“He went down the tunnel, sir.”
“Are you sure?” asked the young constable. The tunnel looked a bit too dark. He didn’t feel like going in.
The crowd nodded in unison.
He gathered up his courage and walked inside.
The crowd waited, and waited and waited. It was close to dawn and dinner was waiting. Most of the people went back home and forgot about the constable, the tunnel and the strange being who went inside the tunnel.
Two stayed behind, a little boy and his friend, a shepherd dog. He just waited, sitting on the floor beside his dog. The little boy didn’t know the constable. He hadn’t seen the strange being either. He just thought the constable would like to be welcomed by someone when he got back.
It was close to midnight when the constable finally returned. He was holding something.
“Hey. What are you doing here? It’s late. Your mother must be worried.”
“No, she is working. What is that?”
The constable sat down in front of the boy and the dog.
“This is his coat,” he replied while holding a coat that seemed to be made of a very strange fabric, a mixture of plastic and snake skin. “He managed to escape.”
“Did you see it?”
“What was it?” the boy asked eagerly.
“It was a man; well, a being from another planet, another place, somewhere in the universe. It looked like a man, but his skin was different and he changed his shape to fit into very narrow places.”
“Oh,” said the boy, eyes wide open.
“But promise me you won’t tell anyone about this.”
“We don’t want people to start a hunt for the alien. We’ll find him, discreetly.”
The boy agreed and the pact was signed with a handshake. They never did find the alien.
Many years later, when the boy was no longer a boy but a grown man, his shepherd dog fell very ill. He was now an old dog, but the boy inside the grown man didn’t want to lose his lifelong companion. The vets couldn’t do anything so he took his dog home to die where he had lived, right next to his human best friend.
Suddenly, a strange sound came from the kitchen. It was the door to the back yard. The man stood up and turned around. The strange being was standing in his living room. He walked towards the dog and touched his nose, much to the horror of the man. The dog opened his eyes, stood up and slowly turned into a puppy again. The man couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Many years ago you made a pact that saved my life. Now I am saving yours.” And as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone.
The puppy jumped of joy. The man smiled.
Several years later, when the puppy was already a full grown dog, the man felt a pain in his chest and collapsed. The dog tried to make him move without success. So he ran to town and walked up to the constable and nuzzled his hand. The constable recognized the dog and followed him; the man was taken to hospital.
The alien had saved two lives, or was it really only one? Well, the boy and the dog did share one soul.