The story so far:
For the past nearly two hours, Sheriff Irwin Brodie's office had been swamped with phone calls. The phones lines had literally not ceased to light up. People calling to report seeing strange things, or, as several callers had reported, not really seeing things so much as feeling things.
"All the crackpots in Havensville," Brodie huffed at his deputy, "chose the same night to come out of the woodwork."
That's what he said an hour ago. Since then the calls had continued and the so-called sightings were becoming more random and farther apart. No chance it could be an elaborate practical joke that widespread especially when some of Havensville's most prominent citizens had begun calling in as well. Not the sorts to engage in such things.
So overwhelmed was he, that Brodie had resorted to calling in his off duty officers to assist with following up on the reports. Something the mayor would never have approved except that the mayor had contacted Brodie himself on a private line to report a prowler outside his window.
The latest reports were of rolling power outages throughout the town.
Brodie reached for the radio on his desk, nearly spilling his cup of coffee in the process.
"Sharpe? Sharpe, come in. Do you read me?" Brodie bellowed into the transmitter.
"Sharpe here, Sheriff," the static laden voice came back.
"Sharpe, what the hell is going on out there?" Brodie demanded. "These phones are lighting up like Disney World on the Fourth of July."
Deputy Sharpe was sitting in his car at the intersection of Macon and Downing streets just in front of the Break of Dawn Diner.
"I don't really know, Sheriff, " he responded incredulously as he watched the lights on the street literally roll from one end to the other and back like the lights of an arcade machine.
"What the hell do you mean 'you don't know'?" Brodie said irritably. "I sent you out there to find out."
Sharpe tried as best he could to describe the unusual scene to his superior but somehow did not sound convincing. How could he sound convincing when he couldn't believe what he was seeing himself.
"Look Sharpe, we have power crews on their way to fix the problem with the lights, you just get out there and figure out what these little green men or whatever it is that the whole town's squawking about is all about."
Sharpe swore he heard Brodie pounding his desk and things falling to the floor during the tirade.
"Yes sir, I'll find out what I can." Sharpe responded as calmly as he dared before siging off.
Sharpe looked out his windshield again at the eerie light display and then up at the randomly flashing traffic signal: green..red...yellow... red...red...green...and so on, like that Simon game he had played as a child, when he thought he heard something knock against the front of his patrol car.
He sat there.
Officer Sharpe drew his gun and slowly opened his door. Stepping out, he was now a part of the surreal scene not just an observer. The night air was crisp. He could see his breath in front of him. There was no wind.
Officer Sharpe stepped several feet away from his patrol car and slowly moved toward the front of the vehicle. The sound had stopped. His pulse raced. He lunged quickly, gun cocked and at the ready.....
There was nothing there.
He let out a heavy sigh but then choked on it when he saw what appeared to be...what? Scratch marks?
He kneeled down and ran his fingers over the bumper of the car feeling the slight indentations when he was suddenly knocked of his feet by the horn blaring from under the hood. His gun hit the ground and a shot fired off.
Suddenly the patrol car was alive; sirens blaring, lights flashing, the horn, the radio. Sharpe jumped to his feet, snatched up his gun in a shaking hand, and rushed around the side.
Where he had left the door open, it was now closed. He pulled on the handle. It was locked. The car was suddenly alive and he was locked out. He looked inside the car but saw no one.
More importantly, he saw no thing.
He could here Brodie's voice bellowing through the radio. Using the butt of his gun, Sharpe smashed the window, opened the door and reached for the ignition.
Just then he felt something touch his arm.