Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pt 9 (of 57) 1/22/19

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Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pt 9 (of 57) 1/22/19

Post by chrystalkay » 07/03/05 14:56

Hi everyone! Welcome to my Roswell.
I could never accept the loss of Alex by the mean writers of the show. Or how messed up the show became after that. So…, I'm bringing Alex back! I'm starting from where Tess took off with the Granolith... (or did she?) and doing my own thing. Hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with creating the great characters of Roswell (Except I borrowed Serena).
Rating is strictly General audiences.
All the usual couples will apply, eventually.

A.N. - I'm just trying to fix a bit of the mess the show made. There are so many ways they could have handled it! Just look at the many super stories that fans have made. Most of them are much more acceptable than the direction the show went.
The sole reason I wrote this is because I just couldn't stand the way they killed off Alex. The whole Jessie mess was a mistake and a half! So what could I do to make it right? Write! And write I did.
I started this right after departure was aired, wrote part of it, lost most of it and re-did it.
The title comes from the look of the Granolith ... sort of half an hour-glass. That and the fact that it had been used as a time traveling machine...

Please tell me what you think...feedback is precious!

Time in a Bottle

Part 1

The Granolith had gone, leaving an empty trail in the sky.

Isabel, was hit by several things at once. The shocking truth that Tess had murdered Alex hit her the hardest. It brought back her loss with staggering brutality. She placed both hands against the rock behind her and leaned into the relative coolness of its shadow. “Alex.. Tess murdered Alex.” She stood away again seeking the faint tracing of the fleeing murderess. 'That bitch from hell murdered my Alex!' “Oh how I wish I could have you back here! I would love nothing better than to blast you back where you came from!” She slumped against the rock again, and covered her face with her hands. “Oh Alex. I am so sorry... O god!”

That Tess was taking them to be killed… well she didn’t want to dwell on that right at the moment. 'If Liz hadn't been so determined! If she hadn't come, even after the way we treated her...” Isabel's stomach did a few flip flops, and vied with the pain in her head for the honor of making her sick.

As if that wasn't enough, she was hit by the realization that Jim might at any moment be handing over the tape she and Max had made for their parents. That immediate panic overrode everything else for the moment. 'God! The tape!' “Max! What are we going to do? We have to call Jim!”

Max wasn't hearing anything. Wasn't seeing anything. He was reliving a flash he received from Tess. He had grabbed her arm and pushed her against the Granolith. “Go! Get out of here! There is no more damage you can do now! You make me sick just to look at you!”

The flash hadn't registered right away, not until everyone was safely away from the Granolith.

Among the fear of going back without taking them with her and the over-powering hatred she was feeling for all of them, was one clear flash...

Tess was preening in front of the mirror, admiring herself as she was won't to do. Her figure was trim and her stomach flat. “Maybe I don't have your child yet oh would be king, but I will surely get one from you when we get back! It will be the price of the life of your pathetic friend and your oh so bitchy sister!” She grinned at her self and turned away. “You loosers, you are all so pathetically easy to fool!”

Max’s most immediate thought had been on the last shock he had received.

He looked up, tracing the faint path of the Granolith with his eyes. Tess had been taking them to their enemies. Using emotional blackmail... all based on a lie! Taking them home to be killed, or used. A shudder went through him as he contemplated how he would be used, and the probable fate of Michael and his sister.

Speaking of which, Isabel was beating on his shoulder trying to get him to listen.
“The tape Max! We have to call Jim!”

*****

********************
Change the dialogue here
Maria didn’t even notice this poignant and tragic moment between Max and Liz. She stood looking up at Michael. Looking into eyes that were filled with love... for her! “Oh Michael, I am so proud of you! Do you realize you saved Max and Isabel?”

“I didn't save them. You, Liz and Kyle did. I was just coming outside.”

“Yeah, but you wouldn't be coming out if you didn't believe you belonged here. Here with me! If you hadn't been coming out, we couldn't have stopped any of you from leaving!” Maria wrapped her arms around Michael, feeling his arms enfold her as she never thought they would again. “Oh God, I don't know what I would do without you! It was killing me that you were leaving.”

She took a moment to just be overwhelmed again that Michael had actually been on his way out. To her! He loved her, really loved her, more than his dream of home. He had spent his whole life looking for a way home and when it came…he had chosen her.

Maria had never been so happy in her life. She didn’t even want to let go of him long enough to take a whiff of one of her oils to relieve the pounding ache in her head. How could her head matter when she was so filled with joy!

Michael felt loved and at home for the first time in his life. And was proud of his decision to stay, before he even knew of the deception of that little witch Tess. The deception that left her winging away on her own, and the others here, where love had given them homes. Real homes.

He looked down at the biggest reason for his feeling of being truly home. “It was killing me to leave. Then I realized I didn't have to. It was my choice. I always wanted to belong, I wanted to go home. And I realized that wherever you were... was my home. I ain't leavin'!”

She was glued to his chest, hugging him so hard that he felt he might need Max's help to restore his circulation... or at least help him with a throbbing headache that came from nowhere. His arms were wrapped around Maria and he laid his head gently on hers. To hell with his head. It was his heart that was ringing.

***

will Max decide not to tell Liz about Tess' deception? Maybe to help her break up easier? Change the whole thing maybe really needs work!

Liz came up behind Max and gently took his arm. “Max?” She looked up into his face, reading shock, and rage. She wanted to hold him in her arms, and to be held by him. To feel his lips on hers and his love for her blasting through the infinite space of their souls. He was here, he was safe, and Tess was gone.

Max looked down at her and the feelings of loss and pain Liz saw in his eyes was almost more than she could take. “Oh God, he's thinking about his son! Tess is gone but what about his son? Would he be safe with that witch? With Kivar?” Nothing had changed, really. The specter of Tess and his child still hung over them. Liz loved him so much and yet perhaps he would never be ready to try to reach for what they once had.

He had been willing to leave her…maybe that said it all. Her heart skipped and stuttered, as if asking ‘how much more can I take’?

Then Max’s eyes focused on her. Really seeing the one person in his life with whom he had shared so much love and pain. He wanted more than anything else to crush her to him, to tell Liz what she meant to him. How she was the anchor that he needed if he was to survive… To tell her that he and Tess was all just another lie, the baby was a lie. But he hesitated.

After all he had put her through, after the way he had treated her, did he have any right to ask her to be his again?

The uncertainty of this thing with Kyle... 'What was that all about?' He knew that it couldn’t have really been what it seemed. His eyes saw what they saw, but his heart wouldn’t accept it.

There was his involvement with Tess, 'God, I slept with that witch!' and the fact that Liz knew he had been willing to leave her forever; were these barriers too big to cross? 'Could she ever forgive me? Would she even want to? '

'Do I even have the right to ask?'

Liz saw the hesitation and doubt in his eyes, took it as a sign that he didn’t feel as she did. She released his arm and backed away, turning so he wouldn’t see the incredible pain that caused. “God, it's true. He doesn’t want me!' She almost laughed aloud at herself. 'Of course he doesn't want me. I made it perfectly clear to him I didn't want him.. I even made him believe I slept with Kyle!' The tears that now threatened, were as much from the pain in her chest ,as the headache that threatened to tear her head apart. And she wouldn’t let him see either. Not if she could help it.

As Liz turned away, Max took her actions as his answer. She didn’t want to try it again. God how that hurt! He took a deep breath and let it out past the searing burn in his heart.

'Just as well.' He never wanted to be the cause of pain in her life again. He owed her more than that. He turned away, rubbing at the pain in his temples... it made it difficult to think. At least she had Kyle again now. He almost laughed at himself. “I came along and split her and Kyle up. I brought her into this alien abyss and all the pain that comes with it... Now she has Kyle back and I have no right to try and get her back. I know it is better for her to let 'us' go.' But how was he going to survive without her? Controlling himself was never easy where she was concerned and now he would have to stay away if he was to give her a chance at a normal life. He choked back a sob. He couldn't, he wouldn't let her know how this was tearing at him.

*****
Kyle is developing sensitivity. Should I tell it or just show it?

Kyle, having no one to hug, watched the exchange between Max and Liz. So little said in words, so much misunderstood. He wanted to go to her... or pop Max in the jaw for being so obtuse. ‘Yeah, that would really help fix things between them, wouldn’t it?’ He could see and feel both their pain. They were supposed to have this great soul connection, why did it cause so much confusion? He could see what they needed. It was just that ‘they’ couldn’t see it.

Kyles head was pounding, he hugged himself and shook his head. He had been more sensitive to what others were feeling lately. Was that where the headaches were coming from? 'Figures, more alien crap to contend with.' Of course it wouldn't hurt to know what a chick is really feeling towards you, but how do you turn it off?

Michael and Maria, at least, were giving off satisfying vibrations. 'Now there is a vast improvement in the M and M connection.' Kyle caught Michael's eye over Maria's head and grinned. Michael just shrugged and smiled. A warm satisfied smile.

Kyle turned his attention to Isabel, standing off to one side, and felt the incredible pain that was coming off her. It hit him in the gut like a fist. All her pain, all her rage was being turned inwards. She had to let it out.

He nearly stagger over to her. He wanted to hold her and try to help the pain, but he had no right to do any such thing. The only one who really did, was murdered. And he had helped!

“Oh Isabel, I am so sorry. Can you ever forgive me for what I did? Is there anything I can do, at all? “ It was like talking to a wall. He had to get her out of herself. Get her to react outside... something the so controlled Isabel was not used to doing. “Could I jump off a cliff for you or something?”

Not even hearing him she responded. “Yeah, fine, you do that.”
“Okay.” He replied. “Isabel, do you want to come with me? The nearest place where I could get killed in at the quarry. If not, I can go on my own.” No response. “Well goodbye, Isabel. Remember me sometime. Huh?”

“Remember me,' she mumbled. Some of the conversation leaked into her little corner of reality, and she realized what Kyle had said. “Kyle! NO!”

Something better here
Kyle turned around and went back over to her. “Welcome back. You were pretty far out there.”

Isabel realized what Kyle had been doing. “Thank you.” Was all she could say, before the tears started. Kyle stepped closer and held her lightly, awkwardly, and patted her back. Isabel gripped his shirt with both hands and sobbed quietly. 'This is more like it. Not what she needs, but at lease a start.'

Kyle surreptitiously put one hand to his head. He had a little of his own pain to deal with.

Part 2

***
Being the only one there with a cell phone, Maria called Jim, once she came down from cloud nine,

and gave him a brief update. In other words, that Max, Isabel and Michael were still here. And that some of them were going to need a ride.

Jim should be surprised, he was watching the sky and didn't see it leave...
Jim ran his hands through his hair and muttered something under his breath. “I’ll be right there.” He hung up the phone and looked at the tape he held in his other hand. ‘Just a few more minutes… Whew!’ He hadn’t realized until he thought they were gone, how much he was going to miss them…or how hard it was going to be to give the Evans that tape. He grinned and grabbed his keys. Now he wouldn’t have to!

When Jim arrived and faced the somber group, his grin of welcome faded. “What happened? Didn’t it work? Where is Tess?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Should show something of dialog here and Kyle/Jim interaction about Tess

The answers were devastating. He felt a hurt deeper than he thought possible at the deceitfulness of Tess. How she had been using him and Kyle. Feigning feelings of warmth and affection, and raising those feelings in both of them.

He looked at Max, not even wanting to know how he was feeling about all of this. “Come on.” He finally said. “Let me get you two home.” Max, Isabel and Kyle climbed in, leaving Maria to take Liz, and Michael. Jim reached into the glove compartment and pulled out the tape they had given into his keeping. “At least you don’t have this to face. If there is any other way I could help...” Max murmured his, thanks but didn’t say much more than that all the way home. None of them did.

Look up departure and what the parents thought they were doing that night. Need excuse? Or explanation?

***
As the two cars sped away, a watcher stepped out into the road. Frustration and anger radiated off the watcher, but not only that. There was also fear…and hate.

***
High above, on the peak of the granolith mountain, stood another… watching the watcher. This ones emotions and thoughts belong only to her.

***
There needs to be a talk between Isabel and Max. She to commiserate about him loosing his child and he to tell her about the flash. Her reaction.. Liz will be so happy, his to say he doesn't know if he will tell her and why. She might argue that she deserves to know. Him that she is keeping a secret and two can play at that!

That night, the entire group met at the Crashdown. There was very little talking until the Crashdown closed. The only things they wanted to talk about were not for casual ears to hear. Jim was the last to arrive and Liz locked the door behind him.
Liz/Michael/Jeff Dinner preperations... an excuse here for a group celebration?

Add dialogue Kyle/Isabel ?
For a conference, there was very little talking going on...
For a celebration that Max, Isabel and Michael had not been boosted to their doom, there was surprisingly little smile, or laughter going around...
Foe a dinner, the food stayed mainly uneaten.

Max and Liz were quietly avoiding looking at each other, each locked into their own painful thoughts. Kyle had a splitting headache and could think of nothing but a pain pill and bed. Isabel’s thoughts weren’t tracking well either, she had gotten over her emotional upset and was well on her way to total fury... very frustrating when there was no one to take it out on.

Michael and Maria had been in their own private little world for a while and were only just recovering from their euphoria, enough to see the feelings and reactions of the others, and were finally picking up the flow, or lack of it, between Max and Liz.
Dialogue Maria/Michael

Jim was beginning to wonder why he was there. The meeting might have been for the mutual support of the group. After all they were all licking some wounds... with the exception of Maria and Michael. If so, it was failing miserably, and Kyle really looked wiped out. He finally pushed back his plate and stood up. “Well I guess Kyle and I should be getting home. I am really glad you three are still with us.” He smiled and shook his head. “Alien chaos and all.”

Maria stopped him. “Hey where do you think you are going? You are not leaving without having a piece of Mom’s Alien Green apple-berry pie.” She jumped up and took his arm.

Then to the others; “Hey guys, come on…we should all be happy. We have something to celebrate here, ya know?” Isabel, Liz and Max all looked at her like she was saying something absurd and she looked at Michael in desperation, and for once he rose to the occasion.

He got up and muttered conspiratorially, “Come on Jim, you can help me cut the pies. That way we can get the biggest pieces.” Before dragging Jim into the kitchen, he turned to the others. “And you guys snap out of it. If we’d left, we three would have been good as dead, soon. Liz and Maria would have been moping around hoping we could come back some day, and Jim and Kyle would have been mourning the loss of a witch who would be laughing up her sleeve at them from afar. It didn’t happen so lighten up, will ya?” And left everyone gaping in surprise at this very un-Michael-ish speech.

Maria cleared off the last of an earlier attempt at dinner, mostly uneaten, and brought fresh bottles of Tabasco over. “Move your elbow big boy or it may get thrown away with the garbage.” She quipped as she worked around Kyle and the chair he had scooted up to the booth.

He sat, elbows on the table, with his hands clutching his head. Liz had glanced at him when Michael reminded her that Kyle and Jim were injured members too. Now she sat watching him with growing concern on her face. Max glanced at Liz out of the corner of his eye and followed her gaze to Kyle.

He just had time to catch him as Kyle fell limply to the floor.

Part 3

Everyone gathered around Kyle while Max tried to find out what was wrong with him. “Maria, get me some cold water and a rag. I have to see if I can get him to come around enough to connect with him.”

Liz knelt beside him holding Kyle’s hand and rubbing it vigorously. She was painfully aware of rubbing shoulders with Max but she was too concerned about Kyle to move away. “Max do you think this has anything to do with Tess’ mind warping?” The fear in her voice reminded all of them that it had killed Alex.

Max didn’t make eye contact with her but murmured to all, “If it is, I don’t understand why it would affect him now. From what he told you, Alex died when Tess tried her tricks one time too many.”

Isabel put her hand on Max’s shoulder. “Max, maybe it could cause damage over time, but not kill him. After all, he wasn’t controlled the way Al...Alex was. At least not as bad or as long.”

Liz muttered angrily, “We don't even know that! She could have been playing with his head just for kicks!”

By that time, Jim had catapulted out of the kitchen followed by Michael and Maria. Jim sat on the floor and pulled Kyle’s head into his lap, looking first at Kyle then at Max. “What’s wrong? What happened? Can’t you help him?”

Max ran his hand through his hair and sat back on his heels. “Yes…I don’t know. We have to get him to open his eyes before I can try.” He paused for a moment, “We think it might have something to do with what Tess did to him.”

Jim paled, having been filled in on how Tess had killed Alex. “What if he can’t wake up?”

“Then I go in anyway. I can…it’s just harder.” Max watched Jim holding Kyle, in sympathy, as Maria bathed Kyle’s face and wrists in cold water.

Finally his eyes fluttered and he opened them. Confusion showed in his face for a moment to be quickly followed by pain. “God! My head!”

Max was on him immediately. “Kyle, Kyle…Look at me. Kyle you need to look at me. I can help you.”

Kyle found it hard to get his eyes tracking properly, but he finally found Max. “You’re going to do that alien shit again aren’t you?” He winced and closed his eyes again briefly. “Okay…okay, anything to get rid of this.”

Max went in to him, connecting with one spot after another. There was a short in two or three places that had to be causing the pain, but there was damage in several areas that would be serious enough to kill him if it got any worse. Max set to work, and Isabel held ont his shoulder and sent him extra energy so he could concentrate without tiring.

After several tense moments, Max sighed and sat back. “That ought to do it, but you let me know if anything else feels funny in there.”

“Hey Dad, let me up. I’m fine, let me up!” Kyle got up off the floor, embarrassed and not quite sure how to react to all the attention. He felt his head and sighed in relief. “Thanks Max”

Maria tried to help the situation by asking Michael to bring out the pie. “You never would have gotten that headache if you had eaten your dinner!” She added with a grin. That reminded her of her own sore head, thank God it was gone.

*** need to establish some sort of time set up so it is obvious that people are doing things at the same time
Liz woke up thinking about Max. She had not enjoyed her sleep. Vague nightmares kept haunting her through the night leaving her with feelings of unrest in more ways than one. The gang had not talked last night as she had hoped to. No one could think of anything to say. Not about Max’s son, not about the Granolith. Max hadn’t talked to her at all.

Liz thought about the Granolith now, watching it go up leaving a faint trail, like the faint hope Max had of helping his son. She sat with her journal in front of her. She hadn’t written anything down until now, and her fingers made a nervous tapping on her desk as she searched for the words to describe the last two days and nights.

She ran her hands through her hair and rubbed her temples. Maybe tonight, she thought and put it away. Maybe never.

***
Maria drew up in front of Michael’s and he came out to meet her. He came around to the driver’s side and leaned in for a good morning kiss. “Let me drive?” She shook her head and her finger. “Oh no…I drive, you enjoy the scenery.” He climbed in and grinned at her. “What are you grinning at Spaceboy? My lipstick smeared or something?” She asked as she swung the rear view mirror towards her. She looked back at him. “What!”

“Just doing what I’m supposed to. Enjoying the scenery!” He said.

Maria threw the Jetta into gear and took off, grinning sideways at Michael. ‘I think I’m liking the new Michael!’

The Jetta sped down the highway towards the quarry and Maria made the turn that would take them to the Granolith mount. She pulled to a stop in front of it and turned off the engine. “I think this will be my favorite spot for the rest of my life.” She sighed.

They sat for a while looking at the high spire of stone before Michael started really remembering what they had seen that morning. The metal spewing, the ground trembling, and all of them stumbling for cover. His fingers started tapping a staccato rhythm on the glove compartment. He was looking at the mount and something wasn’t right.

Maria wasn’t thinking about the Granolith, she was thinking about Michael. She watched him looking at the mount and the tapping annoyed her. It didn’t match the romantic mood she was trying to develop here. “Michael…Michael? Hello? Spaceboy! What’s up?”

“Oh uh…come with me for a minute. There is something ‘off’ here.” He led her over to the base of the jagged, sky reaching, rock and looked at the ground. He even knelt down and ran his hand over the ground.

“What is it? What do you see?” Maria felt the ground too but had no clue what he was getting at.

“It’s what I don’t see.”

“So?”

“Where did we see the metal spewing out of the rock?” He asked, and Maria put her hand over her mouth and looked around. “Oh my God.”

****
Last edited by chrystalkay on 06/29/13 18:56, edited 9 times in total.

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Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pts 1 - 8 6/29/13

Post by chrystalkay » 07/03/05 15:11

Part 4

***
Someone was banging the door down and Kyle went to answer it, ready to blast whoever it was. The blast died when he saw who it was. "Liz! Come in. What's wrong?"

Liz was wringing her hands and looked scared, and not a little out of breath. "Kyle, you have to help me. You have to take me somewhere. Now!"

Kyle looked out the door and around the front before answering her. "How did you get here? Did Maria bring you or what?"

"I ran. Will you help me or what?"

"Okay, okay! You know I will. Let me get my keys." He ran back to the front room and grabbed his jacket and keys. "Dad, there's something wrong." He murmured. "I don't know what it is yet, but I'll call you. Liz is here and she is in a hell of a state, wants me to take her somewhere. Call around and see if you can find out what's what? Huh?"

"I will son. Call me soonest." Jim returned, and went to the window and watched them drive away. Then he went straight to the phone.

***
Isabel answered the phone on the first ring. "Evans residence. Oh hi Jim. Max isn't home yet. No I haven't heard anything. Sure as soon as he comes in. Okay, by."

***
At that same time:

Liz kept looking over at the booth, wondering for the thousandth time what Max was doing there. She hated the feeling of hope he gave her whenever he came in. It seemed almost as if he wanted to be with her, but every time she went over to talk to him he just answered in monotone monosyllables and looked at her. Those eyes of his always talked louder than words. But the signals were crossed today. His manner said he wanted to be somewhere else, but those eyes…those eyes said all the things she wanted to hear.

Liz walked into the kitchen and took off her apron. "Joey, I'm taking off. Do you think you could ask Gail to get my last order for me?"

"Sure, what's up?" The clock said she still had ten minutes left on her shift. He peered out at Max. "You and lover boy going to patch it up?"

"I don't think that will happen." Liz shook her head and the tears threatened to flow again. "I…I'm going for a walk…Or something. Thanks." Then she slipped out the back door, and down the alley.

Max made up his mind to talk to Liz. The whole situation of not talking to each other was making this worse. He was sure she didn't want him.. not like he wanted her. He had seen how she looked at him and something in her eyes said she wanted to talk to him, but he … what… wanted to drag her down into the ‘alien abyss' again? If she wanted to let it end here… well she had the right. She should hate him, after…. Oh hell! He wanted to hear from her own lips that she wasn't interested any more. He wanted…needed to settle this. If there was any hope at all… Max watched the back door, waiting for Liz to emerge. Finally he went to the counter and peered into the kitchen. "Is Liz back there, Joey?"

"Flew the coop. That way."

"Th…thanks." Max's shoulders slumped as he turned away. Maybe he was wrong.

But the way she had been looking at him….

***
Maria had never driven so fast in her life. Michael was holding on with white knuckled determination. This was one time when he didn't want to slow her down.

She had to slow down in town but not by much. They slewed to a stop at the Crashdown and ran in. There were only a couple of customers and Gail was leaning against the counter reading a magazine. Maria started talking before she was even through the door. "Gail where is Liz? Have you seen Isabel or Max?"

Gail shrugged her shoulder and nodded her head towards the back. "Liz took off early and left me with the crowd. Max was here, isn't now. Ain't seen his sister." She reluctantly put down the magazine and moved off to a table where a girl was waving a menu at her.

"Oh this is soo not cool. You go try to find Max or Iz. I'll try to find Liz."

Michael nodded. "Meet here or at my place?"
"Your place."
"Got it!"

***
Isabel met Max at the door when he came home. "Max. Jim called. There is something up with Liz. She showed up at Jim's and seemed upset. She wanted Kyle to take her someplace."

"Jim! Iz said you called. What's this about Liz?" Max was wondering how she could have gotten there so fast.

"Max, thank God. I didn't think you were ever coming home. Yeah, Liz came by about a half hour ago and told Kyle she needed him to take her somewhere. She was really upset. If it wasn't about you… Maria! Have you seen Maria?……..Max?……..Max are you still there?"

***
Maria finally found Liz at the theater. "It is so like you to hide out here." Maria sat down next to Liz and reached for her popcorn. "You owe me for a ticket Chicka. Mmmm, I love this part!"

"Shhh, Maria what are you doing here? I thought you and Michael had something on for today. And give me some of that!"

Maria remembered why she had been looking for Liz and shoved the box back at Liz and grabbed her hand. "Oh! We've got to go! Come on, you are ‘not' going to believe what Michael and I found! Or what we didn't find!" Maria started telling her on the way out and Liz dragged her into the bathroom when they solicited a couple of weird looks.

"How is that possible Maria. We all saw it." Liz walked around in a tight circle thinking, while Maria leaned against a washbowl. "You know what this means? What it could mean? We have to find Max! Come on!"

Liz knew exactly what it could mean… if they all didn't see what they thought they saw!

***
About the same time…

In the desert a few miles out of town, Kyle spit dirt out of his mouth and tried to lift his head up. He was tied hand and foot face down in sand. That's all he knew. Why, where or who did it to him, was a total mystery to him. The last thing he remembered was sitting on his couch watching TV with his dad. "Something tells me there is more alien crap behind this." He said as he tried to wriggle some play into his bindings.

Liz! He had been with Liz….hadn't he? He shook his aching head and tried to remember.

Part 5

Max jetted out of the house, not for the first time regretting the wrecking of his Jeep. The loaner he had sweet talked Charley out of at the gas station worked, but that was all you could say for it..

He grabbed the key off the board and yelled that he was taking it.

"Hey! I got a customer that's going to need that later! Get it back here in a few. And I mean a few!"

Max waved and gunned the car out of the station. His heart was beating a hundred miles an hour, as his head spun through endless questions. His first concern was Liz, and Kyle, in that order. Kyle had evidently been taken or ‘taken in' by a shape shifter. Yes, he was in danger, but whoever was using Liz's form, would have to get rid of Liz to keep it up. He had to find Liz!

***
"Well…you seem to have gotten yourself in a little trouble there."

Kyle looked up and around, and saw a perky redhead sitting on a boulder about ten feet from him. He worked his tongue, trying to moisten his mouth. "Yeah, you wouldn't happen to have time to untie me would you? If your schedule is not too tight that is."

"Hmm. Yep, I think I can manage that." She smiled at his light approach to his situation, as she jumped down from her perch.

The ropes were off him in a minute and he gratefully accepted a jug of water. After washing the dirt out of his mouth, he bent over to splash some of the dirt off his face. "I sure would like to know how you happened to be out here. Did you see who brought me, by any chance?" When silence met his question, he looked up and around. "Well I'll be a….Shit!" There was no one there. "Well if she was a figment of my imagination, she sure was a handy one!" He patted the jug of water, "Too bad she didn't leave a bottle of aspirin too!" Kyle climbed up on the rock to get his bearings. He hadn't lived here all his life for nothing. ‘Yep, the highway is that-a-way!'

***
The Jetta came screeching up to the Evans house. Maria was up the front walk and at the door before Isabel could get the door open. "Maria, please tell me that you know something, because I am going crazy waiting around for a call!"

Maria clung to the door jamb, "Max, where's Max?"

"He's out there somewhere looking for anybody! Liz, Kyle, Michael or you! What's going on?!"

"Okay, tag, you are it. The one who has to help us. Come on!"

"Wait! Maria!" Isabel followed her down the walk without even closing her door. "Tell me what is going on! Who is ‘us'? Where are we going?"

"The Granolith! You would not believe what Michael and I found out there! But he's stuck and we have to help him!" Maria jumped into the Jetta, reached across and flung open the other door. "'Come' ‘On'!"

Maria spoke hardly a word on the way to the Granolith mount. All Isabel got for her efforts to pry information out of her was a terse "just wait!" She pressed a hand to her head; her headache was coming back. Maria would have to be difficult!

Once they got there Maria was out like a shot and running for the entrance to the cave. Now the words came tumbling out of her mouth. Isabel was hard pressed to do more than keep up and try to assimilate what she was saying.

"Michael said he had an idea something was not right with the whole Granolith thing! We came up here and it was really weird. The place didn't look like we remembered. Michael got this really freaky idea that the whole Granolith taking off thing was a hoax. So we sent inside. And you'll never believe what we found!" Just as they rounded the corner to the Granolith chamber.

"Oh my God!" There was the chamber as they had last left it. Whole…and there. Isabel walked into the chamber, the inverted cone of the Granolith standing like a giant bottle of darkness. She looked frantically around. "Where is Michael?" It was the last thing she said as darkness came up and hit her with the floor.

The only answer she got was a soft laugh…she never heard it.

Part 6

Liz ran through the hot dusty streets of Roswell. She and Maria had split up, both frantically looking for Max. Liz's heart was in her throat. If the Granolith was still there, if Tess hadn't really left, then Max, Isabel and Michael were in a world of danger. ‘Oh God Max! If that bitch Tess hurts one hair of your head!…..What can I do? No…what will SHE do?' Street after street passed under Liz's feet as she scanned for Max. ‘Damn that Jeep! It was so much easier when I just had to look for it to find you.' ‘Now … Think! …She won't hurt Max …not any of them. She needs them …she needs to take them …home!' Like a bolt of lightening seeking its natural ground, Liz knew just what to do and where to go.

***

Maria finally found Max, after checking the Crashdown for the fourth time. "Oh damn it Max, you are sooo hard to find! Liz and I have been everywhere, and I don't suppose Michael has found you yet either! Do you realize…." Max focused on to one word…Liz.

He grabbed Maria by the shoulders and shook her to silence. "Where did you last see Liz? Are you sure it was Liz?" If he was too late…if anything had happened to her… ‘God, Liz…Liz…' His thoughts were able to go no further than that.

Maria's mouth was open and her eyes wide. "I thought I was the one with the bad news, but you are sooo scaring the crap out of me! What do you know that I wish I didn't have to find out?"

Max let go of her shoulders and started dragging her towards his car. "We talk, but we look for Liz while we do it. Liz is in great danger and Kyle is missing. We have a shape shifter here, and pulling something funny. It was using Liz's face!"

"Whoa back up! A shape shifter? What does that have to do with the Granolith?"

Max stopped and turned around. "The Granolith?"

***
Michael's run up the front walk of Max's house stumbled to a halt when he spotted the front door open. Flashes went through his mind of police films, where they approach the door from the side, gun clasped in both hands, swinging it in as they look in all directions. Michael gave a mirthless grin. Okay, well he didn't have a gun, but he had something better. Michael held his hand out in front of him, palm forward. Just let anyone be in there messing with Isabel or Max….

A cautious, make that very cautious, search of the house found him once more at the front of the house, chewing his lip and wondering what to do next. He jumped to the phone. Isabel wouldn't even go into the ‘garage' without her cell phone.

Two rings…three…"Come on!"…four. "Help me!" Came the faint voice.

"Izzy is the that you? Where are you, what happened?"

"Michael!" A small sob. "Thank God! I'm at the Grano…click..."

Fingers falling all over themselves, he dialed back. "Ring…..click."

Again, and this time it just rang.

"God Damn It!" Michael slammed the phone back down. Then grabbed it up again and called Jim. No answer.

Called the Crashdown. "Crashdown, home of out of this world dinning!"

"Max, Liz or Maria, are they there?"

"Yeah Max and Maria are out front. Want to talk to them?"

"Just tell them to stay there and wait for me!" He hung up and threw himself out the door. Behind him the phone rang and the answering machine picked it up.

"Max! Isabel! It's Liz! If you are there pick up the phone! Look I don't have time to explain, but someone we thought had left town, may still be here. Jim is going to take me to the last place we saw her and see if she shows up. Come if you can! Click"

Just on the click a hand reached for the phone. "Damn." A short minute later, a small black car sped from the house out toward the Quarry road.

***
At the Crashdown, Michael banged his way through the door, looked wildly around and rushed to the back. The door to the upstairs was locked, he opened it anyway and ran upstairs looking from room to room. Back down again and into the café, he grabbed Gail's arms, nearly shaking her in his frustration. "Where are they?"

"Gads Mikkie, they left before I could tell them!"

"Argh!" He let her go and headed for the door calling back over his shoulder, "Don't call me Mikkie!"

Outside he paused looking at the Jetta. "Maria will be so pissed!" He said, shaking his head. Then he jumped in, no keys. He shrugged and started it anyway. "So who needs keys?"

Shortly he was burning up the road for the Granolith mount.
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Post by SpicyAlejandra » 07/03/05 15:28

I am *so* confused There's so much going on at once... Where is everyone? I just need a little summary, cause I am lost

And - great start

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Post by chrystalkay » 07/03/05 15:57

Fear not... Part 7 starts with a re-cap of where everyone is. If you are confused then think how the poor Rosewllians are! Well things are bound to get confusing if someone or something is going around making people think they are someone else! And seeing things they aren't! LOL
Hang in there!

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Post by SpicyAlejandra » 07/03/05 16:09

Yep, you just confused me more And I can't wait for the next part

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Post by chrystalkay » 07/05/05 15:09

Part 7

***
Recap: Isabel went out to the Granolith mount with…somebody. Kyle is out in the desert on foot, Michael is headed out to the Granolith in Maria's Jetta, someone in a black car is likewise racing there, Liz and Jim are following, and Max and Maria are together in Charley's loan car looking for Liz, Michael, Kyle, Jim or Isabel. Did I leave anyone out?
***

Jim and Liz were about two miles from the Granolith when they spotted a girl standing beside the road trying to wave them down. Jim slowed and stopped a short ways away from her. "If it is Tess, why wouldn't she make us see Maria's or Isabel's shape? Why a stranger's? If she has Kyle…"

Liz bit her lip. "I don't know, why not a stranger? Maybe this way is safer for her. I mean, if we had just come from one of our friends, and she picked the wrong one, we would know who she was… what she was."

Suddenly the girl was standing just in front of the car, on Jim's side. "You have to go back. It's too dangerous here for you."

Liz opened her door and stood up, talking across the car. "I don't know who you are, but if you are who we think you are, we already know about you. You can't get away with it any more! And what did you do with Kyle?"

The girl smiled and it was a real smile. A warm smile that Liz didn't think Tess could fake on her best days. "Your friends will be alright. I'm here to see to that. What I don't need is two more bodies to rescue. Will you wait here…please? You can stop anyone else that comes along, and I'm sure they will soon. Or you can go out the road north of Roswell about fifteen miles and pick up Kyle. Tess left him there. I untied him and left him some water, but it's safer for him there than here. And I am a bit busy right now."

Jim latched onto the first thing he wanted to know. "Kyle? He's alright?"

"He's fine, just mighty tired of walking about now. Look. I'll be back here when I'm through. But if I don't go now, there will be lives to pay. Stay here!"

"Wait! Who are you? Give us something that will let us believe you!" Liz asked.

The perky red head smiled. "You have never heard of me before. My name is Serena. Just know that I am a friend." And with that, she disappeared as if she never was.

Jim gazed in amazement at the spot where she had been standing. "What was that? Some sort of astral projection? Do you think that was Tess?"

Liz shook her head, a little stunned herself. It was her. It had to be. How many alien type ‘Serenas' could there be? (Future Max had said that Serena would be a great friend someday.) "No, I think she is exactly who she said she is."

"Then that means Kyle really ‘is' out there somewhere." Oh how he wanted to go after him. But he didn't want anyone else running into a Serena/Tess showdown. Not if it meant lives at stake. What could he do except wait?

Liz paced back and forth as did Jim. Him from impatience, wanting to get out and find Kyle. Liz was upset because Jim would not let her go the rest of the way to the Granolith. She was willing to run if she had to, but he wouldn't let her go. ‘Max! Oh God, if she has you…'

***
Maria had finally gotten out what she and Michael had found and what Liz thought was happening. If it was true, they had to get out to the Granolith. She had Kyle and maybe others by now. "Oh God, maybe that's why we haven't found Michael or Liz! Max!…"

Max slewed the car around and headed out toward the Granolith at the best speed the loaner would go. ‘Liz, Liz…Please let me be in time!'

***
Michael was there already, peering at the cave opening from behind a rock. He jumped and turned at the sound of slithering rocks behind him, ready to blast anyone or anything. "Damn it Isabel! Don't sneak up on me like that! What are you doing out here. Are you alright? I thought…"

Isabel slumped against the rock, relief plain on her face. "Oh Michael, I am so glad you came when you did. Tess is in there; she has Kyle and Liz! She had me too, but Liz snuck in and untied me before she got caught herself!" Isabel stood there wringing her hands. " Now that you're here, we can go get them both out before she traps Max!"

Michael looked around one last time before slipping up to the cave. "Are you sure she is still in there?" He asked over his shoulder.

"I don't know, but I think so. At least I haven't seen anyone else go in or out."

"You stay here, if Max shows up, you head him off. I'll go see."

"No Michael, if we go, we both go."

He looked back at a very determined Isabel. "Alright, but you stay behind me."

"No problem there! I'm right behind you."

If he had looked back just then, he would have caught a very nasty and self-satisfied grin on ‘Isabel's' face.
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Post by chrystalkay » 02/25/07 21:10

Part 8

A faint trail of dust down the road announced the approach of a car. Liz stood behind Jim’s jeep and shielded her eyes, straining to see who it was.

Maria saw Jim's jeep first but Max recognized the small form standing behind it. ‘Thank God!’ “It’s Liz! Maria it’s Liz!”

Max slewed the car to a stop and was out and in Liz’s arms before Maria could get the door open. He looked deep into her eyes, seeking to know for sure that she was alright …and that she was really Liz. She was trying to see him through tears of relief and longing. If only she could hold him forever! But he was safe. That was all that really mattered. Then she stiffened and pulled away. He wasn’t hers anymore. But …Oh thank you God…he was safe.

Max felt her stiffen and withdrew his arms, not knowing how much that hurt her. “Are you alright? Why are you here?” ‘Oh Liz! I want to tell you how I feel, but I…’

Maria had spent this re-uniting time running from them to Jim and back again. “Guys….Guyyys…Aren’t you forgetting something? Liz! Make goo goo eyes later! Max! Michael is up there, and Isabel too! If you two don’t stop that right now, I’m going alone!”

Jim jumped in at this point and reminded them that this Serena girl said she didn’t want anyone else in danger. “She told us to wait right here. For some reason Liz said to trust her, that she knows who she is. If she is right then I can’t let you go.” He turned to Max specifically. “Max, I need your co-operation on this. I need to go look for Kyle and I can’t have you three going up there like a tardy rescue brigade.”

“Who the hell is Serena?”

“Hell if I know. But Liz can tell you. I need to go. Promise you’ll stay.”

Max felt some tension go out of him, as he heard that Kyle was all right and Jim wanted to go after him. “You go get Kyle Jim, I’ll make sure Liz and Maria stay with me. I promise!”

Jim clapped Max on the shoulder, “Thank you Max, I knew I could count on you. “ Jim ran back to the Jeep, Jumped in and turned it back towards town, waving as he passed them.

Maria looked like a dangerous storm ready to happen and Liz just looked shocked. As soon as Jim was out of sight, Max leapt for the car. “Well come on! I promised Jim I would keep you two with me. And there is no way I’m waiting here, with Michael and Isabel in danger!”

“All..right..Max! Way to go!” Maria yelled as she dived for the back seat. Liz paused to kiss Max through the window before skipping around to the passenger side. The car took off like someone’s life was at stake, as well they feared.

***
Isabel felt a soothing sensation through her poor abused head. “Wow, what hit me?” She murmured, coming to. The where and the why came to the surface with a rush. “Michael!”

“ He isn’t here…yet.” Came a soft voice behind her. “And I wish you would keep your voice down, or she will hear you.”

Isabel’s head was perfectly clear now and the sensations of returning circulation in her wrists and feet made her bite her lip. “Who are you, and who is ‘she’?” She whispered back. “Where are Maria and Michael?” Finally able to turn around, Isabel found the soft voice belonged to a small very pretty red head.

“Shhhh. Here they come now. Be ready for anything.” the redhead whispered back.
“Michael is real, the other is Tess.”

***
Michael crept into the cave, followed closely by his companion. He whispered softly, while trying to look in every direction at once. “Iz, stay close behind me. If I have to blast someone, I don’t want you between me and them! Okay?” At a murmured consent, he asked exactly where she had left Liz and Kyle.

A hand reached over his shoulder, pointing toward the entrance to the Granolith chamber. “Right in the chamber. Hurry Michael!”

But Michael wasn’t ready to hurry anywhere right then. The hand he saw, looking like Isabel’s hand, had a friendship ring on it….One he remembered Isabel placing into Alex’s coffin.

******
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Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pt 9 (of 57) 1/22/19

Post by chrystalkay » 01/22/19 12:36

Got connected to this site again and I need to get some seriously overdue updates done here. The rest of this will be coming as well as "The Other" - crossover fic and it's sequel. Hope all your hollidays were fantastic! This new year should be one to remember.... rock and roll everyone! :rotf

Part 9

Inside the Granolith chamber, Serena had helped Isabel around to the backside of the chamber, out of sight of the approach to the Granolith. “Stay here and don’t make any sound.” Serena cautioned. “I have to get behind Tess before she knows you are gone. And I don’t want Michael or you getting between her and me.”

Isabel nodded her head still recovering her shock at what had happened.

Michael was, at that moment, trying to figure out what to do at warp speed. If Isabel was not behind him, then who was? Tess was the first choice, but it was not beyond the limits of possibility that it was an enemy shape shifter in cahoots with her. One enemy or two? Was Isabel in there or was he moving into a trap meant for him?

***

Back at the Evans’ house, Diane, on one of her rare days off, was collecting for the laundry. She hummed lightly as she went from room to room cleaning out the laundry baskets. In Max’s room, she stopped on her way out and snagged a less than fresh looking sweater off the dresser. Something fell and she bent to retrieve it. It was a camera video case. The name on the front caught her attention just as she placed it back. “To Mom and Dad with Love”

Smiling at the clever way it had been left for her to find, she took it with her and continued on to the laundry room. With the first load started she took the tape into the den and popped it into the VCR.

A half hour later, a nearly incoherent Diane was calling her husband.

***
Max brought the car to a stop behind the Jetta and just out of sight of the cave or the approach to it.

"What's my Jetta doing out here! Michael must have taken it. Max! He's up there and that witch has him!"

“Don't worry Maria, he will be fine. Tess wants all of us, remember? All right, you girls stay here and don’t make any noise. I just want to see what is going on first.”

“Uh huh, uh uh. We go too or you stay. Remember your promise!” Maria wasn’t about to allow him to get away with this little trick.

As far as Liz was concerned, it wasn’t about to happen. “Max, Tess is up there.”

“I know, that’s why I don’t want you to go with me.”

“So we just sit here until one of you comes back…you... or Tess making us believe it’s you. Right? Or you come back and find only one of us still here. Or is it one of us?”

Max scowled, digesting this for a minute before sighing in defeat. “Right, like I said, you two stay right behind me, and no one gets out of sight of the others.”

They crept up on the cave just in time to see Michael and Isabel starting to go within. “Michael! And Isabel is okay!” Maria said breathlessly, then yelled. “Michael!”

Michael stopped and turned, and Isabel was into the cave like a shot. “Stay back! It’s Tess!” He yelled before diving in after her. Maria of course sped up the hill after him, gone before Max could grab a piece of her. Cursing under his breath he charged in hot pursuit.

At the entrance, the sound of a small blast made them hesitate, followed by two more. Max was ready to go in swinging, but who would he be swinging ‘at’?

Isabel came pelting back out of the cave and Max grabbed her firmly but gently…‘just in case’. “You are either Isabel or Tess and I’m not letting you go until I know which!”

Shortly after, Michael came out looking dazed, then he shook himself off and started running down the hill yelling…”She’s getting away!” Tess was next out the entrance and Max dropped Isabel and tackled her, surprised at her lack of resistance, but expecting some sort of a trick.

**
Maria and Liz stared in open mouthed surprise as Max grabbed and talked to empty air. Then Tess came out and ran around the side of the Rock, and Michael came out pointing in the wrong direction and went running down the hill chasing no one. To top it off, when Isabel came out, Max knocked her down and held her to the ground, while she kept trying to tell him who she was.

“This is just too weird! Let’s go get her!” Maria said as she started off after Tess.

Liz grabbed her and swung her around. “Maria, wait, we have to get the others.”

“We stay and straighten them out and the bitch from hell gets away.”

Liz dropped Maria’s arm and nodded. “Let’s go!”

Tess was still in sight as they rounded the boulders and they chased her down the other side and around a large rock only to come up short with a gasp. Tess was waiting for them with a very real looking gun pointed right at them, and a very satisfied smirk on her face. “So kind of you to come after me. I hate to leave unfinished business.”

Liz bit her lip and looked down the barrel of the gun. “It’s a trick. You don’t really have a gun!”

“Want to try me and find out?” Tess teased.

“Well I sure do! You little bitch!” Maria yelled as she launched herself at Tess.

***

At the cave, Serena emerged holding a hand to her head, staunching the flow of blood from a wound. Max was before her holding Isabel down and she could see Michael stumbling around down the hill looking confused. A quick touch on Max’s head cleared his sight and he sat staring at his sister for a full moment before letting her go and helping her to her feet. “God, Isabel, I’m so sorry. I thought…”

Isabel sighed and clung to Max for a moment. “I know…Tess.”

Max called Michael and Michael called back. “Get down here and help me find her! She can’t be far!”

“Michael, it was a trick! She would be in any other direction than the one you saw her go. Now get up here, we have to spread out.” Then he turned to Serena. “Now. Who’s this?”

Isabel took Serena’s hand and pulled her closer. “This is Serena. She saved my life. I think she was after Tess.”

“I don’t know who you really are, but I want to thank you for helping my sister and me.” Max reached out and laid his hand on Serena’s head wound and healed it. “Liz said you were to be trusted.” Max turned to Liz and only then realized she and Maria were gone. “’Liz!’” He yelled at the top of his lungs. ‘Oh God! They must have seen Tess and gone after her’ “Serena, did you see which way Tess, the real Tess, went?”

Then they heard the shot.

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pt 9 (of 57) 1/22/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/21/19 16:54

Okay, so it's been a while since I added to this. I am sorry, I guess I was hoping for more reactions. It's alright I will just go ahead and post the rest over the next couple days. I DO hope you enjoy it a little bit.

Part 10

Liz stared in horror as Maria wilted slowly to the ground in some kind of ghastly slow motion. “Maria!” She grabbed her friend around the waist with both arms to help her down and pulled her left hand back covered in blood.

Maria looked up at Liz; eyes wide in shock and a weak smile on her lips. “You know, I don’t think it was an illusion.” Then her eyes closed and she wilted slowly over on her side.

There was a low derisive laugh behind Liz and she swung around facing Tess…and the gun. “So are you planning on killing me now? Huh? You might as well pull that trigger because I’ve got nothing to loose!”

“She’s not dead…yet.”

That brought Liz up short of the full charge she was about to launch at Tess. Max! Max could still save her! Liz turned in the direction she had come as the thought hit her, and felt a hand twine itself in her hair and the hard cold nozzle of the gun in the back of her neck.

***

Serena grabbed Max’s hand as he turned to rush toward the sound of shooting. “Max…Tess isn’t pregnant.”

“What? How?”

“She never was!”

Max only paused a second then an unholy smile lit his face. “Thanks that makes it easier.” The group talked breathlessly as they ran.

***
“Yes, Max could save her couldn’t he? Why don’t you call him?” Tess purred.

“That won’t be necessary.” Max’s voice came from in front of them, and then Max, Isabel and Michael stepped out from behind a rock. “Let her go. It’s us you want so bad. Well here we are.” Max and Isabel were staring Tess right in the eye, almost daring her to do something. Max reached out and grabbed Michael as he spotted Maria and the growing pool of blood trickling out from beneath her. “Keep your mind on Tess Michael. We have to deal with her before we can help Maria!”

The look Michael turned on Tess made her step back a pace, dragging Liz with her. The looks of Nasedo she was used to. Cold unemotional and deadly. But the look in Michael’s eyes was something else altogether. She felt a shiver growing from deep within her treacherous little heart, and quelled it with difficulty.

As Michael took a step closer, Tess swung the gun in his direction. Her back straightened and a smile traced her lips. “You are making this tooo easy.”

But the four had not come without a plan. Two things happened as she fired off a shot aimed at Michael’s head. Max flung his hand up to shield them, as Tess felt a jolt from behind. The gun fell from her nerveless fingers and shock registered on her face. As Liz lurched away from her, Max lowered his force field, and Michael let off a blast of his own.

He wasn’t trying to stun her.

Tess was already dead when her body hit the ground. Four hands lowered with a feeling of satisfaction.

No regret was wasted on her as Michael and Isabel rushed to Maria’s side. Liz took a quick look behind to see the source of the first blast and got a look at Serena, in the flesh this time, before Max turned her around to him and held her tightly, burying his face in her neck. She could feel him shaking, and knew by that how scared he had been. Scared for her. She was shaking herself, shaking in reaction for what could have happened, shaking with relief for being held safe again in Max’s strong arms. If only…

“Max!” that cry had in it all the anguish that Michael was feeling. Max let go of Liz and fell to Maria’s side. He had to control his feelings and concentrate if he was to save her life. There was so much blood!

While Max was working over Maria, Liz turned back to Serena. “Thank you. Thank you for everything.”

Serena looked back at Liz with a question in her eyes. “According to Max, you said I was to be trusted. What made you believe in me?”

Liz looked down thinking hard. Should she tell Serena about Future Max? Then her eyes focused on Tess’s body and she shuddered. “Oh God. Max's son!”

Serena was quick to assure her that the whole baby thing had been a mindwarp.

But far from making Liz feel better, it only brought home that fact that Tess was dead.
Tess was dead, and Tess leaving had never been the problem in the first place. The whole future that Future Max had come to stop could happen anyway. All that she had endured for the sake of the group, for her world…for Max. It was all for nothing. Alex’s death, was for nothing!

“Nothing.” Her voice was just a breath.

Suddenly all the emotional garbage of the last months, added to that day’s terrors, came down on her. Liz, who had always been strong enough to control herself, had no control left. She found herself in Serenas arms crying and shaking with the reaction of all she had been through. A mantra in her head repeating itself…”The end of the world is going to come anyway.”

Serena pulled her a little ways from the group and tried to comfort her. “It’s okay. It’s all over and Maria will be just fine.”

Liz shook her head. “You don’t understand. It’s all… going… to happen… any way!”

Serena drew Liz farther away from the intense group gathered around Maria. Max kept glancing up at Liz and it wasn’t helping his efforts.

“What’s going to happen can't be as bad as that. We can fix it, whatever it is. It will be alright.” Serena kept up the soothing talk while Liz sobbed helplessly in her arms. “Come on now, tell me what ‘s wrong. Won’t you?”

Serena, had been in Roswell off and on for a while now, just watching the group, and looking for trouble. It had taken a while for her to realize that Tess was going to be a good part of the trouble herself. It did not make her happy that she had to hang back and wait until she could actively help. She had nearly been too late, but had gotten to the pod chamber just as Michael had emerged, to find Liz, Kyle and Maria trying to get in. Since Tess was unaware of her, Serena was able to see exactly what really happened. Now she kept her eyes on everything Tess did and stepped in, as she had a chance to help.

Standing there holding a shaking Liz in her arms, Serena couldn't help but feel a strong sense of protectiveness. 'Oh Liz, come on honey, talk to me.”

Liz wanted so much to tell someone. Now, incoherent as she was, Liz managed to get the story out. Eyes closed, she could still see all the horror she had seen through the memory of Future Max. The death of all she knew and loved.

During the course of her story Maria, now recovered, and the others, quietly gathered around. If Liz had opened her eyes, she would have seen her horror mirrored in five other pairs of eyes. Finally she ended her story and her sobs were the only sound that broke the silence.

Gentle hands took her from Serena and she relaxed into Max’s loving arms, still shaking with uncontrolled sobs. Michael came and added his arms, and Isabel, crying, came to offer hers. None of them could believe the mammoth sacrifice Liz had made for all of them. Or the strength that kept it a secret in her breaking heart.

Finally Max led her over to a rock and sat down holding her on his lap. Liz lifted a tear streaked face to his. Maybe …

Max held her head and delivered a fierce kiss that spoke of the hell he had been through, almost loosing her forever. There could be no lies in their kisses, no misunderstandings. Max pulled back only long enough to look in her eyes. He could see no desire to hold back or avoid in her eyes, only the aching longing and overflowing love she felt for him.

Liz found what she had given up hope of ever seeing again, the depths of an incredible love. “Max? Do you really….?”

“Liz I swear it. For the rest of my life, if you’ll take me back, after…”

Liz put a finger to his lips. “There is no after or before. If you want it that way.”

Max looked into the face of the one person in the world that made him complete, and the first genuine smile he had smiled in a long time lit his eyes. “Liz, Lizzie, ‘There is no after or before.’ Only now and forever! ”

And as if that was a solemn pledge, they kissed once more, each feeling their love healed and whole for the first time in a long time.

***********


Part 11

Jim drove slowly down the road from about seven miles out of town, looking for his son by the side of the road. It wouldn't do to pass him up while he was resting or worse yet passed out or hurt. At about twelve miles out, he spotted Kyle walking towards him. He had taken his under shirt off and wrapped it around his head. Whatever movie he had gotten it off of must not have impressed him with how silly it looked. Jim grinned and sighed with relief as he stopped beside him, Glad for the more normal beating of his heart at the sight of Kyle, safe, whole and looking pissed. "Hey Gunga Din, need a ride?"

Jim got out of the car and grabbed him in a bear hug, slapping him on the back and grinning like an idiot.

Grinning himself, Kyle hugged back. He could feel the genuine love and relief coming off his dad. "God Dad, you are the greatest thing I've ever seen." Then he pulled out of the hug, his grin gone. "Dad, Liz is out here somewhere too. I was with her one minute, and the next, I'm tied up flat on my face about five or six miles back and about three miles west of the road. Liz wasn't anywhere to be seen and believe me I've looked!"

Jim steered him over to the passenger side and sat him down. "Liz is safe son. I left her, Max and Maria less than an hour ago."

"There is someone else running around here. Don't laugh. She's a knockout red head. Untied me and left me with a jug of water. I don't know where she came from or where she took off to, but if I ever catch up to her, I'm going to have a few choice things to say to her. She didn't have to leave me out there!"

"Knockout red head huh? About so high?" At Kyle's suspicious nod, Jim continued. "She is the one who told me where to find you. Her name is Serena. She is at the Granolith cave trying to help Michael and Isabel. Don't ask me how, but Liz seemed to know her… or of her anyway. Seems Serena is one of them….. What's the matter?"

Kyle had buried his head in his hands. Now he looked up at his Dad in disgust. "I knew there was some alien crap involved in this. I just knew it."

Jim's cell phone rang. "Valenti. Maria…You what!…She is? Is everyone okay?…Yeah he's right beside me. Okay. We'll be right there."

Jim swung his car around and raced back the way he'd come. "Tess is dead. Everyone is alright and your car is parked near there." He didn't say anything for a while, but Kyle could see him fuming. "So much for trusting any of them to stay put!"

***
Max and Michael, had been about to bury Tess by the simple method of blasting a hole in the dirt, dumping her in, and pushing it back on the body. Serena stopped them before they had more than excavated a hole.

“Wait! I have to prepare the body!” She stood over Tess' body and began to run her hand back and forth above it. As she worked, she explained… “There are changes we have to make in one of our bodies when we die. It wouldn’t do to have one found and discovered to be… not of this world. Also, when we blasted her, there were changes in her body that have to be removed.”

Max and Michael looked at each other and Max shook his head. “Almost did it again.” He muttered. They had both forgotten about the Cadmium X, and the whole problem that caused when Pierce’s body was found.

As she worked, the body shrank and shriveled to a mummified state, the clothes were ashed and the body aged by about fifty years. She stood back and gave them the nod. Michael pushed it off into the hole and they refilled it. That was all the service Tess would ever get. They used their powers to compact the soil, so if ever found, it would appear to have been many years since the body was put there.
There were no sad moments, no regrets, no wondering what caused her to be as she was. They just turned their backs and walked away.

The others started back towards the cars and Max still held Liz around the waist tightly, as if the healing done between them might disappear. He really just wanted some alone time with Liz, but this wasn't the time or the place.
“I guess we better...”

“Yeah. Max? I am so glad you were able to heal Maria! I couldn't bear to loose another friend to that ….”

“Shhh, I know. What she did was just pure evil. And she could have killed Kyle too!” Max paused and Liz stopped with him. “In fact... she might have done more than that.” He raised his voice to the others. “Hey guys wait up a moment!”

The others waited for Max and Liz to join them.

Max came right to the point. “When I healed Maria, I had flashes from her.... “

Maria jumped in fast. “Wait, don't go and say anything... you know embarrassing? You wouldn't do that... would you? Girlfriend?”

Max smiled at her and shook his head no. “I saw that you had been having bad headaches for a few days. So I looked for the cause and found brain damage. It wasn't anywhere as bad as Kyle's, but it would have given you more trouble down the line. It was easy to fix. Just now when I was talking to Liz, it occurred to me that I should check the rest of you out. Has anyone else been having headaches?” Everyone responded at the same time. All of them had been having headaches. It made them wonder just what all Tess had been up to that she had to keep messing with them.

Soon all had been checked and healed of varying levels of damage.

“Ooohh, I wish she was alive again so I could pull her hair out before we did her in again!” Maria exclaimed.

Serena added. “The massive warp she had to keep up to convince all of you that the Granolith had actually taken off, probably did the most damage. She would have had to put a tremendous amount of power into that and maintain it until you all left. Most warps last a few seconds AFTER something has happened, just to plant false memories.”

Michael nodded in agreement. “Yeah it had to last at least a good half hour or more, before Jim got out here.”

They talked more about it as they made their way around to the front and back down the hill. Finally all of them got into the various cars and went home. Another crisis was over. Perhaps now they could have some peace.


****
The Crashdown was the gathering place for the group once they all got back into town. There were a lot of questions to be answered, everybody had one or more; and they needed some settle down time after the last few frenetic hours. A considerable amount of time was spent figuring out where everyone was at any given time…

Kyle was chagrined to find that it was Tess, not Liz he had driven off with.
Michael told how he had figured out that Tess wasn't Isabel.
Isabel explained how she had been tricked by Tess as Maria. “She even made me believe we were in the Jetta!”

The biggest shock wasn't that Tess was still there, but that Tess wasn't really pregnant. A little fact that Serena had shared with Max, Michael and Isabel when they heard the shot. Everything anyone remembered about the last few weeks or months before the 'departure' was suspect.

Jim and Kyle had been filled in on Liz's meeting with Future Max, and Jim was hearing for the first time that everyone (except Maria) had thought his son and Liz had slept together. For his part, Kyle was relieved to find out what was behind the whole thing and that he was off the hook as far as Max was concerned.

In fact, he found himself the recipient of a hefty dose of respect from everyone for his helping Liz in such an unusual way without explanation….and being able to keep his mouth shut about it afterward. (In spite of some strong inducements to 'spill the beans'.)

Max shook his hand, "Thank you Kyle. For being there for Liz when she needed you." Then he grinned and added, "And if you ever pull a stunt like that again…."

Kyle stepped back and raised his hands, shaking his head. “No way man. She needs any more help, you play the straight man.”

No one asked Serena any questions until all the rest had been cleared up. Finally, when a hefty meal had been digested along with the information, all eyes turned to her.


***********
Part 12

Max broke the ice with a straightforward question. “Now who, exactly, are you? I mean, we know your name and that you are one of us. But what are you doing here and how did you get here?”

Serena grinned at the group, and cleared her throat. “Well I guess I should start with telling you that you are not alone here. There are a few of us scattered here and there in small groups. None of us knew where you were or if you survived to hatch out of your pods… until Kivar’s men started sniffing out our groups. He, at least, was convinced you were out there somewhere, and that gave us considerable hope of finding you. We started following and eliminating as many of his agents as we could.”

“Sooo… you found us ..how?” Maria asked.

“The signal you sent out, when you activated the orbs. It told us and every other alien on the planet where you were. Some of us moved to New Mexico and started a closer watch on this area. We eliminated two groups of Skins incoming, but missed the ones in Copper Summit. Mainly because they weren’t just in the town, they were the town, and had been there since the beginning. They were the ones that were to come for you once you were found.”

Michael leaned forward and asked. “So what are you? A shape shifter? Or were you made like us?”

“I am one of you as in of Antarian roots. I got here by being born here. I am second generation. Meaning my parents were born on Antar, but I was born here. As a matter of fact…”

Isabel leaned forward, “You said ‘us’ and ‘we’…How many more are there?”

“There are about a hundred of us all together.”

It was a while before she could continue.

There were so many questions fired at her from everyone that she couldn’t get a word in to answer any of them. Finally she held her hands up laughing. “Hold it! Just hold it! We knew this was going to happen when we finally contacted you.” Sigh, “We would have contacted you before this if there wasn’t the danger of Kivar’s spies everywhere. There isn’t a group he hasn’t found except yours and that’s because we stayed away from you. He isn’t interested in us, just the Royal heirs.”

Michael stuck his head forward angrily, “So …what? Were you just going to leave us the hell alone for the rest of our lives? Thinking we were alone in this?”

“We would have contacted you when you turned eighteen at any rate. You needed to be old enough to leave your homes and families without having a noisy search being put out for missing kids. Such searches have been closely followed by Kivar’s men.” Serena swallowed, “In each case, those children found by his men, before the authorities, were checked out and then …disposed of.”

Max held up a hand to forestall any other questions. “Wait a minute, why are there so many here? Are they soldiers or what? Why were they sent here? What kind of help can we expect from them? And how do we contact them if we need help?”

“Well, they are mostly family and friends of the palace guards and servants. Kivar was killing anyone he even suspected of being loyal to the King or his family. Almost all of the army was taken and destroyed shortly after the coup in the palace. There was no opposition left in the palace because there was no one left alive to defend.

“Those who could, boarded ships and fled to a neighboring …and supposedly friendly world. Your bodies were prepared and the pods sent here, along with the four impostors, to make it more difficult for Kivar to find you. When the people we sought refuge with turned on us,( they are the reason Kivar found out where you had been sent), we ourselves fled here and spread out into small groups to hide. There were only about forty that made it here. The rest of the hundred are from marrying and growing families.” She grinned at the anxious faces around her, sensing the next question before it came. “Some marriages are within our people, some are with humans. There isn’t that much difference between us. Nothing a little alien hocus-pocus can’t remedy. You three, being specially designed in the first place, don’t even have that much of a barrier.”

Relieved looks passed between Max and Liz, and Michael got an elbow in his ribs from Maria. “Pay attention! This is the important part!”

Michael grunted and changed the subject. “Well you’ve contacted us now, and I don’t think you are going to pass out a bunch of telephone numbers. Like Max asked, how do we contact you?”

“That will be Isabel’s function. It is an extension of her dream walking gift.” Serena turned to Isabel. “I will be able to show you how before I go back. We all keep in touch on a regular basis.”

Liz hadn’t asked any questions before this, this was, after all, about Michael, Isabel and Max. But Serena had been her friend in the ‘future’ and she hadn’t kept silent in front of the human parts of their party so… “Serena, what brought you to us at this time?”

“Well actually the Granolith told us. When it reached half power, it was strong enough to be detected. It took me almost the whole twelve hours remaining to reach it. Mostly because I had to keep canvassing back and forth until I zeroed in on it. When I got close enough, I projected myself into the granolith chamber and tried to talk to you, but Tess blanked me out and you didn’t see or hear me. When Tess saw that you weren’t going with her, she took the crystal back out of the base and made you see her go into the glass and experience the granolith taking off. As soon as you left, Tess came out and I watched her from nearby. I was close enough to feel that she wasn’t one of you by then. She knew I was there somewhere and there was a considerable game of cat and mouse before she took off. All I could do was follow her and try to keep her from getting you all to the Granolith and under her control.”

“She isn’t one of us?” Came from three throats.

Serena shook her head. “Tess and her double were substituted at the last minute for the real bride.”

Liz cleared her throat. “So what happened to the real bride?” Serena just shook her head. It was enough of an answer.

Kyle was puzzled, “Why didn’t you just kill her? You knew she was an enemy.”

Serena looked embarrassed “Umm, I’m not really a fighter, I was just the closest one to you that could get there in time. And I had been near by because I wanted to meet Michael.”

Maria bristled a little. “Yeah? So why did you want to meet Michael?” Her look said ‘He’s mine!'

Serena’s answer made Michael’s mouth fall open. “Because Michael is my uncle.”

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pt 1-15 (of 57) 6/21/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/21/19 16:59

Part 13

The gang finally and reluctantly broke up. Serena's answers had only led to more questions. Michael was the one who most wanted to stay and talk. 'I have family!' sang through him like a song. Promises from Serena that she would talk to him to his heart's content the next day, finally got him moving in the direction of the door.

Liz had asked her parents if they minded Serena…a new friend of the group, stayed over for the night. They happily agreed and welcomed Serena warmly.

Serena told Liz that she was glad that her parents were so easy with the whole alien friend thing.

“Ummm…no. They don’t know anything about it.”

“My God Liz how can they not? From what I’ve heard, your lives have been upside down and sideways. And they don’t suspect anything?” Serena was astounded!

Liz grinned as she pulled out a set of pajamas for Serena to use. “It hasn’t been easy. And if my parents didn’t trust me, I never would have gotten away with half of the stuff I’ve had to hide from them.” She sighed. “I just really, really wish that they did know. There have been times when I would have loved holding on to my Mom or Dad and having them tell me it would all turn out all right. I hate lying to them….and not telling them is as big a lie as some of the things I have told them!” She thought back to all the things that had gone on in the last year or so.

Liz sat down and put her head in her hands. “ Oh Serena, if only Alex hadn’t had to die! He wasn’t supposed to!”

Serena patted Liz’s back offering what comfort she could.

***

It was Maria that gave Isabel and Max a ride home. They were surprised to see Jim's car parked outside their house. Maria was all for panicking. " Ohmygod... This can't be good. Do you think something happened to one of them? What do we do?"

Max smiled and opened the car door. "Well to start off, we can ask Jim. Here he comes."

Jim glanced over his shoulder at the front door before coming to Maria's car. "Max, Isabel…your mom found the tape. For the love of God, why didn't you destroy it? They think you are planning to run away. I told them you, Maria, Liz, Kyle and Michael were up at the quarry today. That I knew you were because Kyle ran out of gas and I brought him some. That I have gotten to be pretty good friends with you all and if there was some kind of trouble you were in, that I would have heard about it. I don't know if they believed me. You better come up with a good excuse for that tape! Lots a luck!" Jim stalked off to his jeep, less than happy at the panic Diane and Phil had been put through.

***
After Diane called Phil, he had rushed home to see the tape for himself. Then they had called The Crashdown, to try and get Liz. Failing that, they called Amy to find Maria, and Amy had called Michael's, then Kyle's and gotten Jim. Jim had rushed right over.

***
As Jim took off, Isabel was shaking. Max gathered her into his arms and gently rubbed his hand up and down her back. He was trying to get his thoughts together, and Isabel, was falling apart. "Max, what are we going to do? What do we say about making a tape like that that won't sound totally fake? Oh God, I'm such a terrible liar. Whatever we say you will have to do the talking. But what are we going to say?"

"Well, it has always been your wish that they knew about us. Do you want to tell them now? At least it would show them that we weren't trying to play some kind of sick joke on them…or running away."

He could feel her terror at the thought of what he had suggested. "Oh Max, you know I've always longed to tell them, I can't bear not telling them. But…what if they couldn't love us any more? What if we had to leave because they….hated us…for what we are?" She broke down and wept against his chest. She always cried when she contemplated the dread day that her parents should find out. "No Max, think of something, anything I…I couldn't bear it!"

During this time, Maria had stood speechless and direly wishing she was somewhere else. Diane and Phil, seeing Max and Isabel outside, had come up quietly and heard nearly everything said between them.

Now when Max turned Isabel toward the house to take her in, they both discovered their parents not six feet in front of them. Max's face drained of color and Isabel did what she never thought she would do in a thousand years…she fainted.

Phil jumped to help Max catch Isabel and effortlessly lifted her up in his arms. He looked across her to Max. "Come on son. I think it is time you and Isabel talked to us." Then he turned to Maria. "I suppose you know what this is all about, so you might as well join us." Then he turned and led the way into the house.

There was damned well no way Maria was going to say no to that. "I…thank you I'll be right there." Then she dove head first into the Jetta, grabbing her purse, the keys and her phone. As she backed out, she hit Liz's button and had her on line before she got halfway across the lawn. "Get Michael and get over here as fast as you can. Diane found the tape. Max and Isabel are going to have to tell their parents!" It was time for some serious peer support.

Liz and Serena had only just gotten ready for bed, now Liz started jumping around throwing her clothes back on. "Serena, Max's mom found the tape they made when they were leaving. They're going to tell them and I've got to be there."

Liz kited out of the room and Serena started throwing her own clothes on. Liz knocked on her parent's bedroom door. "Dad I need to use your car. Max and Isabel, need me and Michael. I've got to get him and get over there."

Her dad opened his mouth as if to ask questions but saw the open plea on his little girl's face. Liz was old enough and responsible enough to tell him if it was something he had to know. He hoped. So after a brief hesitation he merely walked over and got his keys off the dresser. "Come back as soon as you can. And call if you need us."

"Thanks Dad. I will explain what I can later." A quick kiss on his cheek and she was running down the stairs and out the back door. She was in the car and had it going in a second.

Serena hit the seat beside her as she was taking off. “I take it that they don’t know about Max and Isabel either.”

Liz shook her head and flipped open her own phone. She had Michael on before she was halfway down the block. "Michael…"

Michael called Jim and Kyle, and was waiting out front when she got there. Liz drew up in front of Max's less than five minutes later.

Back in the house, Phil had laid Isabel on the couch and her mom sat next to her patting her hands and trying to get her to stop crying. "Honey, no matter what your secret is, it can't make us not love you. You and Max are our babies, our children, you are part of us."

Phil looked from Isabel to Max. "You might as well tell us what this is all about. The truth can't be worse than what our imaginations would make of all this if you don't. Please. Trust us son."

Isabel finally quit crying and sat up. Max sat next to her and put his arm around her. Diane got something cool to drink for everyone and she and Philip sat down and waited.

Maria heard the car drive up and opened the door for Michael, Serena and Liz. "not yet" she whispered as they moved past. Liz went to perch on the arm of the couch by Max and Michael sat down next to Isabel. Maria perched on the other end by Michael and Serena stood in back. United, they faced Diane and Phil.


Part 14

Phil gazed at all of them with a twinkle in his eye. The first sign of relaxing that any of them had been able to show. "Okay, the support group is assembled. I'm assuming all of you know the big secret, and came running to your friend's rescue. Well, if there are no more coming, then I propose that we get on with it." He reached over to his wife and took her hand. "I got the impression from what we heard outside, that this is bigger than the tape, has been going on for some time, and that you and Isabel think it will make your Mom and me not love you. I know you both, I know the rest of you pretty well too. I can say with complete honesty that there is nothing I know you capable of doing that could make a difference in how Diane and I feel. Now…does that make it easier to start?"

At that point there was a knock at the door and Serena let Jim and Kyle in, who immediately came up and stood behind Max and Isabel. "Are we too late?" Jim asked.

Philip put his hands over his face for a moment and shook his head. "That does it! Half the town knows and is on your side, so how bad can it be? Now spill!"

If Diane and Phil thought the truth was going to be an anticlimax, they were shockingly mistaken. Privately, they thought the kids had discovered who their parents were and found out that their father was an ax murderer or something equally gruesome, and for some reason thought that would make a difference. They were not at all ready for what the kids told them.

Max had to clear his throat twice before he could begin. "We…Isabel and I, found out early that we were different and that being… different made other people act funny around us…mostly kids at school…and learned not to show it. Except to each other. That's how we met Michael. He felt... different. Not like he other kids, so I took a chance. We were in third grade class and I commented on the beautiful purple glow around the teacher. He realized we were like him and he didn't have to feel alone anymore. It wasn't until a few years ago that we found out just how different we were and a few months ago we found out where we came from"

Diane was slowly nodding her head. "The bird and the kitchen fire."

Max nodded. "With the bird I was too young and didn't even know I could heal. With the fire, I acted first and tried to cover it up after. I'm sorry."

Phil leaned forward watching Max intently. "Son, when you said you found out where you came from…what exactly do you mean?"

For a moment Max felt panic grip his throat. The moment of truth and he couldn't say anything. Then he felt a warm hand clasping his and he felt calm. Max and Liz looked at each other and a smile twitched at her mouth. Max looked back at his father and put up his finger, pointing at the ceiling.

At his parent's puzzled looks, Liz burst out with a giggle. "I'm sorry. But that's how Max told me." She looked at him. "Can I?" At his nod…" After he saved my life…I was shot at the Crashdown and was dying… Anyway, I knew he was way different and I asked him how he did that. He said he was not from around here and when I asked where, he pointed up. 'North?' I asked, and he pointed higher. 'You mean you're an…alien?' 'We prefer not of this earth' he replied and I freaked. But I also fell in love with him. Oh Mr. and Mrs. Evans, Max and Isabel have been terrified of you not loving them or maybe even hating them if you found out. So say something. Anything?"

Michael was wishing they would say something soon, because the suspense in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife…and the way Isabel was clutching his hand, he wouldn't be able to use it at all, if this went on much longer.

Now Serena stepped forward and held up her hands. One she placed level, above Max, Michael and Isabel’s heads, the other she pointed at the air before them. The air started to swirl with a misty light and then pictures began to form.

There for all to see (and Feel!!) was the day Isabel, Max and Michael came out of their pods. How they stumbled outside and onto the road, how Michael was too scared to join them when the car came. They all saw Diane and Phil pick Max and Isabel up and take them to the orphan home. They saw flashes of how they both felt about their new parents when they came to take them to their own home. Their awe and then fear when they found out how different they were. Then felt the longing and fears of both Isabel and Max. How much they wanted the acceptance and approval of Phil and Diane, how much they dreaded the thought that they might not be able to love them as they were. There was the longing Michael had always felt, the lonesomeness as he was bounced from home to home, until he had found Max and Isabel.

As the scenes and feelings faded, Diane looked at the stricken, pale, face of Isabel and rushed forward. "Oh darling, both my darlings, It doesn't matter. None of it does. You are ours and we love you. Everything about you." Isabel and her mom fell into each others arms sobbing.

Michael and Max looked at each other and at Phil then all three of them said in unison…"Women!"

Part 15

Phil got up and hugged Max and grabbed Michael into the hug. "Looks like we have one more son that we thought we did, Michael. If you three had told us this sooner, we could have adopted you and brought you into our family. I'm sorry. We didn't know."

Maria had tears running down her face, Liz was teary eyed and there was even a suspicious glisten in Max, Michael, and Jim's eyes. Jim sniffed and coughed and clapped Kyle on the shoulder. "Well son, I guess the emergency is over. Lets go home. That means the rest of you too. Let's give them a chance to talk it over."

Liz kissed Max on the cheek. "Tomorrow?"

"Hmm? Oh yeah, I'll call you early. Bye…and thanks. All of you…thank you."

Maria grabbed Michael's ear and whispered. "I'll keep my window open."

Jim herded Serena, Kyle, Liz and Maria out the door and they stood looking at each other for a moment. "Well, that went better than I thought it would. No hysterics anyway. I'll see you kids tomorrow. Good night."

***
Once again Liz and Serena got ready for bed. Liz had tiptoed into her parent's room and placed the keys on the dresser.

"Got back safe I see." Came a quiet voice from the bed.

"Oh yeah Dad. I really appreciate you letting me go. It was really important." Liz whispered back.

"Don't suppose you want to talk about it?"

"Ummm I can't really. Not right now. Is it all right? I mean…you know…It's really important that I don't right now. Okay?"

She could see her dad propped up by one elbow looking at her. He was silent for a couple of moments then sighed. "Tell me when you can, Lizzy. Go on, get back to bed. See you in the morning."

"Love you Dad." She blew him a kiss and slipped back into her bedroom.

Serena slipped back under the covers and sighed. "I could have sworn I already did this once tonight. Do you think things are really okay at Max's house? I seemed like Mr. And Mrs. Evans were accepting all this with remarkably little fuss. "

"Oh yeah." Liz kicked off her slippers and jumped back in bed. "I really think it will be okay now. That trick you did with the memories was the kicker. It was so real I almost felt like 'I' was them!"

Serena laid on her side and watched Liz watch the ceiling for a couple of minutes. "So…before the phone call and all, you said you needed to talk to me about something really important….Still up for it?"

Liz had thought she was tired, but the question went through her like an electric pick-me-up. “Serena, about what I told you out there after…Tess. How could what Max…Future Max said be true, if there are so many more of you to help? How could Tess leaving make a difference? And does it still make a difference, now that she is dead? I mean the end of the world difference? Oh God, Serena do we still have that ahead of us?” Liz collapsed back onto the bed, visions of the deaths Future Max had given her still playing in her head.

Serena placed a hand on her shoulder and thought hard before answering. “I don’t know why he thought that Tess was the important link in their group. She isn’t…wasn’t even one of them. But of course if she left, then they wouldn’t know that. It must have made Kivar use some alternate plan. Perhaps the group didn’t even stay here. If they had left, and we couldn’t find them, then they would still think they were alone.”

Serena sighed and wondered at what the future would have held and how much of it would be changed. “We will never know everything that went on before the end. All I can say is that now they are not alone. We know that Kivar will try something and we will be ready for him. Max, Michael and Isabel know about us and they will not have to go off alone and face whatever he tries. Liz, that part of your personal nightmare is over. Let it go and get on with your life. And I believe Max is a big part of that life…is he not?”

Liz smiled and turned over on her side facing Serena. “Yeah, though if you had asked me that a few days ago, I would have said there wasn’t a chance left for us. Even before they decided they had to leave, there was the whole Tess/Max thing going on. Tess and Max…and then he thought she was pregnant. But he couldn’t have thought so if they didn’t…you know, in the first place.”

“Well she wasn’t and I don’t think they really did the deed.”

“So you think Tess…?”

Serena nodded, “Yep. I think that is exactly what she did.”

Liz sighed. “If we only knew what she was capable of. None of us guessed that she was messing with our heads. Or that she was the cause of Alex’s death. We didn’t talk much together after that anyway, …except to fight about it. After Alex died we all started to fall apart. Maria coped by becoming obsessed with his memorial. Isabel was drowning in her loss. Max was coping with Tess and denying even the possibility that Alex’s death could have been alien related. I’d lost Max and I’d lost my best friend. Finding out the truth about Alex seemed the only thing left for me to concentrate on. As if that would somehow bring him back…” Liz sat up suddenly. “Oh my God!” She grabbed Serena’s hand tightly, trying to find a way to ask what she had just thought of. “Serena! Oh God if it was just possible!”

Serena looked concerned. “Liz what is it?”

Liz tried to calm herself and get her thoughts in line. "Serena, remember how I said I knew of you because Future Max told me about you? He said you are the one that knew how to use the Granolith as a time machine."

"Okay, sure, but we're not likely to need to do that now. I mean, Tess wasn't the answer you and Max…the other one…thought it was. What possible good could you do by going back now?"

"I could right a wrong I caused. Something that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't interfered."

"And what would that be?"

"We could save Alex."

***
The explosion among her friends the next morning was something to see. Maria and Isabel wanted Alex back as much as Liz did. Max and Michael felt guilt that it had been one of their people that had killed Alex and for that alone they might be willing to try it. But…

Max was dead set against it. "How can you even think of doing such a thing! In this time line, Alex got killed and we were almost sent kiting off to be killed. You don't know what may happen next time!" He stepped close to Liz and took her by both shoulders looking into her eyes. The pain she saw there emphasized his words. "I could lose you this time. We could all lose this time."

Michael was feeling repeated jabs from Maria and spoke up. "Max, we should at least hear Liz out. We don't have to make a decision until then."

Isabel grabbed Max's arm. "Look Max, we are the cause of Alex getting killed. You have Liz and I think that is going to be a constant in this mess. Look,… you were together in the first time line, then you are together now, in spite of all that Liz or your other could do. Alex means as much to me as Liz does to you and I don't have him with me now. I don't care if it puts me in danger. I'm willing to try, and you could at least listen."

Maria put her hands on her hips and glared at Max. "Maxwell Evens! (Michael grinned, he was the only one who ever called Max ‘Maxwell’.) Because he was your friend, Alex is dead. Now there is a way to fix it. You let us know it is possible to do something, you brought the Granolith back in time, even if it was another you. Now, you are not going to stop us from trying to get Alex back by using it!"

Liz told Maria that wasn't fair, Maria asked whose side she was on anyway and Michael told Maria that Max was probably right. It was too dangerous.

"Don't start with me Michael! I know it could be dangerous, but we have a chance of bringing Alex back. He didn't deserve to die like that and I want to undo it. Whatever it takes!"

"You are forgetting something." Serena said. "There is no need for a hasty decision. Time is not our enemy here. We will talk about it and the plan will be good or I will not make the Granolith work for you."

She looked around at each of them. "Now. Which one of you has the crystals?"

That more or less stopped the yelling match.

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pt 9 (of 57) 1/22/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/21/19 17:01

Part 16

The gang now had two chores; to come up with a satisfactory plan, and to find the crystals. ‘Crystals’, as in two. “When Future Max had come back in time, one should have come with him.” Serena had explained. “Had he not been successful, he could have used it to go back further and try again. He didn’t return in the Granolith, therefore the crystal should still be here. Tess did not take off with the Granolith; therefore that crystal should also be around.”

Considering the time Tess had to run around the desert, and Roswell, it/they could be anywhere!.

The searching would have to be done by only a few of the gang though. Max had a shift at the UFO Center, and Liz and Maria had to work the Crashdown. That left Kyle and Isabel, and Michael and Serena as hunting teams.

Kyle took off for his house first. If Tess had removed the time crystal, she might have hidden it among the stuff in her room…Kyle’s room actually. He had moved back in but hadn’t gotten around to gathering up her things yet.

“I’m glad to see you are feeling better.” Kyle said shortly after they took off. “You were so devastated at the cave, I don’t see how you could stand it.”

“Oh? And what do I feel now?”

“Light, determined, more at peace. And I’m glad. It was pretty thick out there with all of you reacting in different ways.” Kyle turned onto his street and felt Isabel’s surprise.

“Kyle! You are actually feeling what I feel like and said it better than I could have explained it.” She thought of the ramifications of this for a moment. “How long?”

“In bits and pieces, in between world class headaches, since before you guys decided to take off.” Kyle stopped in front of his house and turned to her. “This is part of that alien stuff, isn’t it? Am I going to keep changing? Or is this it? I think I could handle this feeling stuff if I could learn to shut it out…….It can be real embarrassing…you know?”

Isabel sat looking at him in surprise and concern. “Are you still having headaches? And yes I think it could be some of that ‘alien’ stuff.” She added with a smile. “Though I don’t think any of us has ever had a talent for feelings.”

Kyle hit his hands lightly on the steering wheel and let out the breath he had been holding. “Okay, no help there. No, no headaches since Max put my brains back together. I guess I’ll just have to figure it out on my own. Quit worrying. I’ll survive this too.” ‘I just don’t know how.’ He muttered to himself as he bounced up out of the car with a false front of casual confidence. “Let’s go find that crystal!”

***
Michael, by virtue of having Serena along, was given the keys to the Jetta. “Don’t you dare harm a hair of her head, Michael Gurien!” Maria said with her hands on her hips.

“I wouldn’t do anything to let Serena get hurt!”

“Not Serena, you goof, my Jetta!” Then she grabbed him by the ears and planted a whopper on his lips. “See ya later, Spaceboy!” Then she turned back into the diner.

Michael still had a grin on his face as he and Serena pulled away from the curb.

The trip would take a while and Michael and Serena used it to good purpose. This was Michael’s first chance to get some family information from Serena, and Serena for her part was delighted to have this alone time with her famous uncle. A thousand questions? A thousand times a thousand! I know Michael!

“So… I have a brother? Sister? Parents? What?”

Serena smiled, knowing that this would be the first question out of his mouth when he got a chance. “As a matter of fact, you have two living brothers Arnan, and Coltar and a sister, Betha. My Dad is your youngest brother, Arnan.”

“Living? How many did I have and how did they die? And what about my parents?”

“ You had six brothers and two sisters. Three of your brothers and your other sister died trying to retake the palace, when it fell to Kivar. Another one died helping us escape from the other planet. They were all soldiers and terribly proud of you being the Second to the King. Your father’s name was Darnath and he was a part of the whole plan to bring you four to earth. He was a scientist and I am sure he was a little puzzled that all his children applied to be in the royal guard. And very proud that they were chosen to be so. Your Mother just died a year ago.” The car swerved a little when Michael heard that part. A year ago! And he didn’t even know! Serena could feel his anguish at the news. “I’m so sorry! She was determined that you had survived and always said so…hoped so…she was so close to knowing for sure…and missed it. Her name was Serena. I am named after her.”

Michael was quiet for the next few miles. When he spoke again, his voice held hurt and anger. “I don’t understand how Kivar could know we were here and you didn’t. How could he find all your groups and not us? Why couldn’t you find us?” His mind was going over and over… “so close to knowing for sure” and wondering how it would have been to grow up among his own kind. Brothers and a sister…and his mother!

Serena laid a light hand on Michael’s arm. “Michael…” She sighed and started again. “When we left the second planet, we were running for our lives, but more than that, we were running for the lives of our King, his sister, his bride and you. You all were a desperate experiment. One that we hoped would help us get back our world. That was a lost cause, but we didn’t realize it at the time. “We” were expendable…you were not. All of us knew where we settled down at. All of us kept in touch…except for the ship that carried you, Max, Isabel and that changeling…Tess.

“Once down and safely hidden, the lead protector was to contact us and give the location of your pods and the granolith to two of our people, in two different colonies. If one died, the other would tell one other person so two would know at all times. It was the only way they would allow us to be a part of the project. Too many knowing would be that many more that could slip the location. Once you hatched, they would have told us where you were and some of us would have re-located to live there. You four would have been adopted by our families and protected until you were old enough to protect yourselves.”

“So what happened? The crash left two protectors alive. Why didn’t they contact you?” Michael hit the steering wheel with his fist. “Why were we left to grow up alone?” ‘so close to knowing…’.

Serena answered softly. “One of the two that died, was the dream walker in the group. It was the only way any of them had to contact us. The other two must have been running for their lives after they hid the two sets of pods and the granolith. They had no way of letting us know that you had even survived. Some information was gleaned here and there, enough to piece together a small picture of what happened. We know that one was at least partly in with Kivar, the one you call Nasado. He made some sort of deal with Kivar, but not all the way, I think.”

“What makes you say that?”

“First, he was a part of the switch of Tess for Max’s bride. There was no other way for a switch to be made. But he could have told Kivar of the exact location of the pods, before you even hatched. That would have put an end to the whole thing. He didn’t. In fact, he stayed away from them the whole time you were developing. It wasn’t just bad timing for him to arrive after you, Max and Isabel had left. He needed to let you three ‘escape’ but he had to keep control over Tess.”

Michael was now seeing a wider picture of Nasedo, one that made him more understandable at least. The fact that he, Max and Isabel were willing to leave another of them alone in the pod, had bothered him for some time. They must have known even then, on some level, that she wasn’t really one of them at all. “So the reason Tess hatched at a different time, was because she was different. And Nasedo took her with him. The rest we found out from Tess and Nasado. They traveled around looking for us.”

“Actually I wonder if he didn’t know all along where you were. Like I indicated… I think he was working both sides. Partly loyal to you three, and partly stuck with Kivar. For his part of the bargain, he brought Tess up as Kivar wished; believing she would bring Max back and assume the throne, as the one surviving royal… of course with Kivar in control. On the other hand he did his best to protect you once he had ‘found’ you again.”

Both lapsed into thought for most of the rest of the trip.

***
The Crashdown was as crowded as Liz and Maria ever remembered it being. They couldn’t wait for their shift to end. They tried splitting their attention to duty with trying to come up with a foolproof plan and wondering how the others were doing.

Maria put up another order for Jose and picked up an order of Space Fries. She muttered to Liz; “If time goes any slower I am going to loose it.”

Liz glanced at the clock for the hundredth time and sighed in agreement. “The place has been packed for like three hours and that usually makes time fly. But yeah,” She deftly placed five Alien Fizzes on Maria’s tray and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. “I feel it too.” She sighed again as the door bell tinkled. “ That will be mine. Yours are full.” And grabbed three menus off the counter.

An hour later the diner had finally started to clear. Only a few tables remained full and Liz and Maria could give more of their attention to what mattered….to them. Liz sat at the counter frowning down at the notes she had been taking. One strand of hair was idly being wrapped around her finger. “Maria, you’re not helping!”

Maria returned from the cash register and another of her unending trips to the front windows to look for the hunters. “Chica, I have given you some GREAT ideas! We just get rid of ‘her’ back before the first time she kissed Max! It would stop Alex from dying, Kyle getting warped, the whole Max and Tess thing… all of it!”

Liz turned a thoughtful look on Maria then shook her head and sighed. “Too much happened since then. Maria we have to change the least past possible. Too much can change.”

Maria stuck her fists on her hips. “ Oh yeah? Like what…just for instance.”

“ Okayyy…If we kill Tess, before the goons toss Max into the white room, will Nasedo still be in the right place to help him? If by some miracle Michael and Isabel were able to blast Max out of there, what would stop the Special Forces from coming after all of us? Would we survive it? Would we have to leave home and run for the rest of our lives? And Sheriff Valenti; he has done a lot to help us. That was after Tess started in on Max. What if he never knew? What if he ended up on their side? What if Michael never had to make the decision: you or home?”

Maria waved her hands. “Okay okay okay, I get your point. Geeze girl. I’ll think up something else. God that guy is waving at me again.” She ran off to see what her customer wanted and came back with his glass holding up four fingers. “Four refills! He is going to burst if he stays any longer.”

Liz suppressed a chuckle and turned back to her notes. Frowned at them, sighed and tore the sheet up into little pieces. A fresh new blank sheet stared at her, and she wished she hadn’t torn up the last one. “This isn’t as easy as I thought.”

Part 17

Michael searched through and around the Granolith. Looking for any hiding places Tess might have stashed either of the crystals. Serena walked along the walls hand held out, looking for any hidden chamber. She thought that she might sense the crystal if she could get close enough to it. She had always had an affinity for crystals in all their scintillating vibrations.

“Ah ha!” Serena cried. Michael crawled out of a pile of rocks and came to her side. “It’s in there somewhere.”

Both of them ran their hands over the face of the rock wall; above, below and on either side. There was no crack, no handprint, nothing to show how or where the opening to the crystal could be. They split up, working their way farther along the wall in each direction until Michael cried out in triumph. “I found the door!”

When Michael placed his hand on the now glowing handprint, a small door slid into the solid rock. Utter and total blackness made it impossible to see inside. Both Serena and Michael entered with soft blue light glowing from their palms.

Serena turned right to where she could feel the crystal calling. Michael wandered along behind her, looking at the other objects, lined up against the wall on the single shelf.

“I found it!”

“That ain’t all we found!”

***
Serena held her lighted hand over the collection. There was an empty bag, and several stones of different sizes and colors, with engraved markings on each. She exclaimed softly, “Wow, I wonder if these could be what I think they are!”

There was also a small bag of four unmarked stones that looked familiar to Michael. Michael opened it and tumbled them out into his hand. He held them for Serena to see. “Are these more healing stones? They look like them.”

Serena looked closely and shook her head in wonder. “They sure thought of everything. Is there room in that larger bag to hold all of these?”

Michael said he thought so and proved it by stuffing them all in.

“Put that in your pocket, but don’t mention it to everyone until I get a chance to check them out first. Okay?”

“Why not?” Michael couldn’t see any reason not to.

“First, they won’t help us right now. Well they might or might not. Anyway, we have enough on our plate right now, and I want to get a good look at them first. Like I said, I need to check them out.”

Seeing the doubtful look Michael gave her, she explained more. “Come here.” She led Michael to the spot on the shelf where she found the crystal. There was a faint rectangular shape in the dust. “Three guesses what else was kept here.” It was the size and shape of the metal book, Tess had retrieved from the library wall. “I’m thinking, Nasado took the book out and put it in the library for Tess to find. Probably so he wouldn’t have to reveal the hiding place of the rest of this.”

“So if they were important enough to hide with the book, are they some kind of power stones?” Thoughts of weapons to fight their enemies danced in his head. Then he shook it. “But if they have some kind of power, why didn’t Nasedo use them?” Michael hefted the bag in his hand. “And… if the crystal is here, then Tess must have put it here. Why wouldn’t she take the stones?”

Serena smiled, almost as if she read his thoughts. “They were made for you, us… survivors and their descendents. Nasado would have had no use for them. They are teaching stones. For teaching what, I don’t know. I need to help Isabel to connect with my group and ask for some guidance. There are some elders that can help me with them. There are correct ways to use them and wrong ways… maybe dangerous ones. As for why Tess didn’t take them, perhaps she didn’t notice them here, or didn’t have time to mess with them.. She just dumped the crystal here and took off. She kept pretty busy after that, if you recall.”

Michael shrugged and stuffed the bag into his pocket. “Find out what you can about these soon, will ya? It is hard to keep secrets from this gang.”

Serena laughed softly. “You mean Maria… don’t you? All right, just as soon as I can, I will let you off the hook. Meanwhile, mum’s the word.”


***
Max ushered the last visitor out of the UFO Museum, and locked the door. It was an early closing because Brody wanted to put the finishing touches on a new display.

His boss stood looking at an older display. “This is the one we will replace. Roll it out of here Max; tear it down. I’ll bring the other one in.”

Max unlatched the breaks on the display wheels and moved it toward the back storage room. ‘Great, if this goes like it usually does I’ll be here another two hours.’ Brody always fussed with a new display until it drove Max to distraction.

Max had been worrying at their problem all afternoon. Prob-lems that is. Would the others find the crystals? And if they did, how could he stop them from using the time crystal? Should he? They were all against him. Didn’t they understand what it could mean? COULD it be done safely? What if he just stepped aside and let them do it? Could he stand the chance that he might lose Liz? Again?

Max lifted the front glass up and out of its frame and began putting parts of the display away into the various boxes that held Brody’s prize collections of alien props.

‘If I did give in, when would be the best time to go?’ If they went before the “vacation” that Alex went on, they wouldn’t have the translation to the book, or the crystal to the Granolith. But that wouldn’t be so bad would it? Alex would still be alive to make the translation, and they wouldn’t need the crystal that would allow the Granolith to take them ‘home’. Max now knew that the only place the Granolith would take them would be to their deaths. Of course he ‘then’ wouldn’t know.

“Max!” Brody yelled. “Bring me the box with the jars of alien sand and rocks!”

Max sighed, located the box, and went back into the Museum. ‘If we never started to leave then we wouldn’t have made the tape Mom found.’ Could he undo the opportunity for his parents knowing about them? A warm flow of feeling ran through him at the depth of their acceptance of him and Isabel. And Michael! For the first time, Michael really felt like he had a family. Did he really want to undo all that? There just didn’t seem to be an easy answer to this.

Brody grabbed the box and began lifting out cartons. “This is going to be the best Alien landscape ever! Ah here it is. I don’t know where this one came from, but it fits in with the rest beautifully. The perfect touch!”

It took a moment for Max’s eyes to register the sparkling cliffs Brody had set up. When they did, they opened wide. “It can’t be!”

“It can’t be what? Hand me some of that silver powder.”

“Ummm..it can’t be this late already. It seems like we just got started.”

“Yeah, it is kinda. Why don’t you go now? I’m just about finished anyway.”

Max backed away from the display. “Thanks Brody. See you in the morning.”

“By Max. Boy this is going to be a beauty.”

“Yeah,” Max answered as he turned to let himself out. “The best ever.” ‘I hope.’

***
Kyle and Isabel were the first back at the Crashdown. When Michael and Serena came in four sets of eyes looked up at them hopefully.

“Yes and no.” Michael answered to the unasked question. Serena, smiling, held up a sparkling clear crystal. “We found the one that makes the Granolith take off.”

“What about the other one?” Liz asked.

Serena sat down next to Kyle. “Not a sign.”

Michael added. “But we found this one in a secret room near the granolith.” A severe look from Serena kept him from elaborating on their discovery.

All Liz and Maria heard was the ‘not a sign’, Kyle and Isabel had torn his whole place up and after putting it back more or less into order, had come to report no sign of a crystal.

Liz, Maria and Isabel all looked at each other, looking for moral support. There had to be more places to look. Alex had to be saved!

Maria put her arm around Isabel’s shoulders. “Don’t worry girl. We will tear this whole town apart if we have to. It’s got to be somewhere. It may be hiding right in plane sight!”

At that point Max walked in. He was tempted not to tell them, and then changed his mind. “It is.”

Now, all eyes were on ‘him’.



Part 18

The Michael and Max stood before the display case looking at the key to their success.

“I can’t believe it’s been here in plain sight!” Michael said.

“Well it wasn’t, until just before I came back. It was in a box of props in the back room.”

Michael reached in to take the crystal and Max stopped him. “Wait, Michael. We must have something to replace it with first. You have no idea how Brody fusses with these displays, he would know if one grain of sand was moved! Wait a minute.”

Max disappeared into the back room and returned with pieces of broken glass. “One of the small display cases got tipped over today. I was supposed to throw this out back in the dumpster tomorrow. It won’t be missed.”

It just took a couple of tries to match the size and shape of the much needed crystal, then Max carefully lifted the real one out of its place and just as carefully replaced it. He clutched it tightly in his fist as they returned to the Crashdown. What difference would this piece of crystal make in his past… his present,… or his future?

***
Once again the group gathered around a table. This time with the two crystals setting in the middle of it.

Kyle gingerly fingered the crystals. “So what now? When do we go back?” He was wondering if they would go back before he was shot. He wanted that…didn’t he? He didn’t know his ‘own’ feelings right then but he was sure picking up the mixed feelings of everyone else!

Isabel, Michael, Max, Maria, Liz, and his own dad… all were swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other. Dread, fear, joy, excitement, sorrow…the mix was giving him another king sized headache!

Max cleared his throat and looked around at each one of them. “We agreed that we wouldn’t do this unless we could come up with a good fool proof plan. We need to think about this. We have the time to do this right….IF we do it.”

That set off everybody at once. Each with their own arguments for going, each talking over the others; feelings running rampant, until Kyle stood up clutching his head and yelled ‘STOP IT!’.

And they did.

All were looking at him in stunned silence for a moment before Isabel stood up beside him and put an arm around his waist. He looked like he would fall over again. “Kyle, are you alright?”

He waved her off with a nod and shook his head to clear it.

“Is it the headaches again?” Liz asked.

Max reached out his hand. “Can I help?”

Kyle shook his sore head. “ No thanks! It’s that alien crap that started all this in the first place!” (Sigh) “Sorry. Look guys, it’s been great fun, but I gotta go home. You can all figure out what you are going to do without me.” Without another word, he started towards the door, with Jim just a step behind.

Serena stood as well. “Wait Jim, Kyle this concerns you too. I think everyone should go home now. Each one of you should write down your ideas and we can meet here tomorrow to hear them out.”

Jim stopped Kyle and turned to face the others. “You don’t think we should do it too! This should be your decision.”

Serena raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t each of you been touched by the events past? Don’t you have a say in how much, or what, you are willing to give up? Yes, you have as much at stake as the rest of your friends.”

That was a sentiment that was echoed by every one of them. Jim looked at them for a moment longer, then at Kyle. “Yes.” Was all he said before turning to take his son home. But he felt a warm feeling as he went. ‘Friends’ was just exactly what they all were. Not his ‘charges’, not ‘those kids’, but his friends. “Damned strange crowd I’m running with though.” He muttered with a grin.

When they left, Isabel told the others about Kyle’s ability. “I guess we gave him an overload.” She finished ruefully.

Michael laughed, and then grunted when Maria planted a well placed elbow in his ribs. “Hey, I mean, Kyle is the last person to want any of this ‘quote’ Alien crap ‘unquote’, happening to him. Am I right?”

And Maria had to grin just a little because Michael was right. “Poor Kyle!”

Once in the truck, Jim turned to Kyle. “Okay son. What was all that about? If your headaches are coming back, you should let Max help you.”

Kyle’s head was easing back to normal and he could look at his father with out seeing two of him. “You like it, don’t you Dad? You like it that you are part of the group.”

“Yeah, I think I do. I like it that I can be a part of your life again. I don’t want to loose that.” Then Jim got right back on the subject Kyle was trying to get him off of. “What about your headaches? What brought this one on?”

“Well not what started the first ones. You might say the cure started this one…” Kyle went on to tell his astonished father about his new found ‘talent’ and what a serious overload being around so much overcharged emotions felt like. Jim couldn’t say another thing all the way home.

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - to part 18 6/21/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/21/19 17:04

Part 16

The gang now had two chores; to come up with a satisfactory plan, and to find the crystals. ‘Crystals’, as in two. “When Future Max had come back in time, one should have come with him.” Serena had explained. “Had he not been successful, he could have used it to go back further and try again. He didn’t return in the Granolith, therefore the crystal should still be here. Tess did not take off with the Granolith; therefore that crystal should also be around.”

Considering the time Tess had to run around the desert, and Roswell, it/they could be anywhere!.

The searching would have to be done by only a few of the gang though. Max had a shift at the UFO Center, and Liz and Maria had to work the Crashdown. That left Kyle and Isabel, and Michael and Serena as hunting teams.

Kyle took off for his house first. If Tess had removed the time crystal, she might have hidden it among the stuff in her room…Kyle’s room actually. He had moved back in but hadn’t gotten around to gathering up her things yet.

“I’m glad to see you are feeling better.” Kyle said shortly after they took off. “You were so devastated at the cave, I don’t see how you could stand it.”

“Oh? And what do I feel now?”

“Light, determined, more at peace. And I’m glad. It was pretty thick out there with all of you reacting in different ways.” Kyle turned onto his street and felt Isabel’s surprise.

“Kyle! You are actually feeling what I feel like and said it better than I could have explained it.” She thought of the ramifications of this for a moment. “How long?”

“In bits and pieces, in between world class headaches, since before you guys decided to take off.” Kyle stopped in front of his house and turned to her. “This is part of that alien stuff, isn’t it? Am I going to keep changing? Or is this it? I think I could handle this feeling stuff if I could learn to shut it out…….It can be real embarrassing…you know?”

Isabel sat looking at him in surprise and concern. “Are you still having headaches? And yes I think it could be some of that ‘alien’ stuff.” She added with a smile. “Though I don’t think any of us has ever had a talent for feelings.”

Kyle hit his hands lightly on the steering wheel and let out the breath he had been holding. “Okay, no help there. No, no headaches since Max put my brains back together. I guess I’ll just have to figure it out on my own. Quit worrying. I’ll survive this too.” ‘I just don’t know how.’ He muttered to himself as he bounced up out of the car with a false front of casual confidence. “Let’s go find that crystal!”

***
Michael, by virtue of having Serena along, was given the keys to the Jetta. “Don’t you dare harm a hair of her head, Michael Gurien!” Maria said with her hands on her hips.

“I wouldn’t do anything to let Serena get hurt!”

“Not Serena, you goof, my Jetta!” Then she grabbed him by the ears and planted a whopper on his lips. “See ya later, Spaceboy!” Then she turned back into the diner.

Michael still had a grin on his face as he and Serena pulled away from the curb.

The trip would take a while and Michael and Serena used it to good purpose. This was Michael’s first chance to get some family information from Serena, and Serena for her part was delighted to have this alone time with her famous uncle. A thousand questions? A thousand times a thousand! I know Michael!

“So… I have a brother? Sister? Parents? What?”

Serena smiled, knowing that this would be the first question out of his mouth when he got a chance. “As a matter of fact, you have two living brothers Arnan, and Coltar and a sister, Betha. My Dad is your youngest brother, Arnan.”

“Living? How many did I have and how did they die? And what about my parents?”

“ You had six brothers and two sisters. Three of your brothers and your other sister died trying to retake the palace, when it fell to Kivar. Another one died helping us escape from the other planet. They were all soldiers and terribly proud of you being the Second to the King. Your father’s name was Darnath and he was a part of the whole plan to bring you four to earth. He was a scientist and I am sure he was a little puzzled that all his children applied to be in the royal guard. And very proud that they were chosen to be so. Your Mother just died a year ago.” The car swerved a little when Michael heard that part. A year ago! And he didn’t even know! Serena could feel his anguish at the news. “I’m so sorry! She was determined that you had survived and always said so…hoped so…she was so close to knowing for sure…and missed it. Her name was Serena. I am named after her.”

Michael was quiet for the next few miles. When he spoke again, his voice held hurt and anger. “I don’t understand how Kivar could know we were here and you didn’t. How could he find all your groups and not us? Why couldn’t you find us?” His mind was going over and over… “so close to knowing for sure” and wondering how it would have been to grow up among his own kind. Brothers and a sister…and his mother!

Serena laid a light hand on Michael’s arm. “Michael…” She sighed and started again. “When we left the second planet, we were running for our lives, but more than that, we were running for the lives of our King, his sister, his bride and you. You all were a desperate experiment. One that we hoped would help us get back our world. That was a lost cause, but we didn’t realize it at the time. “We” were expendable…you were not. All of us knew where we settled down at. All of us kept in touch…except for the ship that carried you, Max, Isabel and that changeling…Tess.

“Once down and safely hidden, the lead protector was to contact us and give the location of your pods and the granolith to two of our people, in two different colonies. If one died, the other would tell one other person so two would know at all times. It was the only way they would allow us to be a part of the project. Too many knowing would be that many more that could slip the location. Once you hatched, they would have told us where you were and some of us would have re-located to live there. You four would have been adopted by our families and protected until you were old enough to protect yourselves.”

“So what happened? The crash left two protectors alive. Why didn’t they contact you?” Michael hit the steering wheel with his fist. “Why were we left to grow up alone?” ‘so close to knowing…’.

Serena answered softly. “One of the two that died, was the dream walker in the group. It was the only way any of them had to contact us. The other two must have been running for their lives after they hid the two sets of pods and the granolith. They had no way of letting us know that you had even survived. Some information was gleaned here and there, enough to piece together a small picture of what happened. We know that one was at least partly in with Kivar, the one you call Nasado. He made some sort of deal with Kivar, but not all the way, I think.”

“What makes you say that?”

“First, he was a part of the switch of Tess for Max’s bride. There was no other way for a switch to be made. But he could have told Kivar of the exact location of the pods, before you even hatched. That would have put an end to the whole thing. He didn’t. In fact, he stayed away from them the whole time you were developing. It wasn’t just bad timing for him to arrive after you, Max and Isabel had left. He needed to let you three ‘escape’ but he had to keep control over Tess.”

Michael was now seeing a wider picture of Nasedo, one that made him more understandable at least. The fact that he, Max and Isabel were willing to leave another of them alone in the pod, had bothered him for some time. They must have known even then, on some level, that she wasn’t really one of them at all. “So the reason Tess hatched at a different time, was because she was different. And Nasedo took her with him. The rest we found out from Tess and Nasado. They traveled around looking for us.”

“Actually I wonder if he didn’t know all along where you were. Like I indicated… I think he was working both sides. Partly loyal to you three, and partly stuck with Kivar. For his part of the bargain, he brought Tess up as Kivar wished; believing she would bring Max back and assume the throne, as the one surviving royal… of course with Kivar in control. On the other hand he did his best to protect you once he had ‘found’ you again.”

Both lapsed into thought for most of the rest of the trip.

***
The Crashdown was as crowded as Liz and Maria ever remembered it being. They couldn’t wait for their shift to end. They tried splitting their attention to duty with trying to come up with a foolproof plan and wondering how the others were doing.

Maria put up another order for Jose and picked up an order of Space Fries. She muttered to Liz; “If time goes any slower I am going to loose it.”

Liz glanced at the clock for the hundredth time and sighed in agreement. “The place has been packed for like three hours and that usually makes time fly. But yeah,” She deftly placed five Alien Fizzes on Maria’s tray and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. “I feel it too.” She sighed again as the door bell tinkled. “ That will be mine. Yours are full.” And grabbed three menus off the counter.

An hour later the diner had finally started to clear. Only a few tables remained full and Liz and Maria could give more of their attention to what mattered….to them. Liz sat at the counter frowning down at the notes she had been taking. One strand of hair was idly being wrapped around her finger. “Maria, you’re not helping!”

Maria returned from the cash register and another of her unending trips to the front windows to look for the hunters. “Chica, I have given you some GREAT ideas! We just get rid of ‘her’ back before the first time she kissed Max! It would stop Alex from dying, Kyle getting warped, the whole Max and Tess thing… all of it!”

Liz turned a thoughtful look on Maria then shook her head and sighed. “Too much happened since then. Maria we have to change the least past possible. Too much can change.”

Maria stuck her fists on her hips. “ Oh yeah? Like what…just for instance.”

“ Okayyy…If we kill Tess, before the goons toss Max into the white room, will Nasedo still be in the right place to help him? If by some miracle Michael and Isabel were able to blast Max out of there, what would stop the Special Forces from coming after all of us? Would we survive it? Would we have to leave home and run for the rest of our lives? And Sheriff Valenti; he has done a lot to help us. That was after Tess started in on Max. What if he never knew? What if he ended up on their side? What if Michael never had to make the decision: you or home?”

Maria waved her hands. “Okay okay okay, I get your point. Geeze girl. I’ll think up something else. God that guy is waving at me again.” She ran off to see what her customer wanted and came back with his glass holding up four fingers. “Four refills! He is going to burst if he stays any longer.”

Liz suppressed a chuckle and turned back to her notes. Frowned at them, sighed and tore the sheet up into little pieces. A fresh new blank sheet stared at her, and she wished she hadn’t torn up the last one. “This isn’t as easy as I thought.”

Part 17

Michael searched through and around the Granolith. Looking for any hiding places Tess might have stashed either of the crystals. Serena walked along the walls hand held out, looking for any hidden chamber. She thought that she might sense the crystal if she could get close enough to it. She had always had an affinity for crystals in all their scintillating vibrations.

“Ah ha!” Serena cried. Michael crawled out of a pile of rocks and came to her side. “It’s in there somewhere.”

Both of them ran their hands over the face of the rock wall; above, below and on either side. There was no crack, no handprint, nothing to show how or where the opening to the crystal could be. They split up, working their way farther along the wall in each direction until Michael cried out in triumph. “I found the door!”

When Michael placed his hand on the now glowing handprint, a small door slid into the solid rock. Utter and total blackness made it impossible to see inside. Both Serena and Michael entered with soft blue light glowing from their palms.

Serena turned right to where she could feel the crystal calling. Michael wandered along behind her, looking at the other objects, lined up against the wall on the single shelf.

“I found it!”

“That ain’t all we found!”

***
Serena held her lighted hand over the collection. There was an empty bag, and several stones of different sizes and colors, with engraved markings on each. She exclaimed softly, “Wow, I wonder if these could be what I think they are!”

There was also a small bag of four unmarked stones that looked familiar to Michael. Michael opened it and tumbled them out into his hand. He held them for Serena to see. “Are these more healing stones? They look like them.”

Serena looked closely and shook her head in wonder. “They sure thought of everything. Is there room in that larger bag to hold all of these?”

Michael said he thought so and proved it by stuffing them all in.

“Put that in your pocket, but don’t mention it to everyone until I get a chance to check them out first. Okay?”

“Why not?” Michael couldn’t see any reason not to.

“First, they won’t help us right now. Well they might or might not. Anyway, we have enough on our plate right now, and I want to get a good look at them first. Like I said, I need to check them out.”

Seeing the doubtful look Michael gave her, she explained more. “Come here.” She led Michael to the spot on the shelf where she found the crystal. There was a faint rectangular shape in the dust. “Three guesses what else was kept here.” It was the size and shape of the metal book, Tess had retrieved from the library wall. “I’m thinking, Nasado took the book out and put it in the library for Tess to find. Probably so he wouldn’t have to reveal the hiding place of the rest of this.”

“So if they were important enough to hide with the book, are they some kind of power stones?” Thoughts of weapons to fight their enemies danced in his head. Then he shook it. “But if they have some kind of power, why didn’t Nasedo use them?” Michael hefted the bag in his hand. “And… if the crystal is here, then Tess must have put it here. Why wouldn’t she take the stones?”

Serena smiled, almost as if she read his thoughts. “They were made for you, us… survivors and their descendents. Nasado would have had no use for them. They are teaching stones. For teaching what, I don’t know. I need to help Isabel to connect with my group and ask for some guidance. There are some elders that can help me with them. There are correct ways to use them and wrong ways… maybe dangerous ones. As for why Tess didn’t take them, perhaps she didn’t notice them here, or didn’t have time to mess with them.. She just dumped the crystal here and took off. She kept pretty busy after that, if you recall.”

Michael shrugged and stuffed the bag into his pocket. “Find out what you can about these soon, will ya? It is hard to keep secrets from this gang.”

Serena laughed softly. “You mean Maria… don’t you? All right, just as soon as I can, I will let you off the hook. Meanwhile, mum’s the word.”


***
Max ushered the last visitor out of the UFO Museum, and locked the door. It was an early closing because Brody wanted to put the finishing touches on a new display.

His boss stood looking at an older display. “This is the one we will replace. Roll it out of here Max; tear it down. I’ll bring the other one in.”

Max unlatched the breaks on the display wheels and moved it toward the back storage room. ‘Great, if this goes like it usually does I’ll be here another two hours.’ Brody always fussed with a new display until it drove Max to distraction.

Max had been worrying at their problem all afternoon. Prob-lems that is. Would the others find the crystals? And if they did, how could he stop them from using the time crystal? Should he? They were all against him. Didn’t they understand what it could mean? COULD it be done safely? What if he just stepped aside and let them do it? Could he stand the chance that he might lose Liz? Again?

Max lifted the front glass up and out of its frame and began putting parts of the display away into the various boxes that held Brody’s prize collections of alien props.

‘If I did give in, when would be the best time to go?’ If they went before the “vacation” that Alex went on, they wouldn’t have the translation to the book, or the crystal to the Granolith. But that wouldn’t be so bad would it? Alex would still be alive to make the translation, and they wouldn’t need the crystal that would allow the Granolith to take them ‘home’. Max now knew that the only place the Granolith would take them would be to their deaths. Of course he ‘then’ wouldn’t know.

“Max!” Brody yelled. “Bring me the box with the jars of alien sand and rocks!”

Max sighed, located the box, and went back into the Museum. ‘If we never started to leave then we wouldn’t have made the tape Mom found.’ Could he undo the opportunity for his parents knowing about them? A warm flow of feeling ran through him at the depth of their acceptance of him and Isabel. And Michael! For the first time, Michael really felt like he had a family. Did he really want to undo all that? There just didn’t seem to be an easy answer to this.

Brody grabbed the box and began lifting out cartons. “This is going to be the best Alien landscape ever! Ah here it is. I don’t know where this one came from, but it fits in with the rest beautifully. The perfect touch!”

It took a moment for Max’s eyes to register the sparkling cliffs Brody had set up. When they did, they opened wide. “It can’t be!”

“It can’t be what? Hand me some of that silver powder.”

“Ummm..it can’t be this late already. It seems like we just got started.”

“Yeah, it is kinda. Why don’t you go now? I’m just about finished anyway.”

Max backed away from the display. “Thanks Brody. See you in the morning.”

“By Max. Boy this is going to be a beauty.”

“Yeah,” Max answered as he turned to let himself out. “The best ever.” ‘I hope.’

***
Kyle and Isabel were the first back at the Crashdown. When Michael and Serena came in four sets of eyes looked up at them hopefully.

“Yes and no.” Michael answered to the unasked question. Serena, smiling, held up a sparkling clear crystal. “We found the one that makes the Granolith take off.”

“What about the other one?” Liz asked.

Serena sat down next to Kyle. “Not a sign.”

Michael added. “But we found this one in a secret room near the granolith.” A severe look from Serena kept him from elaborating on their discovery.

All Liz and Maria heard was the ‘not a sign’, Kyle and Isabel had torn his whole place up and after putting it back more or less into order, had come to report no sign of a crystal.

Liz, Maria and Isabel all looked at each other, looking for moral support. There had to be more places to look. Alex had to be saved!

Maria put her arm around Isabel’s shoulders. “Don’t worry girl. We will tear this whole town apart if we have to. It’s got to be somewhere. It may be hiding right in plane sight!”

At that point Max walked in. He was tempted not to tell them, and then changed his mind. “It is.”

Now, all eyes were on ‘him’.



Part 18

The Michael and Max stood before the display case looking at the key to their success.

“I can’t believe it’s been here in plain sight!” Michael said.

“Well it wasn’t, until just before I came back. It was in a box of props in the back room.”

Michael reached in to take the crystal and Max stopped him. “Wait, Michael. We must have something to replace it with first. You have no idea how Brody fusses with these displays, he would know if one grain of sand was moved! Wait a minute.”

Max disappeared into the back room and returned with pieces of broken glass. “One of the small display cases got tipped over today. I was supposed to throw this out back in the dumpster tomorrow. It won’t be missed.”

It just took a couple of tries to match the size and shape of the much needed crystal, then Max carefully lifted the real one out of its place and just as carefully replaced it. He clutched it tightly in his fist as they returned to the Crashdown. What difference would this piece of crystal make in his past… his present,… or his future?

***
Once again the group gathered around a table. This time with the two crystals setting in the middle of it.

Kyle gingerly fingered the crystals. “So what now? When do we go back?” He was wondering if they would go back before he was shot. He wanted that…didn’t he? He didn’t know his ‘own’ feelings right then but he was sure picking up the mixed feelings of everyone else!

Isabel, Michael, Max, Maria, Liz, and his own dad… all were swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other. Dread, fear, joy, excitement, sorrow…the mix was giving him another king sized headache!

Max cleared his throat and looked around at each one of them. “We agreed that we wouldn’t do this unless we could come up with a good fool proof plan. We need to think about this. We have the time to do this right….IF we do it.”

That set off everybody at once. Each with their own arguments for going, each talking over the others; feelings running rampant, until Kyle stood up clutching his head and yelled ‘STOP IT!’.

And they did.

All were looking at him in stunned silence for a moment before Isabel stood up beside him and put an arm around his waist. He looked like he would fall over again. “Kyle, are you alright?”

He waved her off with a nod and shook his head to clear it.

“Is it the headaches again?” Liz asked.

Max reached out his hand. “Can I help?”

Kyle shook his sore head. “ No thanks! It’s that alien crap that started all this in the first place!” (Sigh) “Sorry. Look guys, it’s been great fun, but I gotta go home. You can all figure out what you are going to do without me.” Without another word, he started towards the door, with Jim just a step behind.

Serena stood as well. “Wait Jim, Kyle this concerns you too. I think everyone should go home now. Each one of you should write down your ideas and we can meet here tomorrow to hear them out.”

Jim stopped Kyle and turned to face the others. “You don’t think we should do it too! This should be your decision.”

Serena raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t each of you been touched by the events past? Don’t you have a say in how much, or what, you are willing to give up? Yes, you have as much at stake as the rest of your friends.”

That was a sentiment that was echoed by every one of them. Jim looked at them for a moment longer, then at Kyle. “Yes.” Was all he said before turning to take his son home. But he felt a warm feeling as he went. ‘Friends’ was just exactly what they all were. Not his ‘charges’, not ‘those kids’, but his friends. “Damned strange crowd I’m running with though.” He muttered with a grin.

When they left, Isabel told the others about Kyle’s ability. “I guess we gave him an overload.” She finished ruefully.

Michael laughed, and then grunted when Maria planted a well placed elbow in his ribs. “Hey, I mean, Kyle is the last person to want any of this ‘quote’ Alien crap ‘unquote’, happening to him. Am I right?”

And Maria had to grin just a little because Michael was right. “Poor Kyle!”

Once in the truck, Jim turned to Kyle. “Okay son. What was all that about? If your headaches are coming back, you should let Max help you.”

Kyle’s head was easing back to normal and he could look at his father with out seeing two of him. “You like it, don’t you Dad? You like it that you are part of the group.”

“Yeah, I think I do. I like it that I can be a part of your life again. I don’t want to loose that.” Then Jim got right back on the subject Kyle was trying to get him off of. “What about your headaches? What brought this one on?”

“Well not what started the first ones. You might say the cure started this one…” Kyle went on to tell his astonished father about his new found ‘talent’ and what a serious overload being around so much overcharged emotions felt like. Jim couldn’t say another thing all the way home.

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - to part 21(of 57) 6/21/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/21/19 17:07

Part 19

Michael paced back and forth in his apartment. Maria had been pretty pissed at him when he refused to work on this with her. But Michael, more than any other time, needed to think this out by himself. He had finally found his balance, he was finally at a place and time where he was happy. He didn’t really want anything to change!

But then again, there was Pierce. Michael still had the gut wrenching feel of having killed a man. Okay, Pierce was going to kill them, but this wasn’t something as simple as shooting back at someone. This was part of Michael, this power, it was what he was. It made him feel dirty. A destroyer, a danger to those he cared about. And…it had made him push Maria away.

But it had also allowed him to save Maria….

And Tess… he had felt an acute satisfaction when he blasted Tess. He sat down for a moment to think about that. He had killed…twice. But he felt no remorse for killing Tess. Pierce and Tess were equally a threat. What was the difference? He felt that it must be because Pierce was human, and Tess wasn’t. She had been one of them, and she used her powers against them, in a betrayal too deep to forgive. Was that it?

He hoped it wasn’t because killing a second time was easier than the first.

But what if it was?

Michael got back up and continued his pacing. “Get back on target man.” So…if they went back before Alex ‘went off to Sweden’, then why not before he killed Pierce…or why not back before Max got hauled off and tortured! Or further than that…what about Topolsky? She was working for the FBI and that led to the whole Pierce business!

But then she also supplied the second orb….the one that allowed them to find out their destiny. And boy what a can of worms that opened! Was that really good or bad?

Back to Max and the whole torture thing… all of them just barely pulled off the rescue. What if it happened again…and someone died this time? How many times had they all been in danger? If the outcome of any of those changed, one or more of them could be dead!

Besides, the best time to go back would be before Max saved Liz. Michael could get Max to leave early before the shooting and slip back in and make a scene or something …maybe haul Maria and Liz into the back room until the shot was fired. Maria would think he was a jerk…but then she already did at that time.

So…no shooting, no Max and Liz, no Him and Maria, and… what? Would they be better off? Wouldn’t Tess and Nasedo show up anyway? Would Nasedo allow his plans to fall through? Or would he just use a different approach and they would end up dead on their home world after all? They wouldn’t have the others there to look out for them. There would be no one to care.

No him and Maria.

Michael paced and muttered. He was beginning to see the sense of the stance Max took on going back in time. It was dangerous no matter when you went back!

The only problem was the there would be no peace until they figured out how to save Alex. There had to be a time and a way.

***
Maria was supremely frustrated.

She walked around her room talking to herself. “How come we get to do this now? Finally everything is cool with me and Michael and now we have to change it!”

She thought of refusing to make a suggestion, except for one thing…. Michael was sure to suggest the wrong time! He would pick a time before they got together, and she wasn’t about to let that happen! Maria had never been in so much danger, been frustrated so many times… or more ecstatically happy than since she became involved with a certain Czechoslovakian!

Maria picked up a picture of Alex, Liz and her. It hit her what she was just thinking and the tears started to flow again. “Oh Alex, I’m so sorry! Anything would be worth having you back again…. Even having to convince that whacko Czech that we are meant to be together again!” Maria sniffed, blew her nose and reached for her cedar oil. “Do your stuff. I need a clear head to think with!”

She paced and sniffed. “Arrrggg! Think!”

“So…when? Well obviously after Liz was shot., and after she told me about it. It would also have to be after I, got over the whole fear of aliens thing.” Whew! She wouldn’t want to go through that again!

The worst thing she could think of, was when Michael got sick. They had saved him with the healing stones, but it had been a very close thing. What if they went back before that and they were too late? They could go back before he went to the reservation and keep it from happening. That is if she could stop Michael from being pigheaded.

“Yeah…when pigs fly!”

Maybe it would be better to make it after that. It had turned out okay, and Michael lived through it. No way did she want to risk Michael’s life!

She shook her hand in frustration. “Okay…after that whole River Dog affair.”

What Michael had to go through with Hank... That was really hard on Michael. But then it did make him come to her.

The more things she thought of, the more she realized just exactly HOW dangerous all the times were, for one or the other, of the group. There just wasn’t any place to go back to, that wouldn’t leave something ahead, that could turn out worse for everyone!

They just HAD to go back to save Alex! But… how close to Alex’s death did they dare go before what Tess did to him became irreversible? How could they pin down a time?



Part 20

Liz sat at her desk. She had started her writing on the lounge chair outside, where she did most of her writing, but there were too many emotional tie ups out there. So much had happened in the last two years. Her life had been continually turned upside down. How was she supposed to wade through all the chaos and pick out a good logical place in time for them to hit on?

She sighed and tore up another sheet of paper. ‘Logic, Liz….use that famous scientific approach and think this through.’ The problem was, there was nothing scientific about what she was dealing with here. Oh yeah…time travel… well aside from that.

If she thought of Max, there was no way to be rational about it. Max pulled all her strings. Heart, mind, emotions. He was the source of alternating ecstasy, depression, despair, anger…you name it and Max had triggered it!

Okay, just concentrate on Alex. That was what this whole thing was about anyway. Alex… before Tess started messing with his mind. Before she got her hands on the book. It was the book that led her to mind warp Alex in the first place. They could send someone back to take the book out of the library before she retrieved it. If they just got the book and came back, what would that do?

Liz got up and paced back and forth. So many things had happened since then. Max going to New York, her being able to warn him in time to save his life. Isabel saving Laurie and Michael finding his ‘family’ ties here on earth, the blue Gandarium crystals and the close call saving Kyle and Alex. Max saving those children at Christmas. The FBI and the white room. What if instead of saving Max, more of them were caught? What if she never got the job with Whitaker? Would they still have found out where the skins were? Would the skins have come on them unprepared and in full force? What if something happened to the ‘warp’ the skins made and the whole town was never brought back?

So many lives had been touched. So much could be lost if they made a wrong decision.

Liz stood at her window looking out at her little roof top. Future Max had so complicated things then. That had put up the wedge between her and Max. She had thrown Tess at him and given her full access to complete her agenda.

….Liz felt weak in the knees just then and held onto the window sill for support. What if Tess had somehow planted that whole thing, just to accomplish her plans? It had surely opened the door to everything else that happened… ‘God, was it Tess, and not Future Max that had torn her life apart?’ Were there any more revelations waiting around the corner?

No. Future Max had told her about Serena. And Tess wouldn’t have known about her, or the fact that the Granolith could travel in time. “Get a grip Parker!” She shook her head at herself. But that did give her an idea…

What if they went back to the time right after Future Max came and she called the group together and told all? That was after Tess found the book, but before she hauled Alex off to Las Cruces.

But that pulled her right back to the whole skin situation and Max in New York.

Liz rubbed her face and kept hearing Max… “I could lose you this time. We could all lose this time."

She shook her head angrily; no, no more losses. But they HAD to save Alex. So… how? And when? She got out her journal and sat resolutely back down at her desk. The answer had to be in here. There was a logical place for them to go back to…and she would find it!

***

Max leaned back against the head of his bed, hands behind his head and stared at the ceiling. Far from trying to think of a time and place to undo Alex’s death, he was thinking of all that had happened in the last two years.

They had been through hell and back, all of them. There were way too many ways for more of them to end up dead….or worse. Why couldn’t they all see that?

Isabel, Maria, and Liz were especially adamant that he listen to reason. But how could he? Alex’s death was a tragic loss…for all of them. He had been nothing but a good friend… more than that, to Isabel. She had just become aware of how much he meant to her. And Liz and Maria were his best friends since they were children. Of course they wanted to go kiting off and save him. But at what cost?

Max admitted to himself that he would like nothing better than to bring Alex back. The guilty feeling, that he should have seen what was happening… that it was being a friend to them that had killed Alex, ate at Max constantly. And the way he had treated Liz when she insisted that Alex had been killed….

Max got up and paced around the room aimlessly, if there were a way, a time, a place that wouldn’t jeopardize any more lives…wouldn’t he say yes? Was there such a time? Try as he might, he couldn’t think of one.

He sighed and scrubbed his face with his hands. Okay. Maybe he could come up with a suggestion that would be the least dangerous to them all. At least he would have a suggestion to argue for. Without one, they wouldn’t even listen. Wearily he sat down at his desk and opened his notebook, looking for a clean piece of paper to write on.


Part 21

Isabel moved slowly through the cemetery. She didn’t need to search for his grave; she could have found it blindfolded… had many times found it with eyes blurred with tears, like now. She just didn’t know what they should do…or when they should do it. She needed to talk to Alex about it. He had always been so good for her. The voice of reason, the voice of love.

She stopped, staring down at his grave, then collapsed onto the ground, laying her hand right over where his heart should be. The heart he had given to her. Tears rolled off her face, onto the grass. “Oh Alex… Oh God I need to talk to someone…I need to talk to you!”

Alex placed his hand on her shoulder and she bent her head to lay her cheek against it. “Hey, why so sad? I’m here to talk to, any time you need me. Convenience in a box! That’s me!”

“No!” Isabel jumped up. “It’s not like that!” Isabel pushed the guilty thought out of her mind. “I know Alex would never say that… never think that!” She composed herself and sat back down and started over. Placing her hand over his heart.

Alex appeared leaning against his headstone. “Of course I’ll listen. You know I’m always here when you need me.”

Now that was Alex. Always so ready to give of himself to his friends… to her.

“Sit with me Alex.” She held her hand out to him and he sat down, taking her hand gently in his. She looked into his eyes. Eyes that she could get lost in. God, she missed him so much! She began to talk…

“We... we have found a way to bring you back to us… to me.”

“Whoa! Hey. I’m here, but have you given any thought to what shape my body is in? I mean I can’t exactly slip back in… ya know?”

Isabel smiled to herself and brushed the tears off her face. Yeah, Alex always made light of a situation like that. “What I mean to say, is that we have found a way to go back in time and make it not happen at all! What I don’t know, is when we should go back.” She could see herself leaning into Alex and his arms coming around her. She always felt so safe there. She sighed deeply and continued.

“So much has happened. So much we could undo. Max getting tortured would be high on that list. Me dating Grant would be too… well let’s not talk about that one.” She pulled away from Alex and turned to face him. “How much do we change? All the events are so interwoven. I’m afraid to change one without worrying about what else could change. I could still lose you; we could lose us!

“Time travel is… I don’t know if it will work out right. Can you change the past? Does going back in time change time itself in some way?” She told him about Liz and the whole Future Max incident. “He came back to save the world, because in his time line, Tess had left the group, and our enemies had attacked the world. We…all died in that time line. Now we all know what and who Tess really was. She wasn’t the answer after all. Was that changed by his coming back? Or could we still all die?.”

Alex drew his knees up and hugged them as he thought. “You might be right. Tess wanted to take you all back to be killed, right? If she left in the other time line, then she wasn’t part of a plot to get you home. I know Tess, better than I like. She would never let go of a plan like that and just walk off… unless she did so to join Kivar’s agents. She might have if she knew she couldn’t win. That is one possibility. Then again, maybe Max coming back, did change something. That doesn’t change your having enemies, but knowing about them does give you the edge. No I don’t think it will happen that way again.”

Isabel felt better. The terrifying visions that Liz had told of, had haunted her. No it wouldn’t happen that way again. They wouldn’t let it! Still she was puzzled. “But how could his coming back have changed so much! What could change if we go back again! Alex, you were alive in that time, you didn’t die until much later… when it all fell apart. We at least had years together… now… What if I change, what if you change, and you don’t love me any more?”

Alex hugged her to him. She could almost feel him as completely as if he were alive. Isabel started to cry again. “We have to bring you back! I don’t care what changes, we have to give you your life back!”

“You don’t care what changes? What if you die this time… or Max? Do you want that? Can’t you just let me stay the way I am? I don’t want you to risk yourself. Not for me!”

Isabel jumped to her feet again. “That is my fear talking, Alex. I don’t want to lose anyone, but I have to try! We… we had a future together! We had love! I want that!”

“I want it too. Just don’t pick a time when you can get hurt. Pick a time as close to when I died as you can, then, if you must do this.”

“I must! Alex, you will live again!” Alex disappeared from her mind’s eye as Isabel turned to go. She walked off head high. For once her sorrow at loosing Alex was replaced by her determination to get him back. They would do it and she would not let side issues interfere. As close as possible to when he died… Yes. They would be able to repair the damage to his mind, and keep him from that last killing blast by Tess.

Now, how would they do it? She needed to talk to Kyle about what he remembered of that night.

***
Alex slowly followed Isabel as she left the cemetery, etheric tears drying on an etheric face. It touched him each time that she came to talk to him. Even if she did do both sides of the conversation. He could almost see how she imagined them together. He was amazed that this beautiful intelligent creature really loved him!

Oh, if she could only know that he was there! That he had been from the start. But, unlike her imaginings of them, he could neither talk to her nor hold her as he ached to do.

He shivered at the memory of his terror, when she was attacked by Tess. No one heard his cry of warning. No one saw him kneeling beside a dying Maria, begging her to hold on. No one saw his tears. No one could rejoice with him when Maria was saved, or share the intense satisfaction as he did a little war dance over Tess’s dead body. Well… maybe he wouldn’t have wanted to share that exactly. But it would have been nice to talk to someone about it.

He had spent many days wondering how he could be in this predicament. Was he a ghost? Or was this some sort of alien related afterlife? Had Tess changed him by messing with his head, so that he was stuck in this in-between existence? Alone, so alone.

Now, for the first time since he found himself in this disembodied condition, his heart sang. Oh to live again! To hold his precious Isabel and share a life with her! To talk again and be heard! To see and be seen!

But what if something did happen to Isabel? To Liz or Maria…to any of them? Was the risk worth it? The words Isabel put into his mouth… ‘Can’t you just let me stay the way I am? I don’t want you to risk yourself. Not for me!’ Those he would have said himself.

He sighed. They were going to try it no matter what he would have said. But, ‘Could it work?’ He wondered.

To not be alone anymore…

The saddest thing in the world was to cry when no one could hear. To feel pain that no one could comfort.

Oh to live again!

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - To part 24 8/23/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/23/19 17:53

Part 22

Jim plopped down on the couch next to Kyle and handed him a beer. Kyle popped the top and took a swig, then realized that his dad had given him a beer. He tipped the can to Jim. “What’s the occasion?”

“Tough day.”

Kyle grabbed a handful of popcorn from the day before and popped some into his mouth.

“Isn’t that stale?”

“It’s okay.”

“So, You want to talk about it?”

“The headaches?”

“The time travel.”

“Oh.”

They sat in silence for a couple of moments. Each munching on the stale popcorn and sipping beer.

“Dad. Should we? You know, make a suggestion?”

Jim rolled his can between his palms. He knew that they had all agreed that he and Kyle had a right to, but the question was still…’should we?’. “If someone asked you what kind of gun they should buy, would you offer your opinion?”

Kyle shrugged and took another sip. “Sure. Don’t get one.”

“We’re talking opinion here.”

“And my opinion is, ‘don’t get one’.”

Jim ran his hand through his hair in frustration. “I want to make a point here and you are not helping! If a friend asked you if they should get a life threatening operation, what would you say?”

“Buddha says… ‘To offer an opinion lays responsibility for that taken.’”

Jim held up his beer. “Exactly!”

Again they sat in silence, until Kyle asked… “So what do we tell them?”

“We tell them, we can’t tell them.”

Kyle got up and went to the kitchen. Jim gave him a look when he sat back down, with more beers in his hands. Kyle handed him one. “Like you said. Tough day. So. … What would you tell them….if you told them anything. Which we’re not.”

Jim sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “I don’t know. I think I would suggest they go back just as far as they need to, to save Alex.”

“How about before I got shot? If that whole Pierce thing happened again, they could tell me to stay away.”

“Would you? Stay away. I mean.”

Kyle thought about what had sent him there in the first place. He had thought his dad was in danger. “ No.”

“What if it did happen again. The wild shot could miss you… or hit you someplace where Max couldn’t help you in time. Like the head.”

“Yeah. There’s that.”

“ So what would you say… if we said anything?”

Kyle thought a moment, shrugged and sighed. ‘I guess I could live with the headaches.’ “The same thing I guess. …So we agree? On what we won’t say.”

Jim tossed down the last of his beer. “Yeah. I guess so.”

“Okay then.”

“Yeah.”

***

A couple hours later Kyle answered a knock on the door. “Isabel!”

“Kyle I have to talk to you.”

Kyle took in the determined look on her face, in spite of the dried tears, and stood back, opening the door wide. “Come on in.”

“How are your headaches?”

“Oh I just love them. What do you want?”

“Let’s go into your room.” She shot a quick glance at Jim, and gave him a thin, quick smile. “You can come too. Just don’t talk.”

Kyle looked at Jim, eyebrows raised as Isabel disappeared down the hall. Jim shrugged and they followed.

When they got to his room, Isabel was standing next to Kyle’s dresser facing them; her hands clasped tightly in front of her. The waves of emotions coming off of her, stopped a flip comment before it left his lips. Much more gently than he would have, he asked... “What do you need Isabel?”

“I need you to talk to me about that night.”

Well now the emotional part was clear to him. For her to ask about the night Alex died, would be like asking him to tear out her heart… which was about what she felt like on the inside. “Are you sure? I mean, I told Liz and Maria everything I could. I don’t know what I could add, that would help.”

“I want to know what he looked like. What… what he sounded like.” Her voice cracked on the last sentence. It was so hard keeping control, but she had to push on. “Did he… was he… Do you think he was… heal-able before Tess…” Isabel couldn’t continue what she had been about to say. She stumbled two steps and collapsed on Kyle’s bed. “I’m sorry. You’re… I thought I could control it better.” And she put her face in her hands.

Kyle realized that she was apologizing for not controlling her emotions. Her grief was tinged with guilt and frustration. He sat down beside her and put his arm around her. Jim disappeared and returned with a glass of juice. He was giving off vibes of concern and discomfort.

Kyle smiled encouragingly and took the glass from him. “I got it dad.” Jim sighed with relief but didn’t leave. Instead he leaned against the door jamb, hands in his pockets.

“Here.” Kyle handed the cold glass to Isabel, along with a tissue. “I only get headaches when you guys gang up on me.”

“Thank you.”

“You are thinking Max might have had time to heal Alex.”

“Yes, if he wasn’t… you know. We would have to find him before he got here though.”

Jim folded his arms and added his thoughts on it. “ If we could get the time pretty close, we might wait for him here, but we don’t know how accurate this time travel stuff is. We could be too late… again.”

Kyle felt the surge of distress from Isabel, and threw a glare at his father. “We know he came from Las Cruces. We could make sure we went back a day or two before and catch him there.”

“So much for Buddha.” Jim muttered.


Part 23


Max knocked at Isabel’s door. He had heard her walking around her room for quite a while last night. “Izzy? Are you up yet?”

“Come” Isabel was dressed and draped across her bed, doodling on her notes. She looked up at Max with a determined glint in her eye. “If you are thinking of trying to talk me out of this time travel thing, don’t even start.”

Max held up his hands in self defense. “I won’t stand in the way of ‘Operation Alex” He dropped down on the bed next to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Iz, I know how much this means to you. I just don’t want to risk losing any more of us. I don’t want to lose you, any more than you wanted to loose Alex.”

Isabel started to cry. She waved off Max’s concern and wiped her eyes. “I’m alright. I just I don’t know… I’m scared. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I can’t NOT, try to get Alex back. Oh Max, it’s just got to work!”

Max was tempted to ask her about when she was thinking of, but decided that she would tell him when she was ready. “It will work Izzy. We will get Alex back for you.” ‘Great…now I’m committed!’ He grumbled to himself.

The smell of breakfast in the making made him suggest they go down, and talk about it later. Gratefully, Isabel ran a hand over her face, fixing her tear streaked face, and followed him down.

The phone rang before they made it to the kitchen and Isabel got it. “Hello, Evan’s residence. Oh hi Serena. Sure, give us about half an hour. Okay, bye.”

“Max, Serena wants to talk to me about something. I told her we would be there after breakfast.”

“Did she say why?”

“Nope, just that she needs to talk. Of course you don’t have to come….”

Max grinned. “Oh I think I could find something to do there.”

Diane smiled when they came in. “I thought the smell would rouse you. What are you two going to be doing today?”

Max gave her a peck on the cheek, “Do you need us for anything? We were just going to the Crashdown to hang out for a while.”

“I’ll give you a lift. I will be at the office all day, but your father wanted to see you later.”

“Okay, we’ll stop by the office later. Do you know what he wants?”

Diane just smiled. “You’ll know soon enough. Now eat. I have to get going.”

***

Maria came barging into the Crashdown like the little whirlwind of energy she was. “Michael! Oh hi Liz. Michael!”

Michael stuck his head out of the kitchen window, a puzzled look on his face. “What did I do now!”

Maria marched up to him, grabbed him by the ears and planted a big kiss on him. “Michael you are the most exasperating, uncooperative, hard headed… Oooh!” she turned her back on him and marched over to the table where Liz had some papers and her journal spread out. She plopped down on the seat and sighed.

Michael stood with his head out the window looking at her for another moment and then shook his head and went back to work. There was a smile on his face as he turned to Jose.

“Hey, senoritas, you never know about them.” Jose said with a smile and a shrug.

Michael shrugged back. “That one I will never understand! But she sure makes life interesting!”

Liz grinned at Maria. “What’s up?” She asked with a nod towards the kitchen.

“Oh that Michael Guerin! He wouldn’t even talk to me about the whole you know what thing last night. I just know he’s going to come up with some dumb solution that will make everything harder again! I just got things straightened out with him, I don’t want to start all over!” Maria ran both her hands through her hair and sighed again. “I had the most horrible dreams all night! One or the other of us kept dying, and we kept going back and back trying to fix it.” She rummaged in her bag, pulled out some cedar oil, and took a couple of good whiffs. “Oh God Liz, I can’t stand this. I can’t loose Michael again!” She fetched a mirror from her bag. “Yick, just look at this! I see a girl who looks like she hasn’t slept in a week!”

Liz took the mirror from her and looked in it. “Nope, everything looks alright from here!”

Maria slapped her friend on the arm and smiled. “Okay, all ready! Now. When are we going to go back? Cause I went back to every time I could think of last night and something bad always happened!”

Liz pushed the papers around with her finger. “Yeah I had a hard time with it too.” She said softly. “No matter when we go back, there is something that could happen.”

Maria pulled a couple of sheets to her, and looked up at Liz, wide eyed. “Wow! You went at this like it was a science project!”

Listed by date, was everything that had ever happened to them alone or as a group, and under that were all the alternatives… most bad. Maria shook her head, “That’s pretty much what I came up with but...” Maria noticed the rapt smile on Liz’s face and turned to see Max and Isabel walking in. She pushed the papers away. “Well so much for talking it over. Really appreciate it Liz.” She got up and stalked into the back and on into the kitchen.

Max leaned over the table and gave Liz a soft kiss before scooting in next to her. Isabel stood with her hands in her parka. “Hey.”

“Hey. Serena’s up in my room. Go on up. She’s waiting for you.”

Isabel smiled at the two love birds, but as she turned to go her mind was already on Serena. She had mentioned before, that Isabel would be the connection for the group to the other Antarians. Was she going to show her now? Couldn’t it wait until the whole Alex thing was settled? Isabel sighed. Would it ever be settled?


Part 24

Max turned to watch Isabel leave. “Do you have any idea what that is about?”

“Ummm, maybe. What will you give me if I do?” Liz asked with a sly smile on her lips.

“How about…. This?” He placed his hand on her cheek and gave her a kiss. The kiss lasted…

“Ahem!”

Liz finally came up for air, and smiled at Maria, who was once again sitting across the table from them. Maria leaned across the table and tapped the papers. “If you two are finished bonding, we have to talk about this! Thinking about me and Michael is driving me crazy! The sooner we can figure out when we are going to get Alex back, the sooner I can figure out how I am going to deal with him.”

Max held up his hand. “Just a minute Maria, Liz was just going to tell me something.” And he smiled at Liz. “After all, I just paid for it.”

Liz glanced sideways at Maria. “Ummm, this could be awkward. Can I tell you later?”

Of course Maria picked up on the fact that Liz didn’t want to talk about something in front of her. This was a sure-fire way to get her immediate interest up. “Whoa, whoa, just a minute here. You don’t want to talk in front of me? We have secrets? Again?”

Liz recognized the hurt lurking in back of her eyes and sighed. “Okay, but you have to promise not to be mad with Michael.”

A brief flurry of thoughts ran through Maria’s head. What had Michael been up to this time? “Okay, so tell me!”

“Promise!”

“I promise! And I swear to God, if you don’t tell me right now I will go kick Michael all around that kitchen… just because!”

Liz proceeded to tell Max and Maria about the crystals found in the secret room by the granolith chamber. “They are crystals that can be used to help, and teach, both ‘Czechoslovakians’, and us…. Kyle, me, and you, Maria.”

“Me!” Maria squeaked. “What do I have to do with this!”

Liz looked from Max to Maria with a puzzled look. “Didn’t Max save your life too? Maria, you have joined the club of honorary Czechs!”

Maria got up and paced across the room and back then dived into her purse and got out her cedar oil. “Breath, Maria, breath! I’m a Czech wanna-be. Gonna be. Jeeze! I hadn’t even thought about that!” A couple of extra sniffs of her cedar oil seemed to bring her back down to normal. Well normal for Maria anyway….

The shock on Maria’s face was replaced by a slightly annoyed look. “And Michael didn’t bother to tell me this….why?”

“The powers?”

“I’m not at that point yet…. The stones!”

“Serena asked him to keep mum about it until she could get Isabel to help her contact her own people. She needs to find out which stones are which, and what safety measures might be needed to use them. That is what Isabel is doing right now.”

Maria started to jump up from her seat and seeing the look on her face, Liz grabbed hold of her hand. “Maria you promised!”

“I had my fingers crossed!”

“Ma-ree-a!”

Maria sighed and slumped back into her seat. “All right.” She looked from Liz to Max. “So what do you think I’ll be able to do? Oh I so hope it won’t be that emotion thing that Kyle is getting. Headaches I don’t need. Michael is already one big headache that I have to deal with.”

“Well… “Liz looked shyly at Max, then leaned over the table and touched Maria’s fingernail. It changed color from Ever Coral, to Baby by Pink. Max and Maria both looked at Liz with amazement. “I have sort of been practicing in private. Serena told me that I could do all sorts of things if I believed I could do them. That is as far as I’ve gotten so far.”

“Chicka! I could so use that kind of power! Oh! And on make up, and clothes! That I could get used to!” Maria stuck her hand out, for Liz to change the color back. Then pulled her hand back, and viewed the nails. “How long do you think it will take before I can do that too?”

Mr. Evans walked into the Crashdown to the sound of the three friends laughing. “Well, that is a pleasant sound! Hi Maria, Liz. Son, if I could see you outside for a minute?” Turning, he led the mystified Max outside, then turned and grinned at him, as he held up a set of keys. “I thought you might need this. But no throwing it over a cliff this time. Agreed?”

Max looked dumbfounded. There at the curb was a new Jeep. “Dad! I… Thank you. This is why Mom wanted to know where we would be?”

“Yep. I didn’t think it would be proper for my image, for me to be seen driving this all over town looking for you.” He answered with a grin. “Go on. Take it for a spin.”

Max gave his dad a hug and a slap on the back. “Really, thank you! I’ll wait for Isabel though. It’s hers as much as mine. Okay?”

“Sure Max. Where is she, anyway?”

“Up stairs talking to Serena.”

“Will you guys be home for dinner? Your Mom has something special that she is trying out tonight.” Max’s father had that painfully cheerful look that said you better come home and have some, even if it kills you. Then in an under voice, he murmured. “You could always sneak some pizza into your room for later.”

Max grinned back. “Sure, tell her we wouldn’t miss it.” Mr. Evans patted Max on the back, and walked away grinning.

Maria and Liz couldn’t keep back any more. They burst out of the door, and congratulated Max on his new Jeep.

******

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - to part 27 6/23/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/23/19 17:55

Part 25

Serena was in Liz’s room sitting on the bed with the stones spread out. She looked up and gestured to the stones. “Hi! Look what we found!”

Isabel walked over to the bed and picked up one that seemed to call to her. A little yellow one about as big as a walnut and made of what looked like clear yellow crystal.

Serena explained where they had been found and what she wanted Isabel to do… “So if you go with me to connect to the elders, we can learn what each is for and how to use them.”

“Why didn’t you or Michael tell us about them before?”

Serena made a face. “Well, I made rather much about not wanting everyone to know about them until I learned what ‘not’ to do with them. I don’t know what, if any, dangers there might be in misusing the teaching stones, but I can’t take the chance that one of you could do yourself harm by trying something first and asking afterwards.”

Isabel let the stone drop back onto the bed. “No.”

“Right, so that’s why we have to contact the others and find out what we can.”

“I mean ‘No’, as in not interested.”

Serena gaped at her with open mouth. “No? You don’t want to know what they can do or how to use them?”

Isabel stuck her hands into the pockets of her jacket and shrugged. “I don’t see any use in learning about them now. If... when, we go back in time to save Alex, this will never have happened. What we learn now will do us no good. Let us get Alex taken care of and then we can worry about the stones.”

Serena rubbed her face in frustration. “Look, you are all going to need these stones. Not just you, Max, and Michael. Liz is already going through changes and will need them soon. Maria will. Kyle needs them most of all right now! If Alex is saved and has to be healed, he might need them.”

Isabel shook her head, though she did almost waver when Serena mentioned Kyle, she knew how hard his talent was being on him. But at mention of Alex, her mind came back to base one. “After we rescue Alex, you can tell us all about the stones. At least we know we will remember, what we learn about them, that way.”

“Isabel, I can’t force you to help yourself. But look at me and listen. Hear me out and then you can say ‘no’ again and I won’t argue.”

Isabel pulled out the desk chair and sat down facing Serena. “Okay. Shoot.” But it was with certainty that nothing she could say would change her mind.

Serena sighed, got her thoughts in order and started….

“Okay….
Who is going to teach you?
Me? I don’t think so.
Why am I here?
Because we sensed the Granolith starting it’s count down.
Why did it start?
Because, you all intended on going to Antar with Tess.
Why was Max going?
Because, he felt responsible for Tess and the baby. Remember, you all thought she was pregnant, and that the baby would die if she remained here.
Why were you going?
Because Max was. And because without Alex, there wasn’t anything to hold you here. If we save Alex, would you still leave? Could you?
If Max knew that Tess tried to kill Alex, would he still be committed to joining her on Antar?
If he knew that she wasn’t even pregnant. Would there even be a reason to let her turn on the Granolith?
If it hadn’t been turned on, I wouldn’t have been sent here.
If we hadn’t needed the granolith crystal, to go back in time, to save Alex, the stones wouldn’t have been found.
And if you did find them… who would teach you to use them? Or what they were for? Or show you that there were others like yourself here and how to communicate with them?”

Serena leaned toward Isabel. “Think. Whoever goes back, will be able to tell where the stones are and how to use them. Also how to contact us through the dream plane.” She stood up and walked to the door. “I am going to make us some tea. You think about it and let me know.” With that, she left Isabel and turned toward the kitchen.

About the time the teakettle was starting to whistle, Isabel joined Serena and sat down at the table. “Okay” She gave Serena a shy smile and shrugged one shoulder. “Let’s do it.”

***
The two girls lay down on Liz’s bed, the stones at the foot of the bed and between them.

“Okay, now take me to the dream plane, and I will show you how to call a meeting.”

Serena closed her eyes and in a few short minutes found herself standing next to Isabel…. on nothing! A beautiful velvet black spread out in all directions. In the distance colored specks of light moved to their own dance. Swaying gracefully through the deep. Closer, enough to see that they were bubble shaped, colored balls popped in or out, or lay quiescent against the dark. “Oh! It is so beautiful! I never thought blackness could be this beautiful! Are those dreams? How come some are so small and far away?”

Isabel chuckled. “Right now, it is broad daylight, and anyone close is most likely awake. No dream bubble. Those distant lights are hours away in another time zone. Those closer ones are most likely naps. Not defined enough to stay for long.”

Serena sighed, “Lovely. Okay now, look at this…” Before them, floated a brilliant, electric blue, diamond shaped light. “This is a signal for a meeting on the dream plane. If you get a picture of this in your mind, you need to answer it, at your earliest convenience. To send the signal, picture it going out in all directions. Anyone who knows the signal will be alerted.”

Isabel pushed the blue light out away from them and then concentrated on beams of light leaving it in all directions and fading off into the distance. “What now?”

“We wait. It shouldn’t be long.”

And indeed it wasn’t, a woman appeared before them and hugged Serena before looking around. “Hi pet! This is lovely!” She looked at Isabel for a moment and then bowed her head. “You must be Isabel. I am honored to meet you Princess! I am Viona. Elder of our enclave.”

Isabel looked at the lovely woman that had answered their call. She was dressed in a flowing caftan of purple and blue. Her hair was brown and fell to her shoulders. For all that she had gray streaks at her temples, she looked no more than 35 or 40. Evidently ‘elder’ didn’t mean ‘old’. “I am pleased to meet another of our people. Until we met Serena, we thought we were alone here.”

Viona flowed up to Isabel and took her hand. “Dear, I am sorry for that. But we needed to keep you safe until you could come to us.”

Two more women came sliding up the beams. Before they were close enough to say anything two more just popped in. Viona looked around at the group and held up her hands. “Ladies, lets go to someplace more comfortable, shall we?” Abruptly they all found themselves in a small glen surrounded by woods. A table and chairs awaited them.

Once seated, Viona gave the introductions. Alette was a curly blond, short, looking thirtyish, and seemed full of pent up energy. Rebecca was stocky, with long brown hair and a big smile that made her look younger than her fifty or so years. Sharlene was a young twentyish red head who smiled shyly when introduced. And Shalmar was a tall willowy beauty with the timeless face that could be anywhere from forty to seventy. All were extremely happy to meet the Princess Isabel. Isabel noticed that not one of them called her Vilondra. Something she would have to ask about later.

“These are our teachers and elders of their groups. As you may have wondered, ‘elder’ is a term for gifted, rather than aged.” Viona said. “Serena called me after she got there. And of course we knew the Granolith didn’t take off. We have been expecting you for days! What took you so long? Where are Max and Michael? I thought you would be bringing them with you?”

Isabel squirmed a bit. She felt uncomfortable with their suppositions. They seemed to expect her, Max and Michael to be as enthusiastic to meet them, as they were to meet the royal three. When actually that was the last thing on their minds for now.

Serena came to her rescue. “Actually, they would be more than happy to come, but they didn’t know we were going to meet you. We have a different purpose for coming here today. We need your knowledge.” The stones appeared in the middle of the table. “These were found in a secret chamber near the Granolith. I have heard of them and I think I know what they are, but not enough to be a guide in their use.”

She sat back and watched the ladies as they sat stunned for a moment, gazing at the stones. She slipped a grin to Isabel and whispered. “I knew it would wow them!”

Viona leaned forward and gently touched the deep blue stone. “The King’s stone.” She said in a hushed tone. “I had no idea any of these were saved. This yellow one is one you should be interested in Isabel. And the four balancing stones! I had no idea that they thought that far ahead! Aren’t you amazed at what they can do? ”

Serena let out a sigh. “Aunti, you haven’t told us what they can do yet!”

Rebecca laughed and Alette hid a smile behind her hand. Viona picked up a green stone. “This one…” But she was suddenly talking to empty air. Serena and Isabel had vanished.

***
Down in the Crash Down lunchroom, Max, Liz and Maria were getting impatient for Isabel and Serena to come back down.

Maria got up for the fourth time and peered up the stairs. “You think they are done yet? I’m going to take a peek!”

Before Liz could say a thing about it, Maria was halfway upstairs. Max and Liz weren’t far behind her. At the door to Liz’s room, they stopped and peeked in. Isabel and Serena were obviously still ‘out there’ somewhere. Maria sighed. And Liz suggested they wait in the living room. When they turned to go, they were minus one Max. Liz looked over her shoulder to say something to him, just as he disappeared into her room.

Max had his eyes on the stones.

On one stone in particular seemed to call to him.

It was a deep blue stone and had such depth that it seemed to go down and down, drawing him in…in…and down.

Maria made it back to the doorway just in time to see Max reach out to touch the stone… And fall limply to the floor.


Part 26

“Liz!” Maria screamed and Liz was back to the room and to Max’s side like a flash. Isabel and Serena sat up, looking around wildly.

Isabel hadn’t heard the scream, just reacted to it. It didn’t take more than a couple of seconds to realize that there was a problem. “What happened?”

Maria looked at Liz, but she was intent on trying to wake Max up, and paid no attention to Isabel. Maria told Isabel what she saw, which wasn’t much. “He walked over to the bed all slow like and reached out like he was going to pick up one of the stones…then…” Maria waved her hand over Max’s prostrate form.

Serena popped her head up and took a look at the stones. None were moved that she could see. “I wonder which one?”

Isabel sighed and looked at Serena. “I’ll give you just one guess….” Both girls turned their eyes to the deep blue stone.
“The king stone” They said together.

Liz finally looked up at Isabel and Serena. “You think one of the stones did this? What did you find out? Which one is the king stone?” Without waiting for an answer, she stood up and looked down at the stones. Her hand pointed unerringly to the deep blue one. “This one. It feels like him. What did it do to him?” She demanded.

“We don’t know. We were woken up before we could find out.” Isabel answered.

Liz looked down at Max and back to the two girls. “He is not so much unconscious as in a deep sleep. Isabel, see if you can find him on the dream plane. Serena, if Isabel helps you get back to the meeting on the dream plane, can you stay there without her, long enough, to find out what you can from the others?”

Serena sat with her mouth open for a moment before answering. Liz was assuming command of the situation like a person born to be obeyed. In other words, she was not being bossy and was not self-conscious about giving orders; but slipped into it naturally. Serena nodded her head knowingly. ‘On her it feels natural!’ “I can stay there or get there on my own.”

Isabel stood up and took one more look at Max. “Come on. We have to find out now!” Gone was any reluctance to learn about the stones. She lay back down on the bed, grabbing a picture of Max from her table as she did so. “Come on brother mine. Be where I can find you!”

Serena joined her on the bed and now the room held three sleeping occupants! Maria and Liz sat down on the floor next to Max and waited.

***
Isabel and Serena once more stood on velvet black nothingness. This time there was the blue gem a short ways away, and a large bubble almost on top of them!

Serena looked with interest at the bubble. “Is that Max’s? It looks just like the stone!”

Isabel reached out and touched to bright shiny surface. It was the same deep blue as the stone and hard to the touch. “Something’s wrong! It… it isn’t like a real bubble, it’s hard!” Isabel spread her hands wide against the surface of the ball, concentrating.

“Try to get in.”

“What do you think I’ve been doing?” Is snapped. ‘Sigh’ “Sorry. I am going to need help. Let’s get to the others.”

They turned to the blue gem and concentrated on it. Immediately they were back in the clearing with three of the other women; Viona, Rebecca, and Alette. No greetings this time, no shyness… Isabel plunged right to the point.

“Tell me about the stones. Right now. What they do, and how they work. How to turn them off or whatever.”

Viona immediately took in the intense distress and determination that Isabel was radiating. A flicker of anxiety showed in her eyes. “Who?”

“Max.”

Viona visibly relaxed, “Was it the king stone?”

Isabel reacted to Viona’s changed attitude and sank down into one of the chairs at the table, with a deep sigh. “Then it’s not dangerous?”

Rebecca sat down by Isabel and patted her hand. “I’m sorry you had such a scare, dear, but none of the stones can hurt you, Max or Michael. But any of them could cause trouble for a changed human.”

Isabel took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Okay. So what is it with Max and his super bubble, and why can’t we wake him up?”

Viona held her hand out to Isabel. Show me.” To Serena, she said. “You stay and learn from Rebecca, she will teach you all you need to know about the stones and how to use them.”

“Thank you Aunti!”

“Come.” Isabel put her hand into Viona’s and took her to Max’s bubble.

****
Maria wanted Michael. She wanted him to hold onto her and tell her that ‘King Max’ would be just fine. But Liz wouldn’t let her call him. “Can you really see Michael being calm about this? He might decide he need to start picking up stones and try to go after him.” Yeah, Maria could just see Michael wanting to charge out there into wookie wookie land with Max. The thought of seeing him stretched out beside Max made her heart freeze. No she wouldn’t call Michael just yet. But oh, how she needed him!

Liz sat watching Max. Maria felt much more worried than Liz looked. Liz was just looking… thoughtful. “Okay Chicka, what do you know that I wish I did?”

It took Liz a moment to respond to Maria, and when she did, she still had a distant look to her eyes. “I… think I’m picking up something from Max.” She lapsed into thoughtful silence.

“Oooh, like mental telepathy? Is he yelling for help? Talking in his sleep? What!” Maria tried to get her to focus on her for a minute. This silent fazing out was getting to her. “Lizzzz, Lizzzy! Talk to your best friend here. What’s going on with him?”

Before answering, Liz stood up on her knees and leaned on the bed, her arms framing the collection of stones. “The stone is doing something to him. I don’t think he was ready for it. I don’t know, but I do know that he isn’t in control, and if that stone is meant for him to use, he should be in control! Why can’t he wake up!”

Maria joined Liz and looked at the jumble of stones on the bed. “Maybe he was supposed to use one of the other ones first. Or maybe… it is too close to the others? You know sort of shorting it out?”

Liz made a stretch for the desk and snagged a pencil. “Get me something to put the stones in.”

Maria grabbed the bag that the stones had been stored in and held it open against the bed. Liz scooted the stones one by one into the bag, leaving just two on the bed; the King’s stone and one other.

“This one feels like it belongs here with it in some way.” The other stone was a lighter blue and had tiny golden flecks in it. Liz felt drawn to it but hesitated to touch it. “I think this one wants me.” She giggled nervously. “Oh Maria, I think I need to use it to help Max, but if I am wrong, there might be two of us laying on the floor!”

Maria took Liz’s hands in hers and turned Liz to look at her. “Liz, don’t you dare! I am not staying here in this room with four bodies! Wait until Isabel and Serena wake up. They are out there somewhere finding out what to do!”

Liz didn’t answer; she just gently pulled her hands from Maria’s and turned back to Max. She scooted around to his head and placed both hands on either side of his face, and closing her eyes she concentrated. ‘Come on Max, talk to me. Talk to me Max.’

She finally sighed and sat back. “Well Maria I guess we just wait.” She wet her lips and looked up at Maria. “I could use something to drink. I feel like the inside of my mouth is stuffed with cotton! How about you?”

Maria felt relieved to be able to do something. “I’ll get us a couple of sodas!”

Liz held up her hand… “Uh…”

Maria jumped up. “Don’t worry, I won’t say anything to Michael… Yet.” She turned and quickly left the room. Determined not to leave Liz alone for more than a couple of minutes. She knew her friend too well.

As soon as she left the room, Liz reached up and snagged the lighter blue stone from the bed and lay down beside Max.

That is how Maria found them when she returned.

“Michael!!!!”


Part 27

Isabel and Viona arrived just in front of Max’s dream bubble.

Viona put hand over her mouth. “Oh my! I didn’t get a good look at the dream bubbles when I met you here, but I’m sure that they weren’t this bright or this big! Is this normal?”

Isabel looked at her in surprise. “What… aren’t you… I thought you were a dream walker too?”

Her confusion was so obvious that Viona tore her eyes away from the bubble and turned to Isabel. “Why of course I am, dear. But every dream walker has their own visual of what dreams and the dream plane look like. Didn’t you know that?”

Isabel waved her hand at the blackness of the space around them and at the bubble in front of them. “This is how it was when I first found myself here. I just assumed that this is what it looks like.”

Viona looked around at the velvet beauty, and sighed. “Oh my no. It is as varied as the dream walkers that travel here. But I must say, it is one of the most beautiful I have seen. Now… IS this normal? Or is there something radically different about this dream of Max’s, other than the fact you can’t seen to wake him up?”

Isabel floated closer and rapped on it. “Its hard, I can’t open it, or see inside, and it is a different color than his usual. It has the same tonal quality, a sort of tone that seems to go with him, but his was a different shade of blue.” She placed her hand on it. “I could touch it and feel him, even when he knew I was here and wouldn’t let me in. But I can’t feel him at all! Nothing!” Isabel felt ready to cry and didn’t want to do that in front of Viona. She slapped the bubble hard, and shook her hand from the sting of the impact. “Damn it Max!”

Viona floated close and placed first one hand and then both on its surface. She closed her eyes and concentrated. Isabel hung back, biting her lip. After a couple of minutes, Viona sighed and shook her head. “Nothing.” She looked around again. “Perhaps in a more familiar setting…” She took Isabel’s hand and they found themselves on a hill overlooking a shallow level valley. It was totally covered with hedges and pathways. “Now, do you have a scent that you would associate with Max? Something living?”

“Sage brush. The way it smells right after a rain.” Isabel looked surprised at her answer. Actually, until Viona asked, she never thought of a ‘smell’ associated with her brother.

Viona once again took her hand. “Now, you picture Max, and think of that fragrance.” Whoosh, they were standing in front of an imposing hedge of steel blue vines, thick as your wrist, and covered with deep blue flowers. It was deep enough that no peek of the other side could be seen and it went up and up, twenty feet high at least. “Oh my! I see what you mean! Oh dear, oh dear, and just look at those thorns! And ‘steel wood’ too!” Viona found two places on the hedge and closed her eyes. “Open. Open to me.” Abruptly she snatched her hands away as several sharp thorns sprouted from the wood where she had been touching it. “Yes, this is definitely a total lock out. Lock out! Come on!”

Once again they were at the clearing with the table and chairs. Serena looked up with hope in her eyes. Isabel shook her head slightly.

Shalmar popped back in. “Yes? Oh I see the girls have returned! Is everything all right?”

Viona smiled, “I think we have the perfect application for your dream world, Shalmar. Take us there… and bring all your keys!”

***
Kyle sat down at the back counter, and ordered a coke. Michael spied him through the window and gave him the high sign. A moment later he came out, grabbed a soda for himself, and sat down next to Kyle. Kyle snagged a Tabasco bottle from farther down the counter and handed it to Michael.

“Thanks.”

“Um, where is everyone?”

Michael jerked his thumb up. “Liz’s room. How’s it goin’ with your head?”

Kyle didn’t get a chance to answer, because Maria’s scream echoed down the stairs, and there was now an empty stool where Michael had been sitting an instant before.

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Pt 9 (of 57) 1/22/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/23/19 17:57

Part 28

Kyle reached Liz’s room a shade after Michael and his first impression was; bodies everywhere! After a good look around, his second impression was… bodies everywhere! Well, four to be exact.

Maria flung herself at Michael and broke into tears.

Kyle walked slowly over to Max and Liz looking first at them and then at Serena and Isabel on the bed. Gingerly he knelt and lay his hand on Liz’s cheek, felt Max’s wrist and then went and sat down next to Serena. He watched the slow rise and fall of her and Isabel’s breathing and then sighed, wiping his hand across his face. Finally he looked up in irritation at a babbling, weeping Maria. “Maria, Maria!”

Michael glared at him over Maria’s head.

Kyle wasn’t having any. “What? She screams like a banshee, gets us up here with our hearts in our throats, and for what? Everyone is sleeping. She,” And here he points at Maria, “Is throwing off ‘scared’ vibes that are cutting right through my head, and it isn’t because she can’t get to sleep too!”

Michael edged him and Maria closer to the bed and he looked down at the deep blue stone. “I wonder if this has anything to do with it…” He took one arm from Maria and started to reach for the stone and staggered back in surprise when Maria belted him on the jaw with her fist. Michael’s second reaction was a burst of anger, but Kyle jumped to his feet.

“Hey man. I don’t know what had her scared but her feeling about you touching that stone was pure terror! I’d be real careful about touching it.”

The added fright of having Michael end up in the ‘out for the count’ group calmed her enough to talk coherently. “Michael if you just think about picking that up I will break that chair over your head! Those stones have caused enough trouble!” Now Michael could see the light blue stone in Liz’s half open hand. His eyes darted to Serena’s and Isabel’s hands. “No, they went dream walking to find out about Max. They don’t even know about Liz yet. She… Oh Michael, why did I trust her?” And she started to cry again.

***
Shalmar looked to Isabel. “Give me a tone or sound that you associate with Max” She took Viona and Isabel by the hands. “Concentrate!” Instantly they were in a long hall.

Doors stretched out in both directions as long as one could see. Most were wooden doors of different grains, hues, and thickness. The door they stood in front of was a massive blue hued metal door. Shalmar gazed at it in wonder for a moment. Softly she asked, “Was there similar re-enforcing in your own Vision?”

Viona sighed, “Indeed. But I had no way to enter or unlock the dream, and I thought of your version. Get out your famous keys and see if you can find a way to enter.” To Isabel, she offered a word of explanation. “There have been others who for sickness or injury closed themselves in dreams. Shalmar has always been able to find a key to getting in where others failed.”

Shalmar held out her hand and a six-inch ring of keys appeared. She closed her eyes and began fingering the keys, one by one. As she went around the ring, a small frown began across her forehead and the ring grew in size with even more keys upon it. After a few minutes, she sighed and opened her eyes. She let go the ring of keys and it floated in front of her. She pushed up her sleeves and a grim look of determination came to her face. She held out both her hands and the ring began to spin slowly, one key after another shining brightly for a second. Soon the ring had grown to nearly the height of the hall. Suddenly with a grunt of disgust and anger from Shalmar, the ring flew down the hall, hitting and rolling before falling flat on the floor.

Isabel looked stricken. “Can’t you open it either? Will we ever be able to get through to him?”

Shalmar threw a single angry look her way before turning back to the door. “I’m not done trying yet!” A new door grew out of the wall next to Max’s; a normal looking wooden door, with no lock. Slowly Shalmar moved the door over to the Metal monster, and began to imbed it into the metal one. Slowly it sank into the metal, until it was a door in a door. Shalmar’s cry of triumph was short lived as the new door turned steely and melded into the metal. Shalmar sat down abruptly on the floor. “Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! You might as well go back to the others, this is going to take some time!”

A soft voice behind them made them all jump. “I think I can help.”


Part 29

Liz looked at the light blue stone. It seemed somehow connected to the dark blue one. More than that, it called to her. Beyond saying they were teaching stones, Serena wouldn’t say any more about them until… “I know what I’m talking about.” Liz had ‘followed her heart’ as her grandma had asked, now she felt it was time to follow her instincts. Somehow, some way, that light blue stone was the key to getting to Max.

She sat down on the floor next to Max and placed her hands against his cheeks, and tried again to connect to him. She couldn’t feel him, and there was never a time when she couldn’t feel him. Her mind went back to the light blue stone and as she pictured it in her mind, she felt a flicker of connection with Max! Liz stayed perfectly still. She was right, she knew it, but Maria would never let her next to that stone… if she were in here when Liz tried for it!

‘Body language Liz.’
Liz sighed, opened her eyes, and sat back as if accepting that she had to wait. She tried to project the perfect blend of innocence and defeat, when she told Maria she was thirsty. Maria fell for it! As soon as Maria was out of sight, Liz snatched the stone off the bed. It immediately wanted to pull her down with it, and it took all Liz’s self control to lay back down with Max, careful to keep the stone in her hand when she did so. Then she let herself be taken by the stone’s influence.

****

Liz first found herself encompassed by a flood of images and feelings. People, feelings, places, familiar items, all things that she could recognize in context, but coming at her in a jumbled mess, at once frightening and fascinating. She could get lost in the kalidiscope of moving pictures, if it weren’t for her immediate need to help Max.

Mentally she shook herself. “This will not do!” She made the visual cascade fade into the background of her mind and forced the pictures down to one single set of visuals… first the stone, then Max. Max, stone, stone, Max. Her demands seemed to shake the visual picture of the stone. She reached out a virtual hand and closed it around the stone. “Show me! You are a teaching stone! So teach! Show me how to reach Max!”

*As you will. Behold.*

A picture of a sleeping Max showed up with a deep blue barrier between her and him. It showed a picture of her walking through the barrier to him.

*You can now reach Max*

“How do I do that?” She projected a picture of her beating her fists on the barrier.

A thick electric blue line of energy flowed between Max and her through the barrier. It showed her touching the barrier at the level of the line.

*Use the connection.*

“What connection? You mean how I can feel him?”

Pictures of Max flowed across her vision; from the earliest memory of him, to that fateful day in the Crash Down when he saved her life.

At the moment of the healing, Max’s head and hand had a huge bright glow of blue around them that increased with intensity. She could see the glow spread from his hand, running along her nerves like liquid electricity.

A halo grew around the wound area and around her head. The most intense part of the halo centered in the middle part of her brain.

* Part of you has been awakened as a result of this healing. This is a permanent change.*

As Max rose to leave, a thin line stretched between her and Max, at about the location of their solar plexus, and though her halo dimmed, that brighter area of her brain remained lit.

*A bond was made between you. All people have a tie with those they ‘connect’ to. This is more. It is strengthened by the awakening.*

More pictures of her and Max flew before her. At every touch, at every kiss, the blue line between her and Max thickened and brightened. At every crisis, the affected part of her brain, extended tentacles to more parts of her brain. When she tried to reach Max in New York, it blossomed into a halo again and more connections were made with the rest of her brain; communication, visualization, will, and emotions were connected to perform that task. When she practiced changing the color of her nail polish, visualization, and conscious choice were connected.

*Using the awakened part of your mind, increases its potential.*


It showed her the picture of New York and the changing nail polish.

*Desire, communication, visualization, emotion, will… The tools to use your awakening.*

These words became a glowing visual in the air. They shrank and became a picture of a key. The key touched the barrier and it fell away.

Liz let the visual fade to a thin gray fog. The voice became silent. She had been given information that they had all suspected. When Max healed her, he had awakened that part of her brain that coincided with the special part of his own brain, which made the podsters unique. It also showed that she and Max had a connection that she could use to reach him... On the dream plane? Or physically? Why not on the dream plane?

“Hmm, now, I guess I need to wake up, wake Isabel up, and see if she can take me to the dream plane.” She sighed. First she would have to get Maria calmed down. She will be so mad! “But how else am I going to get to Max?”

New York and then Isabel flashed into her brain. New York, Isabel…. “Of course!” She had used a visual of Max to reach him. She could do the same with Isabel!

Isabel was already on the dream plane and Liz was actually there herself... somewhere. Liz concentrated on being where Isabel was and a door appeared in front of her. She opened it and found herself in a long hallway, behind Isabel and two other women.

One of the women sat down abruptly on the floor. Liz herd her mumble: “Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! You might as well go back to the others, this is going to take some time!”

Liz smiled. She knew what was on the other side of the steel door. She couldn’t feel him yet, but she could feel the pull of the connection. And she could follow the connection.

Liz softly cleared her throat and made them all jump when she said: “I think I can help.”

For a moment, Isabel, Viona and Shalmar were surprised into silence. Before they could ask questions or say a word, Liz confidently walked up to the door. She placed her hand on the door and… disappeared!

Too late, Viona lunged to stop her. Her hand closed on empty air.

Isabel let out an exasperated sigh. “Great! Just great!”

Still on the floor, Shalmar put her hands over her face. “Oh no.”

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - To part 30 6/23/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/23/19 17:57

Part 28

Kyle reached Liz’s room a shade after Michael and his first impression was; bodies everywhere! After a good look around, his second impression was… bodies everywhere! Well, four to be exact.

Maria flung herself at Michael and broke into tears.

Kyle walked slowly over to Max and Liz looking first at them and then at Serena and Isabel on the bed. Gingerly he knelt and lay his hand on Liz’s cheek, felt Max’s wrist and then went and sat down next to Serena. He watched the slow rise and fall of her and Isabel’s breathing and then sighed, wiping his hand across his face. Finally he looked up in irritation at a babbling, weeping Maria. “Maria, Maria!”

Michael glared at him over Maria’s head.

Kyle wasn’t having any. “What? She screams like a banshee, gets us up here with our hearts in our throats, and for what? Everyone is sleeping. She,” And here he points at Maria, “Is throwing off ‘scared’ vibes that are cutting right through my head, and it isn’t because she can’t get to sleep too!”

Michael edged him and Maria closer to the bed and he looked down at the deep blue stone. “I wonder if this has anything to do with it…” He took one arm from Maria and started to reach for the stone and staggered back in surprise when Maria belted him on the jaw with her fist. Michael’s second reaction was a burst of anger, but Kyle jumped to his feet.

“Hey man. I don’t know what had her scared but her feeling about you touching that stone was pure terror! I’d be real careful about touching it.”

The added fright of having Michael end up in the ‘out for the count’ group calmed her enough to talk coherently. “Michael if you just think about picking that up I will break that chair over your head! Those stones have caused enough trouble!” Now Michael could see the light blue stone in Liz’s half open hand. His eyes darted to Serena’s and Isabel’s hands. “No, they went dream walking to find out about Max. They don’t even know about Liz yet. She… Oh Michael, why did I trust her?” And she started to cry again.

***
Shalmar looked to Isabel. “Give me a tone or sound that you associate with Max” She took Viona and Isabel by the hands. “Concentrate!” Instantly they were in a long hall.

Doors stretched out in both directions as long as one could see. Most were wooden doors of different grains, hues, and thickness. The door they stood in front of was a massive blue hued metal door. Shalmar gazed at it in wonder for a moment. Softly she asked, “Was there similar re-enforcing in your own Vision?”

Viona sighed, “Indeed. But I had no way to enter or unlock the dream, and I thought of your version. Get out your famous keys and see if you can find a way to enter.” To Isabel, she offered a word of explanation. “There have been others who for sickness or injury closed themselves in dreams. Shalmar has always been able to find a key to getting in where others failed.”

Shalmar held out her hand and a six-inch ring of keys appeared. She closed her eyes and began fingering the keys, one by one. As she went around the ring, a small frown began across her forehead and the ring grew in size with even more keys upon it. After a few minutes, she sighed and opened her eyes. She let go the ring of keys and it floated in front of her. She pushed up her sleeves and a grim look of determination came to her face. She held out both her hands and the ring began to spin slowly, one key after another shining brightly for a second. Soon the ring had grown to nearly the height of the hall. Suddenly with a grunt of disgust and anger from Shalmar, the ring flew down the hall, hitting and rolling before falling flat on the floor.

Isabel looked stricken. “Can’t you open it either? Will we ever be able to get through to him?”

Shalmar threw a single angry look her way before turning back to the door. “I’m not done trying yet!” A new door grew out of the wall next to Max’s; a normal looking wooden door, with no lock. Slowly Shalmar moved the door over to the Metal monster, and began to imbed it into the metal one. Slowly it sank into the metal, until it was a door in a door. Shalmar’s cry of triumph was short lived as the new door turned steely and melded into the metal. Shalmar sat down abruptly on the floor. “Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! You might as well go back to the others, this is going to take some time!”

A soft voice behind them made them all jump. “I think I can help.”


Part 29

Liz looked at the light blue stone. It seemed somehow connected to the dark blue one. More than that, it called to her. Beyond saying they were teaching stones, Serena wouldn’t say any more about them until… “I know what I’m talking about.” Liz had ‘followed her heart’ as her grandma had asked, now she felt it was time to follow her instincts. Somehow, some way, that light blue stone was the key to getting to Max.

She sat down on the floor next to Max and placed her hands against his cheeks, and tried again to connect to him. She couldn’t feel him, and there was never a time when she couldn’t feel him. Her mind went back to the light blue stone and as she pictured it in her mind, she felt a flicker of connection with Max! Liz stayed perfectly still. She was right, she knew it, but Maria would never let her next to that stone… if she were in here when Liz tried for it!

‘Body language Liz.’
Liz sighed, opened her eyes, and sat back as if accepting that she had to wait. She tried to project the perfect blend of innocence and defeat, when she told Maria she was thirsty. Maria fell for it! As soon as Maria was out of sight, Liz snatched the stone off the bed. It immediately wanted to pull her down with it, and it took all Liz’s self control to lay back down with Max, careful to keep the stone in her hand when she did so. Then she let herself be taken by the stone’s influence.

****

Liz first found herself encompassed by a flood of images and feelings. People, feelings, places, familiar items, all things that she could recognize in context, but coming at her in a jumbled mess, at once frightening and fascinating. She could get lost in the kalidiscope of moving pictures, if it weren’t for her immediate need to help Max.

Mentally she shook herself. “This will not do!” She made the visual cascade fade into the background of her mind and forced the pictures down to one single set of visuals… first the stone, then Max. Max, stone, stone, Max. Her demands seemed to shake the visual picture of the stone. She reached out a virtual hand and closed it around the stone. “Show me! You are a teaching stone! So teach! Show me how to reach Max!”

*As you will. Behold.*

A picture of a sleeping Max showed up with a deep blue barrier between her and him. It showed a picture of her walking through the barrier to him.

*You can now reach Max*

“How do I do that?” She projected a picture of her beating her fists on the barrier.

A thick electric blue line of energy flowed between Max and her through the barrier. It showed her touching the barrier at the level of the line.

*Use the connection.*

“What connection? You mean how I can feel him?”

Pictures of Max flowed across her vision; from the earliest memory of him, to that fateful day in the Crash Down when he saved her life.

At the moment of the healing, Max’s head and hand had a huge bright glow of blue around them that increased with intensity. She could see the glow spread from his hand, running along her nerves like liquid electricity.

A halo grew around the wound area and around her head. The most intense part of the halo centered in the middle part of her brain.

* Part of you has been awakened as a result of this healing. This is a permanent change.*

As Max rose to leave, a thin line stretched between her and Max, at about the location of their solar plexus, and though her halo dimmed, that brighter area of her brain remained lit.

*A bond was made between you. All people have a tie with those they ‘connect’ to. This is more. It is strengthened by the awakening.*

More pictures of her and Max flew before her. At every touch, at every kiss, the blue line between her and Max thickened and brightened. At every crisis, the affected part of her brain, extended tentacles to more parts of her brain. When she tried to reach Max in New York, it blossomed into a halo again and more connections were made with the rest of her brain; communication, visualization, will, and emotions were connected to perform that task. When she practiced changing the color of her nail polish, visualization, and conscious choice were connected.

*Using the awakened part of your mind, increases its potential.*


It showed her the picture of New York and the changing nail polish.

*Desire, communication, visualization, emotion, will… The tools to use your awakening.*

These words became a glowing visual in the air. They shrank and became a picture of a key. The key touched the barrier and it fell away.

Liz let the visual fade to a thin gray fog. The voice became silent. She had been given information that they had all suspected. When Max healed her, he had awakened that part of her brain that coincided with the special part of his own brain, which made the podsters unique. It also showed that she and Max had a connection that she could use to reach him... On the dream plane? Or physically? Why not on the dream plane?

“Hmm, now, I guess I need to wake up, wake Isabel up, and see if she can take me to the dream plane.” She sighed. First she would have to get Maria calmed down. She will be so mad! “But how else am I going to get to Max?”

New York and then Isabel flashed into her brain. New York, Isabel…. “Of course!” She had used a visual of Max to reach him. She could do the same with Isabel!

Isabel was already on the dream plane and Liz was actually there herself... somewhere. Liz concentrated on being where Isabel was and a door appeared in front of her. She opened it and found herself in a long hallway, behind Isabel and two other women.

One of the women sat down abruptly on the floor. Liz herd her mumble: “Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! You might as well go back to the others, this is going to take some time!”

Liz smiled. She knew what was on the other side of the steel door. She couldn’t feel him yet, but she could feel the pull of the connection. And she could follow the connection.

Liz softly cleared her throat and made them all jump when she said: “I think I can help.”

For a moment, Isabel, Viona and Shalmar were surprised into silence. Before they could ask questions or say a word, Liz confidently walked up to the door. She placed her hand on the door and… disappeared!

Too late, Viona lunged to stop her. Her hand closed on empty air.

Isabel let out an exasperated sigh. “Great! Just great!”

Still on the floor, Shalmar put her hands over her face. “Oh no.”

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - To part 32 6/23/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/23/19 18:00

Part 30

Liz reached out to touch the door. She expected it to open, or disappear. She didn’t expect to be drawn inside when she touched it.

Inside was a kalidiscope of images; like and not like the ones she experienced with the light blue stone. The scenes were all of different places and people... ‘Not of this world’.

“Max! Max where are you?” Could she find him here or is she now one of the scenes in his stone visions? A chill thought ran through her, and she turned back to check the door.

Which wasn’t there.

***

Alex stood in the hall watching Isabel, Viona and Shalmar. He had to admit, that when Max closed himself off, he really did a good job of it. He had been an interested observer as Isabel ran around the dream plane. Even here he couldn’t make himself heard. Of course when he was part of her own dreams, he could step into his own shoes, as it were, talk to her, but only as she dreamed it. Alex sighed and remembered the last dream… he could think of worse places to be. Boy could she dream a kiss!

Alex alone saw Liz open the door behind them and walk out into the hallway. And applauded when she walked into Max’s dream. “Way to go Liz!” He was proud of how strong his friend was, and amazed at what she could accomplish in the name of love. If he was that strong, maybe he could have gotten through to Isabel by now. Maybe the changes he could see happening to Liz had something to do with it.. A little alien hocus-pocus didn’t hurt!

His applause was short lived when he heard what Viona and Shalmar told Isabel.

***
Liz ducked down behind some rocks and tried to get her thoughts in order while power blasts, small rockets and gunshots rang all around. This was the longest vision yet, and she was stuck in the middle of it. This was at least the fourth battle she had ‘seen’ since she was in here. She didn’t know if she could get hurt from a vision, and she didn’t want to find out. “How am I ever going to get Max out of here if I can’t even find him!”

“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

Liz whirled around in surprise. “Alex! What you are doing in Max’s vision?” Liz didn’t really expect an answer. So far she had gone totally unnoticed by any characters in this ‘place’. Then it hit her that Alex had actually said something to her! “Alex!”

Alex flung his arms out and grinned. “The one and only! Don’t I get a hug?”

Liz didn’t care if this was only a dream, it felt so good to see him again. She stood up and hugged him, and got a giant hug in return. “I don’t care why you are here. I’m just glad you are.” Liz pulled back from Alex and looked around. “Hey! If Max is starting to dream about people he knows now, maybe he is finally getting control of the stone!”

Alex put a finger on Liz’s chin and turned her face back toward him. “Liz, I’m not here because he is dreaming me. I’m here the same way you are. I followed you here through the steel door.”

Liz abruptly sat down on the ground and Alex sat down next to her. “Is this still Max’s visions or am I dreaming now?”

Alex put an arm around her. “Hey, don’t start wigging out on me. No this is still Max’s vision. I just decided to crash the party. It’s kind of nice being able to talk to someone again. I’ve been roaming around Roswell ever since… well you know, but I haven’t been able to get anyone to see or hear me.”

Liz sat there with her mouth open as what he was saying got through to her. She took his other hand and held it in both her own, turning it over, feeling it, trying to accept that this wasn’t part of the whole stone thing. She put a hand up to his face and laid it on his cheek. “Oh Alex, if this is true, if you really are here… But how? You were… I mean you are…” She started to cry.

“Dead. Yes you can say it. I just haven’t… gone on as it were. Liz…” Alex patted Liz on the back and felt supremely uncomfortable. Crying women… It always made him feel helpless, and he didn’t know if they had time for this. “Liz, I’m here for a reason. I’ve got to help you get out of here! Come on now. I don’t know if I will be able to stay in here, and I’ve got to talk to you!”

Liz rubbed her hands hard on her cheeks and took a deep breath. “Okay, I guess if there can really be aliens then I shouldn’t be surprised at a ghost!”

“Well I’m only technically a ghost. I think Tess did something to me that made a difference. Or maybe just made it possible for me to stick around. But a real ghost couldn’t come here and talk to you, at least I don’t think so.”

“Oh Alex! You won’t be a ghost or whatever for long. We are going to get you back. I mean really get you back!”

The determination in Liz’s voice made Alex smile tenderly. “Hey, I believe you! And I’d like to get you out of here so you can do just that. That’s why I followed you here. To get you out!”

Liz stood up again and so did Alex.. No need to hide from the battle, it had turned into some alien version of a palace throne room. “I am not going until I find Max and get him out of here!” Then she tilted her head and looked up at Alex. “How do you know what’s going on here? Or is it a trade secret?” She added with an impish grin.

Alex told her what he had heard after she had passed through the doorway.

***
Viona stood with her hand pressed against the steel door. “Who is she?”

“Liz, she is Max’s girlfriend. If anyone can get Max out of there, she can!” Isabel felt a sense of relief that Liz was on it. ‘If she got in there then she can help!’

Shalmar got back to her feet. “Is she a friend of yours too?” Isabel nodded. “I hope she makes it okay. You two might as well go back. I will keep trying.”

Isabel grabbed hold of Shalmar and looked from her face to Viona’s. “What do you mean by ‘makes it okay’? She went in, we saw her. She’s with Max. He won’t let anything happen to her. He loves her.”

Viona patted her arm. “I’m sure he does. I just don’t think he will even know she is there. And it can be very dangerous for her. If he should wake up before he knows she is there… she won’t be coming back… for a while anyway.”

“But I don’t understand! You said it couldn’t hurt Max, Michael, or me so why should it hurt Liz? She was able to get in… however she did it. Any way, why can’t she just walk right back out again?”

Shalmar shook her head. “Isabel, this is not a dream.” She gestured to the steel door. “Just look at it! Max is ‘in’ the king’s stone. He will stay there until he realizes where he is and what is happening. Then and only then, he will be able to wake up. When he does, everything that is within this vision door will cease to exist. If your friend isn’t totally aware of what is happening, she can get caught forever wandering around, trying to find her way out. Her body will be here, but her mind will be wandering… out there. She will stay that way until one of us can get to Roswell and connect with Max while he uses the stone. We can teach him how to bring her back.

“On the other hand, if Max cannot find out the truth, he will remain lost in the vision himself. And there will be no one, who can master the King’s stone, to bring him out.”

Isabel’s anger burst out without any respect for who she was yelling at. “And you just told me this now? You just lied when you said it wasn’t dangerous? What kind of elders are you? What kind of people are you? No don’t touch me! I’ll find a way to him myself! Liz did. So can I!”

Viona wrung her hands. She could feel the fear coming off of Isabel. “Dear, as long as he has that stone in his hand, there is a chance for him to properly connect to it. I don’t know why he hasn’t yet. But there is still a chance… for both of them.”

Shalmar wasn’t paying attention to what had been said. She was concentrating on the brief sight she had had of Liz. ‘There was a blue glow about her hand.’ She grabbed Isabel. “There was a blue glow around her hand! Isabel, I think Liz is using one of the stones; maybe the Bride’s stone. And if she has used it, and come here, then she might be able to get out before he wakes! Viona, she has learned how to use the stone!”

Viona turned to look at the door again. “The Bride’s stone….makes sense. If only we had had a chance to talk to her before she went in! If she has control over her stone, then it would be simple for her to get out again. But she has to know how!”

“How would she do it?”

“She can just tell the stone to take her back out. But first she must use the stone to make Max see her. Then she must make him understand what he is experiencing. He can then tell the king stone to release him and her.” Shalmar stood with Viona looking at the door. “If… a big if… he has, or can get, control of his stone.”

Isabel still didn’t understand the problem. “But why does he have to release her? Can’t she come out the way she went in?”

Viona explained. “A King, when he is in the stone, would be vulnerable to mental attack. So anyone entering his visions is caught up in them until released. It was never assumed that someone would need to go in to help him.”

Alex didn’t wait to hear more. Nothing was going to keep him from helping Liz. Nothing was going to keep him from Liz. He ran at the door and disappeared into it.

***
Isabel ran over something Viona said in her head. “as long as he has that stone in his hand,” In a panic she willed herself to wake up.

She sat up in bed. Ignoring the fact that she just made Kyle, Michael and Maria jump out of their skins, she jumped off the bed and looked wildly around. “Help me find something!”

Maria put down the cedar oil she had been sniffing. “Like what? What are you doing back? Why hasn’t Max waked up yet? What are you looking for? Hey, where are you going now!?” Maria had to yell the last part because Isabel had run from the room and was furiously opening drawers in the kitchen.

Michael charged out followed by Kyle and Maria. “Isabel, for Gods sake, tell us what you found out! It’s Max, Isabel!”

“Damn it Michael I know that! Help me or stay out of my way! Got it!” She yelled and ran back into the bedroom past her confused friends. She held a small metal tea strainer. With this she scooped up the king stone and plopped it into Max’s hand. Then she closed his hand around it. For good measure, she closed Liz’s hand more firmly around her stone, too. “Okay, it’s all up to you guys now.”

Part 31

Liz threw her arms around Alex. “Alex! You are wonderful!” Liz looked at her hand. She could just see the ghost glow of the stone on her hand. “Wow, I guess I was too busy to notice.” Then Liz stepped back and closed her eyes. “I’ve got to concentrate on the stone.” Her eyes flew open. “Will you be able to, uh, follow me if I disappear?”

“I don’t know, I tried to concentrate on finding Max when Isabel first discovered she couldn’t get through to him. It worked and I went right to him alright… I wound up back in your room.”

“Hold my hand then and hope for the best! Oh Alex! There is so much I want to talk to you about. But Max…”

“I know, you have a ‘situation’ here. Go on. I’ll follow if I can.”

“If you don’t make it with me, remember… We are going to get you back!” Alex held her hand tightly and murmured something in her ear. Liz nodded and once again closed her eyes. A small giggle almost escaped her... “I’m back to ‘stone, Max, stone’ again!”

Liz tried mentally walking herself through it. ‘Okay, concentration, intent, visual.’ She put a picture of Max in her head, and thought about him inside the door. She didn’t want to find herself waking up next to him on the floor. She might not be able to get back there.

She opened her eyes and found herself on a balcony high on a huge building, overlooking a vast city… An alien city. Max was on the balcony. “Max!”

Max didn’t so much as flinch. Liz ran to him and threw her arms around him. But he stood woodenly looking out. “Stone! What can I do to make him see me?”

*You must connect*

Liz knew a perfect way to do that! She put her hands on either side of his face and kissed him.

* …at that time King Aston took hold of all the guilds. *

Liz pulled back. “Was that you Stone?”

* It is the King stone *

She connected with Max again.

* …the economy crumbling. The guilds sent emissaries to the king. *

The balcony dissolved and they were standing in the throne room scene, she had seen earlier.

* King Aston refused their plan and totally disbanded the guilds. The resulting riots gave ample opportunity for the assassination of Aston. *

The people in the scene changed.

* His younger brother Larth, ascended the throne and reestablished the guild system. It took most of his thirty-year reign to remove the last traces of economic regression. The methods used…*

Liz fought the siren call of what was obviously a history lesson of Max’s planet. It almost caught her also, with the hypnotic voice and the flashing scenes. With all her strength she used her connection to try and get Max’s attention. “Max! Oh Max please look at me! Feel me. I’m here with you!” …nothing!

What else could she try? She looked around remembering Alex… he wasn’t there. But she still heard what he had told her before he tried following her. “Let Max know how important it is for you get out of there. No power on Earth could make him put you in danger!”

“Humph, make that no power on two planets!” Liz renewed the kiss and said just two words over the link. “Max! Help!” Then broke off the kiss.

***
Isabel took one more intent look at Liz and Max, then shooed the puzzled trio out of the room ahead of her. “I don’t want to risk waking Max up right now.”

“What?!” Came out of three throats.

In Liz’s front room, Isabel sighed herself down on the couch and pushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear with a shaking hand. She looked up at her friends. “It’s a long story. Want to sit down?”

Michael sat down beside her and took her shaking hand in his. “Are you alright?”

She nodded her head. “I’m fine.”

“Did you find out how to wake Max up? And What about Liz?”

Maria sat down on the coffee table. “You didn’t look surprised to see her like that. You put the stone in Max’s hand, when just looking at it got him where he is! Why? What did you find out?”

Kyle stood looking first at the bedroom and then at Iz. Before she could answer any of the first questions, he added more. “How come you woke up and Serena didn’t? You were supposed to find out how to wake Max up and now you don’t want him to. What gives?”

Isabel ran her hands through her hair and tried to concentrate on the questions, but her mind was on the bedroom and the two bodies lying on the floor. Her emotions were seesawing between hope and fear.

Kyle turned his full attention on Isabel and moved to the couch. “Isabel, please tell us what you can. From what you are feeling, I’m going to imagine all sorts of horrible things… Like they are never going to wake up or something!”

The way her face went white, made him weak in the knees and he sat down on the couch arm. “Tell us.” He said softly.

“I couldn’t get into Max’s dream. It’s not like a regular dream. It’s like he is captured by the stone or something. Viona and Shalmar…” She waved her hand in a ‘don’t interrupt me now’ gesture. “Two elders… dream walkers… tried to get in their own way too. They couldn’t. Then from out of nowhere, Liz shows up and walks right in!” Isabel took back her hand and rubbed her face. “It’s the stone she’s holding. It let, or helped, her get to him somehow.”

Maria made an exasperated sigh. “You had me so worried! Then it’s okay! Liz is with him and she can help him get back… wake up… whatever.” She got a slight frown on her face. “But why don’t you want Max to wake up?”

Isabel answered in a very small voice. “Because, if he wakes up before Liz does, she won’t wake up until Max can be taught how to help her. And if she can’t find him in there and show him how to wake up, there is no way to help him. No way at all.”

Michael got up and paced around the room and back. “I don’t understand! Those stones are supposed to be used. They are supposed to help. How come they are trapping Max and Liz?”

Serena walked into the room. “Because, a person is supposed to be taught how to use them before ever getting close to one!”


Part 32

“Liz!” Alex appeared beside her. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you. If he gets the message, he may wake up, really wake up, to help you! And that won’t help you at all!”

“Alex. If he wakes up and leaves me here, you said that they would come and help him get me out. The important thing is that he gets out!”

“Out of where? Where are we?” Max, finding himself with Liz wrapped around him, did what comes natural, he hugged her to him. “Are you alright? I thought I heard you calling for help.”

Liz started to cry in relief. “Oh Max!” They kissed and Max was inundated by flash after flash as Liz re-lived what seemed like the last few hours. The kiss went on until Alex interrupted.

“Ahem!”

Max broke off the kiss and looked around, and grinned. “Alex!” He extended one hand and drew Alex into a one arm hug, not releasing Liz with the other one. “It’s great to see you’re okay…I mean considering. So how much do you know about what’s been happening? Not here, about getting you back.”

“Just exactly how did you know about me?”

Liz grinned. “Max and I have our own kind of ‘communication’ when we kiss. I showed him everything I know about what is happening right now.”

“Ooookay. Well, I guess everything is okay now? You and Liz can go back?”

Max let go of Liz and put his hands on Alex’s shoulders and looked him in the eye. “Alex, I don’t know what to say. I was a jerk. I didn’t… couldn’t, let myself believe that one of us could be the cause of your death. It was easier to let the ‘official’ record be.
So… you know about Tess and the crystal and everything?”

“Yes. I have pretty much been wherever Isabel has been. And Liz and Maria here and there.“ Alex grinned. “ I guess I don’t have to say I’ve been verrry interested in the whole thing!”

Max looked at the ground. “Then you know that I have been against it. Now, I realize that we have to bring you back no matter what. I don’t know why you are still here. I don’t understand it at all. We’ll go ahead with the plans.”

“Not if it will put more of you in danger! I would rather be stuck here than lose a friend.”

Max felt his heart swell with pride in his friend, and shame in his own past attitude. “We can’t let you just stay this way! We won’t! But now you can give us some vital information that can help us get you back.”

“Help you how?”

“You know that we need to change the least amount that has happened, right? I want to know what shape you were in when you got to Kyle’s that night. How did you feel? Were you, in your estimation, still okay enough to be healed? If not, then when and where were you, that you know of, that you could give an accurate account of?”

Alex closed his eyes a moment. “This isn’t easy to talk about or remember, you know. I was pretty messed up by the night I … died. Tess couldn’t keep me under all the time. I had to be able to think on my own, to solve her problem. She used compulsion as often as she used wind warp.

“There were three days when I was absolutely sure that Liz had found me and we were now working on the book for you, Michael and Isabel. When that illusion broke, I started writing notes to myself and hiding them all over. Notes to help me remember what was going on. I fixated on certain things that might give you guys clues about what had happened to me. One of them was that damned spicy sweet/hot Ti food. I hate Ti food!”

Alex looked at Liz with open admiration. “Liz figured them out just like I knew she would! By the time Tess finished me off, I had headaches almost all the time, dizzy spells too, when I couldn’t walk straight. But I could still get around on my own most of the time, so I guess I wasn’t past saving yet.” Alex shrugged. “I can’t get any clearer that that about how I felt. I couldn’t sleep for a couple days, and then I would sleep around the clock. I don’t really know how messed up I was. Sorry.”

“Any black outs? Double vision? Tunnel vision?” Max asked several other questions pertaining to Alex's condition leading up to that night. The answer to most was...

“No, not that I remember.”

Max looked at Liz with a relieved smile. “I don’t think there was bad enough brain damage that he couldn’t be healed. We have a time and a place now. We need to tell the others.”

Liz threw her arms around Max then grabbed Alex in a huge hug. “I knew it! I told you! Oh thank you Alex!”

“Thank ME?”

“For helping us get you back!”

Max held out his hand to Alex. “Well I guess we should get started. I know a couple of people who will want to know right away… “

Liz held her hand up. “Max, do me a favor. Stay right here and keep Alex here too. Alex. Don’t let him get caught again by that talking stone!”

“Where are you going?” They both asked.

“I am going to try waking up and coming back again. Max, tell your stone to let me leave!”

Liz concentrated on her stone. “Take me to Isabel.”

Nothing happened. “Stone, why won’t you take me to Isabel?”

* She is not on the dream plane. *

“I wish to wake up. I need to get her here.”

* She cannot come without a stone.*

“Which stone?”

* She cannot come with out a stone. *

Liz sighed; of course, the stone doesn’t know what stones we do have. So how could it answer? “I wish to wake up.”

***

Liz found herself lying on the floor in her room. Isabel wasn’t on the bed. “Yes! ISABEL!”

There was a small stampede of feet coming toward the bedroom. Isabel, Maria, Michael, Serena, and Kyle came charging in. Liz wasn’t about to let anyone start asking questions! “Don’t ask! Max is okay, he’s controlling the stone. Isabel, I need you back on the dream plane… now!” Liz grabbed the bag with the stones in it and tumbled them onto the bed. “Isabel, is there one that calls to you?”

She pointed to the clear yellow crystal. “This one.”

Liz pushed the rest back into the bag. “Hold it, tell it to take you into Max’s vision. Don’t listen to anything else it says, and don’t wonder about anything!” Liz rolled her eyes. “It takes that as an order to talk to you endlessly! And… you can get lost, listening to the answers!” Liz lay back down and closed her eyes. She was out just like that!

Maria made an exasperated sound and marched back out of the room. They could hear her down the hall. “When I get her back, I’m going to give her a piece of my mind! A big Piece! When she reached the front room, she collapsed on the couch and they could hear her sob. “Thank God.”

Michael grabbed Isabel’s hand as she reached for the stone. “Wait. Are you sure about this?”

Isabel sat down on the bed. “Serena?”

“She’s right. It should work. You keep control of the stone. Don’t let it offer information on its own. You’ll be fine.”

Isabel grabbed the stone and drew her legs up onto the bed. She as soon as she closed her eyes, she was concentrating. “Take me to Max’s dream.” She visualized the Dream plane she was most familiar with, and just like that, she was there.

Michael looked at his ‘sister’ then at Max and Liz. “Whatever.” He turned and went to Mara. He sat down and pulled her onto his lap, and leaned back with a sigh. “Ben a looong day.”


***
Isabel looked at the hard dark blue bubble. She had tried this before. But maybe now… But try as she might, she couldn’t open it. She was getting frustrated and a little angry, by the time Liz showed up.

Liz popped out of Max’s vision again, by asking to go to the dream plane. Sure enough, there was Isabel. “Isabel! You aren’t dream walking this time. You are using a stone. Hold my hand and tell it you want to enter the vision. See yourself walking into it.”

They both found themselves in a beautiful walled garden with waterfalls and high lacy trees. And Max.

And Alex.

Isabel stopped dead. “Alex is in Max’s vision?”

Liz grinned, and gently pushed Isabel towards him. “He’s here just like we are. He’s real, go talk to him!”

Alex walked toward her and Isabel stood looking at him like a deer caught in the headlights. Alex folded her gently in his arms. “It’s alright. I’m really here. I’ve been with you quite a lot lately. I’ve heard every word you’ve said to me. This time you can hear what I have to say.”

Max came to Liz and they walked as far as the small garden would allow. Isabel and Alex had some “talking” to do!

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - tp part 35 6/23/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/23/19 18:02

Part 33

Isabel pulled back out of his arms. If this was a joke, it was a cruel one. On the other hand, if it was just a kindness on Max’s part to give her the illusion of being with Alex… well… she could forgive that. But Liz’s words came back to her. “He’s real, go talk to him!” Oh God. If it weren’t just so impossible!

“You’re real? How? You’re… you’re… “ Isabel hid her face in her hands.

Alex placed a hand on her shoulder and she jumped like he had shocked her. He took his hand back, a look of heartbreaking sorrow in his face. “Isabel, Tess did more than kill me. She did something ‘to’ me. Maybe short-circuited me… or something. But I am not exactly dead, and not exactly alive either. I have been with you almost constantly since … then… you know. Please Isabel. I don’t know why we can meet here, or how long we can be together!”

She couldn’t ignore the pleading in his voice. She looked up into his eyes. ‘It had to be him… really him. Oh God, if it really is…’ Isabel ran a hand through her hair and wished that she had known she would see him. This should be so special; he wasn’t seeing her at her best. She laughed at herself and lowered her head. ‘Ah… how can I care about that now?’ She looked up at him and seemed to swallow him with her eyes. ‘Alex… If it isn’t real… I don’t care!’

Alex sensed that she was ready to accept him and gently pulled her back into his arms.

Isabel sighed and leaned in to his embrace. There were so many things she could say. But all she could think of was…“You’ve heard everything I’ve said?”

She stood there still somewhat bewildered in a storm of emotions. She was struggling to hold back the tears that so badly wished for release. He ran his hands up and down her back and she shivered. His proximity was doing things to her.

“Everything Isabel.” He whispered, as he tipped her head up so that he was gazing lovingly into her eyes.

She cleared her throat as she mumbled, “Define everything.”

Alex smiled knowingly, “You came to visit my… grave, a short time back to speak of Time-Travel and getting me back. You pretended we discussed Tess and what she had done.” He looked deep into her eyes. “You said something about love…? I think it’s your turn to clarify.” Alex grinned in anticipation. He couldn’t wait to hear her say it to him, face to face.

Isabel nodded; her heart was screaming ‘I love you’ but the words caught in her throat. As her eyes welled with tears, she fought them back and choked out her explanation. “I meant it. If you heard it, I meant it, every word.” Then it hit her, if her words would not allow themselves expression, it did not mean her actions were frozen as well.

She looked him directly in the eyes, and placed her hands gently on each side of his face. “For the record, let it be known that this is a small down payment on what I’m going to do to you, when we get you back.” She leaned slowly in and placed her lips on his. The kiss was soft and gentle, and the tears she had tried so hard to still, escaped down her cheeks; ignored. She pulled back momentarily and took a shaky breath, “Let me rephrase that, ‘When I get you back’.” Then she kissed him with all the feeling, those three unsaid words could express.

Alex knew she wasn’t ready to say the words he longed to hear. But her silent statement had fairly taken his breath away. His knees were weak and his hands on her back wanted to shake.

Time to lighten the moment with his famous brand of humor, “Well, if this is what I get in this dream… whatever, realm… ” He grinned mischievously. “Then I can’t wait to get back!” And he wiggled his eyebrows up and down and tried to give a poor actor’s impression of a leer.

Isabel’s tension dissolved in soft laughter. This was so Alex!

Then a thought crossed her mind and she gave a slight frown. “You’ve been with me everywhere?”

“Yep.” Alex nodded.

Isabel tried again… “You know what I’m asking Alex Whitman.” A slight trace of annoyance creeping into her voice and a slight flush reddened her cheeks. “Everywhere?”

Alex Almost gave a tricky answer like ‘Well lets just say there aren’t many secrets between us anymore.’ But the look on Isabel’s face made him relent. “I didn’t stay in your room all the time Isabel. I wouldn’t do that to you. I did stay outside your door a lot though, and only came in when I thought it was safe, like when you were sleeping or if I heard you crying.”

“Oh Alex!” Isabel didn’t really know how she rated someone like Alex, and she had almost thrown him away before he died. Her face flushed in shame. “Alex, I’ve done a lot of things that I’m not proud of. But I never knew how to act, or what I was doing. I honestly have never treated any boy right. I didn’t dare be normal. So I really messed up with you.” She was looking at his lips, afraid what she might see in his eyes. And all she could feel was the desire to kiss those lips. She shook herself mentally and continued. “You’re so unlike any other guy… I wanted to let it be real. I couldn’t. You terrified me with what we could be to each other. And what I could lose.” Isabel was opening her heart as she had never done before he died.

He placed his finger on her lip as he silenced her apologies, “No more Isabel. I know, I truly know, what you really think of me... feel for me.”
I don’t need you to apologize. We’ve all done a lot of growing this past year and half. You especially. I don’t fault you for anything that has happened. …Which reminds me of a conversation we had in the dream realm right after I (forgive this word) died. Let’s call it ‘disappeared’, hmm? It’s been crazy knowing everything going on with all you guys, but unable to effect any changes… unable to respond… to help.” Alex brushed a stray lock of hair back from her face. “Isabel, you once said you were sorry, that you brought me into your life. That you felt responsible for my death, because of who you are. Hear me and hear me good, it-wasn’t-your-fault Isabel, ever.”

“Thank you Alex. I can’t help feeling that it is true… but thanks for saying those nice things.”

“They’re not just nice things Isabel. It’s the truth, and you need to get it inside your head… and your heart. You are not to blame for any of this. So just stop it!” He leaned back and grinned at her. “Besides! No one puts down my girlfriend like that. No one, unless they want to deal with me! And that includes you!”

She grinned sadly, but his words were soothing over an open wound in her heart, that she really wasn’t even aware existed. Isabel was melting into his embrace, and letting herself feel… Actually feel his presence holding her up. They moved over to one of the rocks by the magnificent waterfalls and sat down as they continued to discuss things.

“Ok,” Alex continued, “you guys have been through a lot, since I “disappeared.” And I’ve been through all of it with you. Call me your guardian Angel if you will. I got stuck in this Limbo state where I’m not fully a ghost, or else we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all, but I’m not in the human plane either. Really I can’t wait to get out of here. And with Tess gone… Excuse me as I break into a rousing rendition of (which he proceeded to do…) “Ding Dong the witch is dead, the wicked witch, the wicked witch!” Seeing Isabel’s look of disbelief, he held his hands up in surrender, “Ok. But with her gone, we all truly do have the ability to LIVE. All of us, we can do whatever we want, There is no-more-DESTINY, except that which we make for ourselves. And you Isabel, you are the destiny I choose. You always will be.”

“And you are mine Alex.” She whispered to the air. She had been leaning back into him, and he was encircling her with his arms. Now she turned to face him. “I could sit like this forever, but we can’t stay here. We have to go back and get you back!” She stood up and held her hand out to him. “Let’s go talk to Max and Liz and see what we can do.”

Alex tugged gently on her hand. “I have already talked to Max and he knows when to help me. Isabel, I have been walking in shadows, unseen, untouched for so long. Let me have just a little more time here with you.” He drew her onto his lap. “You know, I won’t know anything about what you all have been doing since I died. I will not have walked among you unseen and unheard. I will never have heard you vow your love for me. This is me, Alex now, that wants you to promise, when you get me back, that you won’t wait long before telling me those three words your heart knows, and your lips won’t let you say.” He lifted her hand to his lips and begged with his eyes. “I was so full of longing and hope that one day your would love me as I have always loved you. It was worse than where I am now; neither in heaven nor in hell. Promise me you won’t make me stay that way long.”

Isabel sobbed helplessly, unable or unwilling to stop her tears. It was thus that she promised to Alex all that he had asked.

***
Max leaned against a tree and pulled Liz into his arms. They stood watching Isabel and Alex for a couple of minutes, before turning away to give them privacy. Max nuzzled Liz’s hair and she sighed happily in his arms.

“Max, no more resistance to getting Alex back? Really?”

Max took another peek at the two. “I’ve never seen Isabel this way before. I never realized how much they meant to each other. Isabel sure went to lengths not to show it, but just look at them! How could I not get him back now? I meant what I said to Alex.”

“And your issue with the danger?” Liz wanted to press the issue now. The danger to them all had been his biggest argument.

“Alex himself was the biggest unknown. If we went back to just before he got home, and he was too far gone to save, then we would have to go back again…and maybe again. Each time it would be a bigger danger of causing a fatal change in the time line. Now we know where and when he will be…and still savable. Even this way there is so much that can happen wrong… “ He sighed. “Serena said that we could take back whatever information we needed to insure a better outcome from some of the harrowing escapes we’ve had. That is not much, but it is something. Whatever the danger… we can’t leave him like this. I’m not that cruel.”

Liz put her hand up to his cheek. “I never thought you could be. I just needed you to understand. Alex is a part of us. A part of what we are to each other as a group and as friends. All of us. Not just Maria and me… and Isabel. Knowing we could have saved him and not trying would have killed what we are. I don’t think I could live with it.”

Max turned his head and kissed her hand. “Now you won’t have to.”

***

Part 34

Serena picked the bag of stones up and followed Michael back to the front room, Kyle following. She sat down and tapped the bag of stones in her hand. “I think we need to talk about these. We don’t need any more accidents! You need to learn how to use them.”

Maria looked up from Michael’s chest, a look of amazement on her face. “You want us to use those things after what we’ve just been through? You’re nuts!”

“It is because of what we’ve just been through that you need to know about them!” Serena insisted. “Not knowing, is what caused all the trouble. Look here… “ She tipped out some of the stones, and put all but four back into the bag. “These, for instance… These are like the balancing stones you have already used; you call then healing stones. These also balance, but what they balance is your talents. Kyle, you will be the first to use these.”

“Me! Why do I get to be the guinea pig?”

Serena cocked her head and smiled. “Your talent is giving you the most trouble, isn’t it? Besides, these are not like the others.”

Michael wasn’t interested in listening to anything about the stones until Max, Isabel and Liz ‘got back’ from where ever the stones had taken them. “Enough about stones. We wait until everyone is here.”

“But Michael… “

“Serena, I said we wait. Period!”

Maria sat up and looked sternly at Michael. “Michael that is no way to talk to Serena after all she has done for us! Now you apologize.”

Michael began to get mad. He sat Maria off his lap onto the couch and stood up. “Those stones have caused enough trouble for one day. We are not doing anything until they get back! And that’s that!”

Now Maria jumped up and stood toe to toe with Michael. “Michael Guerin, who died and left you in charge! It wouldn’t hurt you to learn something for a change… if you don’t think it would hurt your head!”

Serena realized that she had set off a bomb. “Please… It’s all right, we can wait.”

Michael and Maria both turned their heads to Serena. “You stay out of this!”

Kyle stepped up to Serena’s side and gently putting his arm around her shoulders, he steered her out onto the hall. “Shh… It’s okay.” He said softly.
Once in the hall, he explained. “Michael was out of his head with worry over Max and Isabel, and Maria was scared for Liz. Now they both feel better.”

“But I’ve started a fight between them!”

“Don’t worry about it. That is their natural condition. No really, I mean it. They are both feeling better now. They are letting the pressure off, that they both need.” Kyle pressed his hand to his forehead, and put his other hand against the wall behind Serena. “And about time too!” He looked down at Serena. “You know you’re right about me needing those stones. I, for one, will be okay with learning how to use them.”

Serena found herself about four inches from Kyle’s chest and had to look up at him. For a moment she had the strangest sensation in the pit of her stomach. Kind of butterflies. She put her hand up to his face for the briefest touch. “You are some kind of guy Kyle Valenti.”

Kyle froze and a tingle went through him. For once he didn’t have a smart thing to say in return. He stood looking down into the most amazing eyes he had ever seen. And the feeling he was receiving from her was making him dizzy. “Serena… “

“Well… I can see they were verrry worried about us!” Liz giggled.

Kyle stood back from the wall, pulling at his shirt in a nervous gesture, and Serena moved away from him slightly, her face a pretty pink. Max, Isabel and Liz stood in the hall outside the bedroom. Kyle and Serena had been too occupied exploring this new development to notice.

To cover the awkward moment, Kyle yelled. “Hey! They’re back!” Then gathered Serena in his arm and leaned against the wall as Maria and Michael came galloping through.

Maria threw her arms around Liz in a huge hug, and then started in on her. “Oh you are in so much trouble Chicka! How could you trick me like that? Me! I thought you had more sense than that! What if something should happen? What am I saying! Something nearly did! Why didn’t you tell me what you were going to do? You scared the shit out of me!”

Liz tried not to grin, but it was hard. Maria was being so…. Maria! “You wouldn’t have let me do it.”

“Damn right I wouldn’t. Are you alright Chicka?”

Michael put an arm around a very happy looking Isabel and looked like he wanted to punch Max in the nose. “That was stupid! Maxwell, we got enough going on without you pulling a stunt like that!” He gave Max a light punch in the arm and grinned. “ …Glad you’re okay. Okay?”

Max nodded with a smile and guided Liz on down the hall to the stairs.

“Hey where do you think you’re going? I’m not done with her yet!”

“Relax Maria, We need to eat something. When you are through being mad… and happy we made it back, I might tell you about Alex!” Max grinned and it was a good thing his back was to Maria when he did. Right then she was in no mood to be messed with.

“Wait! What about Alex? How did he get into this? Hey wait for us!” She grabbed Michael and ran in pursuit.

Kyle and Serena stood looking at Isabel quietly for a moment. She had rested against the wall and was looking happy, sad and tired all at once. She glanced up at them and smiled. “Guess one crisis is over.”

Kyle was trying to sort out what she was feeling, but his own feelings were getting in the way. After all, he hadn’t taken his arm off of Serena yet. “Okay Isabel, give. You look way too happy for just coming out of a crisis. What was that stuff about Alex? Did you guys finally figure out when to go back?”

Isabel stood straight and gave him a brilliants smile. “Oh so much more than that! I got to talk to Alex himself!” At their look of astonishment, she grinned and whirled around in a very un-Isabel-ish manner. “Just wait until you hear! Oh Serena! Get the crystal out and polish it up. We are going soon!” With that Isabel whirled away and went down the stairs after the others. She left a very confused couple to follow behind.

***
“It’s about time you come down!” Jose yelled at Michael. “The lunch crowd, they come early.”

It was true, the Crashdown was filling fast and there would soon be no quiet corner to talk in. Agnes was casting angry glances at Liz and Maria, even though they had immediately seen the situation and pitched in taking orders.

Max had stopped just inside the rear lunchroom door and now turned to Kyle, Serena and Isabel. “It doesn’t look like there is going to be any chance of talking for a while.” Liz just finished with a customer at the register and was showing another couple a table. Max made a high sign to Maria and she swung by with a tray full of drinks. “Get Liz to eat something as soon as you can. She really needs it!”

Maria glanced at Liz and the crowd, estimating load time. “Don’t worry, there will be a chance for a quick meal in about ten minutes or so. I will drag her starving body to the back and ply her with food!”

Max grinned and thanked her. “Tell her we’ll be back later. We need to find a quieter place to eat.”

“Can do! I’m coming!” Maria swished off, antennae bobbing, to the young man waving his menu, and dropped off the drinks on her way.


Part 35

Max invited Kyle and Serena to come home with him and Isabel. Isabel was shocked when Max led them to the Jeep. He had forgotten to tell her. Hadn’t had the time actually, and now Isabel wanted to stop by their dad’s office and thank him personally.

Max put a little whine in his voice. “Is-a-bel… aren’t you hungry? I feel like I haven’t eaten in a week!”

Isabel riffled his hair. “Hey we will be at home, eating, faster in this jeep than we would have been walking home... even with stopping off. When we get home I will personally fix you a huge omelet… or a couple of ham sandwiches… your choice.”

Max sighed and gave in with a grin. Dad deserved to be given a hug by Isabel for saving their feet… and Charlie’s temper. Once at home with a half eaten omelet in front of him, Max sighed and relaxed. “That is better!” He accepted the grins of Kyle and Serena. Isabel had been nearly as intent on eating as he was, and that was a lot! “What do you suppose made us that hungry? We weren’t gone that long!”

Serena answered around a bite of a Tabasco/ham sandwich. “The learning stones can be that way. You use much more subjective time than actual time, but the body reacts, just the same. You are only supposed to ask one question at a time, though. It doesn’t take that long and is easier on everyone! Everyone that has to stand around and watch, that is.”

Kyle sat watching her eating the T/H sandwich with a kind of horror on his face. “I never realized what it might be like to have an alien cooking for you.” He shuddered and took another bite of his melon. “Oh well, I guess one could live on fresh fruit if you had to.”

Isabel stopped with her fork halfway to her mouth. “Are you thinking of some particular alien Kyle?” She got the satisfaction of seeing him turn beet red. It was hard not to laugh out loud at his embarrassment. Serena had a bit of a blush on her too. ‘Hmmm. Interesting!’

Kyle hadn’t realized he was speaking aloud. He resisted sneaking a peek at Serena to see how she had reacted, and cleared his throat… “Speaking of the stones, what was all that about Alex and speaking to him? You aren’t going to make us wait till later are you? You know Maria, she won’t stop on Liz until she spills the beans.”

Max nodded agreement. “I know Maria alright. I’ll… we’ll… fill you two in right now, and then we can get together tonight and discuss it.”

Serena and Kyle leaned forward in rapt attention as Isabel and Max told about their ‘ghost’ Alex and how they had met him in Max’s stone dream.

Isabel smiled in utter happiness. “We can start talking about when, not if, we can get Alex back now!”

***
Liz sat her order down on the table and started to leave when a big wave of dizziness came over her. She grabbed the table to keep from tipping over. Maria saw this and ran over to her, just as the customer jumped to his feet and grabbed her.

“I’m alright, I’m alright, thank you. Just a little dizzy there for a moment.”

“I got her, thank you!” Maria gave the customer a thankful smile and led Liz away.

“What’s wrong with her? Is she going to be okay?” He called after her.

Maria kept Liz moving and called over her shoulder. “Nothing a little food won’t help. She hasn’t eaten since yesterday.” She gave the high sign to Agnes. “Give him a good desert on the house. Watch the rest, I’ll be back to help as soon as I can.”

Agnes gave her a frown but took another look at a pale Liz and nodded. “Take care of her. I’ll make do.”

Maria was so shocked, she nearly ran Liz into the doorway. “Will wonders never cease!”

She sat the protesting Liz down in back and went to get her some food. Liz looked at the tray she brought back. “Maria I can’t eat all that!” She picked up a burger and took a huge bite, almost sighing in relief. “Come on. You have to help me!”

Maria took another look into the lunchroom and saw that everything seemed to be under control. “Okay, I’ll stay as long as you keep shoveling it in!” She loaded a Spacefry with ketchup and grinned. “Besides, I can grill you while I’m at it!”

Liz moaned. “I knew it! But you’ll have to get answers between bites. I don’t understand why I’m so hungry!”

Maria leaned foreword. “First, what was that crack about Alex? Did Max have, like, a vision of how he died or something? Did the stone give him information that will help us save him?” Maria slammed her hands down on her lap and jumped up and down… “Oh! I know! Did it like show the future and you saw that we got him back? Oh damn I wish I was there already! When is it, was it… whatever?” Maria gave Liz a surprised look; Liz was helplessly falling to pieces with laughter. “What? What already? Spill!” She jumped up and took another peek out into the dinning room and hurried back. “Come on, Chicka, I’m dying here!”

Michael stepped to the kitchen entrance to the back room. He saw Maria bent over Liz and though he couldn’t see her face, he could see her shoulders shaking. “Maria! What’s wrong? Liz! Are you alright?” Then Maria stood up and turned to him and he saw that Liz was laughing. He sighed and came over to them, putting his arm around Maria. “Okay what’s the joke? I could use a good laugh!”

Liz giggled one last time. “Yes, I was just enjoying one myself. Maria has been trying to pump me about Alex and the stone vision… realm… whatever.”

Michael looked down on her. “Well I’m not past a little prodding myself. Why not tell us too?”

“Too?”

“Well Max, Isabel and Serena are off, at Max’s, I imagine. And you know they are not going to let him just sit there without saying anything. If he can tell them, then it is only fair that you tell us too!”

“Come on Liz… “ Maria made a pleading face that almost set Liz off again.

“Okay! I give in. But we have to wait until the crowd leaves. It’s not fair to Agnes, and Jose to let them hold all of it. We’ll have time later… BEFORE the others come back. Promise!”

Michael and Maria had to agree… although reluctantly. Liz’s parents were gone and wouldn’t be back till late that night or the next morning. It wouldn’t do for them to find out that Liz couldn’t be trusted to keep the Crashdown going properly while they were gone. Michael went back to the kitchen while Maria took off for the dining room, and Liz got to finish her meal.

***

Nancy and Jeff opened the back door to the Crashdown, and Jeff brought the bags inside. He took a quick look through the window in the door connecting the back room with the lunchroom. The place was full to the brim and the three waitresses were busy with customers. No one noticed him peeking in. “Quite a crowd out there. But the girls seem to have it in hand all right. Should we pitch in? Or just go on up and freshen up?”

Nancy was as tired and hot as Jeff, and she wasn’t ready to jump into a busy Sunday rush hour. Jeff agreed with her and they took the bags upstairs.

In their own room, Nancy flopped down on the bed. “What a disaster this has been!” They had never gotten near their destination. The car had broken down in the middle of nowhere and it had taken hours to get help and more hours waiting for a tow and repairs. Now they were back feeling like they had been gone for a week instead of a day.

Jeff let himself down on the bed next to her and sighed. “What say we stay gone for a while? We can shower and get a nap and surprise Liz later…. Hmmm?”

Nancy smiled and turned over on her side cuddling into Jeff’s side. “That sounds like a wonderful idea!”


***************

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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - to part 38 6/23/19

Post by chrystalkay » 06/23/19 18:04

Part 36


Later, Liz and Michael sat down at the counter. Agnes and Jose were off now and the occasional customer was easily taken care of. Liz sighed and pushed her hair back. “I’m so glad we can close early on Sundays!”

Maria plopped down three cherry cokes and a bottle of Tabasco and joined them. She glanced around at the lone booth that had customers at it. They were far enough away that they couldn’t hear their conversation. “Think it is safe to talk now?”

Liz got up and went over to the table with a pitcher of ice water. “Everything alright here? Can I get you anything else?” The family assured her that the food was good and that they were okay… except for some desert later.”

Back at the counter, Liz started to tell her friends about ‘the great stone adventure’. Michael wanted to know all about what Max saw and what she had seen of his home planet. Maria, however was not going to stand for any long history lesson. “That can wait for later Michael. You probably need to ask Max all of that. Right now, I want to know what he found out about Alex! Come on girl friend, tell us what Max meant!”

Liz smiled and dug in. “Well, when I got inside, the door had disappeared. The scenery kept changing… from battlefields, to space, to different parts of the castle or palace; the throne room for the most part.

Then I heard a voice speaking in English right behind me…

**
“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

I was surprised. No one had talked to me, heard me or spoke anything I could understand. Then it hit me that Alex had actually talked to me! “Alex!”

Alex flung his arms out and grinned. “The one and only! Don’t I get a hug?”
**

Maria grinned in delight! “You mean Max was having a vision of Alex? Right?”

Liz shook her head. “If he had been a vision, he wouldn’t have noticed me. No Alex was really there somehow. He said Tess must have done something to him. He called it a sort of short circuit or something. He has been hanging around ever since he was killed. Not a ghost, and not alive either. He knows all about us wanting to get him back!”

Maria had her hand over her mouth and tears were starting down her cheeks. “Oh God, Liz! Poor Alex! You mean he has seen and heard everything and we didn’t even know he was here? Oh Liz. No one could hear him or see him. It must be horrible for him! But he is still dead… isn’t he? I mean could we just bring him back as he is now? Without going back in time?”

Michael hugged her closer. “Maria, his body is gone. How are we going to bring that back? He would still be a ghost, even if we could see him.”

Liz hugged Maria from the other side. “Max asked Alex about how he was… felt… just before he died. Max thinks he was still okay enough right at the end for him to heal him. We know when to get him back Maria! Now all we have to do is iron out the details.”

“ Tonight?”

“Tonight!”

***

A few minutes after closing, everyone started showing up. Jim and Kyle had been called and they came in last. The doors were locked and two tables pulled together to accommodate everyone.

The mood in the group was tense and excited. Nearly everyone had already come to the conclusion separately that the later they went, or the nearer to Alex’s death, the less chance of changing the future. Max shared again the conversation with Alex, so Jim and Kyle could be brought up to date. The time was set! Now that it was time to fill in the details, it became very real to everyone exactly what they were doing… and how dangerous it could be!

Kyle was the first with a question pertaining directly to the rescue. “So who will go back? Will there be a problem with who goes and who meets who?” Liz had already explained that Future Max had insisted he couldn’t come in contact with himself or they would both self-destruct or something.

Serena had something to say about that aspect of it. “There would be no reason for one not to meet one’s self, at least as far as that is concerned. The only problem would be in changing any aspect of the future before what you went after could be changed. If you were to meet yourself, perhaps you would modify the future enough just by that, that you couldn’t obtain your prime objective. Once you got what you went there for, and the future was changed, you would cease to exist in the past, because the reason for going there never came up. Your earlier self would still be there. You should simply find yourself in the new future with or with out any memory of going back.”

Jim looked puzzled. “Don’t you know which it would be? Does it happen both ways?”

Serena smiled and shook her head. “You don’t understand. As far as I know, no one has ever done this before.”

“There was future Max.”

“Liz. That was… is, 14 years into the future. As of now, no one has ever done this before. It’s only been hypothetical up to now.”

Michael looked annoyed. “So you mean we are getting all our hopes up and it hasn’t even been done yet? How do we know it will even work?”

Liz grinned and repeated herself. “There was future Max!”

Serena held up her hand for attention. “We need to get organized here. Since this affects all of our lives, I need to know if everyone is agreed on if we go back and when we do it. Max? I believe you were the one most against this. What do you have to say about it?”

(Remember this spot – C.)

Max cleared his throat. “I was against it. I’m not now.” He looked at Isabel. “I promised Alex and Isabel I would go through with it. The way I ‘looked’ at it, there are only two times we could really go back and save Alex. The first time, is before I saved Liz. We would have to make sure the gun didn’t go off or that no one was in line of fire. There are too many variables there and I’m not willing to risk her life or Maria’s on an unexpected change in what happened. I’m also not willing to risk replacing all that has happened with worst scenarios.” He traced Liz’s cheek with his finger. “And definitely important to me… I never would have gotten close to Liz. I never would have known what it feels like to be loved for who and what I am.”

Max tore his eyes away from Liz and looked around the table. “The second possible time is just before Alex died. That is the best time and the only time that would change the least that has happened. What I didn’t know, was how close to the time of his death we would be able to go before he was un-healable. Now that I have talked to Alex, I know exactly when and where to catch him before he dies. It is our best shot. The only remaining danger would be Tess herself. I am confident that we can warn ourselves about her, well enough, I think, to keep her from hurting any of us ever again!”

Serena turned to Michael. “And You?”

Michael shrugged and pulled on his ear. “I go along with that. I spent too much time trying to figure out the best time. Simplest is best. If I were going to pick another time, it would be before the special FBI unit goons picked Max up and tortured him. I think he wouldn’t mind not having to remember that! But yeah, the best time would be the latest.”

“Maria?”

She nodded vigorously. “Oh yeah. I am sooo in agreement with that. We are all here and alive… except Alex, and I can’t tell you how hard it is to believe we all made it this time around. I am not up for going through any of that again! But I am sooo for this. Lets go get him!”

Liz smiled at her friend, and twined her fingers with Max’s. “You all know I’m in. I know we’ve been through a lot together… all of us. But I wouldn’t want to risk anything worse happening. Like Maria said. We are all here, and that is the way I want to keep it! So yeah, latest is best!”

Serena looked at Isabel and raised an eyebrow. “I don’t suppose I have to ask you if you want to go through with this?”

Isabel looked around the table at her friends. “It means a lot to me that you are all willing to risk this. Alex was… is your friend, but he is more to me. I don’t care when I have to go back in time to get him. I don’t care what the risk may be to me. I just want him back safe, here, like the rest of us!”

Now Serena turned to Jim and Kyle. “Okay, you two have a say in this also. Kyle?”

It took a moment for Kyle to answer. He had been picking up some strange feelings. They didn’t seem to be the type of feelings the group would have… shock, confusion among others… and they came in response to what was being said.

Kyle shook the feelings off and answered the question. “You know I was never happy about all this alien stuff. And it has been really weird being a part of the ‘I know an alien club’. A lot has happened that I wish hadn’t. Like getting shot, definitely an un-favorite. But undoing it by going back farther means going through it all over again. I’m in, but only for doing the least un – doing as possible.” His look at Serena, said that meeting her was one of the things he didn’t want to see ‘undone’.

Serena blushed a little as she looked at the last to be heard from.

Jim spoke up. “Well… a whole lot has happened since this whole thing started… with Liz being shot and all. But I wouldn’t change more than we have to. So I agree it makes sense to go back the least you can.”

***********



Part 37


Serena nodded and smiled. “It looks like everyone wants to go for it! All we need now is to get down to the details of what we are going to do. We know when we are going to go back in time and save Alex, we just have to decide how to handle it… and who will go”

Max spoke up. “That is easy. We all write down what we want to say to ourselves about what happens between Alex’s death and now. I will be one who goes back, so I can heal Alex. I’ll wait for him outside Kyle’s door and catch him before he goes in. Someone else should go too, so they can deliver the notes to someone there. Once Alex is healed, we can come back… or disappear… whatever.”

“I’ll go with you!” Liz stated.

“No, you won’t.” Max had that no nonsense look. “It could be dangerous. It should be Michael, in case something goes wrong with Tess. And Michael can drive. We won’t have much time to work with once we get there.”

Kyle looked around at the group. Still picking up strange feelings. He got up and went to the other end of the two tables, near Max and Liz. Liz looked sideways at him. He seemed preoccupied.

“Why not just leave the letters with Kyle? Or Alex?” Maria was one for simple solutions.

Isabel shook her head. “Do you really want to give those papers to Alex or Kyle with that Tess witch in the same place?” She turned to Max. “Couldn’t we… get rid of her while we are there? That would be the perfect solution as far as I can see!”

“Iz, are you suggesting we kill her in cold blood?”

“Tess killed Alex and almost killed Maria! Wasn’t that in cold blood? I don’t want to give her another chance at Alex or any of us! What if she gets us all into the Granolith a different way? If she does, Max, Michael and me are good as dead! She pretended to be close to Jim and Kyle, but she would kill them in a heartbeat. Or Maria and especially Liz! It would be safer to stop her right there!”

Kyle jumped a little, and turned his eyes to the back of the room.

“Yeah but at that time, she won’t have killed anyone yet.” Everyone turned to Maria in surprise. She was the last one they would expect to be against it. She looked at each of them. “Look, it isn’t easy to kill someone that isn’t trying to kill you, like she was when we blew her away. It is better that we warn ourselves what a slimy stinky bitch Tess is, was… whatever, and what she is capable of. We can handle it from there! Besides, once Alex is saved, and he tells us… back then us… what she did to him, she won’t have a chance at any of us!”

Max nodded his head in agreement as did many of the others.

“You’re right.” Isabel gave in. “Just make sure you all tell yourselves about her! I know I am!”

Jim spoke up. “I will be making out the most detailed report I can to myself about all that has happened. I know that I… back then, will help in any way I can to keep you safe from her.” Jim looked around at them. “I have never known a finer bunch of kids and I am glad to have been a part of you. If this turns out bad, for me... in the next time around… I’m willing to take that risk. Basically I just wanted to say that I don’t regret a single thing that has happened since I’ve known you! …And if he needs me I would be willing to go with Max.”

Serena leaned foreword and tapped the table in front of her. “I have a suggestion. There is another way to do this that you haven’t thought of. It may cause it’s own problems, but danger to any of you would not be one of them!”

***

Nancy stretched and rolled over. Jeff had his back to her and she couldn’t resist running a finger up his back.

“Hey! I wasn’t asleep. Just thinking.”

“Umm hmm, and the snore was just to make me think you were asleep, so I wouldn’t disturb your thinking.”

“Absolutely!” He turned over and propped his head on his hand. “Not a very pleasant time for you was it? Want to try again in a couple of weeks?”

“Hey, all I did was stick my ankle out to all the cars that whizzed by. You did all the heavy work.”

He reached over and ran a finger down her cheek. “If you had stuck your ankle out like I wanted you to, we would have had help a lot sooner!”

“Flatterer! You keep up like that, and we will never get out of bed!” Nancy reluctantly sat up and searched for her slippers. “Do you realize that it is after seven already? We ought to at least let Liz know we’re here. That is if she is here at all. It is after closing.”

Jeff stretched and agreed. “Ya, let’s at least go down and check on the place. Liz would have put the receipts in the drawer and I need to make a list for re-orders for the rest of the week.”

Nancy shook her head. “You amaze me! Why don’t we just check on Liz, get us something to eat and curl up with a movie? Tomorrow you can jump back in with both feet!”

Nancy was not averse to checking out the house though, and looked with appreciation at the neat living room and clean kitchen. ‘Training accounts for something!’ She thought. There was no sign of Liz in her room. ‘Guess she went out. Good. That means Jeff and I have the place to ourselves tonight.’

While Jeff got dressed, Nancy went on downstairs. The sound of voices could be heard coming from the dining room and Nancy put her hand on the door to peek in and say hi.

---
Max cleared his throat. “I was against it. I’m not now.” He looked at Isabel. “I promised Alex and Isabel I would go through with it. The way I ‘looked’ at it, there are only two times we could really go back and save Alex. The first time, is before I saved Liz. We would have to make sure the gun didn’t go off or that no one was in line of fire. There are too many variables there and I’m not willing to risk her life or Maria’s on an unexpected change in what happened. I’m also not willing to risk replacing all that has happened with worst scenarios.” He traced Liz’s cheek with his finger. “And definitely important to me… I never would have gotten close to Liz. I never would have known what it feels like to be loved for who and what I am.”

Max tore his eyes away from Liz and looked around the table. “The second possible time is just before Alex died. That is the best time and the only time that would change the least that has happened. What I didn’t know, was how close to the time of his death we would be able to go before he was un-healable. Now that I have talked to Alex, I know exactly when and where to catch him before he dies. It is our best shot. The only remaining danger would be Tess herself. I am confident that we can warn ourselves about her, well enough, I think, to keep her from hurting any of us ever again!”
---

Nancy stopped; hand poised to open the door and listened. As she listened, she began to shake. Jeff came down the stairs to join Nancy, and she held her hand up, then brought her finger to her lips. Jeff grinned, okay what were the kids up to that would make Nancy eavesdrop? Then he saw how pale Nancy looked and lost the grin. The voices from the dining room were perfectly clear, and Jeff got caught up in the mysterious conversation.

Nancy gripped Jeff’s hand tightly and stifled a sob as it sank in, what they were listening to. It was plain that they had all… including their Liz, been in danger. That they could still be in danger! This talk about Alex and getting him back didn’t make any sense. No one could bring him back!

Nancy placed her hand on the door again. She was going to get to the bottom of this right now! Jeff closed his hand gently but firmly around hers and pulled it off the door. He placed his mouth close to her ear and whispered, and then led her back to the couch, then he snuck back to the door and propped the door slightly open. They sat together listening to the most bizarre conversation they ever imagined.

***


Part 38

Serena leaned foreword and tapped the table in front of her. “I have a suggestion. There is another way to do this that you haven’t thought of. It may cause it’s own problems, but danger to any of you would not be one of them!” She looked around at the others to see what their reactions might be. But Liz was looking only at Kyle and Kyle was staring at the back of the room. Serena leaned toward him. “Kyle what is it?” She asked quietly. Something was up and with this group; it would most likely be danger.

“Someone is in the back room.” He answered softly.

Max was close enough to hear and came standing to attention. This got the attention of Michael and the three of them joined Kyle staring at the back of the room. Kyle put his hand on Max’s arm. “I think this is something Liz has to handle.”

“What!?” Liz’s mind quickly came to the only conclusion Kyle’s words could lead to. “Oh my God. Oh Max I’m so sorry! I’ll go see what I can do.” She jumped up and headed for the back of the room.

Max followed. Now he realized what had happened. Liz’s parents had come home early and heard what they were talking about. ‘Oh boy.’

Isabel headed for the phone. After a brief conversation, she hung up and returned to Kyle, Serena and Jim. They would just have to wait and see what happened.

***

Liz hesitantly pushed open the propped door and peered into the back. There were her parents on the couch, looking at her. Her Mom had a death grip on Jeff’s hand and her face was pale. Liz stood stock still for a moment. She wasn’t at all sure what kind of reaction there was going to be. One thing she knew for sure was that there would be a lot of questions!

Nancy looked at her daughter. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to say to her, until she realized that Liz was scared. Scared? Of her? Of course not! Nancy let go of Jeff and held up her hands to Liz. “Come here honey.” Liz almost ran to her. Nancy took Liz’s hands and pulled her down next to her.

Max stopped just inside the door and locked eyes with Jeff. He would be the biggest hurdle. Jeff nodded his head slightly in the direction of the kitchen and Max headed that way. Jeff got up and followed him in, closing the door behind them.

***

Nancy put one arm around Liz. “Honey, I want you to tell me about… what I have been hearing. And I want to hear why you haven’t told me…us… about any of it. I want to know first about you getting shot? And Max healing you? When… how? “ Nancy’s eyes started to water and Liz could see that she wanted to cry.

Liz wasn’t sure what to say, much less, how to begin. She sighed and hugged her mom. Guess the best start would be at the beginning. “Remember the shooting here? Max and Michael were here too. Max saw what happened when the gun went off, because while everyone else was watching the men, he was watching me. He got to me fast, and if he hadn’t I wouldn’t be here now. He… he healed me. He had spent his whole life hiding how special he was, but he didn’t hesitate for an instant. He threw it all away on the chance I wouldn’t tell. That no one would find out.” Liz kept eye contact with her mother. The thing she wanted to get across most was that Max had taken a big risk to save her daughter. Liz let out a huge sigh. “Mom, it didn’t turn out so well. The story got in the newspapers about the shooting and though no one knew that I had been shot, at first, Jim kept prying into it. He was our biggest threat for a while. He got my uniform and found the blood and the bullet hole. Others got wind of it too. The FBI special unit started to nose around.”

“What special unit? They have one that looks for people with special talents?”

“No. They have one that looks for aliens. Hold on Mom, the crash actually happened. There really are aliens here. Some are good like Max. Some are dangerous like the ones we have been fighting or hiding from all this time.”

Nancy closed her eyes and shook her head. It was a lot to take in. Then the aliens and Max parts came together. “Max! He’s and alien? Is that why he was able to save you? But he couldn’t have crashed here, he is much too young!” Nancy put her hand to her mouth and her eyes opened wide in disbelief. “Do you mean to say there have been families of aliens living right around here all this time?”

Liz was not going to jump into that aspect of it right now. They had only recently found out about any others living here. “Remember how Max and his sister were found outside of town? They looked about six and were found wandering around by the Evans. They had been left hidden in a cave in some sort of pods, like incubaters. These were brought here in the ship that crashed. They were left to develop until they were big enough or old enough to come out.”

“You mean the babies were just left there?” Nancy was reacting as a mother now, and Liz secretly said hurray. A note of outrage crept into Nancy’s voice. “Do you mean to tell me they were just abandoned here? How could they do that to babies! Oh! Then Isabel… “

“Yes she is one too. And since, after all, it was a crash, some of the people who brought them were killed. Some from the crash, and others by the military. At least two survived, one running and hiding, and the other as a lab specimen for years, until he escaped. The one who wasn’t caught, we think, made a pact with Max’s enemies. He was to turn over the children to them. When he finally got back to the cave, there were three empty pods and the only one left was one holding Tess. He became her ‘father’ and they went in search of the other three. Of course they had to keep a low profile too. The military knew there was another alien out there and they would have loved to get their hands on him.”

“So Michael was the third?”

“Yes.”

“Why wasn’t he picked up with Max and his sister?”

“He was too scared when he saw the lights of the Evan’s car. He hid and wasn’t found till later.”

“Poor little thing. He was all alone.” Nancy shook her head. “That was a cruel way to start a life.” Then some of the other things she heard started to come back into focus. “But this Tess. They said she killed Alex. And almost killed Maria. How could she be one of them and so vicious? And that brings me back to another question. How come you are all talking about saving Alex?”

Liz took a deep breath and pushed her hair back before digging in with the last few months of her life. It was an interesting and eye opening conversation for her mom.

***

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