Day 319: The Wrong Man

The gray off-worlder moved Will through the air with some magic wand doodad, the paralysis terrifying in spite of him expecting it. He hadn’t participated in every abductee interrogation, but the Men in Black had gone over the witness testimony from here to Sunday, and he knew enough that the moment between the initial examination and the prodding table would be his best opportunity for escape.

Every abductee who could remember recounted a moment before being strapped to the table where they could move their arms just before the goblins grabbed them. There wasn’t much they could do, but none of them had a six-shooter on a mechanical spring clamped to his arm for just such an occasion.

They floated him face up through the opening of their craft, without the basic decency of bringing his hat. Will had seen bigger, he’d seen smaller, but the odd shape of this one was like main street perched on a hotel-sized haystack. The scariest part was he couldn’t even curse at these creeps.

As he glided in, he found he could rasp his throat ever-so-slightly. It got the attention of one of the grays, unusual bulges on each side of his throat, who grabbed Will’s chin and looked into his eyes. When the Men in Black had captured a gray, Will stared it down and the creature returned a kind of vacant threat, but looking into the eyes of this being showed him frozen demonic hostility.

“Don’ reckon I ken how we earned your hate.” Will’s eyes widened, surprised at his own voice.

The off-worlder bleated and moved out of Will’s sight.

Will strained to move his arm, but it barely shifted. He couldn’t reach the spring mechanism, let alone trigger it.

Bulge-neck came back and draped a few ribbons across Will’s front, then fiddled with them. All of a piece they constricted around Will’s middle, pinning his arms to his side, and Will knew he was done.

“Big mouth,” he muttered. Will struggled against the bands, feeling his body return to him. “Dammit and tarnation, you picked the wrong man, off-worlder.”

Bulge-neck tapped all over his head in the weird way Jeb did with their captive gray. Ty and Doc had picked up on some of it, but it only mystified Will.

“Can’t twig a thing from thet, hoss.” He wondered if they could understand his words. “Hey, these ribbons of your’n are cinched a bit tight. Mightn’t you loosen them a tad?”

Bulge-neck touched one of the ribbons, and they all tightened, the straps digging into his arms and ribs.

Will grunted. “Jest don’t chuck me into thet briar patch.”

Will found he could move his fingers and his neck, but he was otherwise tightly secured. The off-worlders transferred him to a shiny table, looked like yellowish white stone, but it was warm and light shone through. A strap several inches wide slid over him and pulled him against it. The devils didn’t bother releasing the narrow ones, and Will arms and hands were getting numb.

His six-shooter was worthless, even if it could activate it, he’d only be able to shoot his foot off. As it was, the metal extender would just slam up against the strap and….

Will activated the spring. It rammed forward, and he immediately regretted it when the clamps on his arm gouged into his pit. The first narrow strap broke when the metal hit it, the extender hit the thick one binding him to the table, cut through his duster’s sleeve, and sliced into the band, tearing through it and springing the next thin one.

A final band still held Will’s wrist to his body, but the pain in his armpit was so great, he ripped his hand out, allowing the spring to fully deploy and take the pressure off. He grabbed the gun’s grip.

Two grays were next to the table, and both lunged at him. Will spun away from one and dropped to the floor, his feet tingling as they hit. He jabbed the barrel into the side of the other’s head and took in the surroundings.

Five grays stood motionless as stone. Will pushed the one away and swept the six-shooter across the room, hesitating ever so subtly on each off-worlder.

“Y’all know what this is, right?”


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