Paul eyed the wheat field with a jaundiced eye. From his vantage point on a nearby hilltop, he could see the strangely beautiful fractal-like pattern made by strategically flattened stalks of the grain.
“Seriously, Alva, what are we doing here?”
“Paul, crop circles have a long history in paranormal research. The earliest recorded image appears in a woodcut dating from 1678, depicting a ‘mowing-devil’ taking a wicked-looking scythe to a farmer’s field. There are countless documented incidences of crop circles, and yet no one has been able to fully explain the phenomenon. Doesn’t that intrigue you?”
Paul looked again at the stalks of wheat shining golden in the sun, the long grass on the hill blowing gently in the breeze...and felt his shoulder throbbing from his recent gunshot wound (musket wound? What did you call an injury made by a Civil War era rifle that was fired at you by a long-dead soldier on the other side of a time slip anyway?). “Not really, no,” he said.
Alva didn’t reply; he just gave Paul a disappointed look and returned towards his observation of the field below.
Paul sighed. “I’m sorry, Alva,” he said. “But between the ghost lights and the time slip, I’ve had enough of supposedly harmless unexplained phenomenon. My arm hurts. I’m tired. I miss Evvie. Don’t you want to go home?” Paul grimaced. He had meant that last question to sound like a straightforward suggestion, but it came up unexpectedly wistful.
Alva turned away from the field and back towards Paul. “No, I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “Of course; let’s go home.”
They began to walk down the hill together, towards the place where they’d left the car. “Besides,” Alva added. “This was probably a wild goose chase anyway.”
Paul smiled. “Well, I didn’t want to criticize—“
“—but aliens, Alva? Really?”
“I know. About as likely as being shot by the ghost of a Confederate soldier, isn’t it?”
And, bantering gently with each other, they left, leaving the images in the wheat to send their message out into the sky.