The gash in the Earth could easily been seen from the sky, the dark dirt and ripped up trees glaringly different from the forest around it. The way everything had shifted was reminiscent of plane crashes, but no such rubble could be seen.
Robert turned to Wilbur, the ranger who had reported the incident.
"What did you say about footprints?" Robert lowered his sunglasses, eyeing the scraggly man with his most steely glare.
"There's too many." He said.
"Care to elaborate?" Wilbur nodded and pointed to a patch of sandy soil near the edge of the clearing. One of Robert’s agents was crouching next to it, her camera clicking away. "Over in that patch is two sets of footprints coming in, and three going out. One of them barefoot."
Robert gestured for the ranger to follow. The two of them peered over the photographer's shoulders. There were a few depressions in the ground, including a couple prints with distinguishable toes, those pointed back towards the campgrounds.
"So, that one," Robert pointed to the barefoot set of prints, "is heading away, and these," he circled another a set of prints, with a couple shoe heels identifiable, "towards the incident."
"Yes sir. Two this way.” Wilbur pointed towards the gash. “And three that way." Robert pinched the bridge of his nose. Observant the ranger seemed to be; however, this man was not very good at describing the fine details.
"Your theory is two in, three out. Is there other possibilities? Like, someone just took their shoes off? Or didn't walk through this spot susceptible to leaving prints on the way in?"
"Well, I suppose so. But the pattern suggests the three walked out in a set. And according to the logs, there was only supposed to be two people camping tonight. And the other ranger called in sick."
"Well, it's not like there's fences to keep people from walking in without using the front gate."
"No, but between me and your agents, we saw no signs of anyone else anywhere. And there's nothing blocking an entrance from the sky is there?"
Robert hated the twinkle in the Wilbur’s eye. He hated how it was almost obvious it was, that aliens were involved somehow, yet there wasn't enough proof for the people higher up than him. He hated how the only leads he had were a few footprints that had no distinguishing features about them.
"Do you have names or anything for the people who were supposed to be camping here tonight?"
"Yep. Scanned their ID's and took down their car information as well."
"Great." Robert smiled, it was one of those times the annoying rules would be useful. "I'm going to need copies is those documents."
"All right. Just provide the warrant and I'll be happy to provide them."
And then there were times when Robert hated the rules and regulations.
Word count: 479