Harry Krep smiled a perfect smile while Reagan's thoughts raced.
"Excuse me?" Reagan stalled.
Krep turned his smile up another notch. "The so-called alien abduction. Could I talk to you about the alien abduction?"
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about," Reagan answered. She took a painful step to go around the FUS News reporter. Her feet protested the resumption of the walk back to the trailer.
The smile almost slipped from the telegenic face. "I was under the impression the flying saucer and missing boys were the talk of town." He slid a step to stay in between Reagan and the soft green grass between the school parking lot her mother's trailer.
Reagan took another step around Krep. "I wouldn't know," she answered him, "I don't talk to folks much."
Krep fell back a half step to stay between Reagan and her destination. "Perhaps then you could tell me why you are out walking so early in the morning? Barefoot and in pajamas?"
"I . . . I was out for my run," Reagan decided, "I'm training for a marathon. I'm doing that barefoot running thing." Reagan warmed up to her story. "It's all over the internet, you know. It's supposed to be better for you than wearing shoes."
Reagan continued to advance at an oblique angle toward her objective, Krep continued to pace her and force her to the side.
"You're pace seems a little slow for marathon training," he said.
"I'm just getting started." Each step hurt terribly, but Reagan tried to keep her face placid.
Krep had lost almost all pretense of smiling. "You're feet don't seem to be handling your training very well."
Reagan winced inside at another step. The bastard wasn't just a pain for grandstanding over what Reagan had previously considered to be a perfectly fun fictional show that was beginning to look closer to reality than she had dreamed. Now he was a pain in her feet. Reagan flexed a fist, resisting the temptation to throw it at the smarmy reporter.
"Like I said, I'm just getting started," she answered again, as calmly as she could manage.
Krep considered Reagan through narrowed eyes, his perfect teeth hidden behind pursed lips. "Your training gear is . . . unorthodox."
Reagan shoved her clenched fist onto her hip. "Look, Mister, I don't know who you are," she lied, "and I don't know why it is you think you can roll into the school parking and harass me." Reagan could feel tears of anger and frustration building. She was so close to finding an actual alien, and here was Harry Krep of all people getting in her way. "I know that I don't have fancy shoes or fancy clothes, but I'm doing the best I can!" The tears began.
Krep stepped out of Reagan's way. He softened his face.
"What I think, young lady," he said, "is that you are wandering looking like something drug you out of your bed in the middle of the night, and now you are desperate to get home. Maybe it was something not of this world, maybe it was something powerful and dangerous. That's what I think. Can we give you a ride and talk about what happened?"
"No." Reagan resumed her walk.
Keep reached into his suit coat and withdrew a card. "Maybe you can't talk about what that something did to you, maybe you don't even remember what happened, at least not yet." He extended the business card toward Reagan. "But when you do remember, when you can talk about it, I want you to give me a call."
Reagan took the card and hoped the speech was done. Harry Krep smiled a broad smile, climbed back into the Action News van, and sped out of the parking lot.
Reagan continued to shuffle her way home. "Shit shit shit!" she announced once the van was out of sight.
Ready for the next part? Here's Chapter 14(ish).
Need to catch up? Here's Chapter 12(ish).
Or, heck, here's Chapter 1(ish).