Stranger, Then Death

Photo by: Judy Gustafson and Ravenwood Farm Tails. Click the pic to visit her blog.

Ruth walked the fence that ran along the south end of her and Tom’s thirty acres. When they were younger and could ride, they had a horse or two in that pasture. Ruth always thought she had the faster horse until Tom confessed that he just liked the view from behind her when they rode. Those days were now distant but pleasant memories and they still put a smile on Ruth’s face. Tom generally stayed home. His knees had seen better days and walking these pastures was a guaranteed week of pain for him. It was no picnic for Ruth either since Tom was a horribly needy patient.

The sun was just starting to come up and had yet to burn-off the dew. In the distance, Ruth spotted a mama deer with two babies and crouched down under protest from the arthritis in her ankles. “I never get tired of God’s creatures,” she thought. The deer were so captivating Ruth didn’t notice two “men” moving out of the woods. They were well over seven feet tall yet floated silently.

The smaller of the two raised a three-fingered hand towards Ruth and she fell over with a flash of light.

Why did you do that?” asked the larger of the two in an alien series of moans and squeaks.

I like her and I want to help her. We’ve been collecting and observing for one full cycle of this planet. I want to do something for her before we go. She’s nice.”

Their brains temporarily swell when we put them out like that. She’ll have pain when she wakes. That’s what you wanted to do for her?

The smaller one placed a shroud over Ruth’s head and a three-dimensional image of her brain appeared. “See this?” he asked pointing to a black dot.

That’s nothing. The vaccine will correct that.

They don’t have the vaccine and this will kill her. She probably doesn’t even know it’s there.” The smaller one reached into his bag and produced something that resembled a flashlight with leaves. He placed it on Ruth’s forehead and it began to hum.

A shot rang out as the larger one fell backwards holding his abdomen. Blue jelly oozed through his fingers and a scream escaped his toothless mouth. He looked at his partner as a second shot struck him in the head and silenced him.

Tom stood panting twenty yards from Ruth. His chest would be bruised tomorrow from the beating it took running with binoculars around his neck. He again raised the rifle. “Move away from my wife, stranger!”

I’m saving her life!” he screamed looking over at his partner’s lifeless body. Blue jelly steamed where it had pooled in the wet grass.

Tom didn’t understand the sounds he heard and moved closer.

The smaller one pulled away from Ruth and raised his arms. Showing his three-fingered hands was a mistake he caught too late. He never heard the shot that tore through his head and dropped him into his own pool of steaming blue jelly.

Tom ran to Ruth and collapsed by her side as she began to stir. Tears ran down his face through a patchwork of cracks and wrinkles before dripping off his salt and pepper beard. “I don’t know what the hell those things were honey but I got ya. You’re safe.”

“I have a headache,” she replied and winced. “Take me home.”

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Inspired by the Promted fun over at TipsyLIT – You should really check them out!

This week’s prompt: write a story that includes a death scene.
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