The Source


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download this short story for free as a PDF

Subscribe to Jerry Godolphing’s Short Story Podcast

Alfred Appledorn sat in his studio in a average home in Bismarck North Dakota. Surrounded by pyramids of books which looked as if they would collapse onto him at any moment. Years of smoke damage tainted the drywall near the window where he often smoked. His looks fit his occupation perfectly. And it is hard to tell whether this was intentional or merely the way that nature just makes people. Long white locks of his beard were stained with tobacco smoke, and his eyebrows were in desperate need of a trimming. He was a mix of Santa Klaus, A homeless guy, and a college professor. Alfred was a professional conspiracy theorist. Writing books about Alien abductions and reinterpretations of ancient writings found on the walls of various ancient indigenous cultures. Amongst the books surrounding him were old high school text books about Physics to the History of the Mayan People. In the corner was an especially dusty pile of his “contemporaries”. They all sat, perfectly rigid as the day he got them for free at a conference. He couldn’t stand to read anything from any of his peers as they shed light on the fact of just how full of shit he was.

With a final puff on his pipe Alfred removed his glasses and placed them on the small thrift store table beside his chair. His eyes were tired from hours of reading and his old age wasn’t helping with his stamina. He gazed to the far corner where his entire series of books could be seen in a nice bookshelf that his daughter had purchased him for Christmas almost a decade ago.
“What a nice girl I ended up getting” Alfred thought to himself. “Even though she is one of the only people who knows that I really don’t believe half of the shit I write, she still loves me. Why is that? How can someone love somebody who is obviously in the game of deceit unconditionally?”.

Alfred’s revery was broken by the sound of a text message vibrating his mobile phone which lie next to a book about “Art and Physics”. As he opened the message he noticed the number was unknown. It simply read.
“I’m out. Come to Kum and Go by the Federal Building in 30 minutes. Do not write me back. The serpent is returning soon. More info later. <3 Quetz" Alfred's eyes scrunched together as he reread the message a dozen times. He thought someone must be playing a joke on him, or more likely, one of his insane followers was having delusions of grandeur and in some sort of a manic freak out. Quetz was the name he had given his "source "almost 30 years ago while writing his first book "The Return Of The Aztec Serpent". It was short for the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl who was a feathered serpent and had been worshipped as far back as 900 BC. But the problem was. He had made Quetz up, he wasn't real in any way. Just a figment of his imagination that came to him while he was on a week long drug binge in the forests of Chile. There, he had talked to various "medicine men" who were more than likely more interested in his money rather than trying to impart any knowledge on a 25 year old American hippy in search of New Age religion. Quetz was the name he had given to the alien he claimed to have met while camping in the jungle and ingesting DMT non stop. Quetz didn't look like an alien in any way as he had the power to shape shift, and generally he took his position in various governmental roles. Trying to actually do good for the planet, and further mankind. Quetz belonged to a group of aliens which had integrated into modern life. They were our judges, our lawyers, our school teachers, and our congressmen. Quetz was of the M-83 tribe which were extremely peaceful and interested in passing knowledge throughout the entire universe. But, the main thing that we shouldn't forget, was that Quetz was a fake. For years Alfred had made a small fortune (most of which he never used on anything besides books and booze) writing books about his communications with this Alien who was revealing governmental secrets, plans for weather controlling stations, and how there was currently a war going on between the M-83 tribe and the Lasticons who were more interested in making Earth subservient in order to prepare it for a full Alien invasion. Alfred gazed back down at his phone. Scanning the message another time. The thought of calling the police crossed his mind first, as there were some dangerous and emotionally unstable people who did follow his works, and this could very well be one who was trying to lure him into some sort of a bizarre set up. But at the same time, it could be an interesting distraction to what was otherwise a pretty boring evening, in fact, a pretty boring week, on top of a pretty boring month. Alfred decided he would go and if he felt uncomfortable he would be in a public parking lot. So what could really go wrong? He thought that perhaps he could talk to some nutbar and get some ideas for an upcoming book. Really, at this point, what did he have to lose. Schizophrenics always had great new ideas he had never thought of. Alfred came up from the basement where his man cave resided to see his wife Eva cooking a soup. "Hey sweety, I've got to run to Kum and Go to get some chips. Need anything?" "I'm cooking dinner already, why are you getting chips?" His wife responded "brain food baby, need anything?" Alfred stated as he grabbed his keys and was almost half way out the door. "Get some sour cream!" could be heard as Alfred shut the door. He nodded and gave the thumbs up sign as he walked to his car. An old 1992 Ford Thunderbird. The car was a complete pile of shit, but having a clean car was the last thing on Alfred's mind. He was happy with whatever as long as it got him from point A to point B. As Alfred headed down the beautiful tree lined streets he could feel his dugout (a small wooden box which held marijuana and a small pipe which resembled a cigarette) rubbing up against his leg. "Fuck it, why not" he thought as he turned up the radio which was playing Classic Rock and sparked a few hits. A minivan with a classic soccer mom at the helm pulled up next to him as he was exhaling a giant hit and bobbing his head to some Creedence Clearwater Revival. She glared over at him and Alfred could make out a small child in a car seat in the back through the tinted glass. "Little does she know that I'm on my way to meet my secret Alien source" Alfred thought to himself, smiling, in a marijuana daze. He gave her a friendly North Dakota smile and turned off onto the main road which would take him to Kum and Go. As he approached his destination he found himself getting a bit nervous. After all, he really had no idea whom he was going to meet and perhaps he had acted too impulsively. As he saw the giant red and white sign of the gas station he paused for a moment before turning into the parking lot. A large black Suburban was parked sideways in the handicapped spot. "Fucking assholes" Alfred thought to himself. Seeing that there was no handicapped sticker anywhere on the car. He pulled up and that's when it began to dawn on him. That didn't look like an average Suburban, and his suspicions were confirmed when seconds after he pulled up he saw two men in suits open the doors and walk straight up to his window. "Mr. Appedorn" a young chiseled looking fellow said to him. "Yeah, what's up?" Alfred Replied "Quetz would like to speak to you. Follow us, it isn't safe here for long" "You've got to be kidding me. Let me talk to Quetz" Alfred retorted At this point the back window of the Suburban cracked. Revealing a cold looking face which simply stated "Come on, Alfred. We have some information for you". And with that the window glided back up, the suits walked back and got into the Suburban, and the SUV started up and proceeded out of the parking lot. "Fucking Fuck" Alfred thought to himself. This didn't seem like a prank anymore. He had been expecting the standard schizo low level intelligence agents he had got ideas from in the past. But this, this seemed kind of legit. He started up the Thunderbird, and followed the black Suburban as the sun began to set. After 15 minutes they pulled into a dirt parking lot by the bank of the Missouri river. The two suits he had seen before exited their vehicle, and Alfred did the same. Walking towards them. This time one of the men went to the back door and opened it. Out came Mr. Coldface which he had previously seen only through a crack in the window. Coldface looked straight at Alfred as he approached the vehicle. Alfred looked over at the suit he previously spoken with and asked "You mind telling me what the fuck is going on?". Coldface looked straight back at Alfred and stated. "The serpent is returning" . "Enough with the melodramatic bullshit. Who the fuck are you guys?" Alfred stated, already getting annoyed that they continued to beat around the bush instead of just talking with him straight. "You act as if the face that gave you all the inspiration for your life's work is completely unknown to you? It is I, Quetz." Mr Coldface said in a monotone manner. Alfred looked deeply at the cold bluish face of the man opposite him and couldn't believe what he was seeing. In an instant. Like a glimpse of a channel changing, Alfred saw Mr Coldface's face morph into that of a bird head. The two men surrounding him remained absolutely the same. Their chiseled features and cool attitude completely unfazed. Alfred stepped back, his eyes widening in horror. As he turned around he noticed his car had vanished. Running off of adrenaline and fear he attempted to flee but quickly found himself frozen in mid stride, unable to move. Quetz and the suits walked up to him as he stood as a statue. Quetz's eyes were inches from his face and he could see them switch between a reptile's eyes, and a human's with every blink. Quetz started speaking. "You got some things right throughout all the trite bullshit you've been writing over the years" Alfred wanted to scream, wanted to run, wanted to fight, but he remained frozen, unable to move. Quetz continued "This isn't a warning Alfred, this is a punishment. You see you let out some information we really didn't want public yet. And controlling public opinion is of the utmost importance at this point. You realize that there are real security threats to the country don't you? Alfred?" Alfred was unable to speak but would've loved to spit in his face at this point. Quetz looked at Alfred, smiling. "You do realize there are some very serious security threats to the country don't you? Alfred" He repeated. "And these threats need to stay top secret, because we're at war. You do realize we're at war don't you Alfred. We're in a much larger war than even you ever imagined." Alfred's gaze on Quetz tightened. "And since we are in this war you've just got to keep some information to yourself. I have no idea how much you learned in Chile, but I can tell you, it was probably more than you should've ever been privy to. You know the country's at war don't you Alfred?" Quetz repeated. "The country's at war". Alfred could see that the two men surrounding Quetz were enjoying it at this point. Their cocky football quarterback jawlines and gelled hair disgusted Alfred. "Now you're going to take this gun Alfred, and you're going to put it into your mouth, and you're going to blow your head off" Quetz stated with a malicious flair. The gun was placed into Alfred's hand and he started to feel sensation come back into his extremeties. Almost like his whole body was pins and needles. His hand slowly pointed the gun towards his face, and then he felt his mouth opening, and then. POP! "Fuck, I'm dead" Alfred thought. Then again. pop! Pop! Alfred opened his eyes to see Quetz's head splattered all over the black Suburban. The two suits had sought cover behind the SUV. It was then that Alfred realized he still had the gun in his hand. His first reaction was to run and he made his way to a grove of cottonwoods. Firing back at the Suburban as he ran. Pop Pop! He saw a few amber bursts amongst the trees. As he entered the grove it was completely black. Suddenly he felt an arm on his shoulder. He looked at a man in a black hood and couldn't make out any facial features, but judging from how he grabbed him he wasn't dangerous, but the sniper in the woods who had saved his life. Looking back into the parking lot he could see the two suits trying to pull Quetz's body into the Suburban. He looked down at the hooded man who had set up a tripod for his sniper rifle on an old tree trunk. Crack. Another shot rang out. Exploding another one of the suits head all over the passenger window. The last suit ran to the car but was unsucessful as another bullet from the sniper's rifle stopped him dead in his tracks, slumped onto the hood of the car. The hooded man then folded up the tripod for the rifle and motioned for Alfred to go back to his car which had now miraculously appeared where it had been previously. Within an instant the hooded man had vanished back into the darkness of the cottonwood grove. Alfred stood in the moonlight, looking back at the parking lot and the three bodies covered in blood. He knew now was not the time to reconcile his emotions, now was the time to get the fuck out of there. He ran back to the car and plopped down inside, jammed the keys in the ignition and sped off. As he drove down the river road he tried and somehow make sense of what had just happened. He wondered if he should call the police, or maybe they were the police. He was completely dumbfounded. He felt his mobile phone buzzing inside his pocket. It was another message. Alfred slowed his car as the illuminated screen glowed. The message read "don't worry, that wasn't Quetz. I'm ok". Alfred drove back to town, picked up some sour cream, and headed back home for dinner.

Flash Bulbs


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download This Ebook as PDF

Jacob exhaled a huge cloud of grey marijuana smoke as the 1986 Chevette barreled down the gravel back roads of rural North Dakota. Eliza squinted her youthful eyes; trying to focus as her hands gripped the wheel. It was well past midnight, and there’s nothing more disorienting then the all encompassing darkness of the plains. The sky was  crystal clear and as the light from the city retreated the milky way could be seen beginning to emerge out of the darkness.  In the back seat lay a plastic kite still in the package. The floor of the old Chevy had accumulated months of convenience store food. Empty bags of chips intermingled with empty soda cans and candy wrappers.  The kite had been purchased only 15 minutes earlier when Jacob had the idea to go to Wal Mart and “get stoned and fly kites”.

Elizas foot slammed down on the breaks as they approached a fork in the road. The Chevette’s tires slid and the car was engulfed in a dirty khaki cloud.
“What the fuck?!” Jacob exclaimed as a grin slowly crept up his face.
The chevette’s engine idled as Eliza began to come to her senses. She then looked over at Jacob with her eyes wide open before she descended into laughter. She wasn’t used to smoking so much weed. As she continued to laugh her eyes began to water and she managed to blurt out.
“I didn’t know which way to…..fucking….go!”
Jacob’s head fell back on the seat as he exhaled, still smiling.
“Let’s just pull over here sweety”

As soon as the engine was turned off the change of atmosphere was instantaneous. Only the sound of crickets and a distant highway interrupted the otherwise dead silence. Jacob stayed inside the car, sparking the lighter above a bowl made from pipe fittings they bought from a local hardware store. Eliza sat on the hood, her eyes on the sky. She leaned back, allowing her back to soak up all the warmth of the engine as she gazed up at the stars. In an instant a flash of light skirted across the black sky. “Shooting star!” Eliza exclaimed. “Better make a wish quick” Jacob replied, his eyes now focused on assembling the kite which lay in his lap.  Eliza closed her eyes as she tried to calm her mind so as to speak directly to the falling star wish gods. Then whispering she said “I wish, I wish that Jacob really loved….no. no. that’s not a good wish. Maybe I’ll fall in love again too. Once I go to college. wait. fuck. I need to wish. shit. Ok. I wish to know if god is..” Jacob interrupted her concentration and as she opened her eyes she saw him, kite in hand, with a stoned grin plastered across his face. “You’re a dick” Eliza blurted out as her face morphed into a way that only a 15 year old girl’s can. Showing pure disdain, naiveté, and fear all at once. “I’m sorry babe” he said, still smiling as he handed her the kite. Just then; another white streak skidded across the atmosphere. It was so bright that Jacob saw it in the reflection of the windshield. Eliza’s anger quickly turned to a youthful sigh as she began to crack a smile. Jacob came closer to her and gave her a little peck and said “Looks like you got another wish”. It was just the reason why she had fallen so hard in love with him. Even though Jacob was a complete fuck up he always had a way of being clever and thoughtful. Eliza looked back up at Jacob “So, you think it’ll fly?” Eliza said. “Yeah, of course it’ll fly. It was assembled by an expert pothead. I know all about the physics of building and shit.” Jacob replied as he slowly walked away, the thimble of string slowly unwinding as he walked further and further into the darkness of the cornfields.

As Eliza began to scan the cornfields surrounding her an eerie feeling began to creep into her. At this point Jacob was at least 50 yards away, Eliza stood alone in front of her Chevette clutching the kite. And then another white streak across the sky. “Jacob!” she yelled. “Another one!”. But she couldn’t see Jacob anywhere. Desperation quickly set in. “Don’t fuck with me!” she yelled into the darkness. Only crickets responded. “Jacob!” she screamed again. At this point another flash of light across the sky. But Eliza noticed that the light didn’t burn out. It sat there hovering near the horizon before darting off in another direction. “Jacob what the fuck! We gotta go!”. She tugged on the string and it went taught. Against every bone in her body she trudged slowly forward, pulling on the string and following it into the black cornfield. The light in the sky continued to do its dance. “Jacob?!”. At this point the corn completely engulfed her, she gave the string another tug and saw a stalk of corn jolt against the black sky. He had tied the string around a corn stalk. Her mind began to race as she quickly turned around, making her retreat back to her car. The razor sharp leaves were cutting her forearms as she bounded out of the field onto the dirt road. “I’ll leave the fucker here!” she thought to herself as she plunged her hand into her pocket in search of her keys. She was running as fast as she could to the car when she saw a  small flash come from within the field behind the car. A small amber flash, it looked like a lighter. Eliza pulled the door open and slammed it behind her and thrust the keys into the ignition. The engine revved and just as she was about to pop the clutch she saw the same light flicker for a second. It was a lighter. It had to be Jacob. Rolling down her window she yelled “Get in the fucking car Jacob. Seriously. I’m leaving”. No response. Only a flicker of light. “Have a fun walk back to town dickweed!”. She popped the clutch and her tires spun on the gravel road.

It only took a few moments to realize she was driving away from the highway entrance. As she slowed she saw the light continue to dart back and forth across the sky. “Fuck Off!” she yelled at it while performing a three point turn in the middle of the road.  With her car now back on track she noticed a light slowly getting brighter and brighter directly in front of her. “Probably just a pissed off farmer coming to see who’s messing around in his field. It’s gonna be ok.” she said to herself. But this was no farmer. The light began to glow amber and blue and became so bright that she had to bring the car to a halt. A warmth began to fill her body as she closed her eyes from the blinding glare. She was at peace and completely relaxed.

Suddenly she felt her body being pulled from the seat and dragged across the road. The bright lights had made her completely night blind. She could see the light in the distance filling up the interior of her chevette. Her shoe came off and her foot scraped against the gravel cutting the bottom of her foot open. “Ahhhhh” her scream was cut short by a hand firmly pressed over her mouth. “Shhhhhhh” she heard. “It’s ok babe”. It was Jacob. His features were still blurry but it was him. She felt the same leaves scraping her skin. She was back in the corn field. As her vision came back she began to make out the image of Jacob with his finger over his mouth. “quiet. they hunt sound” he whispered. His arms held her firmly as she pressed her head into his shoulder. Looking out from the field she could still see her Chevette lit up like a Christmas tree. The light began to slowly dissipate as Eliza watched in awe, occasionally looking up at Jacob for verification as to whether it was ok to speak or not yet.  And then in a flash, the light rocketed straight up into space. Becoming only as big as a distant star. It stayed in place for a moment, and then like that, it was gone.

Jacob broke the silence. “well, you want to smoke a bowl?” he said as if nothing had happened. Eliza should’ve been annoyed but the fact that everything was ok comforted her. “what…the….fuck…was that” Eliza stated with a shocked smile across her face. “Those, those were just drones. Kind of like alien paparazzi” Jacob stated still playing with Eliza’s emotions a bit. Eliza crinkled up her nose and began to smile and then stated “And so, what are you?” . “Me? I’m the person in charge of protecting you, and I’m going to be in a shitload of trouble” Jacob said as he took Elizas hand while walking back to the car. “You’re protecting me from what?” “Well, let’s just say that far far away there are some people who really care a lot about you and they think you are perfect in every way. You give them hope for the future. Our relationship is being viewed far from this planet on something kind of like Tv”. Eliza wasn’t sure whether to be honored or frightened. They got back inside her chevette which was parked sideways in the road. All the wrappers were gone and the car was completely clean. Jacob blurted out laughing “haha, they took all your shit! probably going to end up on alien ebay!”. Eliza was still in a state of shock but it was mixed with a new strange sort of self confidence . She slid the keys back into the ignition and started the car. As they buzzed down the dirt road Jacob looked over at her. “So should I pack another bowl?” Eliza’s glanced at Jacob, the same guy she had fallen in love with months ago. “Yeah sweety, pack another one. Then lets go get some pizza.”