The Russian Who Fell to Earth Part 1
by Shane Migliavacca
"So, why did you come along?" She asked. Finally breaking the odd silence in the truck. Go on and tell her. Oliver thought. Tell her the truth.
Instead he lied.
"My sister. She thinks I don't have any friends."
"Oh." She said. "Yeah. Your sister can be quite persuasive."
She didn't seem to buy it.
Oliver watched the trees go by. He was trying not to stare at her. Rochelle Allen. The new girl in school. Fresh from Kentucky. Tall, dirty blonde hair. Always in a ponytail. Wearer of flannel jackets and countless heavy metal T-shirts. Strange he hadn't once heard her listing to any metal when she showed up in her truck at school. It was always country songs. Being new she was both an outsider and the object of attention. Oliver had been smitten since her first day there. Seeing her across the gymnasium in her gym outfit. His sister, Cindy knew. She had teased him about it already. He didn't doubt that she had invited him along as part of some game. A day at the lake. With the girl of your dreams. What could go wrong? How about an awkward ride there. They'd barely talked since she'd picked him up.
You'd rather be riding her, right? Oh shut up. He told himself.
"So, we're meeting them there I guess." He said. Try to make conversation. Although he had a feeling he'd embarrass himself less with the awkward silence. He had been wanting to comment on the gun rack in the cab behind them. The two rifles hanging there didn't bother him. His dad was a hunter. Oliver had been around them for as long as he could remember. But he was curious what she was doing with a rifle. The rack was always empty when she showed up at school, for obvious reasons.
"I used to back in Kentucky with my dad. Haven't since we moved. You hunt?"
"No. My dad does. He might be able to hook you up with some good spots."
Up ahead of to the left was a shitty looking little gas station/convenience store combo.
"Is that a gas station?" She asked. As they got near.
She turned the truck suddenly. Barely making the turn off. Oliver dug his hands into the door and dash. Trying not to look like he was about to shit his pants. Was she a part time NASCAR driver?
She pulled the truck up to one of the pumps. She got out. Oliver did too. He looked around them. This place was really out in the middle of nowhere.
"Last stop before the zombie apocalypse." Oliver said.
"I'm gonna get some stuff inside. Can you get the gas?"
"You know how to use it right?"
Great emasculate me more. He watched her walk towards the store. The combo of tight jeans and boots she was wearing was driving him crazy. A warm breeze blew through chilly morning air. A woman in a bright yellow dress walked towards him. She had a flower in her hair. Her face was somewhat old looking despite the fact that she looked to be only in her late thirties.
"I'm Zoe Jupiter. This is my place. I just wanted to thank you for stopping here."
"Sure. No sweat. Seems nice. Do you get many people out here?"
"A few. Here and there."
As if on cue two four wheelers rumbled down the road and pulled into the gas station. Two men were riding them. The first man, tall with a beard wore a long duster and camouflage pants. The second man, wore a camouflage jacket and ripped jeans. They talked to one another. Glancing in Oliver's direction before walking into the convenience store.
"I'd get my business done and take your girlfriend and leave as soon as I could." Zoe said.
"What? Why? My girlfriend? Really? You think so?"
"Them boys tend to stir up trouble."
After filling up the truck Oliver entered the store. The store reminded him of the stores he loved as a kid. They had a little bit of everything for sale. If this place had a rack of comic books for sale it would be perfect. Behind the counter sat a heavy set middle aged man who was busy reading a magazine. Mr. Jupiter maybe? Rochelle had one of those basket things people used when they didn't want a shopping cart. She had it filled with a few odds and ends. It looked mostly like junk food.
The two guys from the four wheelers were in the back of the store laughing rather loudly.
Oliver went over to the man behind the counter.
"I got ten bucks worth."
"Sure." The man said. Not even looking up from what he was reading.
Oliver handed him the money. He should have asked her if she wanted to pay or not. But hell, he was smitten with her. Even if she could give a fuck or not.
She walked over to the register. "All set?" She
"Yup. I already took care of the gas."
"Oh, I would have got that."
"No. That's okay."
"Well I got us some snacks."
She sets the basket on the counter. The cashier puts his magazine down. Oliver could tell from the look on his face he was real pleased to have to work.
"Can I get a pack of Dollenger Golds too," She said.
The man sighed as he got up to get the pack of cigarettes.
The two guys got in line behind Rochelle.
"Hello, hello honey." The taller guy said.
Rochelle ignored him.
Oliver looked at the guy.
"He's not talking to you girly." The short guy said. Looking at Oliver with a sneer.
The tall guy started flicking Rochelle's pony tail with his fingers. She just ignored him.
"Hey. Quit that." Oliver said.
"Hey. Quit that." The short guy said. Mocking him.
The cashier rang up Rochelle's stuff. He seemed to be ignoring them altogether.
He continued to flick Rochelle's pony tail.
Oliver grabbed the guy by the arm He wasn't all too sure he should. Or why he did. Well, he knew the why. He was no hero but these guys were assholes. Sadly for Oliver they were crazy assholes.
"Don't you ever touch me." The tall guy said. His short buddy grabbed Oliver. Pushing him against the counter. Pinning him there. His right arm pressed into the side of the counter. Leaving only his left arm free.
"Guys. Just leave." The cashier said.
"Keep out of it tubby."
Rochelle turned around. "You heard him. Leave."
The tall one looked at Rochelle. "You’re a hot little piece of white trash baby. Dig that accent. Were you from?" He tries to touch her face.
"I'm from the corner of fuck and you."
She grabs his hand and twists his arm, spinning him around. She pins his arm against his back.
"You heard the nice man. Leave now." She tightens the pressure on his arm. "Let my friend go."
"Bitch." The tall guy said. He reaches into his jacket. Pulling out a combat knife from his jacket. Rochelle sees the blade in his hand. He tries to stab backwards at her. Forcing her to lets him go.
"Jesus Bo. Knock this shit off." The cashier said.
Bo, the tall one ignored him.
The short guy sneered at the cashier. "You know who or uncle is. Be good."
"Gonna cut that pony tail off. Feed it to ya."
Oliver tried to push the little guy off. But the guy was strong. He seemed to have no problem holding him there against the counter. Oliver looked around him. There had to be something to get this asshole off him.
Bo advanced on Rochelle. Who for her part didn't seem all the concerned. Bo took a playful, halfhearted swing at her.
"Woo. Gonna get you."
Bo's friend was watching the "fun" and not watching Oliver. Oliver saw a small bottle at the end of the counter. A display of hot sauce. He inched his free arm towards it.
Rochelle backed up as Bo continued to play with her. Swinging the blade back and forth. Cutting through the air.
"You know honey, if you blow me out behind the store, all is forgiven."
Oliver's arm started to burn as he stretched it. He could feel the bottle. Almost. It started to fall out of his reach. Yes! He grabbed it. Oliver swung the glass bottle, but his arm hurt and his swing was off. Instead of hitting the guy in the head, he waked him in the shoulder.
"Ow! Son of a bitch!" The short guy let Oliver go. Holding his shoulder.
Bo turned his attention from Rochelle.
"Quit fucking around Johnny." Bo said.
Rochelle made her move. She grabbed Bo's knife arm. Twisting it. He let the knife go. Grunting in pain. With her other hand, Rochelle took Bo's hand. Johnny his friend turned to help and Oliver tripped him. Johnny crashed into a display of beef jerky and went down.
"You have a real poor attitude." Rochelle said.
There was a loud crack as she broke Bo's pinky finger with her hand.
She broke another finger.
"Oh shit!" Bo screamed.
Johnny pulled his own knife out. He tried to get up off the floor. But Oliver had popped the cap off the bottle of hot sauce. Which he introduced to Johnny's face.
Johnny trashed around in the broken display. Beef jerky bags flying about. He dropped his knife as he tried to wipe the hot sauce off his face.
Bo fell to his knees. Rochelle scooped up his knife.
"Oliver. We're going."
"Thank god." The cashier said.
Oliver grabbed their groceries. Rochelle took out a bunch of bills and handed them to the cashier.
"For our stuff and um...damages."
Rochelle gunned the engine of her truck and they left the store behind them. Oliver could see Zoe Jupiter standing there. Watching them leave. The dust swirling around her.
"Holy shit." Oliver said. He hadn't stopped breathing hard since they left the store. "Do all girls from Kentucky fight like you?"
A cigarette hung from her lip. Smoke curled around her head.
"That was some crazy shit. You can really handle yourself."
"You weren't so bad yourself."
Oliver looks down. Noticing Bo's knife setting on the seat next to them.
"You took his knife?"
"Least I could do. He was gonna use it on me. Besides it's cool."
The others had already arrived by the time Rochelle pulled into the small dirt parking space. There were four of them there. Talking and drinking. Sitting on Trevor's car. His sister Cindy. She was older then him by a year. She'd be done with high school next year. Cindy could be overprotective one day and busting his balls the next. But they had always got along. She was here with her boyfriend Trevor. Trevor looked like your typical high school douche bag. That's what Oliver had figured him for when they first met. To Oliver's surprise Trevor was a pretty decent guy. The other girl there was Jan. Cindy's best friend. Now Jan, she was your typical high school girl. Boys. Talking on the phone. Shopping. That was Jan. The last one there was Jan's boyfriend Andy. Oliver didn't know Andy that well. He seemed like a bit of a hothead.
Rochelle grabbed Oliver's arm as he undid the seat belt.
"I'd owe you one if you didn't mention what happened."
"It's just...your sister and Jan. They just started talking to me. Asked me to hang out. I don't want them to freak."
"About your monster ass kicking powers? Don't worry. Goes no further than the truck."
She patted him on the arm. Maybe he could get a kiss out of her by the end of the day. That would be something. They got out of the truck. Rochelle dropped the cigarette to the ground. Crushing it under her boot.
Andy who had been sitting on the trunk of the car slide off. "About time." He said.
"Stop for a quick getting to know you?" Jan says. She laughs the most annoying laugh.
"We stopped for gas." Rochelle said. "And we picked up a few extra snacks."
"Could to see you man." Trevor say. Nodding to Oliver. "I know what a recluse you can be sometimes."
"Let’s get this show on the road." Andy says.
Trevor pops his trunk open. He pulls out a couple fishing poles. Andy picks up a large cooler. Cindy and Jan take a couple shopping bags from the back seat of the car. Rochelle took the bag of stuff she got at the gas station. Oliver stood there empty handed.
"Ollie." Cindy says. "You don't think you’re getting off so easy do you? Grab those blankets in the trunk."
The six of them made their way down a small dirt path in the woods. It was a longer walk then Oliver remembered. Maybe he was just getting older. Getting to worn out. Finally it looked like they were near the end. The woods ended. Opening up to a clearing. He could see Blackwell Lake. Hear the lapping of the water. The path ended in a short dirt hill that lead down to the beach. Cindy and Trevor went down to sit on the beach. Trevor mentioned something about teaching Cindy how to fish. Knowing his sister, that wasn't going to end well. Andy and Jan were kissing. When weren't they? Oliver thought.
"We're going to-" Andy started.
"-explore." Jan finished.
Oliver sat down on the hillside. Rochelle stood a few feet away. "Explore all right." She said. She looked at Oliver. "This is a nice set up ya' know?"
"What do you mean?" He said. He knew his oblivious act was completely transparent.
"Your sister is trying to fix us up."
Oliver laughs. "Wouldn't put it past her."
Go on! Tell her!
Rochelle looks out at the lake. "It's bigger then I figured it'd be."
"Yeah, Blackwell Lake is pretty big." Oliver said.
"I've been out on the Atlantic a couple times with my parents. Makes this look like a drop of water."
"When I was a kid, I used to dream about being a pirate. I loved the thought being on one of those old ships. Exploring new lands. The endless ocean. Seemed so peaceful."
"It really is pretty peaceful. You should go sometime."
Cindy sat listing to her MP3 player as Trevor fished. She turns and calls up to Oliver. "Ollie! You know what we left back in the car!"
"The bug spray and my sun tan lotion."
Oliver gets up. "Okay. I'll get it."
"If I don't, she'll just bug. Family."
"I'll tag along." Rochelle says. "Make it look good."
They made their way back down the path. Oliver listened to the birds chirping in the trees. Really was peaceful out here. Rochelle was a couple steps behind him.
"You and your sister get along really good." Rochelle says.
"Yeah, most of the time."
She laughs. "I kind of envy it. After I was born, they told my mom she couldn't have any more kids."
"That's too bad. Did you get spoiled being an only child?"
"I guess. I mean I don't really have anything to compare it to."
They walked in silence for a bit. Then Oliver worked up the courage to ask her a question that had be on his mind for some time.
"So." Oliver said. "I like your taste in shirts. A lot of cool metal bands."
"But you always have country playing whenever you come to school."
"I like both." She answered. "Country kind of eases me into the day. I listen to metal later when I want to unwind."
Mystery solved. See that wasn't so bad. Tell her how you feel bright boy. They finally reached where the cars were parked. Oliver started hunting through Trevor's car for his sister's stuff. Trevor's car was a mess. Littered with used wrappers from burgers. Empty soda bottles and Styrofoam coffee cups. And dirty clothes. It had the smell akin to used coffee grounds. "What a damn mess." Oliver said. Looking under the passenger's seat. That's where he found both the bug spray and the sun tan lotion. "Found 'em." He got out of Trevor's car and not a minute too soon. The mess in the car was making him nauseous.
Rochelle was busy checking out her truck as Oliver walked over to her. "You look like you’re gonna get sick." She said.
"Trevor's car. It's like a city dump on wheels."
Rochelle stuck her newly acquired knife in her belt.
"What are you gonna use that for?"
"You never know. Ready to head back?"
About halfway back to the beach Oliver stops.
"You hear that?"
Rochelle stops and listened. There was the faint sound of moaning.
"The hell is that?" Oliver set the cooler down.
"It's coming from over there." She said pointing. She starts walking towards it. "C'mon."
She starts off. Oliver watches her. He shrugs and hurries after her,
The moaning gets louder as they near. Rochelle hides behind a large dead tree lying on its side. She motions for Oliver to duck down.
"What is it?" He whispers.
"You can't tell?" She whispers back. "Take a peek."
Oliver slowly looks over the side of the dead tree. Andy and Jan were locked together. Andy's pants around his ankles. Oliver drops down again.
Rochelle laughs. "I got an idea. Play along."
"Oh baby!" She moaned loudly. "Right there!"
Oliver laughed. "Almost there!"
"Just a little more!" He said. "Stay on target!"
Rochelle starts laughing. She slaps Oliver's arm.
Jan hollers. "What the fuck?"
Oliver peeks his head over the tree trunk. Walking towards their hiding place with purpose was Andy. Hiking up his pants as he went. "Fucking shits! I see you!" Oliver ducked back down.
"We'd better run." Oliver said. He could barely keep from laughing.
Suddenly there was a loud crash. As Jan's swearing turned into screaming.
The hole had opened up under Andy's feet. Oliver and Rochelle moved with caution towards it. Jan terrified to move stayed on the other side of it. Calling out to Andy. After a few long minutes he answered.
“I’m okay. I guess."
Oliver stared down into the hole. It opened up a gradual incline leading into the darkness.
"See anything Andy?" Oliver asked.
"Jack and Shit" He hollered back.
"Nope. But there's something big and metal that broke my fall."
"Hang on." Rochelle said. "We'll get a flashlight and come get you."
They came back a few minutes later with Trevor and Cindy in tow. Jan had made her way over to the hole. She was talking to Andy.
"They're back babe."
"Good. I want to get the fuck out of here."
Oliver clicked on the flashlight. "Hand me the rope."
Rochelle and Cindy took the rope and tied it securely around a nearby tree and handed it to him. Oliver started into the hole. The loose dirt was rough going. Frequently giving out under him. Forcing him to hold tight to the rope to keep his footing. After about fifteen feet down he reached a small drop off. He shined the light down. The light reflected off a metal surface. He ran the beam over it till he saw the dirty face of Andy. He squinted from the light. To the right of him the light caught a clear window in the metal object.
"Oh shit." Oliver said.
"What?" Andy asked.
Oliver didn't answer.
"Don't turn around."
Behind Andy, through the window Oliver saw a stark white face of a man inside the metal object.
The others made their way down to the cramped cave. Except for Jan, who waited by the hole. Oliver hunched down in front of what was essentially a metal coffin on its side. Rocks from the cave in lie in front of it. A couple large rocks lie on top of it. He ran the beam of the flashlight over it. Stopping at a strange marking.
"Why don't we just cover the hole and say fuck it?" Trevor asked.
"We need to tell the cops." Cindy said. "This guy could be a missing person."
"Hey guys." Oliver interrupted.
"You guys figure it out." Andy said. He took up the rope and headed up. "I've had enough of this place."
Rochelle noticed what Oliver was looking at. "What is that?"
"Looks Russian." He answered.
"Russian?" Trevor asked. "How do you know?"
"Because I've seen Russian lettering before."
"Maybe he's a Russian Astronaut?" Cindy said.
"Cosmonaut sis." Oliver answered.
Rochelle looked at the dead white face. "Why's his face that white?"
"No idea. Maybe he's an albino."
"We gotta tell the cops." Cindy said.
"I agree sis."
"Yeah, let's go." Trevor said.
They started up. One at a time. The ground crumbling under their feet as they go. Unnoticed by them a large rock rolls down the incline. It flies over the drop off as if guided and hits the window on the metal coffin. Long shut eyes flicker open.
back to Horror