|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Three
17 - Fire in the Sky - Saralynn
Zac smiled at the crowd as he continued to play. No matter what, he'd never get sick of performing. Excitement raced through his veins as the final song began. Mmmbop, of course. And even though he'd played it what felt like a hundred million times, he still wasn't sick of the catchy tune that had won the hearts of millions of teenage girls everywhere.
Keeping the beat was easy for him, seeing as how he'd been hitting things since he could crawl, whether it was pots and pans or one of his brothers' heads. The song was in it's final chorus when it happened. Everything froze. Everything except Zac that is.
Zac stopped playing and got out from behind his drumset. Silence. Absolute and complete silence. The music had stopped. The singing had stopped. And the strangest thing of all--something Zac had never dreamed possible--the screaming had stopped.
"Hello?" he hesitantly called out. "Ike? Tay?" Nothing. First he walked over to Isaac. Looking at his brother, he almost cried out. Isaac was frozen in the act of singing, guitar pick ready to strum the next chord, mouth open to belt out the next note.
He ran over to his other brother. Taylor was in much the same state. Fingers poised readily over the ivory keys of his keyboard, mouth pressed up against his microphone. Even the sweat seemed frozen on his face.
"What is going on here?" Zac wondered aloud. He looked out at the audience. Thousands of teenage girls were packed into the open-air stadium and every single one of them was frozen in to act of jumping or screaming or singing.
That's when he heard it. A strange buzzing noise off to his left. Peering through the bright stadium lights, Zac couldn't see where the noise was coming from. Then, almost as if he had willed it, all of the lights shut off.
A bright light, almost like a shooting star, but brighter, flashed through the sky, seeming to be heading directly for Zac. He screamed and ducked, bringing his hands up over his head.
When nothing happened, he slowly removed his arms and looked up. He only caught a quick glimpse of the object hovering over him before he was blinded by white hot light.
What seemed like a mere moment later, Zac was back behind his drumset, pouding off the last beats to the song. The crowd cheered and the three boys got up, thanked everyone then quickly ran off stage.
"That was awesome!" Tay exclaimed once they were in their dressing room.
"One of our best!" Ike gushed.
"Definately!" Zac aggreed. He pulled off his sweat soaked shirt, ready to change into another one, when both of his brothers gasped.
"Holy crap! Zac, what the hell did you do to yourself?"
Not having any idea what they were talking about, Zac innocently said, "Huh?", but when he looked down at himself, he was completely sunburned except for where the t- shirt had been covering him. Something was nagging Zac. A small voice at the back of his mind was trying to tell him something, but he wasn't sure what.
It happened to Taylor next. Hanson was at home for a week taking a much needed break. Zac had insisted that Ike drive him to lazer quest. They had invited Taylor to join them, but he declined. They left around 5:00 pm and, even though there wasn't much sunlight left, Tay grabbed the book he had been wanting to read and a camping flashlight and headed out back to the treehouse.
He had only been outside for about an hour before he was totally engrossed in the book he was reading. Taylor didn't realize anything was off until an exceeding bright light flashed through the tree house window. "What the hell?!"
Dropping the now forgotten book, Tay peered out the window of the treehouse. He could only distinguish a dark shape maybe five times the size of the treehouse. Then the light flashed white hot, causing Taylor to squeeze his eyes shut.
When he reopened them he found himself curled into fetal position on the floor. "Hey Tay! You still up there?" called a voice from down below. It took Tay a moment, for some reason his brain didn't seem to want to work for him, to realize that it was Zac.
Slowly standing up, he grabbed his book and the flashlight--battery's dead already?! dammit, cheap thing--then he climbed down the ladder. "How come you guys are back so early?" Tay asked, his mind still slightly foggy.
"Early?" Zac sounded truely confused. "Tay, we've been gone for four hours. You can only play so many games of laser quest."
It took a moment for what Zac said to register. Four hours?! He glanced at his watch which, sure enough, read 9:12 p.m. I must've fallen asleep, he thought to himself, but even Taylor didn't believe that.
He followed Zac inside where they met Isaac. "Hey, Ike, any chance that you could give me a ride to the mall tomorrow?"
Isaac started to snicker. "Uh, yeah sure." It seemed like it was all that he could go to keep from bursting out into laughter. "What did you do? Lay in the sun all day?"
"What are you talking about?" Taylor asked, slightly peeved that he had only gotten through three chapters of his book before falling asleep.
"Holy crap, Tay! That looks just like the one I got at that concert a few weeks ago. Except I had it all over. Only you're face is burnt."
Tay dashed for the bathroom. Sure enough, he had one killer of a sunburn making him look like he'd just performed a full concert. But he had been inside all day except for being in the tree house to read his book. He remembered something about a bright light, but the memory was gone as quick as it had come.
He opened the medicine cabinet and resigned himself to the fate of applying aloe gel to his face for the next week.
"Where am I?" Isaac asked in a groggy voice. He tried to sit up and look at his unfamilar surroundings, but found himself strapped to a hospital like gurney. "Hello?!" he called out.
Silence. No, wait. Soft thuds like bare feat walking across a carpeted floor. Ike called out again. "Is anyone there?" Only more silence returned to his ears.
Then a tall slim being walking into the room. It was hairless with slick looking olive green skin that seemed to have an inner glow. It had large eyes that were made of pure pupil. Two small slits that appeared to be nostrils were positioned where a person's nose would be located, but no ears or mouth could be seen. Hello, Isaac. Please don't be alarmed.
Now this really freaked Isaac out because; 1. This thing knew his name, and 2. instead of hearing words, it's voice echoed inside Ike's mind.
Now being the sci-fi freak that he is, he immediatly new he was having a close encounter of the fifth kind, contact with an alien. "Ok, uhh, I have some questions I'd like answered, like first of all, where am I?"
You are aboard our vessel. We have taken you here to fix you.
Confused, "Fix me?"
The alien's thoughts, which still resonated in his head, took on a amused tone. How's your vision? Can't you see better?
Now that the alien mentioned it, he could see better. For four years Isaac had been hiding the fact that everything through his left eye was blurry and unfocused. To everybody else it looked like he had a lazy eye, but he was actually squinting, trying to see better. "You fixed my eye?" he said, still skeptical.
Yes. We also fixed your wrist. In a few months, arthritis would have set in. By now, the being was sort of gliding around the room, checking over supplies and the like.
"Wow." Ike took a minute to let this sink in. Then he remembered the strange things happening to his brothers. The sunburns that they had gotten when they hadn't been outside. "Wait a second. It was you." He hadn't even need to specify what. He knew that the alien could hear his thoughts as clearly as if he was speaking aloud.
Yes. Zachary has a very fragile genetic make-up. By the time he turns fifteen, he would have developed a brain tumor. We have retarded the growth but will need a few more visits to eradicate it. The beings thoughts took on a different tone, but Isaac couldn't figure out what exactly the change was. Now Taylor was a special case. He was suffering from extreme stress and was bound to have a mental breakdown. We have helped him greatly with this, but as with Zachary, we may need to revisit.
Isaac had been watching the alien, who, as of now, was preparing what looked like a very high tech bio-injector. "Why are you telling this to me?"
Yet again the alien seemed amused. Because tomorrow morning, you won't remember a thing. With that last, the alien pressed the bio-injector to Isaac's neck.
When Isaac reopened his eyes, he was back in his bed. But it was still night time and he could remember every word that the alien had told him. Knowing that the knowledge would be ripped from him come morning, Isaac picked up a blank notebook from his desk, he always kept one handy in case he thought up some good song lyrics or a good part for his novel, and quickly recounted everything that had just happened. He finished around four in the morning, filling one and a half notebooks with his experience and notes and other suspitions. Then he went to sleep.
Isaac woke up the next morning with a serious headache. Dammit! I hate these damn tension headaches! Isaac thought to himself as he climbed down off of the top bunk. Slowly he dragged himself to the bathroom. Downing a few asprins, he prepared himself to go back to bed where he could sleep off the worst of his headache. That's when he noticed the writing on his hand.
He had neatly written--READ NOTEBOOKS UNDER MATTRESS!!--but he didn't remember writing this at all. It was smudged slightly as if he had written it right before going to sleep and had rubbed the wet ink against the sheets.
Puzzled, Ike quickly made his way back to his room. Lifting up the mattress, he found two spiral bound notebooks. What the--?! he thought as he sat down at his desk where he could read these.
What you're about to read will sound completely unbeliveable, but keep in mind it is true. On the eve of my eighteenth birthday, I, Isaac Hanson, was abducted by aliens.
By now Isaac had totally forgotten about his earlier headache. He sat there, reading the strange account of how he had been taken aboard a U.F.O. and "fixed" as the alien had put it. He could hardly believe it, except for the fact that he could see better and his wrist felt great whereas it had been hurting him a lot lately. And the more he thought about it, ever since Tay had gotten that strange sunburn about a month ago--it was just now fading--he had been a lot calmer and didn't seem quite as stressed. Zac, too, seemed changed. His sunburn had come almost two months ago. Before that, he had been having killer headaches that got so bad he'd have to lay in bed for the day. But he hadn't gotten one of those since then.
Isaac had no choice but to believe. In the second notebook, there was some notes about what to check for as proof; a mark on his neck from the bio-injector, a sunburn, marks on his wrist or around his eye, marks on Taylor (even though he wasn't sure where to look), marks on Zac's head.
Immediately, he went to the bathroom to check himself over and, sure enough, there was a small pinprick of red on the right side of his neck. His right wrist had small red creases along where the natural folds of skin were. If he hadn't been looking, there was no way that he would have noticed. He also found, right in the crease of his top and bottom eyelid of his left eye, more faint red lines.
Wow, Isaac thought. Kewl!
Armed with this new knowledge, he silently crept back into his room and knelt beside Zac's trundle bed. Carefully, trying not to disturb the peacefully sleeping boy, he lifted Zac's thick curtain of fine blond hair. Ike didn't expect to find anything 'cause it had been so long. He was pretty shocked to find a faint red line about three to four inches long just at the edge of Zac's hairline.
"Ike, what are you doing?"
Isaac looked over to find Taylor peering down at him. "Umm...uhhh...here." He handed the notebooks to Tay.
After going through both notebooks, Taylor looked up at Ike. "I-I've been having these strange dreams lately with these weird green aliens and they were like hypnotizing me and stuff. This sounds like it. Think we should ask Zac about it?"
"Ask Zac about what?" came the muffled voice from the trundle bed. Zac lifted his face up off of his pillow and sat up. "What are you guys talking about?" he asked as he wiped the crust of sleep from his eyes.
"Aliens," Isaac stated matter-of-factly.
"Are the from Albertane?" Zac said, snickering at his own joke.
"No seriously," Tay said, handing over Ike's notebook.
Zac skimmed through the notebooks. "You're serious." It wasn't a question.
"I was gonna have a tumor?" Zac looked scared.
"You aren't now and that's what really matters." Isaac gave Zac a big hug, always knowing when a bit of brotherly love was needed and when to back off.
"Tell mom and dad?"
"Zac are you nuts!?"
Taylor and Isaac protested.
"Ok. Ok. What do we do then?"
"Nothing. What can we do?"
Isaac looked thoughtful. "We can go on living and make the best of our gift."
The other two nodded.
That night, Isaac, Taylor and Zac were sitting outside in the treehouse, still discussing what had happened. Their memories were still foggy, but some of their experiences had been showing up through dreams it seems.
They were in the middle of dicussing what they would do when the aliens returned for Zac or Tay when a bright light flashed through the sky.
They immediately tensed up, Isaac moving in front of the younger two as if he could protect them.
That's when he realized, "Guys," he let out a short laugh, "it was only a shooting star."