Body in the desert

Caught short on a long drive, a motorist discovers a body. That's his first worry.

The body lay about thirty feet from the roadside. Hidden behind these rocks, the passing traffic could not have been seen it - not even the big trucks. If Jim hadn't been caught short it might have lain undiscovered for months. Few people stop on these isolated stretches and, when they do, they rarely stray more than a few yards from their vehicle. Only chance found that corpse and Jim wasn't sure what to do about his discovery.

It was dead: there was no doubt about that. But why here? What could have happened to it? Where had it come from? Jim walked around his discovery, keeping himself at a safe distance. There was no blood; no footprints; no sign that the body had been dragged or carried; no sign of a struggle; no hint of how the chap had got there. Jim looked skywards, perhaps pointlessly; but could it have fallen from the sky? The legs seemed to be splayed at an unusual angle, but…

There was no point in standing there musing to himself. He had found a body and it must be reported urgently. Jim strode back to the car, picking his way between the cactus, scrub and rocks. He picked up the phone, dialled 911 and immediately cancelled the call. Perhaps it needed more thought. He walked back to the rocks, half expecting the body to have disappeared. No, it was real. He was not mistaken, this was genuine and (reaching out with his foot) solid. He retraced his steps yet again.

Back in the car he reached for a handbook. Plenty of emergency numbers to choose from, but which did he need in this unique situation?. It was way beyond anything Jim had experienced, imagined or dreamed. He wasn't dreaming, was he? He gripped the door handle - did he need to check again? No, he was quite sure what he had seen; there was no need to go back again. But who should he call? Ambulance? Not much point in that. Police? Probably. Who should you call to report a dead alien?

© Derrick Phillips - 2001