Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Episode 25- Woman with a Gun
I stepped back and jerked my good hand up to protect my eyes. But before the bright light clocked my pupils, I'd seen the rifle pointing my way.
"Nice and slow, Homer," said the woman.
My eyes adjusted to the brighter light after a few painful blinks. I couldn't see much except the gun barrel. She was standing in front of a bank of lights, so it was difficult to see much except her silhouette and the rifle. She kept the gun steady.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"Brandy says you're good to go, but I like to see things for myself."
"The computer system that runs this place," she said.
She had a young voice. As my eyes became still more adjusted to the light, I could see that she wore a wide brimmed floppy hunter's hat. Caramel colored hair stuck out from beneath it. She seemed pretty, but the steel circle at the end of the rifle seemed more important at that moment.
"I've got to sit down before I fall," I said.
"Yeah, you look like shit. Come on, follow me."
She jerked her rifle to tell me to get walking.
"Who are you?" I asked again. "Do you know Mark?"
I could see her more clearly by then. She couldn't have been more than eighteen or nineteen.
"He's my dad. He said to wait for you here and if you didn't show up to go looking for you. You being from the city and all we figured you'd find some way to get lost."
"Everything's on fire out there," I said. "Government helicopters circling. A ship crashed."
There are moments of clarity, even in total exhaustion. I had one at that moment and realized I was on the edge of babbling. I was in an underground bunker with a teen-aged girl still pointing a rifle at me. The world outside was burning. The government was on the scene, no doubt looking for the crashed UFO and would be more than happy to lock me up and weld the cell door shut during the process.
"I know I sound crazy," I said, "but I'm not. And could you point that rifle somewhere else? I'm not dangerous."
"Mister, you don't look like you can stand up long enough to be dangerous. And you might need a change of clothes before you go on TV."
She lowered the rifle.
"Come on," she said. "Follow me and stay close. We got a place you can bunk til this is over. We don't get a lot of visitors down here."
"What's your name?" I asked as I followed her down a long tunnel that twisted and turned like an underground Mobius strip.
"Sissy," she said.
"Garret. I know. Daddy already told me and I don't forget names. Not too much farther to go."
"I don't think I can make it much farther, Sissy. I'm not used to all this activity. I'm a writer. Usually I sit down a lot."
The air was cool and the tunnel dimly lit by overhead bulbs housed in thick glad domes. I'd lost track of whether we were going upward or downward. I just wanted to go to sleep.
"For a writer," she said, "you sure know how to stir things up. I've been watching things from the control room. Not too often we see UFOs, monsters, forest fires and the Feds coming down on this mountain all in one night."
We came to a metal door inset into rock. She waved her hand in front of something I couldn't see and the metal door pulled back to reveal what looked like a combination high school chemistry lab and an armory.
"Wow," I said.
"This ain't nothing," she said. "Wait til you see the rest."
"Wait a minute. Did you say something back there about me going on television?"
She smiled and I knew things were about to get a lot worse.