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A Day in the Cornfield

by Glenn Gray

part 18

One day, Karl and Stew discover strange “turd”-like things appearing in their cornfield. The things have a strange power of mimicry, and their intentions are far from clear. Karl and Stew elicit the help of Sheriff Maynard and his daughter Roxy. Consternation ensues, and the once quiet farm becomes the epicenter of national attention.

It wasn’t long before the entire farm was quarantined and infiltrated by hordes of military troops and government vehicles.

The local fire department was there too and had taken care of the burning house, which was for the most part destroyed. They extinguished all the other smoldering fires in the yard and in the cornfield and around the pool as well.

A first-aid center was set up in an open clearing and a crude lab manned by several scientists was assembled in the clearing.

A local construction company was brought into action and cranes, dump trucks and drilling devices began to roll onto the farm.

The Army Special Forces were in the process of sending over a Cobra Helicopter complete with thermal testing equipment that could be used from the sky. The Marines Special Operations were sending a ground thermal and geological assessment unit for their own evaluation.

In the meantime, small groups of soldiers and scientists were inspecting the ground where Roxy had disappeared, prodding and poking with high-tech equipment and drilling small holes.

The Sheriff, Ida, Karl and Stew milled about anxiously, awaiting any word on Roxy. Ida had the Sheriff’s arm again and wouldn’t leave his side. Karl had a hand on Stew’s shoulder, talking closely, reassuring him that Roxy was okay.

Nearby, Polowski’s mobile buzzed. It was Dr. Kristine Taylor from the lab.

Dr. Taylor told Polowski about how Pierre, the driver, had crashed his car and was yelling and screaming about the container, saying how the blob had looked like a little man, like a man in the cornfield. And when she looked at it, it was just a blob.

Polowski asked her to describe what Pierre said the man looked like, what he was wearing. He looked at Stew as she spoke and nodded. She described Stew exactly.

Polowski shook his head, told her not to worry and to get the testing done quickly.

He punched off the phone as the Cobra helicopter came into view. The sound was intense. It whoop-whooped overhead, very low, and grumbled by slowly. The ground trembled and the wind kicked up. It hovered in one spot for a long moment, then circled around two more times in wide arcs. It floated directly overhead one more time then shot away, disappearing in the distance

A short time later, Polowski got a call on his mobile.

Sheriff, Ida, Karl and Stew stepped closer, trying to get within earshot.

Polowski nodded, grunted. “Yes yes yes.” Then finally, “What?”

His face was crunched up, hard.

It was a beat before Polowski slid the phone in his pocket.

He glanced over, shook his head. His eyes scanned the cornfield, said, “Unbelievable.”

* * *

Polowski called an emergency meeting. Gathered several people into a wide circle, including Kary Kelly, head of the ground scientific research team, Bill Gailstrom, Air Force, and Patrick Skelton, National Guard. He let Sheriff Maynard, Ida, Karl and Stew stand close and listen in.

Polowski quieted everyone down and cleared his throat. “Just got a report from the air. Thermal testing. Seems there’s a massive structure under this-here cornfield, maybe three hundred feet in diameter.”

A little mumbling, head nodding, whispering.

“It’s hot. They think it’s fluid-filled. The boys are thinking maybe it’s some kind of meteor.”

Stew yelped. “Knew it!”

Everyone looked over.

Karl said, “Shushit, Stew.”

Stew whispered, “I said it wasn’t from here, didn’t I?”

“Please, boys.” Polowski shot Stew a glance, then turned back to the main group. “One more thing. They see a hot spot moving around in there, swimming around.” He nodded at the Sheriff. “Must be your daughter.”

“Roxy!” Stew shouted. “We gotta get her!”

Two military men jogged over to the group, looking serious. “Captain Polowski,” one of the soldiers said. “We finished the ground ultrasound evaluation. We confirm a huge fluid-filled structure. Egg-shaped. Bout two hunnerd feet deep at its max.”

“Okay,” Polowski said, more to himself. “Looks like we got us some kinda hot meteor.”

“It’s all homogeneous, except we’re making out what appears to be a person” — the man pointed — “moving around near the surface over there.”

“Roxy!” Stew yelled and leaped from the group. He sprinted toward the area where the man had pointed, where Roxy had been sucked underground, and as he neared the hole he sprang straight up as if catapulted, toes pointed down, arms at his sides like an Olympic diver, and disappeared feet first into the earth.

Karl was just behind. He skidded up to the edge of the crater, called, “STEEEEWWWW!”

“Goshdangit, boys!” Polowski shouted. “Get that crane out here!”

To be continued...

Copyright © 2009 by Glenn Gray

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