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It Came From the Sky

Fiction by
Xavier F. Aguilar

 
Cover art
© Aaron R. Aguilar, 2011
 

About the Author

Like Running Water

It Came From the Sky

Same Namess—
Different Faces


Also by X.F. Aguilar:
Garment of Flesh
In Autumn’s Grace
From My Father’s House

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Palldor was a gritty town of about 6,000. Geographically set in the lowland it seemed that all of the dust of summer settled there. The heat was stifling during the afternoons and in the evening the humidity made your clothing damp. Some people drank ice cold beer to keep cool while others set up swimming pools in their yards or just sat around in shorts.

The Mayor was a dolt who believed his self-importance was charitable to the town. The Chief of police was a flunky who perceived his presence justified the antics of the morons he had compiled as a “police force.” In the late 1990s when the small factories were producing what the country needed, this town where these actors congregated was close to a river and a railroad and had access to roadway for land freight.

Jason S. turned twenty-three in that year. A tall, thin man with sand colored hair and hazel eyes. He dreamed every night of a father he never knew. While sleeping on the cot which was pressed up against the purple wall his vision was consoling. He would murmur words and half-sentences.

The young man’s mother had died a few years past and his father was lost in time. The lofty man was alone with exception of the visions he had cataloged in his brain. It was these circumstance that led him to become a police person.

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It was a hot afternoon when Jason walked out into the sunlight. He felt important dressed in his costume. The silver badge reflected bright. As he walked along the cracked sidewalk he touched his holster to remind himself that he was armed and ready.

His shift had begun at 1 p.m., and by 3 p.m. he was missing from duty and the cruiser he had been driving was found parked in an alley. On a routine run another officer had come across the deserted vehicle and reported it directly.

Some said that he met up with some girl and just took off. Jason didn’t quite fit in with the other rookies. For some reason there was resentment toward him as a cop. “He’s not a team player.” “He’s got a big mouth,” said one who had patrolled with him. Another offered, “He’s always causing problems.”

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When the white Ford stopped and the Chief stepped out onto the gravel the recruit stood up strait and pulled in their stomachs. Appearance is a great factor in police work; it’s based on a psychology of intimidation. Sometimes you could see a cruiser parked across from the bank all day long. It’s what you may call a “visual deterrent.”

Stones shuffled under patent leather shoes as Chief Byron moved to look inside the auto. He shook his head back and forth as if confirming his private analysis of the scene. “Do we know where Jason is?”

The two rookies looked at each other to determine who would speak. The older one took a chance. “No, Sir.” Perspiration rolled down his chest under the bullet-proof vest. He didn’t know whether to smile or be stoic.

After ten minutes of playing fiddle-dee and fiddle-dum, the neophytes were instructed to return to their normal routine. The sun had gone behind a cloud and the sky threatened rain. A clap of thunder was heard in the distance.

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There is a bridge at Palldor which spans across the river into the next county. At a little past four the rain was pouring and the steel structure appeared somewhat shiny while being wet. It was under the bridge, which Chief Byron had passed over, that Jason’s body was found. A railroad worker came upon it while checking the tracks.

There was Jason. He was propped up in a sitting position in the mud. His back had been leaned against an old tree stump and his face was covered with blood. I did my best to write down the facts as I was drenched by the downpour.

Evident that he had been shot in the head, his mouth also bled onto his chin and neck. His tongue had been cut out! Streaks of lightening scarred the sky and someone cursed the cloudburst. I had managed to pull my shirt over my head and use it as a tarp to shield the notebook I wrote on.

The Mayor of Palldor waddled around in the thick soupy mire. He chewed on a cigar stub held at the corner of his mouth. The tan trench-coat he wore was protected by clear plastic rain gear.

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“We can’t find his badge,” I heard, “it was ripped right off his shirt.” At the water’s edge a dog was chewing on something that may very well have once been a human tongue. The rain had caused the dog’s long hair to lay flat against its gaunt frame and the scars of survival could be seen. No one paid it any mind.

On the high bank to the east, just above where the body was, people had begun to gather to see what they could. Children threw small white stones at the corpse until their parents yelled at them to stop. In the whole throng of spectators not a single umbrella was shown.

Chief Byron was slopping around the scene with his shoes safely tucked into a pair of knee-high boots he had borrowed from the fire department. Appearance is an important factor in the police business. He moved carefully as not to slip and fall into the black muck.

At that precise time a flash of light engulfed everyone there. It was similar to a photographer’s flash when taking a picture and the sound which accompanied offered fear. Everyone stood as statues when the light withdrew and left a burnt, crisp, smoking heap which had been a living human a few hours before.Back to

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© 2011 Xavier F. Aguilar