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Dr. Eli Mandel, a surgical oncologist working at the New York State Hospital, was on break pouring himself a cup of steaming, chocolate cream-colored coffee, anticipating the maroon liquid soaking his tongue and running down his throat. He was about to tilt the cup to his mouth and enjoy the sensational flavors of the drink when his good friend, Officer Joe Pulley waddled up to the refreshment bar.
“Hey Eli, how are ya?” Pulley inquired in a thick Manhattan accent.
Eli turned to the slightly plump, brown haired, red-cheeked short member of New York’s Finest, and answered, “I’m great Joe, you?”
“Better than ever. How did the operation go?” Pulley questioned.
Taking a sip of the delicious coffee, Eli savored the flavors, and let them absorb into his tongue before answering, “Better than ever,” perfectly mimicking Pulley’s voice.
They both had a good laugh for a while, and then Pulley said, “What about that? It’s a new year now, 2030! You make any resolutions?”
“Yea, I plan to got to more of my son’s soccer games,” Eli responded.
“That’s good, but you picked the wrong job for that buddy!” Pulley laughed.
“Yea, you got that one right,” Eli chuckled.
“All right. What did you think of the -” Pulley was interrupted by a crackling of his radio, and someone speaking in an inaudible voice started issuing commands over the air. “How could anyone possibly understand any of that?” Eli wondered.
“Sorry, but duty calls!” Pulley cheerfully chimed, in his New Yorker accent.
“See ya!” Eli replied, again mimicking Pulley’s accent. Pulley laughed again, and turned toward the elevator down to the parking lot. Eli, himself Indian, but born in the U.S, had a small voice that brimmed with authority and wisdom, and he always though his friends voice was amusing. It was hard to take him seriously with that voice. Pulley walked like a penguin in many respects, and his overall appearance and personality was easily made fun of. But, Pulley was a tough cracker. When Eli met him, he was on his way to court because he was being sued by some of the Crypt’s top gang members; they claimed he beat all of them up too badly when the group of 5 assaulted Pulley and his partner during one of their patrols. Pulley got to the elevator, waved goodbye, and went inside the box on a cable. Just as the elevator doors closed, Eli caught something out of the corner of his eye flash past the window looking over the city. Not even a second later, something came roaring overhead. It sounded as if Russia had finally invaded America, and a fighter jet was streaking overhead. The building shook, and Eli dropped his coffee. Then, as soon as it had come, it was over.
“What the hell was that?” some one asked.
“Beats me,” another person replied.
Eli kept standing where he was until he noticed a hot, searing pain in his lower leg where he had spilled his coffee. Cursing, he bent to pick up the cup. The coffee he had enjoyed a few moments ago was now spilled all over his white pants, and there was a large maroon stain slowly spreading over the pant leg. As he was wiping up the floor, he heard someone scream. Curiously, he raised his head, and saw cluster of people running over to the source of the sound. He got up, and started walking towards the group.
He heard several cries of, “Oh my god,” and “What happened?” as he made his way to the window. Although a crowd of people where already peering through the glass panel,
Eli could easily see over their heads, being 6 feet tall. What he saw gave him mixed emotions of awe, horror, and drew some out of his gut that he had never experienced before. Because there, in Central Park, lay a meteor: a stone of Olympic properties, a majestic gargantuan boulder, smoldering in fire with everything around it blown to smithereens.
Eli gasped when he saw it -- a meteor landing in New York City; that’s something! “Space had thrown a ballistic missile towards us, and it so happened that it lands in New York City!” Eli excitedly thought. The meteor wasn’t very big as meteors go; it was about the size of Shay Stadium. Fire was quickly spreading from the meteor to the trees to the bushes to the squirrels to slow to get out. It was as if someone was standing over it pouring gasoline on the blazing inferno. The damage wasn’t catastrophic, but it was still bad: the street had a large rock in covering it, about 9 shops lay in ruins, 1 apartment building seemed severely damaged, and another 2 were mildly damaged. Unfortunately many cars where completely totaled, flattened like gum on the sidewalk. At least most of New York was safe, or so Eli thought. “That’s strange,” Eli pondered. “I hadn’t seen anything on the news about a possible meteor landing on earth. Maybe they didn’t think much of it.” As doctors, nurses, and patients jostled past him to get a better look at the attraction, Eli noticed that there was a dull yellow light around the meteor. People all around where as startled as he, and someone whispered, “Oh my. I hope no one was hurt.” “Yea lady, like that’s likely. Only a part of central park and a good chunk of 5th avenue is covered by a rock from space the size of a base ball park, seats and all, with fire spreading like some one dropped a match in an oil pipeline,” Eli sarcastically thought.
Another person said, “Can you believe that! A meteor lands in New York City!”
Eli was still dazed by the meteor’s landing when suddenly the ground rumbled again, just like when the meteor flew over the hospital, but more powerful this time.
“Wow!” Eli yelled as the lights flickered on and off, and shelves began to fall over.
People where screaming, “Earthquake!” and “Quickly get out of the building!” and as everyone was running for the stairs the rumbling stopped abruptly. Eli, still standing at the window, the only one standing at the window, saw the top of the meteor slowly slide open, and a stream of green fog or smoke flow out of it. And then, out of the shadowy, asparagus colored swirling fog, stepped a life form. An alien.
Eli couldn’t even comprehend what he was seeing. The idea was so terrifying, so amazing, so far out that his brain couldn’t process it. He wanted to say something, but his mouth couldn’t open. As people started coming towards the window, all out chaos erupted! People where screaming, crying, and dashing towards the elevators, while others were as shocked as Eli. Eli heard someone calling his name, it seemed as if the person was 5 miles away. A hand grabbed his shoulder, and he saw a short man babbling about something, but all Eli could hear was the sound of his blood beating in his temples. Suddenly his mind turned back to the real world, like someone had splashed a bucket of artic water on his face, and all the sounds he was hearing before suddenly sprung to life.
“Eli!” a voice yelled. Eli turned to see Pulley standing before him. Sweat was trickling down his face, and his cheeks were all red and puffy.
“We need to go help those people down there! I was on patrol when that meteor thing struck. It took out a whole row of walkers, and there are many more people down there that are injured. Let’s get some paramedics and go! Also, anyone with an open cut that was around the green gas for too long developed this weird thing on his or her skin. We were wondering if you could take a look at it. We have got to get to the site of the crash soon!”
“All right fine! You gather up the paramedics, and I’ll get my equipment,” Eli responded, adrenaline pumping through his veins.
“Ok. Meet me at parking lot 2. That’s where a spare ambulance is,” Pulley responded, and he turned toward the stairs.
Eli ran into his office, grabbing a few personal belongings, his surgical coat, a scalpel, and some other materials he needed, and he ran through the hysterical crowd, sprinting past dazed and terrified people. He finally got down to the ambulance, where he met Pulley and 2 paramedics, and their driver who was already in his seat ready to get moving. Pulley quickly introduced Eli to the paramedics. One paramedic was young, with a barley visible beard and short blond hair. His name was Dodge, and the other paramedic, who was old, about 50, with a gnarled and rough face and a trimmed black beard, was named Paul. They double timed it out of the hospital, into the shining and now slightly greenish-yellow tinted light, and turned on the ambulance’s sirens.
As smaller cars careened out of the way of the ambulance, Pulley turned around and said, “Oh, sorry, I forgot to give you the gas masks. Here you go.” He handed Eli and the other ambulance crewmembers a black, rubber, uncomfortable looking gas mask.
Noticing his hesitation, Pulley said, “The mask is there to protect you. The gases from the meteor are poisonous -- several people have already begun to develop a tumor like bag on their bodies. That’s why you’re coming with us.”
“Wow, I’ll be able to work on a tumor from space! Let me see if it’s anything like we’ve seen before,” Eli thought.
“What does the tumor look like?” Eli queried.
“I don’t know, I haven’t actually seen it,” Pulley responded. “I’ll check with some of the other guys. Hold on.” After a brief series of crackling words over Pulley’s radio, he turned to Eli and said, “The bag is of yellowish orange color, with a dull light sort of throbbing inside of each. It is growing rapidly, and the bigger it gets, the weaker and whiter the person it covers gets.”
“Wow, I’ve never heard of anything like this before!” Eli exclaimed.
“2 minutes to the meteor!” the ambulance driver yelled in a Mexican accent.
Eli was nervous in a way. Well, anybody would if they where going towards a meteor that recently crashed with a living alien walking around it.
“Did you guys see the alien on the meteor?” Eli asked.
“Yea, I did, that was amazing!” Dodge enthusiastically replied.
“I can’t believe that! After all these years of no signs of life from anywhere, a meteor unexpectedly turns up and lands in the middle of New York City, with an alien on board!” Pulley stated. “I was in my car with my partner, and we saw this weird thing on top of the meteor when the smoke and dust cleared after it landed. It had oddly shaped
tentacles on its chin, and its body looked like it was wearing some sort of new quasi cloth style.”
“All I have to say is wow,” Eli reflected. “Isn’t that just amazing, another species of life crashing down to earth!”
His thoughts quickly ended when the driver said in his heavy Hispanic accent, “I can’t see much now -- the light from the meteor is too bright.”
“Well, then we’ll stop here,” Eli said. “What light did he mean?” Eli wondered. “Must have been the dull glow he saw around the meteor back at the hospital.”
“Everybody out!” cried Pulley.
Eli got all his things together, and opened the back door of the ambulance. As soon as Eli stepped out of the van, a sharp pain developed in his brain from a brilliant light shining from the meteor.
“Aaugh!” Eli yelled, and he instantly put a hand over his eyes to stop the throbbing pain in his head. The light from the meteor was of yellowish color, and it acted as a very thick fog would, covering everything up so much that Eli could barley see Pulley who was right next to him.
“What’s with the light?” Pulley cried, fumbling around in the grossly over lit brightness of the light “It’s kind of ironic,” Eli thought. “We can’t see because the place is to bright and lit up. How will we search for people here?”
“How are we supposed to find or see anyone in this light?” the younger paramedic asked, practically reading Eli’s mind. He had a hand shielding his eyes as well.
“I have no idea; I didn’t know the meteor would be like this. Every body stay close together because we could easily get separated in this blasted light-fog,” Pulley responded.
Eli’s head was throbbing so much because of the pain the light was causing to his eyes and brain that it sounded as if a bass drum was keeping a beat in his temples. Apparently the others with him felt the same way because the driver kept saying, “Oh good lord this light hurts.”
“Stay together men -- if any one gets separated from the group, there’s no chance we’ll ever see him again,” Pulley commanded.
“Well we can’t just hold hands the whole way through this blasted fog while dragging people of all sizes and conditions, while trying to avoid the alien roaming around!” Paul gruffly said.
“Good point,” Pulley muttered in agreement.
After a short pause, Eli suggested, “Why don’t we use some string or use our belts to tie each other to each other, like a sort of life line?”
“Yea, that could work, only I can’t see a damned thing in this, so I can’t really tie anything,” Dodge commented.
“Well, we’re gonna have to try,” Pulley said importantly.
“Ok, lets see about that rope,” and with that Pulley climbed back into the ambulance.
A little later Pulley returned with a long piece of orange linen, which was probably from the stretcher inside.
“Ok, lets see if we can tie each other together with this,” Pulley said, and he instructed everybody to tie one end of the rope to themselves, and to “tie that strap in a triple knot!”
As Pulley, the last one to tie him to the line, was just finishing up with the rope, Eli heard a sigh, and one of the men with him must have collapsed because the rope immediately tightened around his waist. “What was that?” Dodge said, obviously frightened.
“Some one must have fainted because of this god forsaken light,” Paul replied.
“Well, if I’m still here, you’re here, and both Dodge and Paul are, than the driver must have gone down,” Eli said.
“Aaugh, it’s all because of this blasted light!” Pulley said in exasperation.
“Who’s next to him?” Eli asked.
“I think I am, but…” Dodge’s voice trailed off.
“But what?” Eli demanded.
“The rope is cut!” Dodge said.
“What?” Pulley asked, apparently scared.
“The rope is cut!” Dodge said again, emphasizing the words.
“What could have cut the rope?” Paul said in a quavering voice.
Suddenly someone made a choking noise, and then sighed and collapsed to the ground as well.
“What the hell is happening here?” Paul yelled, his voice definitely filled with fear.
“I have no idea! Just run!” Pulley yelled.
“There’s blood on the rope and ground!” Eli said, trying to sound in control, but his voice was on the brink of hysterical, and his heart was beating very fast. Sweat started pouring down his face, and he couldn’t seem to hear anything. His heart was now beating so fast it felt as if it was on the last loop of the track in the 200-meter Olympic dash. Eli’s faced began to get whiter, and whiter, and whiter, until at last he looked like a bed sheet. When Paul screamed, and Pulley frantically was saying something to Eli, it was droned out of his mind, and the blood that splashed in front of him seemed unreal, like in a 1960’s movie. Suddenly, a creature whirled in front of him, and he saw his wife and kids flash before his eyes. Then a quick, horrendous pain, filled his mind, soul, and body, and the world went black. He never got to scream.