The woman walked through the dead field on the edge of the forest. The dry grass crunched under her feet. A cold wind cut through her jeans and whipped at her face. She brought up the hood of her coat; the faux rabbit fur lining rubbed her cheek. I need to get home soon, she thought.

The dark gray sky hung above her like a low ceiling. It’ll snow soon. She walked faster. Something black streaked across the sky. It can’t be a bird. It’s moving too fast. Another object whizzed past. She stopped and squinted. It was large, round, disc-shaped. The object was too far away for her to determine its size for sure, but it looked big. White lights lined the thing’s perimeter.

It can’t be, she thought.

Something fell from the sky. The woman thought it was snow at first, but it looked dirty. It was lighter than the winter sky above her, but darker than snow should be. Ash? Dirt in the clouds?

Drowsiness found her as the stuff fell more heavily. She tried to shake the feeling out of her head. The snow formed a gray curtain around her. She held out a red-gloved hand and caught some of it for a closer look. The snow was little round pellets. A cloying chemical smell stung her nose. What’s going on? she wondered.

A crack erupted from the pine trees to her left. Two figures emerged. They were tall, probably around seven feet, and painfully thin, no wider than a sapling. They can’t be real, she thought. A wind could blow them away.

The creatures looked like some kind of astronauts. They wore black suits and clear helmets over their large heads. Their skin was pale gray, almost white. They had thin, lipless mouths and no discernible noses, only small nostrils. Above these nostrils sat two gigantic black eyes. Both of the strange things held black metallic rectangles in their gloved, three-fingered hands. The rectangles were about the size and shape of a TV remote, and they each had a row of red lights on them. She couldn’t be certain, but she felt that the rectangles were weapons.

One of the beings made a sound, a deep, loud droning, like a swarm of bees. She covered her ears as the things moved toward her.

There was a gray farmhouse on the other side of the field. Help, she thought. She ran toward it, but her limbs were heavy. I didn’t notice this when I was gawking at those…things. Her legs wouldn’t cooperate. She lumbered through the field, darkness invading her vision. Her legs finally buckled, and she fell to the ground.

The woman tried to stand, to run or fight, but she managed only to turn over onto her back. She felt drugged. The gray snow, she realized. The creatures caught up to her. They stared at her with their big bug eyes and held up their remotes.

“No,” she whispered. The world turned from gray to black.