by S. G. Daniels
The DJ’s excited voice cuts off the song that’s playing. “We interrupt this broadcast with an emergency news bulletin. Local authorities located what they believe to be a UFO in the timber area south of the city. There is no confirmation of any life form in or around the spacecraft. We will update you as news becomes available. Remember folks, you heard it first on WKRA-Z.”
Dumbfounded, I stare at the radio for a moment and then glance to my wall calendar. “It’s only March 31st. You’re all a bunch of crazies.”
I return my attention to the mess of unfolded clothes hanging out of my underwear drawer. “Mom, I can’t find my other black sock!”
“Did you check the dryer?” She yells up from the foot of the stairs.
Ah man, I hate going down in the basement. It’s like a dungeon—all damp, dark, and creepy. The bed slides a few inches as I plop down on the corner. Slapping the lone knee-high against my thigh, I wonder if I could go without socks today. One glance at the frost-coated window made me shiver. Nope, that wasn’t going to be an option unless I wanted my toes to freeze off.
My mouth scrunched to the side at the sound of a pan clunking against the stove burner, and I decide to try my luck. “Since you’re close to the basement, will you run down and check for me?”
Several agonizing moments go by before I start to wonder how long she expects me to hold my breath waiting on her answer. “I’m busy fixing your breakfast. You’ll have to go look yourself.”
I inhale deeply, and reach around the door. My hand slides up and down the wall until I locate the light switch. Click. I stare into the dark abyss leading to the basement and swallow hard. Click-click-click-click. “Double darn.”
Mom calls to me from the kitchen. “I can’t hear you from in here. What did you say?”
Maybe now she’ll feel sorry for me, and I won’t have to go down myself. “The light is out.”
“You don’t need a light to go down. The dryer is behind the steps, and it has a light that comes on when you open the door. Now stop fooling around. You’ll be late for school.”
A shiver quakes through me, but not from the cold. The sound echoes off the block walls as each wooden step creaks from accepting my weight. Palms outstretched in front of me, I feel my way through the murky darkness until I touch the cold metal of the dryer. A clicking noise is coming from inside the drum, but the machine isn’t running.
My palms begin sweating, so I rub them over my thighs, and will my courage to appear. Gritting my teeth, I fling open the door. My grip slips from the handle, and I fall backward landing on my butt. My hair is flying all around me from the static electricity, and I have trouble keeping it out of my eyes. I want to scream, but nothing comes out.
In front of me is a large green lint ball with a chicken face hovering just inside the dryer door…and it has my black sock.
Gripping fistfuls of my flyaway hair I finally manage to say a few words. “Wha…what are you?”
The chicken faced lint ball starts flying around inside the dryer. If I’m fast, I can grab my sock, and slam the door shut trapping that thing inside. I jerk my hand back…bad idea, I think, and rub at the sting. “Hey, you pecked me!”
“My name is Owlbi. I come from the galaxy Hootonia. A magnetic field disabled my ship forcing me to land not far from here.”
I sit and watch the little creature fly around inside the dryer again…with my sock. “This can’t be real. Wake up, Emma.” Static discharges with a loud snap, throwing blue sparks into the darkness, and I yelp in surprise. Owlbi squawks menacingly at me.
Okay, I’ve had enough of this, and kneel in front of the little alien keeping my hands on my hips so I won’t be shocked again. “What are you doing here in my dryer with my sock?”
Never letting go of its bounty, the alien perches on the lint filter. “I need an electrical charge to run my ship.”
The emergency flashlight skitters across the concrete away from my foot as I try to get up off the floor. Quickly, I remove the batteries. “I’ll trade you these for my sock.”
Twenty minutes later, I’m standing in the snow waiting for the school bus. I want to kick myself because my feet are freezing. What was I thinking? Naturally, Owlbi would need a way to carry the batteries back to the ship. Besides, the little alien wasn’t about to give up my sock once it was fully charged with static. Nobody is ever going to believe this story.
The bus’s brakes squeal as it stops in front of me and the doors swing open. Something lands on my head and falls to the ground. All of the kids standing around me start to giggle and mumble. I stoop to pick up my other black sock. Nope, not a soul is going to buy this story, but at least I’ll have one warm foot today.
~ S. G. Daniels
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