“Lieutenant, did you receive a message?” The sergeant asked. It was blisteringly hot today, and not one of the sergeant’s men wanted to be out on a black asphalt path in August. They had been called in to investigate the Bridgeton Laboratory. Today was the day that the Laboratory held its annual Young Inventors Science Fair, and no one was at the Laboratory, or even on the path. Some people had driven to the Laboratory, but they weren’t heard from after that.
“No, Ma’am. There wasn’t a message. Just static like the last three,” the lieutenant responded. He was short and had thin black hair neatly combed to the side.
“Well, then, what else can we do?” The sergeant asked herself. She was taller than the lieutenant and had long blonde hair. “Send in another car with a camera. I want to see what’s happening with my own eyes.”
“But…” the lieutenant said, trailing off.
“Now!” The sergeant yelled.
“Yes Ma’am!” The lieutenant turned around and ran off, yelling “Let’s go, troop four! gear up. And bring a camera.”
“Sergeant, do you copy?” The lieutenant asked.
“I copy. Do you have the camera ready?” The sound of the sergeant’s voice came through the radio in the lieutenant’s hand after a short delay.
“Yes Ma’am. We’ve just set it up,” the lieutenant responded.
“The feed just came through. Continue.”
The lieutenant’s truck rolled around a sharp bend, and the laboratory came into view. It was a tall, box-like structure made of concrete and glass. It towered over the forest nearby. A breeze ran through the air, blowing the trees about. They loomed over the side of the road, and it seemed like they were grabbing at the truck. The trees caught the attention of most of the lieutenant’s men.
“Lieutenant!” The radio crackled. “What is that up ahead?”
The lieutenant looked up too late. A pile of identical trucks blocked the path on the road. The lieutenant’s truck smashed into the barrier of metal and the engine cut out.
“What’s happening, lieutenant? Talk to me!” The sergeant shouted frantically. The lieutenant grabbed the radio to respond, but his attention was attracted to the forest. There was something in the woods.
“Everyone! Out of the vehicle!” The lieutenant yelled. The doors swung open as the soldiers ran to the vehicle’s left side, opposite the forest. Footsteps sounded on the asphalt, then the growling started. It was a hideous sound that made even the boldest and courageous souls frightened. Worried glances passed between the troop as the growling continued, even closer. The lieutenant signaled the troop to run behind the pile of trucks. They took silent, hesitant paces towards the trucks. The first of the troop made it behind the blockade of metal, then three. The lieutenant was last and was two paces away from the rest of the troop when his truck was thrown into the air. The lieutenant froze for a second, then crept as quietly as possible to meet with the others. No one breathed as they silently stood behind the wreckage of the other trucks.
The lieutenant forgot that the radio was still in his hands.
“What on earth is happening?” The sergeant yelled into the radio again. The lieutenant’s blood drained from his face. He saw his worst nightmare for the second time that day. The trucks were swept aside as a beast of unearthly nature came to feast.
“What is that noise?” The sergeant asked over the radio. But there was no one to respond.