“Sweet Jane, sweet, sweet Jane,waiting for Jimmy down the alley,” the radio was belting out Cowboy Junkies just a little too loud from speakers that crackled at just the right frequency.
But none of this mattered to Pete. He was busy. Too busy. And he couldn’t be bothered with such trivialities. The warm spring sun was baking his balding head and he cursed himself for not bringing a hat. He cursed his big belly and that he let himself get so out of shape that he was now panting and his knees ached and his left ankle had a sharp pain with each step.
But it was just a little further now.
She had been waiting for him in the alley. The dark and the booze had clouded his mind. He hadn’t wanted to hurt her. He hadn’t wanted to do it. But she made him so furious. SO fucking angry.
And he didn’t know. How could he?
He had worked up a froth at the corners of his mouth and the sweat had drenched his hair. But she only screamed once. Just once. Sweet Jane, lips like roses, beaten to death.
When her skull cracked, the mania broke and he came off the adrenaline high. And that’s when he saw the smoke. And a latch had appeared where he had beaten her head into the corner of the dumpster where the garbage truck arms pick it up.
He pulled it and gasped and jumped back.
Inside her head was a little creature. Small and blue, panting and gasping. Small lights flashed inside the “skull” of whatever this thing was. And the creature, huge eyes for its size, pleaded.
“Kill me, or they will find me. And when they find me, they will find YOU.” Its voice was small and petite like a child’s.
He didn’t know what to do. Having come this far already, nobody would likely believe him. Nobody.
“Sweet, sweet Jane, anyone who’s ever been split apart,” the soft lull of the slow beat and the bass drumming into his ears was relentless. Sweet Jane.
He reached in and squeezed the creature. It crunched and oozed black blood. Its eyes bulged out and it died. The horror on his face and the sudden realization that he was still in an alley brought him back.
“Shit. What now?”
A squeal started from inside Jane’s head. Or whatever this thing was. A puppet? A doll? An alien? Then a ping started. A ping like radar or sonar. What do I do now?
He began to run. He had to get away. Whatever or whoever that puppet belonged to would probably be along for it soon, and he wanted nothing to do with anyone that had that kind of technology.
He ran and cursed the sun, his hair, his habits, his ankles. Cursed and mumbled and pleaded with his god for salvation, for rescue, for not getting skewered like a lab rat on a flying saucer, for not getting tubes shoved up his ass. With that thought, he winced and picked up the pace.
And then he noticed it. Noticed the black blood all over his hands where he had squeezed the creature, in addition to blackening blood from beating sweet Jane to death in the alley. The blood. The black blood, it was pulsing.
“Fuck!” He shouted and frantically looked around for water. Jumping the old stone wall by the side of the road and heading into the woods, he fumbled and stumbled down the slope, branches scratching at his face, down further and further, knowing that water should be at the bottom of this. Water, sweet water, just like sweet, sweet Jane with her head bashed in and her gremlin squished all over his hand.
At the bottom of the hill he found the stream. It was flowing quickly still, and was icy. The black blood didn’t wash off. He grabbed a rock and began to rub harder and harder. The black blood pulsed and stuck.
Then the chirping and the croaking and the general noises stopped. And a pall was cast over the forest. He looked up and saw a silver craft. Lights flashing and it was suspended silently in the air.
It sent down a beam of light, which began to move towards him. Maybe about 100 yards away.
He grabbed the rock and began to hack at his wrist, hoping to cut off his hand and the black blood, throbbing, taunting, signaling.
50 feet closer now, it was quickening. His hand was numb and blood was leaking into the stream.
“And thinking of ways to get back home, Sweet Jane, Sweet Jane.” The music was louder, taunting, damning.
10 feet away, the beam quickened yet again. He got up to run but it was already on him.