The snow flew toward the windshield. I couldn’t help but think of a spaceship traveling through light speed, stars stretched into bright lines. I briefly considered what it would be like to live on a spaceship, or off Earth. If someone offered me a one way ticket to Mars, I would take it.
I blinked, rerouting my concentration back to the road. I hated snow. Or I hated it if I had to drive in it. If I could stay in bed and read all day, I didn’t mind what it was doing outside. I preferred the rain, though.
Did it snow on Mars? I was unclear. I would have to look into that.
Something darted across the road and I instinctively pressed the brakes. My headlights had illuminated a creature I couldn’t immediately identify. It definitely wasn’t a squirrel, and although it was about the size of a cat, it didn’t move the way I had seen cats move. Maybe a raccoon? They sorted of trundled, right?
But it seemed to scuttle, like an insect. That was deeply unsettling.
I glanced in my mirrors. There weren’t any other cars except those parked along the road. I eased my car into an open spot and turned off the engine, taking a moment to sit quietly and enjoy the silence. The snow made a soft susurrous against the car.
There was work waiting for me at home. A hungry bird waiting to be fed. My own dinner. As if to prove a point, my stomach growled. But the pull of the mystery was too great. Against my better judgement, and the better judgement of those who might have seen me, I got out of the car. Luckily I had my snow boots on hand, and I always kept a pair of gloves in my car. I pulled them over my already freezing fingers, raised the hood of my coat, and trudged off in the direction of the animal.
It could be an alien, right? I mean, I had just been thinking about space, and then I saw a strange, unidentifiable creature. It was too coincidental to be a coincidence.
The snow was falling heavily, but the streetlight shone onto a path in the drifts. I knelt down, examining the tracks. Well, perhaps tracks wasn’t the best way to describe it. It reminded me of something I had seen at the zoo; trail marks from komodo dragons, their bellies and tails dragging through the sand. Or in this case, snow.
But the thing I had seen moved too fast to match the slow, reptilian lumbering of a komodo dragon. And besides, what would a komodo dragon be doing out here in the snow? Certainly not escaping from the zoo, and certainly not running around in the kind of weather that was sure to kill it.
I shivered. What was I doing? Whatever I had seen wasn’t worth it. I stood up, my knee popping uncomfortably, and turned back to my car. But a rustling behind me made me pause. I turned back. The trail led back into the darkness, into an old lot that lay quiet beyond the radiance of the streetlights.
Stuffing my hands into my pockets, I cautiously followed the trail into the lot. The wind pressed against my back, nudging me along. As I reached the center of the lot, I peered down at the ground. Here the snow was disturbed everywhere, the trail disappearing in turmoil. I slowly circled around, trying to follow the path the creature might have taken, but it was impossible. It had covered its tracks.
I sighed. This was a waste of time, and my stomach reminded me it was getting late. I had followed another hint to another dead end, and all I had to show for it was a numb nose.
But then, movement. Something skittered by to my right. I turned, and it flitted by to my left. No. There was another. It wasn’t alone. I froze, my breath catching as I realized there were several creatures scampering around me, kicking up snow and moving so quickly I couldn’t quite see what they looked like. About the size of a cat. Legs like a praying mantis, maybe. Scales? Something glittered against the freshly fallen snow.
And then, silence. The murmuring of wind and the hush of snow that dampens the sound of the world. The creatures were still there, but they too were quiet. Mute. Waiting.
I looked up. The snow fell quickly toward me, streams of sparkling light in the chill air.
No, not snow.
I write for fun and to make sure my sister doesn't beat me in our blog challenge.