“Where are you going?” Zara was nervous walking in the dark and not knowing where they were going made it worse. She needed to be reassured.
“Don’t worry. We just need to figure out where it went.” Zach took Zara’s hand and helped her climb over the fallen tree in their path. “I know it isn’t much further, look there are more trees and stuff that got knocked down when it landed.”
“We don’t even know what it was.”
“That’s why we gotta go see.” Zach tried to get Zara to hurry. She just didn’t seem to have the excitement he did.
“I bet it’s just a weather balloon. That’s what they always say it is when someone says they seen a UFO.” Zara was not impressed that Zach had gotten her out of her sleeping bag where she was safely tucked in in their back yard. They had been watching a meteor shower when Zach spotted a large green light moving quickly over their heads, much closer to them than any meteor they had seen. Zach was sure it had landed in the woods behind their house and didn’t give Zara much choice about going to find it.
“Even if it is a weather balloon, I still wanna see it.”
“We should have called Dad to come with us.”
“And take the chance someone else gets there first?! Nah ah, no way. Besides, Dad might have told us we couldn’t go. I am not taking that chance.” Zach was getting riled up. He did not want anything or anyone stopping him from potentially seeing an alien.
“Whatever, it’s not going to be anything but a weather balloon.”
“You’ll see.” As Zach climbed over the next tree laying across their path he stood on his tip toes to see if he could get a glimpse of what was ahead. “It’s still glowing green! Come on hurry up!”
He jumped down and quickened his pace.
“Zachary! You wait for me!” Zara may have been his twin but she was clearly the shorter of the two.
“Ugh, hurry up!” Zach paused long enough to see her coming over the tree and then turned and began walking quickly again.
“I smell smoke!”
“I bet it’s rocket fuel afterburn we smell!”
“It’s smoke, from a fire. Like the trees might be on fire. Zach, are you listening to me? We could be walking into a dangerous situation. Dad’s gonna kill us if we get hurt. We should go back and get him.” Zara was finding it hard to see her brother ahead of her. “Zach! Zach where did you go?!” Zara pickup her pace trying to catch up to her brother. As she came up over a pile of dirt and branches she could see the green they had thought was glowing. Fabric was caught on branches and looked like a wall, a big green wall. As she pushed past the fabric she realized she was right, the glow was caused by fire. There was Zach kicking dirt on the fire as though he was making a difference.
“Zach! You’re not helping. You’re just gonna get hurt. We gotta go get help. She reached his side and grabbed his hand and started pulling him away from the fire. “Come on!”
“Stupid weather balloon.” Zach was disappointed and wasn’t paying attention to the actual scene playing out in front of him. He pulled at the parachute fabric in his way and failed to duck when a branch came down on his head. “Ouch! Stupid parachute!”
Zara began pushing him from behind, trying to get him to leave quickly. “Zach, if we don’t leave here and get help that fire will reach our house and burn it down. Now move!” One final hard push got him going and he grabbed her hand and they started running and quickly climbing back over the fallen trees.
“Kids, is that you?” A flashlight beam was shining in front of them.
“Dad! We’re here. We saw a weather balloon come down and crash and it caught fire. There’s a bunch of stuff on fire now!” Zach traded his disappointment for new found enthusiasm.
“Come this way, we gotta get you two out of here.”
“I wish we could go back and see it better. Your flashlight would help.”
“Zach, less talk more walk.” Zara was back to pushing her brother from behind. “Dad it was glowing green as it came down, does that mean it was on fire before it even landed?”
“I don’t know Zara.”
“How did you know we were here?” Zach suddenly wondered.
“There are news reports of several green parachutes landing all over the place.”
Zach stopped abruptly, grabbing his sisters elbow she looked at her with wide eyes. “It isn’t a weather balloon! It’s aliens!”
“No Zach, not aliens. The news is saying it’s the beginning of an invasion though and we need to get to somewhere safe.” Their dad reached them, put his arms around their shoulders and began walking, guiding them quickly back towards the house.
“Well, I guess we can’t stay in the tent tonight then.” Zach was back to being disappointed. Nothing seemed to be going in his favor tonight.
“No shit sherlock.”
“Zara, language!” Her father scolded.
Zara bit her lip and tried not to worry. She knew that if her Dad said they needed to get to safety, it wasn’t going to be the house. More likely a bomb shelter or something. “Dad, are we going to be ok?”
“I sure hope so sweetie.” As they walked into the backyard from the trees their Dad reached into the tent and grabbed the two sleeping bags. “Come on, get into the car.”
Zara reached into the tent after her father stood up and felt around for something.
“Come on Zara!” Zach called over his shoulder.
“Yeah, I will, I just need Coco.” As she said the name she felt the familiar soft lump. At one time it looked like a monkey, but over the years the fur got worn off in places and the stuffing wasn’t so fluffy. He looked less like a monkey and more like an alien from one of Zach’s graphic novels. She jumped up with Coco firmly grasped in her hand, “Coming!”
A few moments later they were driving along the main road with others vehicles. The announcer on the radio was telling everyone to seek shelter away from the areas now a blaze with fire. The radio was suggesting people head out of the main town areas and head for places not yet receiving these devices that were falling from the sky. Later they announced the devices were failed weather altering equipment that parachuted to the ground in hopes it could be recovered and reused. The fires however were from an attacking army that had shot them down thinking they were part of some protection or defense.
“Who would attack though? there haven’t been any wars since before you were born Daddy.”
“I don’t know Zach, but history does repeat itself. So I guess this is the start of it.”
“They didn’t say Grandma’s town Dad. We can go there, right?” Zach was listening to the radio hoping he wouldn’t hear that his Grandmother’s town was being hit. He had heard many names of towns and cities he knew of but not hers.
“We can try, then we will know if she’s ok too.” He reached between the seats and grabbed one of the sleeping bags. “Here Zach, you two should try and get some sleep. It’s a couple hours drive from here.”
The kids settled into their seats and snuggled into the sleeping bags. Zara in the back seat, leaned back against the door and put her head against the seat. Then the sleeping bag began to come closer to her face, she pushed it back down but it got closer and was getting bigger. She pushed on it harder and felt something more firm. She tried to scream but no sound would come out. She began to kick and push harder when suddenly she was free and could feel the night air. She was laying on her back with her sleeping bag kicked towards the door of her tent. Her brother Zach was sound asleep with his head by the door and one leg outside his sleeping bag, draped over her. She looked up and the neighbours outdoor light was shining through their tent wall making it glow green. It was just a dream.
Zara pushed her brothers leg back over to his side and went about fixing her sleeping bag. “What had she and Zach been talking about before they fell asleep? Oh yeah, Zach’s latest graphic novel. Something about aliens I’m sure.” Zara looked at her brother sleeping with his mouth open and a soft nasal sound coming from him. She tucked herself in and reached one foot out of the sleeping bag. She carefully flicked her toe into Zach’s mouth where she touched his teeth and out again. She settled quickly with her eyes closed. Zach didn’t move, so she tried again. This time she flicked his nose with her toe and tried to get her foot back in the sleeping bag. Her brother grabbed her foot and started tickling it.
“Nice try Zara, now you pay the price.”
“No, no let me go!” She yelled between fits of laughter. The nightmare long forgotten.
About the author
Life is an adventure and sometimes the adventure is figuring out who you are and why you have learned so many odd skills years before. I think it is time to share my adventures in stories my imagination has been aching to create.