Hashtag UFO

(The episode opens with a door opening and the jingling of a leash as SARAH and her dog COOPER walk outside. The summer evening is quiet except for the sound of crickets.)

SARAH

Come on, boy!

(They begin to walk)

SARAH

Not gonna lie buddy I am not feeling the full three miles tonight. Today’s shift suuuucked and I don’t particularly feel like being back downtown so soon. So let’s head toward the camp and we’ll see what how we’re feeling when we get there. Okay?

(There’s a pause)

SARAH

God I’m just so tired of working at the store. People are so rude. But it’s not like I have any other options right now right? Gotta keep my buddy and dog food and pearls.

(SARAH’s phone beeps with an incoming text message)

SARAH (reading)

Better you then… oh my God, Colin, you asshole.

(COOPER whines as SARAH stops to type on her phone.)

SARAH

Hang on, hang on hang on…What? How? (reading) UFO spotted over Berkshire County. No picture but 14 alien emojis. Ooookay, Twitter rando. Not sure I’m gonna trust an egg with 10 followers on this one.

SARAH (aside, to COOPER)

Okay, but anytime you want to take that piss that’s just fine by me. I know the trees are interesting, but…

(She goes back to her phone while she waits for the dog to pee.)

SARAH

One…two…How are there so many comments about a UFO but no pictures? Is it some anniversary thing like that guy in Sheffield forever ago?

(Her phone beeps again)

SARAH

Oh, Colin. (Reading) Are you seeing this UFO thing? 

(SARAH starts typing her response)

Yeah, what is going on?

SARAH (to COOPER)

Okay, a little further bud. I don’t want you shitting on the floor again tonight so let’s get this done. Camp’s right up here. How about we go a little further and then we’ll call it a night?

(There’s a beat of silence as instead of moving, SARAH goes back on Twitter.)

SARAH

Wow, this is really picking up steam. “Omg UFO over mount Greylock.” There’s a picture here, but I can’t really see anything. “I didn’t buy it. But then I saw it at my mom’s.”

(SARAH takes a deep breath. She’s more rattled by these tweets than she wants to admit.)

SARAH (trying to convince herself everything is fine)

It’s fine. It’s just a game some viral marketing thing. Whatever. Finish your walk like an adult with responsibilities. Just Just focus on something else. Look at the pines at the camp entrance. Isn’t the camp beautiful? Look at the camp buildings. Aren’t they rustic-ly beautiful or something? Think of the counselors who come into the store. Are they beautiful? Yes. Yeah. Especially that that one girl. Just look at the pines. Take a deep breath and be an adult. And put your goddamn phone away.

(There’s a pause as SARAH tries unsuccessfully to follow her own advice.)

SARAH

Nope, nope. I need to look.

(She starts quickly reading through the tweets)

SARAH

“Anyone else see this thing? Hashtag UFO.” “10 of us saw at my uncle’s cookout. I hope they stop and take me off the shitty ass planet.” Yeah, fair. “Order Pizza Hut. For your UFO party. Hashtag UFO.” Geez. Oh, okay. Not the best hashtag marketing I’ve ever seen.

(There’s a pause as SARAH looks around and realizes she has made her way into downtown West Stockbridge and it is completely empty.)

SARAH

Wait…where is everybody?

(She looks around, unnerved.)

SARAH

I didn’t expect much activity by the camp but I didn’t think the whole town would be so empty. Okay, it’s Friday night and nobody’s at the Shaker Mill Tavern. Okay, bud, this was a mistake. Let’s turn around and – NOW YOU HAVE TO PEE?

(COOPER is contentedly relieving himself as SARAH waits, jittery and impatient.)

SARAH (muttering)

Hurry up Hurry up. Hurry up. Hurry up. Hurry up.

(She checks Twitter again as she waits for the dog to finish. A sharp wind picks up behind her, then drops away.)

SARAH (reading)

“Saw it driving down Swamp Road.” Okay, that could be anywhere between here and Pittsfield. “wtf is going on? Hashtag UFO. GIF of the Ancient Aliens guy…” 

(SARAH notices COOPER is done.)

God finally come on. Let’s head home, Bud.

(She’s putting her phone away, but freezes.)

SARAH

Oh shit. This one has a picture. Wait, why do those trees look so familiar?

(Horror dawns on SARAH as she looks at the picture. When she speaks again, her voice is shaking.)

SARAH

Oh my god, those pine trees. That’s the camp.

(The wind picks back up, along with an unearthly crackling noise as the UFO in question appears above SARAH.”

SARAH (begging)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Please, someone. Anyone, help me! Oh god-

(Her voice cuts off abruptly as the crackling electricity gets louder.)

(The scene fades back in to the sound of a gently flowing river. SARAH wakes up beside it.)

SARAH (confused and groggy)

It’s morning…

(She looks around, confused. Then snaps to attention as she remembers the events of last night.)

SARAH (frantically looking around)

Oh, Cooper. Cooper. Where are you buddy?

(COOPER snuffles in her ear. He’s unharmed.)

SARAH (relieved and trying to comfort them both.)

Oh, thank God. I’m, you’re okay. I’m okay, buddy. It’s okay. But why are we still..? Dammit, my phone’s broken. I don’t know what happened. How I got here…I think I’m okay though…There was, there was somebody who just…I can’t remember who, but I just remember her words…She told me she wishes me peace. And she thinks me for…for what exactly? I can’t remember. But I want…I want to. God I wish I could…

(SARAH stands up, still groggy and unsettled. She grips COOPER’s leash.)

SARAH

Come on, bud. Let’s head on home.