The Ballad of Robinson Clyde – Alexander D Jones
Down in the valley that nobody knows the name of lives a very old man. A man who’d seemingly been there since time began. He was the last line of defence. Nobody had asked him, he took it upon himself.
He sat in his hut, four walls, three windows, two doors, one roof. All hours he sat. Waiting. Watching. Waiting. Watching the skies. Guarding the valley that nobody knows the name of.
They always landed in the valley, never quite the same place, never the same time, but every day, one came. Down in the valley that nobody knows the name of.
The old man would wait. He’d rick in his chair, back and forth, back and forth, gun on lap, waiting, watching. Rocking. Glancing around the sides of the valley that nobody knows the name of.
When dark came as it did for thirty minutes of every day, he’d stand flick a switch and on would come the lights. Big, bright lights to illuminate the valley that nobody knows the name of.
When the second sun rose, he would stand once again and turn of the lights, letting the sun do its job and he’d sit again. Watching, waiting, gun on lap, rocking back and forth. Waiting, watching the skies over the valley that nobody knows the name of.
And every day he’d win. The metal orb would come, heard before it was seen, whistling across the sky. The people would come running to the edge of the valley to watch. The orb would screech down into sight, breaking the atmosphere. Then, when it seemed to be too late, a chute would emerge, the orb would slow and crunch onto the floor of the valley that nobody knows the name of.
The man would rise, up and out of his chair, cock his gun and emerge from the hut. He would take several steps out into the long grass and stop dead still. Silence. He was waiting, watching, not moving, still. He was listening. Waiting for the scratching to begin, waiting for the crunching, watching the orb that came down in the valley that nobody knows the name of.
After a few minutes pass the scratching gets louder and the crunching begins. The man brings the gun up, moves his finger to the trigger. Waiting, watching. Then a crunch and the orb begin to buckle, it bursts. A creature born of nightmares, covered in black, roars from the orb, ready to scourge the valley that nobody knows the name of.
The man sets his sights. Waits, watches. The creature adjusts, looks at the man, as every other one always has. It hisses, long and loud to leave a ringing in the ears. BANG. The creature slumps, dead, over the edge of the orb as the gunshot echoes around the valley that nobody knows the name of.
The man lowers his gun. Still looking at the creature. Waiting, watching. No movement. Dead for sure. He’d made the mistake once. Not again. He waited, watched some more. Finally nodded, raised a hand to the watching crowd, lowered his head. He knelt on the floor and pulled up a handfull of grass, let it go in the wind before turning back towards his hut in the valley that nobody knows the name of.
And so, he sat, once again, as he did every time, in his hut with four walls, three windows, two doors and a roof, waiting, watching. Wondering if they will ever stop coming down to the valley that nobody knows the name of.
They say he still sits, rocking in his chair, gun on his lap, waiting for the orbs and watching the skies, that poor old man, name of Robinson Clyde.