haboob {another creepy tail}



It was easy to slip across the border from Mexico into Arizona and a haboob was the perfect cover to get into the city undetected.  The massive dust storms covered the valley at least once or twice every summer during the monsoon season.  One news helicopter photographer caught a few seconds of  the two lights moving in at the front edge of  the mile-high wall of  dust,  but it was explained away as airplanes skirting the storm to land at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  People only see what they want to…  especially those with neophobia.  In today’s political climate,  that was just about everybody.  Arrangements had been made the week before via email offering a remunerative deal that a local street gang couldn’t refuse.  It was just enough to cover what they could make in a month selling weed ~ any more would have made them suspicious.   A small bag full of  diamonds would be left at the landing site.

The two space ships set down unnoticed in the burnt-out block of  South Phoenix where the drug gang had chased off  all the addicts and homeless people.  By then, everyone who could be was inside anyway.  The haboob was an immense sand blaster made by nature with hurricane-force winds.  Anybody unlucky enough to be caught unawares was stuck on the side of  a road somewhere praying that their car wouldn’t be carried away like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of  Oz.

Ramps came down from both landing craft letting out a strange neon-orange glow.  The eight-legged creatures made their way into the rubbish filled back yard of  an abandoned house.  A modulated signal beyond human hearing was being broadcast. The haboob would also mask detection by any of  the humans’  equipment designed to pick up sounds in that range.  In less than a minute a strange scurrying noise could be heard.  It seemed to get louder by the second.  The creatures from the space ships opened the doors at one end of  each of  the cases they carried in their two front claws,  laying them gently on the ground.  In under ten minutes,  the containers were being filled by scorpions of  every size scrambling over one another to get into the large cases.  The {illegal} aliens closed the containers and made their way back into their ships,  cooing and clicking to calm their babies within.  They had more than enough nurseries on board the mother ship to allow their descendants plenty of  room.  All of  the subterfuge had been unnecessary when they had made the last trip one hundred years ago.  It had been quite a surprise to discover that the city had grown so quickly,  invading their hatching grounds.  The next brood would have to be laid on a deserted planet in another solar system.

The ramps pulled up and the two ships launched back into the haboob just before the tail end of  the dust cloud passed through the area.  When they reached South Mountain,  the ships suddenly shot straight out of  Earth’s atmosphere in the blink of  an eye.  If  there had been any eyes looking.

Video footage of  the haboobs always made the network news shows the next day.  Only one local station aired a thirty-second segment the following week to report the abrupt disappearance of  scorpions in South Phoenix.  The residents themselves didn’t question it.  They were just grateful to have the scorpions gone since no one in that area could afford an exterminator.



“Holiday”   Scorpions

{ by strange coincidence,  i’m a Scorpio.  make of  that what you will… }



this story was prompted by ~

3 Word Week #23     at     READING AND WRITING BY PUB LIGHT
prompts:  {all three must be used}
thanks for the  ‘haboob’  prompt,  Steve ~ another creepy-crawly story for you {smile}

I.)  haboobn.
A penetrating sandstorm or dust storm with violent winds,  occurring chiefly in Arabia,  North Africa and India. {and in Arizona,  U.S.A.}

II.)  neophobian.  A tendency to dislike anything new;  a morbid fear of novelty;  misoneism.

III.)   remunerativeadj.
1.)  Yielding suitable recompense;  profitable.
2.)  Serving to remunerate.



originally posted  27 September 2011



photograph by Mike Oblinski of  an actual haboob in Phoenix
{  fair use }




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Filed under blog anniversary, Creative Every Day, fantasy, science fiction and horror, fiction, NaBloPoMo, Post-A-Day, prose, redux, short stories

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