Nowhere Nevada (Short Story)
Nowhere Nevada by Christine B.
They were sent from the gates; and although we were outside the perimeter, they came after us as if we were in possession of lethal incendiary devices. We weren’t. We were armed only with our cameras, but to them it was the same thing.
It was impossible for us not to hear them coming, they made no effort to attack with any element of surprise. I looked in the direction of the gate and saw plumes of smoke rise from their vehicles like an approaching tornado. After quickly taking one last photo, (thank God for automatic focus), I headed for the Jeep as quickly as my 53-year-old legs could carry me. My husband, always slow to put his equipment away, lingered at the fence several seconds after I had returned to our vehicle. I screamed at him to hurry. Frustrated, I watched as Sam carefully stowed his camera and zipped up the sides of his camera bag. Making up for lost time, Sam sprinted to the open door of the Jeep; and we raced away.
Our speedy retreat crated our own dust smoke screen, so we managed to keep in front of them long enough to make it to the main highway. I squealed the right side tires and almost flipped the Jeep making the turn, but was able to regain control long enough to progress to the stability of the blacktop. Sam, who almost never utters a curse word for any reason, said “Oh Shit,” and held his breath until the jeep regained the steadiness of all four wheels. When the dust settled behind us I noticed from the Jeep’s rear view mirror that the military vehicles chasing us made U turns on the highway blacktop and returned to their complex.
“WooHoo!” I exclaimed, “We made it! And with prize winning shots of a UFO that would even convince Scully from the X-Files!”
“Yeah, as long as the lab doesn’t mess up the negatives,” Mr. Optimistic replied.
“Well, I plan to develop my black & white film myself. I don’t trust handing over these shots to a lab. This film and my camera won’t be out of my sight until we get back home to California. Do you believe what was out there? I’ve never seen anything like it.” I was still pumped by our latest adventure.
“I think you can slow down a little now. There’s no one on this road but us.”
“Oh yeah, sorry.” I slowed the Jeep down to about ten miles an hour over the speed limit, which is a normal speed for me, and looked over at my complacent husband. “I can’t believe you’re just sitting there as if we just took photos of lake reflections, or something equally mundane. Aren’t you excited at all?”
“Sure, I’m excited. This is my excited face.” He looked over at me and gave me a full-toothed grin.
“Oh, good grief, Sam. Is that the best you can do? We just saw a UFO—a whopper of a UFO. We photographed the thing, for crying out loud. And we were chased from the area by an armed military force, narrowly escaping being thrown in prison forever. I would think you would be a bit more excited than that.” Sometimes his complacent personality irritated me.
“I’ll be more excited when I see the developed negatives. We still have a long drive ahead of us. A lot can happen before we get home. There’s a chance no one will ever see our photographs.”
I looked at my husband incredulously. “Like what could happen, exactly? What are you talking about?” I was moving from irritation to aggravation.
“Well, you never know what could happen.” Sam looked stone faced at the road ahead.
“You know what? You’re a pain in my ass sometimes.” That was the last thing I said to him until we experienced our second adventure of the day.
As we speed up the road in silence my mind raced with what we had witnessed. If I had not been driving, we never would have taken that back road and seen the UFO out there in the middle of Nowhere, Nevada. Just about every city in the state was Nowhere, Nevada, from what I observed. The entire territory was miles of barren, rocky peaks with high or low desert spanning insipidly between them. If it were not for legalized gambling, the ghosts of silver miners would be the state’s only inhabitants. But the area our Jeep stumbled upon was different. The mountains somehow didn’t look real. They reminded me of a movie set from a Star Trek movie perhaps aptly titled, “Stranded On Planet Nowhere.” If Sam had been driving, we would have remained on the unpolluted asphalt, for fear of getting a speck of dust on our car, washed only three days before. “Good grief,” I mumbled. Sam read on in his photography magazine, and was oblivious to my frustration.
Two hours prior to our adventure, Sam had drifted into a catnap. When I saw the gravel road I thought it was my golden opportunity to break the monotony of our cross-country trip by taking the detour. After all, we had passed by the opportunity to take a side trip to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and I was still a bit miffed about that. I had seen the strange-looking peak from a distance. The nearer we came to it, the more bizarre it looked to me. I played it safe and didn’t wake Sam up until after I noticed the UFO hovering above the south side of the lowest peak. I could not decipher what it was when I first saw it. Upon closer inspection with my binoculars, I realized why. It was not something I had ever seen before.
The object was the shape of an elongated cigar, with windows positioned along its entire length. It hovered over the peak for several minutes, and then zoomed to the east toward our Jeep. That’s when I tried to wake up sleeping beauty next to me and told him to get out his camera. By the time I got out of the Jeep, camera in hand, the thing was hovering about sixty feet above us and twenty feet in front of our car, just on the other side of a ten foot tall electrified fence. I was able to get some shots of its bottom and could even see life forms moving near the windows. They did not look like any military men I had ever seen before. I kept calling for Sam to wake up and get his camera, but it took him a few minutes to realize what was happening. After I exposed several black and white shots of the unidentified object, Sam finally emerged from the jeep with camera and tripod in hand. I have to admit; he did look shocked when he saw what I was photographing—as shocked as Sam ever looks. He was able to take only a few photos when I heard them coming after us, and we high tailed it out of there.
Thirty minutes after we left the area the sun dipped behind the mountains. Dusk lasted for only ten minutes before the Jeep was surrounded by inky darkness. The road had been totally deserted since we got back onto the highway. For that reason, Sam and I were taken aback when we observed the blue spotlight illuminating the road two hundred feet in front of the Jeep. It simply appeared from above the highway as we approached; and for a few seconds my brain could not compute what was happening. When I lowered the car windows and heard the same sound I had heard when Sam and I were photographing the UFO, everything became clearer. I hit the brakes hard and managed to stop the car a few feet in front of the light’s edge. I threw the Jeep into reverse, but no matter how I pushed the accelerator petal to the floor, the Jeep remained stationary.
As we watched the blue light move down the highway closer to our Jeep, Sam and I held our breath. The radiance become brighter and wider as the UFO positioned itself over our Jeep.
“Sam,” I cried, “I love you.”
“I love you too, Angel.” He reached out his hand and took mine, holding on to me as if I were a lifeline to normality. That was the last move we were able to make, because seconds later we became paralyzed. Whether our paralysis was from fear, or induced by the blue light was not discernable. Tears dropped from my eyes as the Jeep vibrated violently and then ascended into the bowels of the ship. The last thought that passed through my mind was that Sam had been right to be pessimistic, after all. No one was ever going to see our photographs. I wish Sam had been driving.
High Desert Palm
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