From the Writer’s Digest creative writing prompt “The Mysterious Call”
The shrill ring of the phone jars me awake, but not so much that I don’t fumble for my phone on the nightstand. “‘llow?” I mumble.
I can hear a great deal of commotion on the other end of the line, and a muffled voice clips out an order. “There is a car waiting for you outside your house. Get inside. You don’t want to ignore this.”
I hear a beep, and when I look at my phone, I see the caller hung up. I sit on the edge of the bed and rub my face, my heart still racing from the unwelcome wake-up. My wife shifts in bed as she reaches for me. “Jim? What is it? Everything okay?”
I kiss her on the head, pulling the sheet up around her shoulders. “It’s fine. Just work.” I see the disappointment on her face as she knows the inevitable is coming next. “I’ve got to go.”
She watches solemnly as I don my uniform, and I hear her call out, “Be careful!” as I rush out the door. I hop into the front seat of the waiting car. “Thanks for the lift. What have we got this time?”
The driver is another member of the squad, a guy who just transferred in last week. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I still don’t know if they’re serious or if this is just another recall drill.”
I nod. Our unit is infamous for that. When you’re assigned to the QRF, they like to activate the recall roster at two in the morning, just to make sure that you’ll be there in the time frame allowed. This was the second time in three weeks. As we pull into the company’s parking lot, there’s a tension in the air that’s never been there before, and I instinctively know that this time it’s different.
My squad leader catches up to me as I double-time into the bay where my gear locker is. “Need you to find Conner and go to the motorpool.” He tosses me a vehicle dispatch. “Head up 54 to Oro Grande and start setting up a perimeter. No one goes in.”
I grab my Kevlar. “What have we got?”
My squad leader just shakes his head. “Can’t say for sure. Some nut called in that a UFO crashed in the desert, but Otero County Sheriff’s office did confirm that there was some kind of aircraft down, though they think it was either a chopper or ultralight. Either way…” He shrugs before running off to pass out the next assignment.
I find Conner by the arms room, and once we draw our M4’s and 9’s, we head across the street to get our HMMWV. I sigh as we depart the base and begin our noisy drive up to the training area. UFO or chopper, either way it was going to be a long night.