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MY SUMMER CAMPING TRIP
March 14, 1999
The six of us were to have spent a quiet fishing trip. Nothing complicated, just four or five says of quiet fishing on a private lake in Florida, a warm, winter vacation from the northern cold. But Mr. Murphy and his Law decided otherwise. Jimmy, Bobby and I had set up camp, but they were called back to the city on the second day to deal with emergency surgery. I was going to stay alone at the campsite until Pierre, Josiah, and Weaver-the-fever arrived the day after tomorrow afternoon, a day and a half late thanks to snow delays in Boston.
Just after midnight on the first night, two men came into the campground, overpowered me, and beat me unconscious. I regained consciousness just after sunrise. I was chained naked and spread-eagled to the ground near the campfire. They had taken the truck and most of the camping equipment. I could have just hiked out of the woods and got help if it were not for the chains. I screamed a lot that morning, but no one was around to hear me. I figured I had to make it through today and tonight before Pierre, Josiah and Bobby would get to the camp.
As the sun rose higher in the sky, I began to sweat, and the bugs crawled all over me. I wouldn't have minded if the bugs had just crawled over my body and my arms and legs, but they crawled across my face, up my nose, in my hair, over my eyes, and all the other parts of my body. I late morning, an large number of ants swarmed across by stomach and all over my crotch.
I must have fallen asleep near midday and I woke up to a pair of squirrels jumping all over me. Their fur was soft and their touch was light. The explored my body and face. It was very annoying.
By late afternoon, I was thirsty, my body felt hot, sun burnt and hungry. My back ached from lying on hard ground. I tried to stretch my muscles to relieve the cramping, but there wasn't much leeway in the chains to stretch. I watched the forest until sunset.
The full moon rose early and lit the surroundings bright enough for me to see the clearing where I was chained. When looked up, I could see an arc of the Milky Way and lots of stars. The night bugs came out in force to try to eat me alive, a raccoon sniffed me and decided to wander away, and some field mice ran over my body. I didn't think that any of the forest creatures would harm me, at least as long as any black bears stayed away.
I tried counting stars to get tired and sleep. As I watched, I noticed that one of the stars got brighter and seemed to move across the sky. The rest of the stars merely circled Polaris, but this star seemed to grow larger and larger. It was heading right towards me. At least that was the thought that ran through my already paranoid brain. This was all that I needed to cap off the weekend! Struck down by a meteor.
I watch the sky, as the bright spot seemed to travel directly at me. I wanted to move out of the clearing, but I was chained. Afraid it was going to land on me! My paranoid mind screamed, I'm gonna die, crushed by a meteor. I could just imagine the headlines in the newspaper: "NAKED MAN CRUSHED BY METEOR!" I discovered panic and made friends with it, squirming and thrashing around, trying to get out of the way.
But, whatever I did, the spot just grew brighter and larger until the glowing object crashed into the ground just below my feet. Grass, dirt and stuff flew everywhere. I screamed that the end was near.
But, I was still alive and seemingly unhurt. WHAT A RUSH! Not many people have seen a small meteor land. And here I was, ALIVE! Six feet closer and the meteor would have splattered my guts into god knows where. But it didn't do that. I survived a meteor crash.
Here I was, naked, dirty, bug-bit, tied to the ground, looking at a small, rocky meteor in a crater just a few feet away from me. Groovy! Wonderful! Life couldn't be better! Maybe NASA or the CIA would quarantine the area and find me. I laughed at the prospect.
Or at least I tried to laugh at the irony. My heart was still pumping a mile a minute and my nerves were still fried. I tried to settle down, but I noticed that the meteor was glowing. No mistake about it, the meteor was the only light around, alternating between golden-yellow and a deep blue. It made me nervous.
All that euphoria and here I was again, naked, dirty, bug-bit, tied to the ground and looking at a small meteor pulsing in two colors. It made me nervous one might say, neurotic even.
But what really drove me to a screaming-in-fright-frenzy was when the meteor split in half and I watched a baseball-sized blob of silly putty ooze out. It was a little glowing bluish blob. Golden-yellow highlights swam across its surface. Slowly it moved over the ground towards my naked, dirty, bug-bit body. I tried hard to break the chains, but they were too good. I screamed really loud hoping to frighten the blob. But the blob didn't have ears and just ignored me.
When the blob finally crawled up on my foot, it was like an electric shock went through my body. I lay there frozen in terror and watched in horror as it slowly made it's way up my leg, across my stomach and onto my chest.
It just stood there. Well, sat, perched, squatted, bounced, perched, whatever blobs do, right in the middle of my chest. It had centered itself just to the left of the breastbone over my heart. I lay there stunned, watching the blob change shapes. First a cube, then a pyramid, then a donut, then back to a cube. It did this for several minutes.
I finally screamed: "What do you want?"
It turned itself into a small pouch and made a loud, vulgar noise. Then it went back to forming shapes. I still didn't know what it wanted, but I knew it was intelligent. It was alive and it had spoke to me! When movies show these first encounters, they are always so erudite and noble and elevated. This little piece of silly putty just gave me the Bronx cheer.
I screamed a few vulgarities at the thing. But the blob just stayed where it was. Finally, it formed a blue cylinder about an inch in diameter and 12 inches long. A golden-yellow energy pulse moved up and down the length of the cylinder. I watched wondering what was going to happen when one of the energy pulses entered my chest.
It hurt. I felt pain. Real pain! The energy pulse had opened a hole in my chest! I couldn't see blood, but I did see exposed muscle. A second pulse exposed my ribs and breastbone. The third and subsequent pulses the exposed bones and opened a two inch hole through them. Each time the pulse travel into my chest, I could feel the energy course through my body. I struggled and screamed, fearing death by evisceration. I could see my beating heart.
As fast as the blob had begun my alien, open-heart surgery, it stopped. The rod shape softened and formed a ball and sunk into my chest, surrounding my heart and then filling the hole it had made. Golden-yellow pulses flowed out from it and closed the opening in my chest. It left a blue and gold star as big as my fist covering the hole it had opened in my chest. For a long time, I stared at my chest. Every few minutes a golden-yellow pulse would mark the alien's presence. The pulse would cover the star and flow over my chest. I could feel the skin and bones healing. The alien was sealing itself inside me.
Here I was, naked, dirty, bug-bit, chained to the ground, abandoned, not only that, but now, I had an alien creature living in my chest. Who was going to believe a story like this one? What else could go wrong on this trip? Well, at least it wasn't raining. But then I usually underestimate these things.
I looked up at the sky and realized that it had clouded over, a cold rain had started to fall and as I got wet, I could feel the heat draining from my body. I began to worry about hypothermia. Involuntarily, my body started to shiver to try to stay warm. There were too many hours until morning to be exposed in weather like this. I tried to make myself smaller so that I could retain warmth, but the chains held my body exposed to the coldness.
Suddenly! Unexpectedly! I felt a large energy pulse build in my chest and travel up through the alien, surged through my chest and spread all over my body. I could see the glow linger all over my body. It felt warm and comforting, like a second skin or a coat of fur. It happened a second and a third time. All told, I counted a half dozen pulses. With each pulse, my body glowed with the same golden-yellow glow that I had seen on the alien. I didn't feel the cold and I no longer felt the rain. The glowing pulses made me feel sleepy and disoriented. Just before I lost consciousness, I remember rolling on my side and curling up into tight little ball.
I woke in that odd half-light that exists just before dawn. I was surprised to find that I was curled up on my side, with my knees at my chest and my head resting on my arms. The chains that had held me during the previous day and night were laying next to me. They looked like they had been cut apart. As I reached out my hands to examine the chains, I realized that a golden-yellow fur covered my body. It covered my entire body. My hands, my arms, my feet, my face, even those personal areas were covered with a warm golden fur.
I felt my chest for signs of the hole the alien had made in my chest, but it felt like the rest of my fur-covered skin. The only evidence was a dark blue colored, star-shaped blaze. The star's arms ended in thin lines to each of my limbs.
"Sun!" The word entered my thoughts and automatically, I looked around to see where I could catch the first rays of the sun. I walked quickly to the top of a small rise and waited until the sun peaked over the horizon. It was a magnificent sunrise, and I stood facing the sun to catch the rays. I could feel the energy surge through every cell in my body. I felt my body changing. The alien becoming a part of me. I stood absorbing the sun's energy. Merging with the alien. Integrating our intellects.
When I opened my eyes, the golden fur had disappeared and I was standing stark naked. I had never been well built, not even close. I had a soft, chubby build. But now, I looked like one of those well-muscled Greek statues in the museums. My skin was marble smooth with a deep bronze tan. The love handles and fat I once owned had disappeared. All my muscles were larger and stronger. All the dirt and bug bites were gone. All of the bruises from my beating were gone. I didn't feel hungry. I didn't feel pain. In fact, I felt better than I had in years.
I ran my hands over my new body. The outline of a blue star remained on my chest was a reminder of why this was possible.
I heard a motor in the distance and hurried back to the campsite. Now all that remained was to explain all of this to the other guys.
2400 words more or less
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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