We should have already been in bed by that time, but as we sometimes tend to do, we had piddled around at this thing and that until it had become quite late–well past our usual bedtime. Right now I don’t remember what either of us was doing, but that part is not important. Seems to me I was probably getting ready for bed when my husband appeared with a puzzled look on his face.
“Will you come and look at something and tell me what you think?”
For clarity in this report, I need to explain the layout of the land here. We live on the downside of a road that runs parallel to and just below the top of a hill, and is the western border of the city limits of our small town. Our neighbor Betty lives next door to us on the south, and between her driveway and ours is a strip of land we refer to as “the park.” When Betty and her husband moved next door to us, he had just been diagnosed with cancer, and he lived about two years after they moved here.
One day shortly after moving in next door, she said to me, “Let’s make a park between our driveways.” The area between our driveway and hers was basically a somewhat unattractive rectangle of scruffy trees, weeds, and grass. This was new construction out here at the time so we hadn’t been here too long ourselves. We really didn’t care that much what that area looked like anyway, so had done nothing to it short of getting rid of the briars and weeds and picking up fallen tree limbs. Of course only a narrow strip of it was ours and the rest of it was hers. But knowing she needed something to take her mind off her husband’s illness, I agreed to work with her to build a park.
The two of us hauled rocks by the pick-up load from an area creek bed, dug two holes in the ground, a large one and one not so large, lined them with rubber sheeting, and built two ponds and waterfalls. We started putting in plants from the nursery here and there and she added various tables, chairs, “porch” swings, rocking chairs, hanging baskets, flower-filled antique washing machines, rock walks, a cactus bed—you name it. She loves that park and thrives when she works in it. It overwhelms me. Through the years, I’ve pretty much backed off and left it to her. My husband mows the small part that belongs to us when he mows the rest of our yard, I try to rake the leaves off our side once or twice a year, and that’s pretty much the extent of our involvement with it these days.
Across the road from the park is an empty lot that extends from the road to some undefined line on the other side of the hill. I think the owner of the house to the south end of the lot now owns it, but for a long time it sat empty and neglected. Now it looks a bit park-like itself.
Back to my story. Seems my husband had, for some reason, looked out the kitchen window towards the road and what he had seen had upset him a bit. Now I was looking as well. It appeared to me that there were lights of various colors appearing at the top of the hill across the road and moving down the hill, across the road, and into the park. I went to a window in the south end of the house and looked out. What I saw chilled me to the bone.
Right next to the front of Betty’s house one of the lights seemed to have separated itself from the others. It appeared to be moving around, changing from green to red to blue but remaining in the same general area, like a sentry on duty. I fought down the impulse to call and warn her to make a hasty exit out her back door and flee.
In my mind’s eye, I could see a spaceship parked just over the top of the hill across the road from the park. Aliens were pouring out of the spaceship, bearing lights of various colors, crossing the road and coming through the park, and would soon be upon us. I must have been in a state of shock, seeing things going on that I had previously experienced only in scary movies.
Let me emphasize here that I’m not a person who tends to panic over imaginary events, or anything else for that matter. I’m usually the level-headed one who can figure out how to handle a crisis. But I also have never had a closed mind.
While I’ve never been sure if I believed in aliens in space ships or not, I’ve never called anyone who claimed to have seen one a liar. I’ve always had a barely conscious fear of being taken into a space ship and having various physical tests run on my body before being returned to the real world. But at the same time, I’ve never actually thought it would happen. Now I wasn’t so sure.
My husband decided he would walk up the driveway to the road and see what he could find out. I thought he had lost his mind. I begged him not to go. Of course, being a man and my protector, he felt he had no choice.
So he walked slowly up the driveway and soon I could see him no more. Pictures of little green men hauling him into their space craft and starting to work on him appeared in my mind. He has a morbid fear of most things medical, at least if it involves being put to sleep, so I was suffering for him.
It seemed to me he had been gone an awfully long time. Finally I crept out the front door, sans porch light, stood on the edge of the porch and called his name. Nothing. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I rushed back inside and locked the door. Wondering what to do next, I peeked from the kitchen window, hoping to get at least a glimpse of the man I’ve been married to for the last 54 years. I was too embarrassed to even pray. I toyed with the idea of calling 911 but feared the repercussions of that. So I just waited.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he was at the door and I was opening it. He asked, in the same tone he would use if he had mislaid his warm gloves, “Did you know Betty had put those new lights up in the park? There are green, red, and blue ones that flash on and off randomly. If you let your imagination go wild, especially from below the park, it looks like they’re marching down the hill, crossing the road, and creeping through the park.”
Shortly afterwards, having already had my nightmare for the night, I went to bed and slept peacefully.