“That was some strange storm,” Tim Baker said to his friend as they patrolled the waters off the Florida Keys.
“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Steve Frame agreed. “It came up from the wrong direction.”
The two men were searching the waters around some of the small unpopulated islands that rise up from the water around the Keys. Typically covered with mangrove and scrub, most of these islands have never seen human habitation. Some, however, are used by campers and anglers looking to get away from the crowds. Or for college kids wanting to party for the weekend.
The storm was winding down just as quickly as it had come up. It was well after midnight, but the two men knew that if someone were on one of these islands during the storm, they would be in trouble. They couldn’t wait until morning. As members of the local Coast Guard auxiliary, they wanted to make sure no one needed their help.
“What the hell is that?” Baker asked as he slowly guided his boat around the side of a small island called Frog Head Key. The small, oblong bump on the water was covered with thick mangroves, birds roosted in the trees and normally there wasn’t any break in the vegetation. Except now. Through the trees, both men could clearly see “something.” They just weren’t sure what. They probably wouldn’t have even seen it if they weren’t shining a light on the trees and saw a reflection. In the daylight, they never would have.
“No clue,” Frame agreed as he moved the spotlight he was using toward the island. “It looks like a building of some sort. But there isn’t supposed to be anything out here. These islands are a protected national park. You can’t build out here”
“I know, I know. Let’s take a closer look,” Baker said.
The last thing the two men saw was a flash of light out of the corner of their eyes. The bright light and the loud woosh made them both turn their heads just in time to see the glowing, screaming rocket make contact with the outboard engines on their boat. The detonation killed them instantly, even before the burning fuel ignited. The boat was destroyed and underwater in seconds. All that was left on the surface was some light debris and an oil slick. Both were sure to be distributed by the waves and churned up currents in the aftermath of the storm.
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