Monday, 17 August 2015

Guest Author Pierre Arsenault of Moncton, New Brunswick

Welcome to part three of the New Brunswick authors series for August and September.

As well as writing, Pierre Arsenault is also a freelance cartoonist. He resides in Moncton, NB. He is the author of two collections of short stories. The first - Dark Tales for a Dark Night was co-authored with Angella Jacob. His second is titled - Sleepless Nights.












Pierre is sharing one of his short stories this week. You never know what will greet you when you journey out in the middle of the night.


Garnett’s Gift
By Pierre C Arseneault
All rights reserved


 

Garnett sat alone in an empty room. Its only content being a low-backed soft stool which he now sat on and a weird oval table. The flat topped table had a mushroom like shape and stem-like leg in its center. The entire room looked like it was made of strange hard off-white plastic and yet it had some give to it when Garnett pushed his fingers into it. He had awakened in this room with no idea of how he had gotten here. Groggy at first, it took a while before he noticed there were no exits. No doors. The walls were seamless as was the stool and table. He couldn’t tell where they begun and the floor ended. It was as if the entire room was made of a seamless plastic. With no visible vents, he wondered how he was still breathing. Where was he? He remembered getting out of bed as quietly as possible, trying not to wake his wife. The dogs were barking and the cows were agitated. Something was wrong. Perhaps coyote but with their four dogs roaming the farm, they had never had any predators come close before. In the same blue chequered pyjama bottoms and white t-shirt he wore now, he had wandered out onto the porch in his slippers with his large halogen flashlight. Last year’s Christmas gift from the kids came in handy at times but he appreciated it a lot at that very moment. He remembers seeing some of the cows all huddled together against the fence. They were restless, milling about, pushing and shoving to get as close to the fence as possible. He couldn’t see the rest of the herd but he knew some were in the barn. He could hear them. The rest were most likely towards the opposite side of the enclosure. The hairs had stood up on the back of his neck and his arms. He could hear the dogs barking but couldn’t see them. He remembered calling the dogs but they never came. He remembered his sight becoming blurred and his head beginning to spin. The last thing he recalled was removing his glasses and struggling to focus as he saw the fast approaching ground as he passed out. Then darkness.

He awoke sitting in the strange chair, but still groggy, he fell out of it and quickly found himself on the cold floor. Dazed, he lay on the floor for a long time. Although in this room, time felt irrelevant. No window to see if it was day or night. Complete stillness at first. Until he regained his senses that was and then his mind began to take over. What is this place? Why was he here? His mind settled on the only logical thing he could think of. Aliens. He had seen that television show where they explored what they claimed was proof that aliens had visited Earth long ago. Although being a logical man, he never took it seriously but he always thought the theories were fascinating. But he wasn’t ready to meet one. This he thought as he got up and sat in the chair, leaning on the table with his head resting on his arms. This fact was still running through his mind as he heard a soft, subtle sound coming from before him. It was the first sound he had heard that was not of his creation in the hours he had been in this blank space. Confusion struck him until he saw a bulge forming in the floor across the table from where he sat. The bulge rose almost as tall as he before a seam appeared in it. When the bulge began opening, he could see a pale pink flesh-like bulge emerging from it. What he soon realized was the hairless head of the creature that was emerging before him. It took a moment before he realized he was no longer breathing as he had held his breath the entire time the man-like creature had emerged. It wasn’t green as he half expected but a pale pink. It wore no clothes and had a soft glow about it. Its slim face had very large oval eyes with large pitch-black pupils and silver irises. It looked to have a slim, long mouth and what looked like nostrils even though it had no nose. It had a thin body with thin neck, arms and legs. The bulge in the floor receded leaving this new creature sitting in its own seamless chair.

Was he dreaming he wondered? Had he watched too much Ancient Aliens that it now affected his sleep? Only for some reason he knew this was no dream. He could now feel a sudden presence in his mind. The alien being tilted his head slightly and seemed to smile softly as it gazed at Garnett.

[What is your name, man from the water star?]

He heard the alien speak but yet his mouth had not moved. He heard it but was it really with his ears? It felt more like he heard him with his mind.

Somehow he felt compelled to answer. “Garnett. Garnett McGraw. I’m not dreaming am I?”

[No-No you are not,] replied the alien using only his mind to communicate.

The voice had a soft and soothing feeling to it that he couldn’t understand.

“Why am I here? What do you want from me?” asked Garnett. He felt anger within him but yet he couldn’t raise his voice even when he tried.

[Your kind are dangerous, Garnett. Did you know that?]

“My kind?” asked Garnett, knowing full well what the strange being meant.

[Your kind fights each other for resources you should all be sharing. You all inhabit the same water based star,] said the alien. [Yet, you fight for things that belong to none of you.]

“Yes. Yes, I suppose some of us do,” replied Garnett.

[Some,] replied the alien. [You kill each other because you like different things.]

“I don’t understand what you want?” replied Garnett.

[My kind wants to destroy your kind,] replied the alien as his head tilted even more as it watched its prisoner with curiosity. As if he waited for a reaction.

“Why?” asked Garnett.

[My kind believes your kind to be a danger to all the others in what you would call the solar system.]

Garnett was a simple farmer but was no fool. He held degrees
in veterinary medicine and always had a fascination for politics until he had come to the conclusion that they were all corrupt. At least that was what he now believed after watching his fellow farmers struggle to stay in business. Not having to call in expensive vets to look after his dairy and beef cows saved his farm a lot of money and helped him stay in business. He was smart in many ways and knew the alien was right.

“You plan to invade us?”

[No need,] replied the alien creature as he straightened his head and squinted a little. [We can destroy your world from far away.]

“How?” asked Garnett.

[Your star cannot sustain life without water. We would simply take it all away.]

Garnett sat still for a moment looking down at his hands as they rung at each other. He fiddled with his wedding ring like he often did when deep in thought.

“Have you done this before?” Garnett asked while still looking down at the table. Something told him they had and they were not bluffing.

[Yes,] replied the alien as his eyes grew even wider. [Yes, we have had to destroy three stars before. But not before trying to save them.]

“I don’t understand,” replied Garnett. “Save them how?”

[We visit stars. We try and help the ones who live there. Teach them peace.]

“But yet you destroyed three?” asked Garnett.

[Yes. We had to. They had begun to venture out in the solar system with weapons of war.]

Garnett stood up and walked away from the table, staring at a blank wall as he spoke.

“You destroyed them before they could destroy you.”

[Yes. They would have attacked all other stars with life, fearing what they don’t understand.]

“And now it’s our turn?” asked Garnett. “You’re going to destroy us too?”

[Your kind is on the verge of venturing out from your star. We can’t let you do that. You are too dangerous.]

Garnett turned to face the alien. “But if you destroy our world. Without trying to negotiate peace first, doesn’t that make you even worse than us?”

[As I said before, we have tried. We have sent ambassadors of peace to your star. They were all killed by your kind.]

Garnett slowly made his way to the table and sat down again.

“That’s a lie,” he said even though somehow he knew it wasn’t. “There would be evidence of such a thing happening and there isn’t.”

[Actually there is much evidence but your kind refuses to see it. Your kind always grows fearful, always killing what your kind cannot comprehend. We left you alone for thousands of your years, no longer interfering in your affairs only to watch you become worse with time.]

“It's human nature,” replied Garnett. “Maybe you should kill us all,” he said as he looked down at the table again while fiddling with his wedding ring again. “Just don’t kill my Emma. My Sadie and my Danny.”

The creature knew this man-creature spoke of his family. They always did. These water-star creatures who call themselves humans always begged to save the ones they loved. Not for the others of his star that they did not know. Not at first anyway. The creature saw nothing different or special in this one who called himself Garnett.

[The star will be destroyed and all who are on it,] replied the alien.

“Then bring me back before you do so I can say goodbye,” said Garnett as a tear ran down his face. He wiped it away as if ashamed to show weakness before this God-awful being. 

[We cannot bring you back just yet,] said the alien creature.

Garnett bowed down his head as a feeling of helplessness washed over him as he broke down. He sobbed as the creature watched in curiosity. Garnett looked up before he spoke. His voice filled with so much emotion that it cracked.

“You can’t destroy us now. Danny just got accepted to veterinary college and Sadie is starting high school.”

[Your kind is destined for destruction,] replied the alien. [Our task is to prevent you from destroying others in what you call the solar system.]

“Bring me back then,” replied Garnett. “I want to be destroyed with the rest of my kind.”

[Why?] asked the alien. [Why would you desire your own destruction?] The alien tilted his head to the side and had that squint of what Garnett could only guess was curiosity.

“I don’t belong here,” said a frustrated Garnett. For the first time he felt the ability to raise his voice in anger. “I want to die with my family.”

The alien said nothing as he watched the human lower his head and shed more tears. He waited a moment as Garnett composed himself somewhat.

[What if you could save your family? What if you could save your star?]

“How?” asked Garnett as tears flowed steadily.

The alien turned its attention away from Garnett for the first time and looked towards the blank wall to his right. Garnett looked at the blank wall with curiosity before realizing that the alien was most likely conversing with another one of his kind outside of this off-white plastic prison.

Before Garnett, a slit appeared in the table. From it, slowly emerging was what looked to Garnett like a small off-white shot glass filled to the brim with a dark blue powder. Once it was on the table, the slit vanished as if it had never been.

[Some of my kind believes that some of yours have begun a sort of revolution. That your kind could possibly know peace someday.]

“Is that why you brought me here?” asked Garnett. “What am I supposed to do?”

[We brought you here to offer you a chance to save your star. My kind wants to wait another year before deciding whether or not to destroy your star.]

“A year?” asked Garnett.

[One of our years.] The alien looked down at the glass on the table as if thinking for the first time since they had begun the conversation. [I believe that would be more than three hundred of your star years.]

Garnett wiped his tear-stained face with the sleeve of his t-shirt but said nothing.

[You need only drink the blue fluid to save your star.]

Garnett looked at the blue powder in the plastic glass. “What is it?”

[It is your sacrifice,] replied the alien in a soft tone. [Your demise will prove your kind can be unselfish. It is required so those on your star can live.]

Garnett reached for the glass but paused just before he touched it. “You’re telling me if I eat this powder shit that you won’t destroy earth?”

[If you make that sacrifice then we will spare your star from destruction, yes.]

“But this will kill me?”

[Yes!]

“How do I know you will not destroy us anyway?” Garnett picked up the glass and watched as the powder turned into a liquid before his very eyes. The cup was filled to the brim, yet when he tilted it slightly the liquid remained flush to the brim, not spilling an ounce.

[Your choice is to die along with them or for them,] replied the alien. [There are no other choices.]

Garnett took a deep breath and hoisted the glass as if making a toast at a wedding. “My gift to mankind then. To my Sadie, Danny and Emma.”

Tears flowed as he placed the cup to his lips and drank the dark blue liquid in one gulp. He set the cup down and opened his mouth to speak but found he couldn’t. The whites of his eyes were the first to turn a dark blue while the rest of him followed. He looked at his hands as they turned a dark shade of blue. The creature reached across the table and placed a long pale pink finger in Garnett’s head as if his flesh was now semi liquid. Garnett felt his body become heavy. He no longer drew breath as he felt he had no need to.

The alien closed his eyes for the first time and Garnett saw in his mind now. He saw an older grey haired man walking amongst cows leading a young calf into a barn. The old man was his son Danny. He saw an older woman; her hair died an unnatural shade of brown, trying to mask the ever increasing wrinkles she bore as she stood before a classroom full of young impressionable children. The children watched in awe as she explained today’s lessons in grammar. Sadie, his daughter would become a teacher after all. He saw an old woman sitting in a rocker, knitting as she listened to the television. His wife Emma would outlive him and her second husband as well and become a grandmother to four beautiful children. He saw the milk cartons from his very own dairy cows with his picture on them asking if anyone has seen this man.

 

Garnett McGraw.

Missing since May 19th 2014.

Reward offered for information that will help find this man.

 

The last thing he saw in his mind was his young son pick up the dimly lit flashlight from the ground where he had dropped it when they took him.  



The End
 




Thank you Pierre for that clever story.

Watch next week as we continue with New Brunswick authors and Lockie Young returns to the Scribbler with one of his entertaining short stories.

2 comments:

tinafrisco.com said...

Great story! Shared on all my social network pages :)

allan hudson said...

Thanks for the comments Tina. I like this story very much. Thanks for sharing. You have been a tremendous supporter of the Scribbler and it is very much appreciated.