In For a Penny

In For a Penny by James P. Blaylock Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: In For a Penny by James P. Blaylock Read Free Book Online
Authors: James P. Blaylock
her up, and he heard the rising shriek of the whistle noise out in the woods again. She raised herself blearily onto her elbows and looked around the room, as if trying dreamily to make out the source of the noise. The dog resumed its howling.
    “What’s wrong?”
    “I don’t know,” he said, turning toward the bed. She sat up, pushing her hair out of her face.
    “Some kind of thing up in the hills,” he told her. “Dwarves playing nine pins, maybe.” With my bowling ball, he thought, surprised to find the anger rekindle itself so easily. He would have to watch it.
Cover the brake
—that was what the good angel would whisper to him.
    “What are those noises?”
    “There’s something going on up there in the woods, maneuvers or something.”
    “Yeah, lights, too. Take a look.”
    She sat up and slipped on her bedroom slippers, joining him at the window. “That’s
she said. “It looks like something from a UFO movie.”
    The idea spooked him, and he realized that he had been thinking the same thing. Whatever was happening was unearthly.
    “God,” Lisa muttered, “look at
    Ed stared out the window in disbelief, his mouth open: a vast moving shadow slowly ascended from the forest floor. At first he thought it was an optical illusion, but the thing continued to rise from the trees, a black, circular patch of darkness that hung now in the air, hovering just above the tree line. White lights revolved within it. It seemed to Ed that he could see the stars shining straight through the sphere, a translucent black sun encircled by a white aura.
    “It’s a flying fucking saucer,” Lisa whispered.
    He couldn’t argue with her. It looked like the Death Star, blotting out the sky.
    The rest of the neighborhood was waking up. There were voices from down the block; a door slammed. Lisa pulled on her clothes and turned toward the stairs. “Let’s get moving!” she said, her voice full of sudden anxiety.
    Her frightened tone was infectious, and Ed realized that he was holding his breath. He felt vulnerable and exposed standing there in his boxer shorts, and as he stepped across the bedroom to grab his jeans from where he had tossed them last night, a siren started up somewhere down the block, shutting off within seconds, followed by the sound of someone talking through a loudspeaker or bullhorn. Ed caught the gist of it. “Shit!” he said out loud. “They’re evacuating us!”
    He heard Mr. Bord, his neighbor, shouting across the street, and an answering shout from Bord’s wife. Lights were coming on all over the neighborhood, and he heard a car engine starting up. He went after a fresh pair of socks, then headed for the bathroom, the word “evacuation” going around in his head.
Brush your teeth
, he thought,
who knows when you’ll get another chance. … He
pulled out his little travel kit from under the sink and sorted through it: razor, toothbrush, mini deodorant. Where would everyone go? Some kind of shelter probably, a school or church somewhere. To hell with that; he and Lisa would find a hotel. He wasn’t spending the night on a cot in a school auditorium.
    “Bring down my purse! The big one!” Lisa shouted up at him. He found it on the floor at the top of the stairs. What the hell else? He checked his wallet, which lay on the nightstand. Eighty bucks and two credit cards. That would do the trick. They could easily find food and shelter, even if they had to drive down south, maybe over to the coast toward Halfmoon Bay or Davenport. He pictured the freeways heading out of the Bay area, clogged with people fleeing the saucers, and it dawned on him that they might possibly never be back.
    “You coming down?” Lisa had turned on all the lights in the house.
    “Yeah!” he shouted. “I’m just grabbing a couple of things!” He hauled his tweed coat out of the closet. Extra socks and underwear wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. And his bowling shirt! There was

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