I got to my feet, still clutching the locating device and nursing my right hand. My clothes were covered with sloppy, wet mud. The crashed ship's glow began to fade. Electrical charges spidered across its surface. A swath of trees lay cut down behind it. The night was filled with a soft buzzing sound. If it had a pilot, it must have died in the crash. The gargoyle-like creature was buried beneath the mud and rock. There was no sign of the beast that had hobbled away.
Using my thumb, I swiped away as much mud as I could from the screen of the locating device and saw the green dot still blinking. I would have to walk past the crashed ship to get to my destination.
Alone in the middle of nowhere on a rainy night, I couldn't see another choice. I had no supplies and the only way Mark could find me was if I made it to the cave. The rain came down a little harder. I could feel the mud washing away from my face and hands. I looked at the ship. No way anything inside could have survived that impact, so I started walking.
You'd think as a writer I would have noticed the details, but I walked past the ship without so much as a second look. I listened for noises, like a hatch opening or something mechanical coming to life. My only interest was getting to the cave alive. Five ships in two days was five too many to see.
I was twenty feet past it when I heard the sound. White noise so loud I could hear it above the rain. I stopped and looked over my shoulder. The ship was surrounded by a faint green light. It grew brighter and I started walking again. Faster this time. I didn't know what was going on, but I didn't want to be there to find out.
The sound grew louder, more frantic. I looked back again and saw that the ship's glow was a painfully bright yellow. I began to panic. Green. Yellow. I knew what was coming next and began to run for my life, holding the locating device before me to keep on track and to keep a branch from sticking me in the eye.
Even though I knew I shouldn't, I risked a glance over my shoulder again and saw a bright red. I ran faster, slipping and sliding but somehow not falling.
The night roared and flared about me like an angry god who knocked me flat with a concussive blast of air. I scrambled and slid to my feet. This time a new terror drove me maniacally forward.
The woods were on fire.