“I think you’re right,” Will said.
“This could just be a freaky science thing,” I tried to reason. “Sometimes frogs fall from the sky. I read it in a book.”
OK, I was really making myself sound stupid but it was true. In that Charles Burlitz’s World of Strange Phenomenon book, there were a ton of cases where things were sucked up somewhere and fell down somewhere else.
Dex nudged me in my side and pointed out at the moon which sat above the black mountaintops.
“Clear sky. The falling frogs, and the corn that fell in Colorado in the 1980’s, was usually linked to a weather pattern.”
The sound tapered off. The rocks on the roof became less and less. They ceased to hit the window. It looked like the stone storm was dying off. I slowly let out my breath, my ears still listening to the peculiar sounds.
I turned my head up at Will, “Is that-”
A huge rock hit the window, cracking it. I nearly shit myself. We all stepped backwards.
“That’s not good,” Will managed to say. Dex focused the camera on the window, but his eyes were jetting about nervously.
“Yeah, maybe we should-”
A rock went sailing through the window right for Dex and I. Without thinking, I leaped to my left, colliding into Will and felt the flying glass flicker against my skin.
Will caught me and steadied me. I saw the rock hit the ground and roll across the kitchen and against the fridge. Dex was to my right, crouched with the camera and his hand over his head for cover.
“We need to get out of here,” I croaked.
“I’ll go get Sarah,” Will said and hurried out of the kitchen.
I knelt down beside Dex and put my hand on his shoulder, just as another rock came crashing through at the spot where Will had just been.
“Jesus Christ!” I yelled and gripped Dex’s shoulder instinctively. “Are you OK?”
He nodded and took his arms off his head. His eyes were wide, panicked. I’m sure I looked the same.
“What now?” I said.
“We go outside,” he said. Determination settled on his jaw.
He stayed crouched and grabbed my arm and shuffled us quickly out of the kitchen. Once in the dining room, we looked up the stairs. Neither Will or Sarah were there.
“We can’t go outside,” I hissed. “That’s where the rocks are coming from you moron.”
“Are they?” he asked.
I didn’t even know how to respond to that. “What about Will and Sarah?”
“They’ll be fine, we need to get this on camera.”
And with that, Dex was off and running out the front door, pulling me along with him. The outside air was like stepping into a freezer. Gone was the sweltering heat and blinding light of day. Now it was dark as hell and cold as the depths of a cave.
We ran a few feet away from the house and looked around us frantically. Shoes would have helped. A flashlight would have even better. I could still hear rocks hitting the side of the house but so far no more glass being broken.
“Run over there!” Dex yelled and gestured the camera to the side of the house where the kitchen was.
“Are you fucking kidding me!? You go over there!”
“You’re the host!” he growled. Oh man, not this again. Last time we got into this dilemma I was practically dragged up the stairs of a lighthouse. “Man up!” he added. “I’ll be beside you the whole time, I just need to get you on camera.”
I shook my head but knew he was right. Why did I sign up for this?
I walked slowly over to the side of the house. I felt no urgency to surprise whatever the hell it was.
As we inched closer, I told him to turn on the camera light. Night vision didn’t help me in anyway.
The light flicked on and my path was illuminated, albeit poorly. My vision was filled with grain, but I could make out the kitchen window, its broken glass glistening, a faint light from the dining room shining through. A rock or two still bounced off the window. Dex moved the light to the origin of the rocks – my heart caught in my throat at what it might reveal – but there was nothing there. It was like the rocks were being thrown out of thin air. It was just…darkness.
“What’s going on?” a voice snaked out from behind me.
I yelped and we both spun around. Dex aimed the light showing Miguel a few feet behind us, wearing pajamas and holding a shotgun.
“Jesus!” I couldn’t help but swear again. I was a bit relieved it wasn’t some ghost but I can’t say Miguel with a gun made me feel any less scared.
“What the hell is going on?” he snarled. “I hear all these screams, glass breaking.”
“I was hoping you could tell us,” Dex said, filming him now.
“Get that thing out of my face, I’m not telling you anything. Where is Will?”
“Right here,” I heard Will say. He came out from around the front of the house, huffing and puffing. “Sarah’s OK, I think it stopped.”
It had stopped. Probably didn’t help that we were all standing right at the rock epicenter.
“What is it this time?” Miguel said. “I told you you’d never last a day here. I never screamed at some rocks.”
“You would this time, they came through the darn window,” Will said pointing at the broken window. “How am I going to replace that?”
“Dumb teenagers,” Miguel said. “We should set up video to catch them.”
“That’s kind of what this is,” Dex said.
“You think they are teenagers? No person could have done this,” I said forcefully, annoyed at Miguel’s assumptions. Wouldn’t last a day? Go fuck yourself.
“She’s right,” Will agreed. “Miguel, I’ve never seen it so bad.”
“You’re all loco. That’s what you are. Go to bed,” he snarled and started to walk back across the yard. “I’ll fix your window in the morning.”
Morning. The term never sounded so foreign to me. How the hell were we going to get through till morning?
Somehow though, we were on our way. After Miguel slinked off, we decided it might be time for us to all turn in. Will insisted in doing the dishes and cleaning up in the kitchen and I have to say I wasn’t one to protest. After what we just witnessed, the kitchen was the last place we wanted to be. I told Will to make sure to lock all the doors a million times too. I don’t know how he wasn’t going mental with all this crazy crap going on. I was already feeling frayed.
On the way down the upper hallway, Dex and I inched past Sarah’s room, careful not to be too loud. Apparently she had heard the rocks too but wasn’t scared, least not more than normal. Either she was a liar or very good at hiding things from her husband. There was no way in hell that she could just shrug off what just happened as a normal occurrence.
Once inside our room, I locked the door, turned on all the lights available and shut the blinds. The darkness outside was unnerving, even from a second story window.
Somehow with all the scariness and commotion, I had forgotten how awkward bedtime was going to be. Seemed like fear erased all sorts of non-issues like that one. In the bathroom, I got changed into PJ pants and a baggy concert tee (Mr. Bungle) and quickly washed my face and brushed my teeth. I didn’t like being alone, even with Dex outside the door. I did run the taps while I did my business, but the walls were too thin for any real privacy.
When I was done, Dex was already in bed and scribbling into a notebook. He was shirtless. Despite what you’d think, I hoped he was wearing pants of some sort underneath the covers.
He looked up at me and smiled. “So this is your sleeping attire. Classy.”
“I hope your sleeping attire consists of undergarments of some sort,” I replied dryly, getting into my side of the bed.
“Well, you’re just going to have to find out for yourself,” he said with a smirk. I gave him a look and settled underneath the covers. Now that I was actually in the bed, it felt immensely small. I couldn’t lie here without rubbing against his shoulder.
I eyed his chest, now that I had a closer look at it. The words tattooed across it said, “And with madness comes the light.”
He caught me looking. “Admiring my pecs or trying to figure out the tattoo?”
“The tattoo,” I said. “What does it mean?”
“Song lyric,” he said, his lips clamping together, signifying not to ask him anymore. So I didn’t. About that tattoo.
“And the arm? What’s the fleur de lis for?”
“I thought you were Irish.”
“I’m a mutt. Done with your questions?”
I shook my head and pulled my covers up closer. “What’s the point of tattoos if they aren’t a conversation starter?”
“We don’t need conversations starters, kiddo.”
We stared at each other for a few weird beats. We were too close to each other. I could see the tiny spirals of ebony in his etched brown irises.
“This is cozy,” I blurted out. I turned my face away from his.
“We could make it cozier,” he grinned, the bristles on his moustache sticking up. He seemed quite relaxed considering what had happened earlier and considering what he had been going through.
“You’re just begging for a pillow fight, aren’t you?”
He smiled even broader, showing his shiny white teeth. “Actually, I was hoping you might warm up my feet.”
Suddenly his feet surrounded mine, cold blocks of ice. I nearly screamed but caught myself. I flinched, my body turned rigid.
“Get away!” I hissed, hitting him on the arm.
He just smiled and stuck them further up my legs, getting under the pajama pant opening. The coldness jarred me and I had nowhere to go but off the actual bed. I started laughing and pushing him away.
“I’m serious,” I said and shoved him hard.
He turned over on his side, retracting his feet and grinned up at me. “But you’re so warm.”
“I’m a hot-blooded mammal. You’re a cold-blooded reptile. Do the math.”
“Reptiles need love too.”
I paused at that and gave him a curious look. He was still smiling at me, though his eyes were full of sarcasm.
I shook my head and then pulled the covers up over me.
“I hope you don’t snore,” I added.
“I only snore when my feet are cold.”
I sighed and rolled over, away from him. He still had the light on for his writing but it didn’t matter to me. I closed my eyes, drifting off to sleep. All the joking around had miraculously erased the fear from my body. I didn’t know if Dex planned it that way, but it worked. Despite everything that happened earlier, I felt safe knowing that my major annoyance at the moment was his cold feet
My eyes flickered open. Something had woken me. I froze and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. I was still on my side, facing the wall. I wasn’t sure of the time, or how long I had been asleep, but it must have been the middle of the night. I listened and heard Dex snoring lightly beside me. His back was to mine, his butt square against me. Good thing he was wearing pants after all.