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BBW The Craving from Beyond the Stars - by Marlow

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Marlow

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Feb 5, 2013
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~BBW, ~~WG, intrigue, paranormal - I'm not saying it's aliens, but



An ominous appearance in the heavens, that was seen once only:

“We have an account of a spark falling from a star, and increasing as it approached the earth,
until it became of the size of the moon, shining as though through a cloud.
It afterwards returned into the heavens and was changed into a lamp;
this occurred in the consulship of Cnaeus Octavius and Gaius Scribonius.
It was seen by Silanus, the proconsul, and his attendants.”

Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia



The Craving from Beyond the Stars

by Marlow


Chapter 1


A saucer descended through the haze of steam. It rotated in the air as it fell, whipping drops of water in all directions, its glossy surface reflecting a pale, silvery light.

Mrs. Garnett caught the platter just before it hit the kitchen floor. Her hands wouldn’t stop shaking and unloading the dishwasher had become a fraught task, taking much longer than it should have. She’d hoped it would keep her mind busy.

She was wrong, of course. Even when she could turn her thoughts to something else she still jumped every time the refrigerator made a sound. It never moved and never opened, but she glared at it with renewed dread.

The platter joined the others in its cabinet and she waved away the rest of the dishwasher’s steam. The refrigerator began to hum again. Mrs. Garnet cracked the door, cautiously, but it was safe. There was nothing inside but a diet smoothie and boxed salad with low-fat dressing.

It was time to get out of the kitchen. She escaped into the immaculately cleaned living room just in time to catch sight of two shadows walking up her driveway. She jumped again.

They’d come in a nondescript car. They’d come in opaque black sunglasses. The man wore a generic black suit with a generic black tie; the woman wore a snug skirt-suit, black, and a pair of smart heels, also black. The only color was her pair of green earrings and even those were half-hidden behind her hair.

“Mrs. Garnett?” asked the man, as she opened the door.

She squinted. “You aren’t who I called.”

He unfolded a badge. “I know, ma’am. I’m Special Agent Morley; this is Special Agent Skyler. May we come in?”

“What is it you want?”

The agents pulled off their sunglasses. “We’d like to talk about the report you made.”

She deflated and ushered them inside, but double-bolted the door behind them. “Sorry. I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting…I honestly didn’t think anyone was going to take it seriously.”

“I take everything seriously,” said Agent Morley, grinning at his partner. Agent Skyler rolled her eyes and wandered through the elegant living-room.

Mrs. Garnett sat. “I’d offer you something, but there isn’t much left.”

“That’s fine. My partner here would say no, anyway. Can you tell us what happened? From the beginning?”

“I don’t exactly remember everything, but I’ve tried to keep some notes. It started on…the twentieth. I’m sure of that—it was the week of the company picnic.”

Morley opened a notebook. “Company. And you work at Silver Key?”

“In acquisitions. The picnic was going to be a big day for us. I’d just helped finalize a deal for a merger with Orville Logistics—well, that’s not important. Things started after that. After I’d gone to bed that night.” She folded her hands in her lap. “Something woke me up. I heard a sound…a gulping, almost. Then I saw a light—a greenish light—a green light shining through the windows, moving, like it was going past the house.”

“And was anyone else home at the time?”

“Not then, no. My husband’s been working internationally. I’m used to it and I usually sleep fine. But the sounds, the lights…they came closer. I felt the house shake. And then—then I felt something grab me. Not a hand, but…something. The light blinded me. And when I could see again, I was somewhere else.”

Morley’s eyes were wide. “What did you see?”

“It’s hard to be sure. I was in some kind of huge rounded chamber, like a dome. There were people moving around in the shadows, but I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. They were all carrying things…big gears and levers and bolts and things…and they were adding them to a giant machine in the middle of the room. And that’s where the light was coming from.”

“From the machine?”

“I think so. The machine had this big green sphere on top.”

“A sphere,” he echoed, writing. He looked to his partner, but she ignored him. Agent Skyler was a short, petite woman, with an expression was stern enough to intimidate anyone. Morley returned to his notes.

“I couldn’t move,” Mrs. Garnett continued. “Couldn’t speak. There were tubes…I felt something in my stomach.” Her hands moved automatically to her slender abdomen. “And then—and then—I’m not sure. The next thing I remember I was suddenly in my kitchen and it was morning and I was…hungry.”

They both stopped and looked at her. “Hungry?” asked Skyler.

She nodded. “Starving. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt. I had to eat. I couldn’t think about anything else. I ate everything I could get my hands on. I was so hungry I ate everything in the fridge.”

Skyler pursed her lips. “You ate everything in the fridge.”

“I know, I—look, I don’t want you to think I’m exaggerating. I’d think I’m exaggerating. That’s—I mean, I don’t keep much in there when my husband’s away, but that day there was plenty and I ate every last bite of it. I ate the leftover casserole, I ate the meatloaf, I ate the chicken stir-fry. I ate all the fruits and vegetables out of the crisper and all the sandwich meats and all the cheese. I ate the sticks of butter. I—I drank all the condiments. Everything, Mr. Morley. Everything.”

Morley looked impressed. “I’m impressed. How long did that take?”

She straightened. “About three hours. I was done before noon that same day.”

“I see.”

“That’s when I started to come to my senses. It was…” She reached into her purse. “I took a picture to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.”

Morley took the phone and waved Skyler over to study it. The image was a hurried photo taken in front of a mirror, from the neck down, showing a toned woman’s body with a disproportionately bloated stomach. It swelled so far forward her tank-top (an expensive athleisure favorite) rode up almost to the navel. The waistband of her equally expensive yoga-pants had stretched noticeably to accommodate the bulge.

She was wearing the same yoga pants now, however, and looked as slim in them as ever. The stomach beneath the new top was completely flat, with a hint of abs.

Morley returned the phone. “What happened after you, uh, came to your senses?”

“I threw out the rest of the food in the house and just locked myself inside for the day. I didn’t know what to do. And I was so hungry all day and all night. I was so hungry I couldn’t move and so hungry I couldn’t sleep.” She gave them a defiant stare. “But I didn’t give in again. And the next morning it was all gone.”

“Gone?”

“Gone. No more hunger, no more bloating. I felt completely normal. I called in sick again and waited another day. It never came back, so I’ve tried to get back to my usual work routine. But I’m very careful about what I’m eating.”

“And no other…unusual experiences? Have you seen the lights again?”

She thought awhile, but shook her head. “No. Mostly I’m just scared. Scared that it’ll start again. Scared of…scared of how good it felt.”





Morley and Skyler walked back to their car in silence. The clear, cool air of early autumn was a relief after the dense aroma of cleaning products in Mrs. Garnett’s house. Skylar stopped for a deep breath as she dug out her keys.

“Can I drive this time?” asked Morley. He knew the answer, though, and continued to the passenger side before she even said anything.

Skyler sat, started the car, and frowned. “Unbelievable.”

“My driving?”

“You. You said this was a matter of national security.”

He did his best to look innocent. “Silver Key owns companies all over the country. They have major government security contracts. And a reasonably high-placed Silver Key executive just reported a close encounter of the fourth kind. I think that’s a matter of national security.”

“This is thin, Morley, even for you. At least the sightings you usually dredge up have blurry pictures of spaceships to laugh at. I mean—what on earth are we doing here?”

“I take it you don’t believe Mrs. Garnett’s story.”

Skyler backed out of the driveway and glowered up at the house. “No, I don’t. You dragged me halfway across the country to some factory-town in the back end of the Midwest just to hear that a lonely corporate lawyer had a bad dream.”

“And the picture?”

“Any generator on the internet could’ve made that. Her face wasn’t even in it. Come on—even if eating that much in a day was physiologically possible, it’s physically impossible. This woman had a very weird and very vivid nightmare and we have more important cases to be working.”

A smirk sneaked onto his face. “But this case at least has a certain smell about it, doesn’t it? A certain, uh, paranormal bouquet?”

She accelerated back toward town. “Why are we here?”

“To investigate the report.”

“No. Look, I thought you’d been doing this long enough at this point to know which reports aren’t worth your time…our time…which ones to just file away and ignore.”

“I did ignore this one.”

She watched the road awhile. Morley paged quietly through his notes. After a few more turns the realization began to creep up on Skyler; her brow furrowed and at the next stoplight she turned to him again, incredulous. “What do you mean you ignored this one? Morley, why are we here?”

“I got Mrs. Garnett’s report over a month ago. It was thin, so I filed it away and ignored it. Then, two weeks later, I got a report from the same zipcode. A Miss—let me check—Miss Meraud claims to have been abducted by a greenish light. And two days ago I got two more reports from two more people. And yesterday another one. Same thing every time.”

Skyler pulled over. “All from here?”

“Same town. Same light. Same unusual hunger post-abduction.” His smirk returned. “Something’s going on here, Skyler. Something big.”
 

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