The Falcon - A Study In The Color From Out of Space

Freddy Falcone had to brace himself against the cold as he stepped out of his car. The Mount Charleston Wilderness Area was the site of Nate's death. It was snowing, and Freddy had to go out and purchase winter clothing just for this visit. The dirt road was closed off with some old police tape. The dirt was scarred with the tracks of numerous vehicles and investigators and snow was beginning to cover it all up.

From the file he managed to procure from an old contact in the local police, he had a pretty good map of the entire scene where Nate and his friends had perished. So he hiked his way up to the camp site which took him some time, and it seemed to only get colder as he made his way up the trail. The site had already been cleared of most physical evidence. The tent, which Falcone made a note of it being cut open from the inside, had been collected, along with much of the clothing and bags that Nate and the others had left behind. Only a few trace pieces of refuse remained, as well as the remnants of an old fire.

Falcone thought about Nate, the boy did enjoy the outdoors, always had, and it reminded him of a time when Johnny and his family went out to a lake. Falcone had taught the boy how to fish. He sighed and let the nostalgia fade so he could focus on scoping out the scene. The file was extensive, and he doubted he'd find anything new or of note, but it was worth a look.

What Falcone found odd was the burns on the tops of the trees. The file said the investigators concluded it was probably a lightning strike. And Freddy was inclined to agree. Except the extent of the burns to so many trees seemed rather odd. Plus, he'd seen trees get struck by lightning, they tended to explode, and there was no indication that something like that had happened.

Another aspect was that one of Nate's friends had suffered horrible burns, though everyone but two of the hikers had died of exposure, the burns were an oddity. Particularly because the report said they were severe radiation burns.

Falcone sighed and started to head back down the mountain, but stopped to reach the clearing where Nate's body had been found. He had died running in the cold, barefoot. Some few meters away one of his friends, a little skidmark by the name of Perry Freddy recalled, had climbed up a tree and starved to death.

As Falcone stepped into the clearing an eerie silence fell over the area. While it had been quiet before, Falcone took notice of this silence because it seemed like the air had gone still. Like all the ambient noise had been switched off. A chill went up his spine, not from the cold, but from the feeling that he was being watched.

It was enough to make Freddy produce his .38 and he scanned the treeline. He recalled hearing that such silences tended to happen when animals knew a predator was around. And while Falcone didn't quite know what sort of animals called the place home, he wasn't gonna let something sneak up on him.

Yet still, the damn silence was deafening. His heart was now racing. The growing sense of some impending attack freezing his blood. And for what seemed like hours he stood in the middle of the clearing waiting for something, anything to pounce.

Then the air seemed to start moving again, the sound returned, and Falcone began to relax.

"What the fuck was that?" He said aloud, mostly out of nerves. Like a little kid talking to let the monster under the bed know they were there an unafraid, even though they were.

"Yeah, time to go..."

As Falcone made his way down the slope he did so with a sense of urgency. The feeling he had experienced had managed to get under his skin. It wasn't until he reached the spot he'd parked his car that he caught some movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned and looked and spotted the strangest thing.

An orb of blue light was dancing through the trees.

Falcone stared at the orb and tilted his head. "The fuck?"

Almost as if in response, the orb stopped when he spoke and hovered. Suddenly, Falcone felt very uneasy. He felt like he was having a staredown with a goddamn killer disco ball.

The orb started to approach. And as it drew closer the greater Falcone's sense of unease became. It didn't take long for Falcone to decide he didn't want to see what it had in mind for him and hopped into his car and started driving down the dirt road as fast as he could.

The orb gave pursuit. Falcone gunned his car down the road. The orb continued to gain on him. Just as the orb was a car-length away from him it exploded into a blinding light which obscured his vision. Falcone screamed. He could feel heat.

And then the light disappeared. The orb was gone. And Falcone's car skidded to a stop on the asphalt of the highway. Falcone looked back behind him at the mountain. No orb. But he didn't stick around to figure out what happened, he drove off like a bat out of hell.

----

When he reached the Prickly Cactus he sank into a bar stool and looked to Hunter with a look like he'd seen The Devil himself.

"Get me the strongest drink you have..."

Freddy may not have figured out what happened to Nate, but now he was getting the distinct impression that whatever had happened, it wasn't going to be a simple explanation...

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