The Other Side of Nowhere.


     There was nothing before him but a fuzzy grayness; a concealing mist that hid everything from his sight. It seemed deathly quiet… either he had gone deaf, or was dead, which of these it was, he wasn’t sure. He lie still, hoping that it wasn’t the latter.

     Slowly, so slowly, the grayness began to fade, but after a moment he almost wished that it would return.

Deep within his body he felt it, the knowledge that something was not as it should be, but what? What was it that was wrong? “What happened? Where am I?” he asked himself, but no answers came to mind. The pain now spread throughout his body as he moved, a stabbing pain in one of his legs, a dull ache in his upper arm, a crashing, throbbing pain in his head whenever he moved it.

He opened and shut his eyes; the mist finally fading away, his sight returning as his body worked to fight off the shock. He looked around, trying to figure out which way was up, for the vehicle definitely was not upright. He was sprawled on what was supposed to be the top, all of the various items that had been stored in there now lying scattered about over and under him, thrown about as the impact had crumpled and torn the metal around them.

Them? “Oh… Hell!” he thought, as he looked about, trying to find the other occupant that had been with him. Finding an area to the rear of the twisted metal that offered him an escape, he squeezed through it and out, barely able to fit through the small opening.

Supporting himself for a moment on what was formerly the bottom of the vehicle; he looked about, amazed that he had even survived the impact. Pieces of the wreckage were scattered about, and he could see where they had dug a trench into the soft earth of the ditch as they had careened out of control.

Luckily, the fuel tank had evidently been sheared off with the initial impact, as it now lay there along the side of the road, burning brightly and sending gobbets of black smoke spiraling skyward into the darkness of the night. That was probably what had saved his life, otherwise he was sure that he would be nothing more than a charred corpse in what remained of the vehicle. He shuddered to think of just how narrowly he had escaped with his life.


Attempting to walk, he discovered that as long as he was careful he could take a few steps unaided, but his leg was sending a message to his brain that it would not last for long. Hobbling over to where they had decimated a small copse of trees in their passage, he selected a sturdy length of branch to serve as a walking staff to take some of the pressure off of his leg.

In the flickering light from the brightly burning fuel tank, he now began in earnest his search for the other occupant. Following the trail of destruction back up and out of the ditch, he found no sign of his passenger. Beginning to get more than a bit frantic now, he retraced his steps back into the field. He hobbled out further to either side, knowing now that there was a possibility that she had been thrown clear when they had nosed into the ditch, or maybe had gotten out as he had and then wandered off, dazed and hurt.

He cast about, becoming more and more worried when he still couldn’t find her. It was his fault that she was even here. He had asked her to come with him on this trip, ostensibly because she had traveled through here some years before and was familiar with the area. But he had to admit that he had his own personal reasons for wanting her to come with him, reasons that had nothing at all to do with his “official” agenda for the trip.

He had hoped that on this trip they would have had the chance to cement the bonds that he had felt growing between them over the past few years, and they had. He was quite astonished to find that she had been admiring him from afar, much as he had been her. They had found a great deal of amusement over this, the fact that they had both spent over a year watching the other one, yearning for the possibility of friendship and more.

He stepped into a small depression where the water had washed away a bit of the dirt, falling on his face as his leg collapsed beneath him. Lying there, he glanced over to one side. He saw her then, a dark shadow in the flickering light from the flames. Scrabbling crab-like over to her he found his worst fears realized.

She was dead. Beyond doubt, beyond hope. The rock that she had struck her head on still lay there, now covered with her life-blood. She had been thrown clear, having not been belted in, her disdain for such restraints voiced often and fervently whenever he broached the subject. Would it have saved her? He did not know. Life was full of uncertainties. Even without seeking to absolve either of them of the blame, he still could not answer that question truthfully.

Gently, tenderly, he gathered her into his arms and held her there, her shattered body limp and growing cold. He wept now for the love lost so soon after being recognized. They had made so many plans, plans that now would never materialize. No little ones running around the house, no coming home from work to her kisses, no growing old together.

His tears ceased to flow as the shock of his own injuries set in, setting off a panic in his mind of what would be said when the wreck was discovered. It would be all his fault, his mind screamed at him. They would haul him off, taking her body to who knew where. No one would make sure that it was treated properly, with the reverence that she deserved. He would not be allowed to tend to her as he should, that he knew.

His mind grew more and more panicked as the shock set in deeper. He cast his eyes about him like a cornered animal, seeking some way to hide what had happened here from prying eyes. Bury it deep, he thought, then quickly discarded that thought. Carry it off and hide it, maybe. But with what, his feverish mind asked.

But he had no time for that. Even now he saw the lights of the emergency vehicles as they barreled through the countryside towards the flames that had been and still were visible for miles in the dark valley. He had been sure that someone would have noticed and called the authorities, but so soon?

Panicking now, he lifted his lover’s body in his arms, struggling as his leg threatened to give out under the increased strain. What to do, what to do, he wondered. Making his way down the ditch, he spied a culvert that offered him at least a passing chance to hide her body until he could return and perform the proper ceremonies that would ensure her spirit a resting-place.

Carefully putting her body down he backed into the concrete tube, gently pulling her in behind him. In the middle of the culvert, he left her, backing on out of the other end and making his way off to the top of a small rise that stood off some ways from the site of the wreck. He had a clear view of the area, and there were several draws that ran off in different directions behind him that offered him options for escape. He was sheltered from view by the stand of trees about him but he still felt exposed as the first of the emergency vehicles pulled up, a black car with a flashing red light rotating on the dash, sending out long fingers of crimson into the dark.

The driver had pulled on past the wreck, the car now disgorging its contents. Four men immediately pulled out powerful flashlights and began examining the area. The second vehicle pulled up alongside the burning fuel tank, the occupants of the fire truck quickly dismounting and pulling several fire extinguishers out of the side-box. They sprayed streams of foam over the blaze, extinguishing the flames immediately.

Now the only light came from the spotlights and hand-held flashlights that the men carried. A work-van pulled up now, men scurrying about to raise several sets of lights to illuminate the area of the crash. As the lights came on he was able to see just how bad the crash had been, how far the wreckage had been strewn. He gulped; unable to fathom how he had survived, even injured as he was.

He thought of approaching them now, perhaps they would not blame him for the death of his lover, but quickly discarded that thought. For he was at fault, he knew. He was a murderer, plain and simple. If he had been doing what he should have she would be alive now, not a stiffening corpse in a drain-tube beneath the highway.

It was his fault, for it had been his idea to “fool around”. A high sex-drive, she had joked with him. Granted, she had only to tell him no, but that would not be the way of lovers that had only recently discovered their feelings and lust for the other. She had slid over close to him, then over onto his lap as they had traveled. Yes, it did make it difficult to see around her, to keep his attention on what he was doing. He should have made her stop until they had reached where they were going, but no…

And now here they were. She was dead, and he… he didn’t know just how badly he was hurt. But he did know that he was not going to subject himself to what he knew would happen if he were to be found here. He slipped on down the backside of the little hill, watching the men as they cast about, looking for the occupants of the vehicle that lay shattered around them. He had heard no shout of discovery as of yet, so perhaps she would escape their search, but he held little hope of that, knowing that they would be very thorough.

Sobbing now in his pain and frustration, he set off into the wildness that lay at the end of the draw that he had gone into. He wandered aimlessly, not familiar with the area and his mind still in shock from all it had seen and experienced. All he knew was that he must escape from the men that searched even now for him. He heard a faint shout behind him and was certain now that they had found her, were even now standing over her lifeless body.

Would they be satisfied that she had been traveling alone? A faint hope rose in his mind at that thought. It was possible, he supposed. Would they be able to differentiate her accessories and clothing from his?

Climbing to the top of a small hill, he looked back over the area that he had come through. It seemed as if they were concentrating on her body, the search having come to a stop, at least for the moment. He sat there in the dark and watched as an ambulance arrived and a stretcher was loaded into the back of it, the body covered in a sheet. At least they were according her that much dignity in her death, that she not be stared at and made a spectacle of.

He sighed as the ambulance drove off, two of the men from the car climbing into the back of it with her body before it set off. The fire truck left now, their job done, the cleanup not their concern as long as there weren’t any possibilities of the fire flaring up again and setting fire to the dry hills beyond it. The two men that were left there were two of those that had arrived earlier in the car, and they settled in to keep watch over the wreckage until such time as whoever it was that did the cleanups for situation like these arrived.

He sat there for the longest time just contemplating what a mess he had created. It had started out just to be a simple trip to pick up some information that had been gathered together for him. But no, he had to go and screw that up! Story of his life. Nothing had ever gone his way, or at least it seemed that way to him. And now he was stuck out here in the middle of nowhere, injured, no supplies, no way to get anywhere even if he had even the faintest idea of where he was! His survival skills now kicked in, as his body fought off the initial shock from the crash and his injuries, his special training now foremost in his mind.

He hobbled further back into the hills, looking now for somewhere to shelter for the night, or what was left of it. It was warm enough for him to spend the night without a fire, but he sought the solace of some sort of cover even if it was only an overhang or a shallow cave.

Finally he found what he was seeking. In amongst a pile of boulders, he found an opening that led in between two of the larger ones. Squeezing through, he found himself in a small cave of sorts. Curling up on the soft dirt floor he was asleep in just a few moments, despite the nagging pain of his injuries. It wasn’t a restful sleep, however. He continuously found himself starting awake, thinking that he had heard her calling him or else reliving the fateful crash over and over again in his mind. It was shortly after the sun had risen that he was awakened once again, this time due to the voices that he heard outside of the cave. He peered cautiously through a small gap in the boulders to see a group of men walking in a line through the brush of the hillside below him. They were all intently studying the ground in front of them, one of them now calling out to the others.

They all gathered around the man who had called out, examining the ground and the prints that the man had found. Spreading out once again they resumed their search, slowly inching their way past where he remained hidden. Should he go out to them? He wondered but for a moment, and then the moment passed. He knew that he had long ago reached the point of no return, that now he had to escape and put as much distance between himself and the scene of the tragedy as he possibly could. He was gladdened to see that the ground before his shelter was rocky, and had held no signs to betray where he was holed up.

Once they had all passed him by and were out of sight over the next hill, he made his way out into the sunshine and headed in the general direction that he and his passenger had originally been traveling in. If he could only reach his destination, there would hopefully be some sort of transportation so that he could return to where he came from. They would have plenty of questions he was sure, but he was also confident that they would understand.

Of course they would understand, for they had all had his job before they had been promoted onward and upward. They knew about the countless time spent traveling, the long nights spent sleeping in their vehicle because there was no place that they could stop. The information was too valuable to risk the delay, they told him.

Well, they could just have it, he decided. He was done with this. If he even went back, that was. He knew plenty of places that he would be welcome. All he had to do was show up and he would be greeted with open arms, at least as long as he was able to pay his way in some fashion!

All of these thoughts and many more like them kept his mind occupied during his trek through the hills. He wished that he could go down and walk along the road but knew that if he did it would be just the same as walking up to the searchers and surrendering. He hadn’t done anything wrong and he knew it, but he would be unable to convince these men of that now.

He crested the last hill between him and his objective. He lay down and cautiously peered over the top, searching for the signs that he had been told to look for. There! He saw it now, clearly labeled, the big green sign with the white letters, the smaller white sign below it. Across the way he saw the building that he had been heading for and breathed a sigh of relief. Now all he had to do was wait for the darkness and everything would be all right again.

Settling into a hollow beneath a tree, he was startled as he heard the unmistakable sound of one of their helicopters beating its way over the countryside around him. He watched as it swooped here and there, darting about in its search for something or someone.

They were looking for him, of that he was sure. Shaking his head, he settled himself deeper into the hollow, hidden from their sight as long as he remained under the cover of the tree. He slipped into a light slumber, marking time until the sun finally went down. What he was after was down there, he was sure. Now if he could only get it away from those who held it. It didn’t belong to them, they were only petty thieves as far as he and his bosses where concerned.

He awoke to the stillness and coolness of the night air about him, the helicopter having landed because of the darkness. He stretched and instantly regretted it, the movement restarting the jabbing pains that had largely subsided during his sleep.

He slowly made his way down the hill towards the fence that surrounded the compound, his eyes searching for any sign of guards or patrols. He saw no more than the ones that he had been briefed on, evidently they had not yet figured out just who he and his passenger had been and what they had come after. He slipped across the open area around the fence with not even a shadow to betray his presence, for now he was in his element, doing what it was that he did best.

Reaching the fence, he searched it for any sign that it was electrified or carried a sensor wire that could betray him. He snorted at the simple security measures that he saw before him. You could certainly tell that the government had been the ones to have this installation built! Why, his organization had scrapped this technology long ago in favor of the newest sensors that had been developed to prevent just what he was about to do!

He studied the area before him until he spied a small corner that the overlap of the motion detectors didn’t cover. He deployed the reflective shielding over his body, containing all of his body heat inside so as to foil those detectors. He took out several jumpers and connected them to the sensor wires, forming a section of the fence that was now unprotected.

Quickly snipping the wires of the fence, he pulled that section to him, sliding through the hole left by its removal. Once through, he made his way to the nearest building, melting into the shadows that ran along each side. Studying the area he saw the building that he wanted straight across from where he was now. But that one had two armed guards at the entrance and another one seated inside at a desk… something that he would have to deal with when he reached that point.

He made his way behind the buildings, and then up behind the one that he was sure contained what he was after. The rear of the building had no doors or windows, so they had assumed that it was secure. He scoffed at their complacency, their smugness.

Kneeling down at the rear of the building he found the area he sought. Where two of the metal panels came together he located the rivets that held one to the other. Taking out a small vial of liquid, he opened it, took a short glass rod out of its holder and dipped it into the solution inside. Smearing it liberally across the head of the rivets, he watched as the metal simply dissolved. Pulling back the panel, it was the work of just a few seconds and he was inside.

Once inside it was just a matter of finding the recorder that he was after. It was as his bosses had said, still stored away right where the last intelligence had said it would be. He really hoped that the information that it held was worth the cost of this mission!

Now all he had to do was find some transportation out of this dump and his job was nearly over. He went to the partition that separated the back of the building from the front, looking for a door. Easing it open, he could see into the front section. There it was, his ticket out of here! Man, and was she an A-ticket ride, too! Much sleeker than his had been, it sat lower to the ground and really looked like it could haul! And there wasn’t even anyone around it.

Must be a trick, he thought at first. No, must be the government, he reconsidered. Making his way towards it, he was startled to hear voices at the front of the building where the two guards had been. He slid into the driver’s seat, cautiously looking through the crack of the door to see what the commotion was.

He saw the four men whom he had seen at the accident scene standing there, motioning in towards his ride. What were they saying? He didn’t really care, because he was about to get out of here and pronto. He sat up and fired the vehicle up. The men turned towards him now, able to see him where he sat tall in the drivers’ seat. But he was smug in his abilities now and had little worry that they would be able to stop him.

He eased the vehicle forward towards the door, playing a dangerous game of chicken with the men and the guards. He saw the rifles of the two guards come up, the other men drawing semi-automatic pistols out from under their coats and hastily taking aim at him.

He goosed the throttle now, the powerful vehicle growling as the engine torque came up against the brakes. Easing up on them, he nudged closer to where the men stood before him. One of the guards, understandably nervous, opened fire, and that seemed to be the signal for the rest. Bullets whined off of the vehicle as they emptied their clips at him. “Sweet”, was all he could say as he wrapped all four of his hands around the controls, checked the gauges with one set of his six eyes, and pushed the throttle forward with all eight fingers.

He blasted out of the hanger, leaving the government men charred to a crisp by the plasma reactor trail. He was unused to the controls of this vehicle, it being so much more powerful than his little econo-box. Banking it hard to the left, he just barely clipped the sign that stood outside, sending the smaller white sign rattling across the ground and up against the fence. He could just read the number 51 on it as he blasted past it and over the fence, then roared down the highway, his hands busy trying to figure out the controls.

Finally he gained altitude, scorching out of the atmosphere, heading home. It was a long trip and the ship just didn’t seem to be handling quite right. He had to constantly adjust the heading to maintain his course. There were several red lights flashing across the board before him, but as long as he was heading in the right direction, he didn’t care! Finally he saw the open spaceport of home ahead of him, not nearly soon enough for him. Slowly gliding to a halt, he landed a bit abruptly, one of the landing gear actually crumpling a bit as the ship slammed down. Something was sure making the ship a bit slow to respond


Exiting, he looked under the ship and immediately spied the problem. Wedged into the gear-well was a large piece of metal, green, with large white Earth lettering on it. Pulling it out, he tossed it over onto a heap of scrap that was piled there awaiting meltdown. “You are now leaving Roswell…”

Authors' note: Yes, I did take a bit of license with some of this... being ex-military, I know that there are no fences around Area 51, but it sounded so much better to me to have that little bit of spy-thriller-skullduggery in there! I also know that there is no sign outside that says "You are now leaving Roswell" but once again... I think it adds that last little assurance that you did indeed read the story that you thought you did!





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