It was 4:30 in the morning and Katrina couldn’t sleep. She’d been let down, again, and the anger and frustration was keeping her mind racing. “How could he have been so rude?” she muttered while pacing her bedroom floor. After being stuck up for a dinner date, her “potential soulmate”, at least that’s how the dating site pitched him, called her, drunk for a midnight rendezvous. “When did dating get so…” She trailed off. There were thousands of words running through her mind to finish that sentence, but she was too flustered to pick one. She decided she couldn’t handle being in her apartment any more and decided to hit the gym, hopeful there would be no one there.
“Decisions. They rarely show their full impact until years later. When I was a child, I chose to be alone. I spent years by myself, watching, learning, studying the ways of the others; the people that I never saw myself in or felt connected to. And I craved connection. I deeply desired the feeling I could see in the faces of my parents when they looked at each other. The feeling they never showed when they looked at me.” The knife spun slowly in his hands. “When I tried to connect, they called me a freak. Then one day, in the middle of a fight with my father, I took this knife and stabbed him through the heart. And for the first time a decision I made helped me connect with someone. We locked a gaze in a way that never had happened before.” The man bound and gaged in front of him, shifted uneasily. “That brings us to your decisions. What led you here was a choice you made as a child and didn’t even realize. But today, you are the lucky one. You’ll get to see the full impact of your decisions.”
There was a time when the wind whispered to humans about the secrets of the universe. When nature wasn’t a conquest, but a partner. In these times there was peace between humans and the natural world surrounding them, but peace never lasts. Humans allowed fear to poison their view. They stopped listening to the wind and built structures to keep it out. After turning on nature, their isolation caused them to turn on themselves and the world fell into chaos. Wars, famine, and division reigned while the wisdom of the natural world was silenced and the memories of a time when we could speak to the wind faded.
“Look at this size of this one!” Ryan exclaimed as he brought the bass up through the ice. Jared set down his coffee mug and turned to see the first catch of the day. As the fish came above the ice, Jared filled the hut with laughter. “Oh ya, that’ll feed us for days,” he said sarcastically before bursting out laughing again. “Shut up! At least I’ve caught something!” Dejected, Ryan pulled the tiny bass off his line and tossed it back into the cold water below. “Did you hear that?” Ryan asked as Jared wiped a tear from his eye. Eager to continue ribbing his good friend, Jared opened his mouth to crack another joke, but then, he heard it too. It sounded like a jet engine and it was close. “What do you think…” Jared began as the sound of metal scraping ice erupted through the hut. They covered their ears and went for the door. Jared turned the door handle as the alien ship exploded through their hut.
The words continued to tumble out of her mouth, but he had stopped listening. They’d been together for eighteen years. Eighteen years, three kids, a mortgage, little league, and now, an affair? “How could this happen?” The question was coursing through his entire body, but the words wouldn’t come out. He just sat there, stewing in anger as his world crumbled. Before he realized what was happening, he’d gotten up and was walking away. He walked out the front door, got in the car, and drove away. “There’s no coming back from this,” he thought as the life he’d built slipped out of view.
Rain started pouring down as thunder and lightning ripped apart the sky. It was only mid afternoon, but the darkness created by the clouds turned day into night. Most people decided to stay off the streets. Clayton wasn’t most people. He was determined to save his life and that required him to keep moving. The roads were empty but slick, and getting worse. Visibility was basically gone, but Clayton kept driving; speeding down the tree-lined roads. The instructions were clear and he was running out of time. He wiped the sweat from his brow and gave the accelerator a little extra pressure. “They’ll hold,” he told himself as he felt the car’s grip on the road loosen, “they have to hold”.
Stop. I need you to stop so I can focus. This is too important. I know, you didn’t even realize you were bugging me. You didn’t even know I could hear you. I hear you, friend. But now, I need quiet. Thank you. I’ll get you caught up when we’re finished here. God, the smell is awful, you should be happy you can’t smell it. You can’t, can you? Good. Well, we’re in this together now. I don’t think the others know you are here and I don’t think we should tell them. They’ll never understand. Okay, here we go.
The air was stagnant. You could feel the weight of it, like being wrapped in a soaking wet blanket. There was a fan oscillating in the corner, but it didn’t provide any relief, just moved the sludge around the sparsely decorated living room. The last of the day’s light snuck through a crooked blind and ran across the floor to the door. A man sat on a wicker chair, eyes fixated on the television even though nothing was playing. Next to him was a note with a barely legible, “I’m sorry” scrawled across the middle of the page. The gun in his hands felt surprisingly light.
Booker started to open his eyes but quickly winced as a sharp pain rushed from his head through his spine. He reached for his head, but his hands wouldn’t move. He now felt the ropes tight around his wrists. As he fought through the pain, he caught a glimpse of the man in front of him. The man was wearing a jacket and a hat, but the room was dark and Booker’s eyes were having trouble focusing. Booker’s memory of the last twenty-four hours began cascading through his mind. He was in trouble.
Amelia stared at the “No Admittance” sign above the door. The door was attached to “Mr. Morris’s Magical Mystery’s”, a magic shop intended for those interested in the black arts of coin disappearing. and general tom-foolery. “Why would Mr. Morris not want people entering his store?” It was a riddle in need of solving. Amelia stood in front of the store and deciding on her next move. At only, fourteen years old, Amelia was the youngest honorary detective of the Lancaster Police Department. After hearing about the appearance of the “No Admittance” sign from a rumour on the schoolyard, she raced over to investigate. If something was wrong here, she’d get to the bottom of it.