Footprints

WARNING! This scene contains mild spoilers for those who haven’t read Contact.

Please note – this scene is unedited.

Deleted scene – This scene originally came in between Jack revealing all after the bank raid, and Eliza going to school and seeing him again, set after Eliza gets home and speaks to Amy on the phone. It was deleted because although I liked Eliza having to trust Jack as he came rushing to her rescue, it felt a little unnecessary to justify making the final edit.

That night I slept deeply and dreamlessly when suddenly I woke with a jump. I sat bolt upright in bed, my heart racing. My room was pitch black, the glowing red digits on my alarm clock reading 2:00 am exactly. I put a hand on my chest to my still racing heart. Had a noise woken me? I sat motionless, listening. Nothing. I took some deep breaths and as my heart rate slowed, I felt better. But I decided I should have a quick check to make sure everything was normal before I would be able to get back to sleep.

Unplugging my phone from where it was charging by my bedside, I pulled on my robe and peeked in on Daisy who was sleeping peacefully. I crept downstairs, padding into the kitchen to pour a glass of water. All the windows were closed, the front door was double locked and the back door bolted up tight. Everything was exactly as it should be, but as I filled my glass I couldn’t shake the feeling I was being watched. My eyes flicked to the window but all I could see was darkness, along with my own shadowy reflection in the soft glow from my phone which I was using as a torch. I began to turn away telling myself I was being paranoid, when I saw movement from the corner of my eye. My heart hammering like a thousand horses hooves, I stepped closer to the window, searching into the blackness. Suddenly, only inches from the other side of the window, I saw a pair of bright green eyes stared back at me.

A shot of pure terror spiked through me and I swallowed the scream rising in my throat, every hair on my body standing on end. I ducked down out of sight of the window. Blood rushing in my ears I tried to process what I had seen…eyes, just those glowing emerald eyes, no face, no body. Nothing just eyes. Was it real? Was Drayton, or whatever-his-name-was, outside the window watching me?

I didn’t dare take second look. Gripping my phone with trembling fingers, I dialled Jack. It seemed to ring forever and just when I thought it would go to voicemail, he answered.

“Hello?” He sounded groggy, his voice thick with sleep.

“Jack, it’s Eliza,” I whispered.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, suddenly alert.

I described what I’d seen, already feeling silly. Although after the content of our previous conversations I shouldn’t have, but saying it aloud felt like I had rung him to tell him about a nightmare I’d had. Getting up from the floor I gathered my courage and peeked back out. There were no eyes.

Feeling braver I moved closer. As my eyes got used to the dark I could make out the shape of the bushes a few metres away which ran alongside the path that led around to the back garden.

“Someone’s here,” I told him. “I know it sounds weird but I can feel them.”

There was muffled rustling on the other end of the line. “Stay where you are, I’m coming over.”

“Yeah, really not a problem,” I muttered, but he had already hung up.

Clutching my phone, I crouched back down under the window hugging my knees to my chest. I was too frightened to move even if I’d wanted to.

What was he doing here? The thought of Daisy coming downstairs and seeing those eyes, or worse those eyes seeing her, filled me with dread.

I waited for what seemed like forever, and yet no time at all, running a million horrible scenarios through my mind. Suddenly my phone vibrated in my hand, giving me such a fright I nearly screamed out loud. It was Jack.

When I opened the front door and saw him I instinctively unwound. I was still wary of him but subconsciously I knew I could trust him. And I did. Seeing him standing there, completely unfazed, in a Metallica hoodie and rumpled bed hair, made me feel safer somehow. Like he would protect me. I waited anxiously hovering in the hallway, out of sight, whilst Jack carried out a search of outside, and then inside, the house.

“All clear,” he told me when he returned. “But there was definitely someone here, I found some fresh footprints in the mud around the side of the house, right by the kitchen window.”

“Oh my God,” I whispered. This was’t new information but it seemed so much worse hearing him confirm it.

“What was he doing here Jack? Why was he spying on me? Is it because I was at the bank?”
Jack’s jaw clenched. “I have a few theories but it’s nothing for you to worry about.”

“How can I not be worried when I have an alien peeping through my window!” I whispered.

“Freddie is setting up a force field around your house. It will be invisible to the human eye so you won’t be able to see it, but it will let us know if any non human crosses the perimeter.”

I arched an eyebrow at him, my cynical side thought that sounded like he was making it up to reassure me. “Really?”

Jack nodded. “Yeah, in case you didn’t know, Freddie’s kind of a tech head.”

I decided to listen to the side of me who now knew aliens existed. “Well alright then.” Knowing Daisy and I wound be safe each night while we slept made me feel better, and the rest? Well I would deal with that tomorrow.

“I should go,” Jack said. His voice softened as he stepped closer. “Are you going to be okay?”

“Sure,” I said regaining my composure. Suddenly I was aware of how revealing my vest and shorts were, I fastened my robe.

“Thanks for coming over,” I said as he turned to go.

“You did the right thing.”

Invisible force field or no invisible force field it was a long time before I fell back to sleep that night. Every time I closed my eyes I saw those green eyes staring at me. What was he doing at my house? What did he want? I wondered if I wanted to know Jack’s theories but, like it or not, this was very real and it didn’t look like it was going away just yet.