It started with a knock on the door. Any other day and I would have ignored it, probably another salesman trying to get me to upgrade my satellite package or offer me a free estimate on a new roof. You know what, that is not where it really started, let me take a step back.
It really started with a loud thud as my whole house shook.
“Honey,” My wife, Sonya, called out, “what was that?”
“I don’t know dear, let me step outside, could you get Abbey?” I called over my screaming two year old.
“What?” Sonya yelled, but I was halfway out the front door.
“Hey Tom,” Jason, my next door neighbor, called out to me. “You heard it too?”
“Yep-“ I started to add a smart ass comment, but Jason’s wife called out from behind the fence to their backyard.
“Hey Tom, whatever you’re grilling smells great!”
I sniffed the air, she was right, something did smell good, but it was not from my back yard and I told her so.
“Then you better get back there, because there’s a lot of smoke.”
I broke into a run, calling for Dezi, the toy poodle my wife insisted we had to have. Luckily, or unluckily I thought to myself, she greeted me at the fence’s wrought iron gate, her stubby tale vibrating with excitement. “Your mom’s gonna have to bathe you,” I said as I nudged her out of the way with my leg, rounding the corner of the house, the smell getting stronger, smokier.
“Everything okay?” Jason called from the fence line. I appreciated his respecting my boundaries, but, unsure of what I was about to uncover, I called him back, figuring an extra set of hands could not hurt.
I was still trying to wrap my head around the scene when he too rounded the corner.
“What is that?” He pointing at the crater that occupied most of my backyard. “You been digging a pool?”
I shook my head, not sure what to say as I edged closer to the edge of the hole.
“You sure about that?” Tom grabbed my arm, holding me back.
“I, I don’t know,” I admitted, but I took another step forward, pulling my arm from his loose grasp. Black, acrid, smoke poured from the gaping hole, blocking my view of how deep it was, and more importantly, what had caused it.
“What is it?” Jason asked again, his voice barely more than a whisper.
“Honey?” It was Sonya, sliding door open, Abbey on her hip.
“Not sure yet hon, go back inside, just to be safe.”
I heard the door slide shut and I peered over the edge again, trying to make something, anything, out in the smoke.
I jumped, almost falling in to the hole as my cell phone rang, the device vibrating in my pocket. I slid it out and answered it, knowing who it would be without looking at the caller ID. “Yeah, Frank, I heard it - No, I don’t know what it was, at least not yet - Yeah, I said yet - Whatever it is, it landed in my backyard - Nope, you don’t need to come over - Fine, see you soon.” I turned to Jason, who just nodded at my exasperated look.
“So, what do you think it is?” He asked, taking a step closer to the smoking crater, the ground giving way beneath him.
I managed to grab his arm before he slid too far down.
“Pleasepleaseplease,” Jason whimpered as I pulled him out of the hole.
He hugged me tight, mumbling “thank you,” over and over again as Frank came running into my yard.
“Dude!” He exclaimed before taking a sip of his beer.
“I’m glad you got dressed before you came over.” I said, looking at the ripped sweatpants he wore, the armpit stains in his t-shirt turning my stomach.
He started to reply, but a roar blasted us from our feet.
“Was that from?” Jason asked, point toward the smoke.
I nodded and watched as a crow swooped down and began pecking at an exposed worm, dangling still from the craters wall. My mouth dropped open as a pair of jaws reached out of the smoke and clamped down upon the bird, pulling it back into the depths.
“Oh shit!” Frank exclaimed, dropping his beer as he scrambled for my back door. Jason and I were close behind him, slamming the sliding glass door shut and dropping the security bar into place. “What was that?” he was wide eyed, his hands shaking, one of which he brought to his mouth before remembering that his drink lay out on my lawn.
It was then that the knock on the door occurred and the men in black suits showed up. The one in charge called himself Agent Kay, but I was not sure I believed him, he did not look like a Smith. He was older, his grey hairline receding, but he knew how to give orders, and not one of his men questioned his decisions.
“The good news is that you have no out houses or hen houses,” he said with a smirk.
“Who are you guys?” Frank asked, getting a little to close to the Agent
“Have you been drinking? What about you,” he pointed his finger at Jason, and then at me, “and you?”
Frank was the only one that answered in the affirmative and that did not sit very well with Agent Kay, I could tell by the way he shook his head.
“Hey boss,” a pug said from my back doorway, you were right, it’s a dinosaur all right.”
“Did that-“ Frank began but I cut him off.
“I thought meteors killed the dinosaurs. That’s what this is, right? A meteor?”
Agent Kay put his sunglasses back on, “You see son, that is what you were taught but that is not really the case,” He began as he reached into his pocket. “Now if you’ll look right here, I’ll explain to you what really happened to the dinosaurs is that they stopped coming to Earth.”
I blinked away the bright flash, trying to make sense of who the strange man in my house was, and if my daughter was still asleep in her crib.