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Hu Factor Book 1 Ch. 2

Hu Factor Book 1 (feedback please!) See the rest at http://vagobond.posterous.com

Chapter 2

He had never before experienced that bizarre but clichéd slowing down of time. One moment he was pushing his glasses up his nose and thinking about how nice dinner and a romp in the hay with his French mistress would be, then he became aware of the rafters coming towards him. It seemed like they took minutes but was more likely only a few seconds. He actually felt a moment’s concern for the machinery around him, the proofs that his clients had left in his care, and, most foolishly, the accounts book on his desk before he realized that he was probably going to die. His hand continued pushing his glasses up his nose in the pure reflexive movement of a man who has been nearly blind without them for most of his life. It was then, that he took a moment to hope that his wife and his mistress would survive his loss without too much pain.

He had never been the type of man who believed the gods bothered listening to mere human beings, so he didn’t waste a moment praying. Instead he saw the large metal beam that had held his roof above him for so long rushing down to him and thought with gratitude that it had been a pretty good life. He’d accomplished most of what he had wanted to and in the process had fathered a half dozen children by four different women who loved him. The first, his wife, had stood by him through the trials of life. The moment before the beam hit him, he wasted just a moment, in thanking whoever might be listening for the love of a woman like Doris.

It would have been nice if that were really the end of him. A life well lived, last thoughts of his loving and stalwart life. Instead, he regained consciousness after an indeterminate amount of time and realized that he was pinned under most of what had been the roof of his shop. His head was stuck to a pile of coagulating blood that had apparently leaked from it while he was unconscious. The greenish light he had noticed earlier, now suffused everything and a monstrous howling came from the outside where the wind had reached an intensity that surpassed most category five hurricanes. Ben was able to free one hand from beneath his body and reach up to where his head was trapped beneath the afore mentioned metal beam. It was tender and he felt a large gash in the left side of it, but it didn’t seem to be broken.

“God dammit,” he said to himself. “This is not what I had in mind for this evening.”

He managed to turn his head just a bit and was able to see something moving outside of what had once been the door to his shop. His glasses were not on his nose where they were supposed to be and he could just make out three white blurs coming towards the doorway. The only sound he could hear was the screaming of the wind punctuated by the occasional ripping of metal, shattering of glass, or impact of some fast moving object hitting some stationary object. For a moment, he wondered if maybe he had died, but the puddle of blood under his head assured him that he was still among the living.

The white blurs slowly arranged themselves into the shapes of the Michelin Man or Stay-Puffed marshmallow people. There were three of them and as they got nearer he could see that they were people inside the sort of suits that astronauts or people working with radiation or biohazards had to wear. One of them kneeled down in the doorway and looked toward Ben and his hand pointed as his head turned to call the other two. Ben didn’t know how long it took before they were able to clear the material that was trapping him. He was aware of the fact that he was drifting into and out of consciousness. Throughout all of this, the only constant was the cacophony which reached his ears and the now glaring greenish light which he was being unearthed to.

The final time he gained consciousness, he saw that his rescuers had almost reached him. On what had been the street in front of his shop sat a long white cigar shaped vehicle and nothing else. The building that had stood across from him for years was gone. Just gone. The strange rescue vehicle was perched on spindly legs which came from it like those of a centipede. The massive amounts of material that smashed into it, did not cause it to move or appear to do damage to it. Just as hands reached his now cleared body, it occurred to him just how big the vehicle outside must be in order for him to be able to see it with his naked eyes. He couldn’t make out anything else that was distinguishable to give him a context. What the hell was going on? What had happened?

He felt hands lifting him and lost consciousness once again.