving to the north as I stared at the blinking cursor on my computer screen.
The house had shuddered more than once as the maelstrom blew past, and I couldn’t help but consider the way that the despicable event of this young girl’s murder had wrought just as much emotional damage when it passed through the area.
Tears had been rampant since the onset of the project as I had gotten to know the grieving mother and written the words that described the horrible events that surrounded the catastrophe. And though I was approaching the end of the third act, I couldn’t wait to type the final “FADE OUT” and be finished with this abysmal tirade. As the storm blew outside, my mind seemed awash in the horrid details of the story, and I longed for a way to escape.
And that is how I came to meet `the boys.’
I wiped another tear from my eye and looked to the blinking cursor. I typed one more sentence. Upon hitting the `enter’ key, a crash of thunder erupted with an explosion of lighting and I was submerged in darkness. My computer died.
The lights went out. And my heart raced.
I pulled a flashlight from the drawer and made my way to the fuse box. None of the circuits were tripped, and other than the fact that I was forced to see via battery power, all seemed to be intact.
I figured the harsh winds had something to do with it, so I went outside to survey the damage. I assumed that a transformer blew somewhere and that my entire street would be sheathed in darkness. However, when I stepped to the center of the windswept street, I was amazed to see streetlights burning and each and every house but mine was glowing with incandescent light from the windows. I looked back to my house, and sure enough, it was the only one swathed in darkness.
Then came the sound. A guttural rumbling echoed through the night sky like the blowing of a trumpet submerged in castor oil. I looked up in the direction of the bubbling roar and saw a swirling array of lights arc across the evening canvas. The vision lasted only an instant as the object moved from the east to west, but the resounding grumble of it reverberated in my ears long after it was out of sight. When it was gone, I expected my neighbors to emerge from their homes and look to the sky to see what had created the clamor, but not a soul stirred. I expected curtains to part as necks craned upwards to catch sight of the commotion, but the lit up houses remained as still and silent as Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
A wave of eerie silence filled the street as the winds subsided and my porch light turned back on. Rain started to trickle from the swollen night sky, and in an instant a harsh wind blew the skies open, an eruption of rain soaking me to the bone as I made my way back to the house. After changing out of my wet clothes and running a towel through my hair, I sat behind my desk, not bothering to start my computer as I stared into the blank, charcoal screen and wondered about what I had just seen.
Was it a comet? No, it was too slow for that. Yet it was too fast and loud for a weather balloon. I toyed with the idea of a UFO. After all, stranger things have happened. Not to me, mind you, but they have happened. After a while, I lay down in bed and closed my eyes, conjuring an image of what I had seen from my memory. As I glanced upon it again, racing across the back of my eyelids, I realized that it was surely unidentified, absolutely flying, and unequivocally an object.
I fell asleep to the sound of the sprinkling rain as the metronome to the dance of my dwindling sanity.
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Get your copy now.
Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts at Anything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.