Jack looked down at his notebook. The words themselves seemed etched into pages like carvings on stone. They came at night. It’s what she said. It’s what they always say. Lights in the sky; beings in black; darkness; and hours, sometimes days, lost to God knows what. Jack flipped to the last page in his notebook and added a final entry. Abduction or drunk? He double underlined the last part, paranoid that someone might discover that he was a believer. A true believer.
“Now, tell me again? They were dressed how?” asked Larry.
Between the two of us, Larry was the strong one. Jack could tell by the way Larry hunched his shoulders that he thought they were wasting their time. Soon he would push his black framed glasses onto the edge of his nose, arch his eyebrows, and ask her if she wanted to pursue this.
“In black. They were dressed in black. I told you this,” screeched the woman.
Larry sighed, rubbing the rim of his glasses. “Yes ma’am, so you did. Were they dressed in black all over? Did you see their faces, ma’am?” Jack knew from experience that it would soon be over. Either Larry would snap his notebook shut, or the woman would demand that they leave.
As if stung by the question, the woman pushed herself further back onto the rocking chair. Much like its wooden frame, she herself seamed to creak. If only she had money, or an education. If only she wasn’t some swamp-rat living on the edge of Hicksville, USA. Why are they never middle-class picket-fence types? thought Jack for the umpteenth time.
The woman tore her eyes of Larry and pleaded with Jack. “They came at night,” she repeated, widening her eyes as she did so. Nobody else but Jack would see past her bloodshot eyes and empty bottles of low-grade alcohol scattered throughout the one-room shack. Nobody else would ever think, even for a moment, that this woman had touched the mystery of the beings in black.
Jack dug the tip of his pen into his palm, letting the tiny point of pain radiate throughout his body. It was the only way to stop himself from shaking this woman by her shoulders and screaming, “It happened to me! It happened to me!” He breathed in through his nose, and out through his mouth, just like they taught you to. Cool, calm, and critical. The three C’s that underscored the culture of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The woman took her eyes from the men and stared at a dusty corner, letting the moment pass.
“We’ll see ourselves out,” said Larry, not even bothering to look down on the woman.
“The Bureau thanks you for your assistance,” mumbled Jack.
And with that, the case closed on another abduction by the beings in black. The dark sky stretched overhead as Jack followed Larry back to the car, promising himself that next time would be different. Next time there would be proof. Next time Larry would understand. Next time no-one would doubt the existence of the beings in black.