A Day in the Cornfield
by Glenn Gray
Roxy had almost passed out from the swinging. She never did well at amusement parks. Just watching a roller coaster made her want to throw up. A minute ago she saw Stew in the thing’s other hand and called out. She didn’t think he heard her.
But now she was on the ground, rubbing her head, the thing’s splayed fist nearby on the corn-ravaged dirt. She climbed to her feet and thought she heard Stew call her name. She ran towards his voice, yelling, “Stew!” while parting cornstalks with her hands.
* * *
Stew called out again, “Roxy!” and he ran and ran through the cornstalks and heard her voice and then he slammed right into her.
Then they were standing in a huge shadow. The thing was on its knees, moaning again. It started digging with both hands, like a dog looking for a bone, and mounds of dirt and broken cornstalks flew all around them.
Stew grabbed Roxy’s hand and headed for a clearing. Stew could hear the chopping blades of a helicopter and when they reached the open area, there it was, hovering, ladder hanging.
They yelled and waved and jumped up and down. Then bolted for the ladder.
Roxy grabbed the rungs and started to climb and then the shadow loomed again. The helicopter suddenly veered upward and away, Roxy halfway up, swinging, Stew just missing the last rung.
Stew fell to his face on the ground and then the crushing tightness.
He was in the thing’s hand again.
* * *
Roxy reached for the top of the ladder and felt a hand grab her shirt and arm, pulling, assisting her into the cabin of the helicopter. She flopped on her stomach, breathing heavily, turned and leaned to look outside. Stew was not behind her.
“Wait!” she yelled.
“Can’t, ma’am. Too dangerous! We’ll have to come back!”
“Stew!” Roxy could see the thing back on its knees in the cornfield, digging with one hand, holding Stew in the other.
The copter curved a wide arc away from the thing, and Roxy listened to the pilot chattering and the radio crackling.
Lying there, she inhaled, rubbed her eyes, put her head back, whispered, “Just hold on, Stew.”
Stew couldn’t believe it. So darn close. At least Roxy was okay, out of danger.
He wondered what the heck the thing was up to. Stew wriggled. Unlike earlier, he had both arms free. He tried to push himself out but couldn’t. No use. The grip was too tight.
He could see the thing’s hand wildly scooping out dirt, huge piles flying. It was digging up the whole field, scooping then leaning forward, then side to side. Dirt and corn rained down into Stew’s eyes and mouth.
Stew saw military vehicles in the distance, creeping up, circling the cornfield.
The thing dug and dug and then there was a clunk. The frantic digging slowed and it was wiping off the surface of a huge brown thing in the ground. Just like the one he jumped into in his cornfield.
The thing started pounding with its free fist, BOOM BOOM, and the surface cracked and started to cave in. A few more hard blasts and the surface shattered like an egg shell and great chunks fell in and the whole thing opened up, revealing a huge pool of steaming, bubbling gel.
Stew heard a noise and saw three helicopters carrying huge tanks and men in the open cabin holding fire hoses.
And then he was falling, along with the thing, into the bubbly cauldron.
* * *
Roxy could see everything from the helicopter as it circled around. Saw the thing dig up the cornfield and expose the tremendous meteor-looking structure. Well, that’s what the pilot said anyway. He said it was similar to the one in the other cornfield. The thing they discovered with the thermal testing.
“What are they doing now?” Roxy said. “We have to get Stew! Take me down there!”
“It’s okay. Hold on. Those tanks are going to help get rid of that monster. Long story, but while you were, well, incapacitated, one of the scientists discovered that the gel stuff dissolves with urine.”
“Real pee?” Roxy couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It seemed surreal.
“Like I said. Real genuine pee pee.”
She shook her head. “Take me down nearby. Please!? Anywhere. I have to be down there. I’m a staff sergeant in the police department!”
“Why didn’t ya say so?”
Roxy could see the pilot shift into action, a plan.
“I can get you somewhere safe, close by.” the pilot said.
When Roxy’s feet hit the ground, she looked up and watched the thing tip forward, looking almost like a dive, right into the pool of gel.
The tanks sprayed from the air and the trucks on the ground also sprayed huge fountains of liquid over the thing. Drenching it. Like trying to put out a great five alarm fire. But where was Stew?
Karl, Sheriff and Ida ran alongside Polowski, Gunny, and groups of soldiers towards the crater.
The trucks and copters exhausted their supplies of liquid. And then it was quiet.
Roxy got to the edge of the crater first and peered in. It was a huge cavity, like the biggest swimming pool in the world. It was now empty except for about a foot of steaming liquid at the bottom. No monster. No Stew.
Stew shot up out of the liquid, gasping for breath, on his knees, wiping his face, rubbing his eyes, shaking off like Bongo after a bath. He scrunched up his face, clearly reacting to the stinging odor.
He looked up. “Roxy!”
Stew stood and waded ankle deep in Roxy’s direction, pushing liquid with his shins, and got to the side of the crater, feeling the tall, smooth wall. He realized he wasn’t going to be able to climb up. He patted the sides with his palms.
Roxy gazed down, thought for a moment, then jumped, careening down the side like a long slide into a pool. She reached bottom and in a single motion jumped up into Stew’s arms.
They hugged and hugged, swung around, a little off-balance at first.
Stew pulled backed and looked at Roxy, a momentary silence and then he pulled her close, kissed her hard, mashing lips.
There was some clapping from above. It started with Karl, then the Sheriff then Ida and then everyone else joined in. There were some hoots and hollers. The applause continued. Some soldiers slapped each other’s backs, smiling.
“Someone throw them kids a ladder, will ya?” Ida finally yelled out. “And I think it’s a darn good time for a toddy!”
* * *
Back in the lab, the last of the remaining chunk of blob bubbled and vibrated within the glass beaker. A moment later, a small person stood in the beaker, a varied combination of Dr. Taylor, Stew, Ida, Karl, the Sheriff Roxy, dog and bird.
It stood silent, gazing through the glass, then placed a palm up to the glass, as if to feel. Balling its fist, it knocked at the glass then pounded harder and harder.
After a minute, it started to use both fists, banging and banging. Putting both hands on opposite sides of the glass, arms outstretched to the sides, it tried to rock the beaker. The glass container shifted slightly on the black counter, but did not tip.
The little person thing then threw its weight at the glass, sideways, shoulder and arm, and the beaker rocked slightly. Backing up to generate some speed and force, it ran forward and hit the side again. The beaker tipped then returned back to its base. Another shoulder slam harder and faster and the beaker tipped slowly, like a towering tree, just axed at its base, and fell on its side and rolled off the counter and smashed to bits on the tiled floor.
The little person thing sat amongst shards of glass, a bit dazed. It stood up, looked around, shook out its legs, then ran for the door.
Copyright © 2014 by Glenn Gray