A more recent story.
The Things They Would Call It
By Ronald Cypress
Wesley Beaufort was sitting in his lawn chair, just a few feet away from the pool in his backyard, when there was a bright lightening flash and a loud—but brief—buzzing sound above him. The light and the noise didn’t get Wesley’s attention. He had been sitting in the same spot for nearly two hours. There was a beer bottle that was almost empty resting by his right foot; another beer bottle was lying close to the edge of the pool and one was floating inside. Wesley had been gazing at the water when the flash of lightning and buzzing noise happened.
His eyes would stay on the water until part of a shadow appeared in it. Wesley looked up and saw a body falling. The body landed violently next to his pool. Wesley remained seated in the lawn chair, staring at what had just settled in his backyard. It appeared to be a man. Wesley slowly stood up to get a better look at who had just fallen from the sky.
He was certain that it was a man, a man whose skin was dark yellow. Wesley continued to stare, waiting for the man to do something more than just lie completely still. Wesley took a few steps towards the man to get a better look at the person who had just fallen from the sky. He noticed that the man was wearing a sleeveless, black shirt that appeared to be made out of leather. The shirt was a bit puffed up, and it reminded Wesley of a bulletproof vest. Around the man’s waist, going down to his knees, was what appeared to be a black, leather skirt.
What wasn’t covered by the two pieces of clothing was completely exposed. The man’s entire body was dark yellow. Wesley noticed that his arms and legs appeared to be fairly muscular. All four parts appeared to be normal for a human except that they were yellow. Looking over the man’s feet and hands, Wesley noticed that he had five toes on each foot and five fingers on each hand.
A loud gasp came from the man, and Wesley jumped back a few inches.
The dark yellow man from the sky continued to make loud gasping noises for a minute, and then the gasping turned into heavy breathing.
Wesley knew that the man was dying; it was obvious to him.
He took a few steps towards the strange man. Wesley noticed that there was something odd about the man’s head. Like the dark yellow skin, the man’s head indicated that he wasn’t a human. It almost appeared to be an acceptable human head, but it bulged out in several areas, mostly around the forehead and cheeks. Wesley considered that the head and skin could have been the result of an earthly disease or mutation, but more than likely the man wasn’t from Wesley’s planet.
The man from the sky continued to breath heavily as Wesley stared at him. He considered calling the police to inform them about the fallen man. He reached into his pocket and grabbed his cell phone. Wesley began to call the police, but he had a second thought. Wesley worried about what they were going to do to the fallen man. The man was an alien. They would probably want to call it that. Wesley imagined that the fallen man would eventually be put into the hands of the government, and there was no telling what they would do to him.
Another loud gasp came out.
Wesley jumped again.
The fallen man’s eyes were wide open, and he was staring directly at Wesley. The man took a few heavy breaths, and then his whole body turned blue.
“Jesus!” Wesley put his phone back in his pocket. “What are you?”
The fallen man was now dark blue, and Wesley began to have more questions and doubts about what was happening. He slowly backed away from the fallen man, returning to his lawn chair. Wesley suddenly had thoughts about the dead deer.
“The deer,” Wesley said.
He clasped his hands together as he continued to stare hard at the man from the sky.
“I can’t tell them about you,” Wesley told the fallen man. “I can’t mention this to anyone.”
Wesley observed the night sky. It appeared to be normal. He got up and quickly inspected what was around him. The neighborhood was completely quiet. No one else had noticed the fallen man landing in Wesley’s backyard. No one was around to look over the fence and see the strange man lying by Wesley’s pool. Completely alone, Wesley began to wonder about the existence of the fallen man.
“I’m doing it again,” Wesley said to the fallen man. “You’re just like the deer.”
The deer he was referring to was one he had seen several years ago. The dead deer had unexpectedly entered Wesley’s life at a time he was struggling with various personal problems. Wesley had been driving to work when he first saw the deer on the side of the road. There was nothing unique about the deer’s carcass. He was able to spot one at least once a week. Sometimes they were on the side of the road, and sometimes they were in the road. Wesley didn’t give the deer a second thought until he got to work and looked out of his office window. The dead deer was in the parking lot. He was certain that it was the same one he had seen in the road earlier that day. It had followed him to work. That wouldn’t be the only place it followed him. Later on, Wesley would see the deer lying in his front yard. For nearly a month, the dead deer continued to appear in his life. One time he even found it stuffed into his tub.
“And no one noticed it,” Wesley told the fallen man who had turned purple. “I was afraid to bring it up to anyone, because no one seemed to even notice the deer.”
It was true. The deer lay in the parking lot at work, and all of his coworkers completely ignored the dead deer. At home, his wife never discussed the fact that a dead deer was lying across their coffee table. No one paid attention to it, and eventually, after discussing it with his wife, Wesley was forced to see a therapist about the dead deer.
“I can’t let that happen again,” Wesley told the fallen man. “That woman wanted to put me away when I told her about the deer. I could see it in her face.”
Wesley had to learn how to lie and deal with the dead deer alone. Somehow, he was able to get the deer to go away. Wesley figured that it was a one-time thing, seeing something that other people didn’t.
“I’m not crazy,” Wesley told the fallen man.
The purple man was still breathing heavily and looking at Wesley.
“I’m not crazy,” Wesley said again. “Of course they won’t call it crazy. They call it other things. Try to put a name on it. But it will the same as calling me crazy and I’m not that.”
Wesley stared at the purple man, feeling sorry for the dying creature. He got up from his lawn chair and went over to the alien.
“They would call you an alien.” Wesley stood over the purple man. “If you’re real, that’s what they would call you. I bet you are real. You have to be real.”
Wesley wanted to kneel down and touch the dying alien, but fear kept him from doing so. Something bad would happen if he touched the purple man; Wesley was sure of it. He reconsidered calling someone for help. Perhaps the government would know how to keep the fallen man alive.
“Ooooooooh.” The purple man looked up at Wesley as he made the sound.
Wesley could see that the life was leaving the purple man’s eyes. He felt sympathy, but there wasn’t anything that he could do for the fallen man.
“It’s too bad you had to land here,” Wesley quietly said. “You should have landed in someone else’s backyard. They probably would have been able to help you. This coward can’t do anything for you. Either they’ll take me away, or they’ll take you away.”
Wesley went back over to his lawn chair and sat down. He picked up the beer bottle that was next to his feet and drank what was left in it.
“If you aren’t real,” Wesley said, pointing at the purple man. “I wonder why you…Why did you fall from the sky? Why not the deer again?”
Wesley placed the beer bottle down and thought about what his therapist had told him. She had something about symbols and what the dead deer could represent. Wesley knew that the deer wasn’t meant to represent anything. It was just showing up to bother him.
“She also talked about violence,” Wesley said. “Kept asking me if I wanted to harm anyone, including myself.”
Wesley smiled as he noticed all the stars in the sky.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” he said. “I’ve never wanted to hurt anyone. I just want to live in peace. Peace. Solidarity. Understanding. Quiet. Understanding. But no one understands.”
Wesley looked back at the fallen man.
If he were real, which Wesley still thought was very possible, then he had probably been cast out from a group or accidently lost. Wesley wondered if the fallen man’s kind was still up there in the sky, searching for their lost companion. Wesley turned his attention to the night sky again. There were a bunch of stars up there, but he didn’t spot anything that looked like a spacecraft.
“I really hope they do come get you,” Wesley said.
Wesley saw that the man was no longer purple but had quickly turned green.
“You keep changing,” Wesley whispered. “I wonder why you keep changing.”
His past therapist would have had some extensive explanation for why the fallen man was turning colors. It was all part of Wesley’s mindset. The colors would represent something to him. She would ask him more questions about his past and what kind of childhood he had. The therapist was a hack, and she didn’t know what she was talking about.
“No one knows what they’re talking about.” Wesley stood up and went back over to the green man. “You know, I don’t know why your people were even hanging around this planet. It’s a piece of crap, you know. And now you’re going to die here. That’s pathetic.”
Wesley looked down at the green man who was still fighting to breath.
“No one will ever believe you were here,” Wesley said. “I could take a picture, though.”
Wesley brought out his phone. He accessed the camera on his phone and held it up to take the picture. The fallen man didn’t appear on the screen. Wesley took the picture anyway, hoping that the green man would still appear in the image on his phone. The only thing in the picture was the grass and cement around the pool, part of the pool and the beer bottle that was floating in the pool.
Wesley was disappointed by the results of the picture, feeling like it almost verified that he was digressing back to the state he had been in when the dead deer plagued his life. He went back to the lawn chair and sat down.
“This isn’t good,” Wesley said as he set his phone down on his lap. “This really isn’t good.”
Wesley remembered how distressed he had been when the therapist talked about something possibly being wrong with him, even mentioning that what was wrong could land him in the hospital. She had given him the names of a few diseases, but Wesley didn’t want to hear them. He didn’t care about what they wanted to call it. The dead deer was very real to him. The green man was real to him.
Wesley pointed to the green man. “If I can see it, then who are they to tell me it’s not real?”
He returned to the dying man’s side and listened to the breaths that were fighting out of the green being.
“I bet people would love to see you,” Wesley said. He thought about gently touching the man with his foot but decided that could bring as much harm as touching the green man with his hands. “They would call you all kinds of things. Alien. Freak. Creature. Invader. Demon. But I know you’re just a man. You’re just a man who fell from his home.”
The green man gradually began to change colors, going from green to a light brownish color.
Wesley sighed. It was obvious that the fallen man was close to death. Wesley decided that he would keep the brown man company for as long as he was alive. He grabbed his lawn chair and brought it closer to the dying man. The brown man kept his eyes on Wesley as he sat down and began to talk about his life.
Wesley told him about how he was in his late thirties. He mentioned his wife, Kitty, and how they had been married for almost fifteen years. Wesley talked about where he had been born, brought up, and how he eventually came to live in his current residence. The brown man breathed heavily and listened, and Wesley hoped that his story would help put the fallen man’s mind at ease as he passed on.
“I used to be really nervous as a kid.” Wesley went back to this childhood. “If something like this happened to me as a child, I would have freaked out. I would have been running down the street screaming. Everything frightened me back then. I used to be afraid of the weirdest things, like planes crashing into our house, vicious animals escaping from the zoo and coming to our home or animals coming out of the sewers. I was always afraid. Now, I don’t feel that fear anymore. I feel fear, but it’s a different kind.”
Wesley and the brown man stared at each other, and Wesley realized that the fallen man had a look in his eyes that was similar to one that the dead deer had in the past. It was a look of sadness and pity. Wesley remembered how he sometimes felt like the dead deer was watching him even when his body wasn’t around. He considered that the dead deer could be some type of guardian angel, but that notion went away after speaking to the therapist.
“She would never let me keep something like you,” Wesley told the brown man. “They would want you to go away.”
Wesley had started telling the fallen man about his work in real estate when his phone buzzed and lit up. He had received a text message from his wife, one inquiring about how he was doing.
“That was Kitty,” Wesley said. “She’s visiting her mom right now. Actually, she went to her mom’s house to get away from me. She said she really just wanted to help with her sister, but I know she just wanted to get away from me. I haven’t been doing well lately. The economy around here has really screwed up my life. How’s the economy on your planet? Hope it’s better than down here.”
Wesley began to respond to his wife’s text.
“I’ll just tell her that I’m doing fine,” Wesley said. “I won’t tell her about you. She wouldn’t believe it. She would just worry more. Then she would make me go back to a therapist. They would call me things, but I’m not crazy.”
Wesley sent the text message and went back to talking to the fallen man.
“We’re not crazy.”
Wesley and the fallen man quietly kept each other company. The brown man’s breathing had slowed and was barely audible. Wesley was starting to feel tired and wanted to go inside to his bed, but he couldn’t let the fallen man die alone. Wesley began playing a game on his phone when the fallen man suddenly grunted and started to shake.
Wesley rose from his seat and backed away from the man.
The fallen man was changing colors again. His skin turned red, a dull red at first but he gradually became brighter. The red man continued to shake and twitch on the ground. Wesley understood what was happening. The fallen man was finally dying. It would be all over in a minute.
The fallen man suddenly made a gurgling sound, and a yellow liquid began to leak out of the creature’s mouth.
“Poor thing,” Wesley said.
He took a few more steps away from the dying man.
Wesley’s phone suddenly began to ring, and he answered it after seeing that his wife was calling.
“Hi, honey.” Wesley turned his back on the dying man.
Kitty just wanted to speak to him and make sure that he was truly okay. She also wanted to inform her husband about what was happening at her mom’s house. Kitty’s sister had left her husband again, taking their two children with her, and they were all staying at her mom’s house. Wesley listened carefully as Kitty went on about the chaos that was happening around her. The phone conversation lasted for several minutes, and after it was over Wesley turned around to look at the fallen man.
The man from space was no longer there. What was there was a deer’s head. With a grin on his face, the deer stared at Wesley. Shocked by what he saw, Wesley knew that it was time to go inside and head towards his bedroom. He kept his eyes on the deer’s head as he slowly moved toward the patio door.
“Someone is behind this,” Wesley said, continuing to move towards his house. “I never should have told you about him.”
Wesley stopped tiptoeing and pointed at the deer’s head.
“I did tell you about him!” Wesley yelled. “And I never should have told you a thing!”
Wesley opened the patio door, went inside his house and slammed the patio door shut. He rushed back to his bedroom, ready to lock himself away and forget about whatever it was he had encountered that night. The thing that came from the sky had meant to cause him more stress and personal harm. It was just as bad as the dead deer. Maybe it was the dead deer, back in a new form and ready to cause more torment.
Safe in his bedroom, Wesley wondered and worried about what he had come upon that night. He didn’t know what to call it but knew that other people would have names for it. They would want to call it certain things. He didn’t want to hear them.
“I’m not crazy.”
No. There was no need to hear them. Wesley would just go to sleep and forget about the fallen man and what he had turned out to be. It was a bad thing that had come to vex him. A bad and nameless thing that he hoped was really dead.