The UMass Files

By Matt Brown

Lynn Tran/Collegian

Lily took a few steps forward on the black, foreboding path before her. Yes, she had heard the grossly exaggerated names for this trail from her friends – well, mostly acquaintances – but she wasn’t the “social butterfly” type. It was all ridiculous, hyped-up slop designed to make the campus seem more interesting and to scare freshman. She would not allow herself to be fooled by such nonsense. It’s laughable really. What guy is going to try anything here? It would be incredibly stupid, and obviously not worth the effort. Besides, the offender would get a can of pepper-spray unloaded on his face.

Lily smiled to herself at this thought, but then her eyes were drawn back to the seemingly endless turns in the path ahead. Despite all of her intelligence and “don’t-take-crap-from-anyone-or-anything” mindset, there was something about the path that irked her. Something wasn’t right.

The early-October wind gave a chilling response to this thought, as if it read her mind. Lily shivered and pulled her red coat around her. The light rain really wasn’t helping her situation either. It wasn’t the nice, warm kind of rain. It was cold and hostile. She needed to get back to her dorm. This was all starting to mess with her head a little.

“If I get sick again I swear rain … you’ll have a Lily-storm coming for you” Lily muttered to herself under the noise cast by the eerie wind and rain, musing over her corny joke.

She forced herself to keep walking along the path.  Even the lamps were adding to the atmosphere of “there is clearly something wrong here.” Lily just kept walking. It will only take a few minutes. She walked as briskly as she could. The pitter-patter of the rain hitting her hood echoed in her eardrums. As she walked, she deliberately avoided looking into the swath of dark forest on her left. Then again, it seemed that the lampposts on the right, giving off their eerie white light, weren’t much better to look at.

“Just keep walking. Just keep walking,” she murmured to herself.

The rain continued to fall; nothing made a sound except her tentative footsteps and the pitter patter of the rain. The wind came for a visit again, chilling her to the bone. What’s the temperature anyways? It’s obscenely cold, she thought to herself as she doubled her speeding efforts.

“This is so embarrassing. I’m running from nothing … literally nothing!” She actually spoke this aloud, and angrily. “Get it together Lily!”

She would not be frightened by a creepy path and unfortunate weather conditions. “Come at me rain! I’m Lily, I will not be –“

She stopped short in speech and stride as she heard a snap from the woods on her left. Her head naturally swiveled to the left and her eyes scanned the tree-line.

Pitter pat pitter pat.

The rain continued innocently against her alert mind. She stood there for a minute listening and watching the landscape; then she heard it again from her right this time.

“Wait a minute” Lily thought, “there aren’t any woods to my right …” her heart began to pound. She could hear it even over the rain. She was now officially scared. She tried to turn just as a huge gust of wind, unnatural in light of the night’s previous gusts, whipped by her and created a whistling howl that tore down the path.

The path went completely dark.

Every single lamppost on the right had suddenly shut off. Lily didn’t know what to do. Her karate and fencing skills weren’t going to help her here. Her pepper spray was right under her arm. If she could just reach it…


She heard it again. And again. It was all around her now, until it sounded like bubble wrap being twisted in someone’s hand.

“I’m warning you!!” Lily shouted in a voice 10 times bolder than she felt. “I will kill you if you get any closer! That goes for all of you! I … I have a gun!”

This was a complete lie, but she had no other cards to play. She was helpless.

Then it seemed as if someone turned on the ceiling-fan. A deafening, tornado-like roar filled the air above her head, and a bright-lavender opening appeared above. This charade seemed far too obvious for Lily’s experienced science fiction-based mind. Strange noises and mysteriously lit openings in the sky?

“But no, that’s simply not practical. This isn’t how it would actually happen…right?” Lily thought just as she felt something hard hit her square in the back.

The hit somehow rendered her limbs useless, and she crumpled to the ground. She tried to move but to no avail. “Well, that’s just great” she thought. “Some asshole set for stun.” She was a “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” fan, but this was just plain ridiculous.

Was this for real? Was she really being abducted by … freakin’ aliens right now?

“Hell no…!” Lily attempted to yell from the ground, as she realized her larynx no longer performed its primary function.

She wished she were dreaming, but she knew that was not the case. “I will get out of this” Lily thought. “I refuse to be probed and tortured and…whatever other clichés they need me for.”

She looked up as the lavender light descended upon her narrowing pupils. Shapes circled around her, blackened by the surrounding spectrum of white-lavender light.

“Oh, you have no idea who you’re dealing with, E.T dude,” Lily said. “You just decided to mess with the wrong chick.”

Matt Brown is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at [email protected].