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Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - To part 41 6/23/19
Posted: 06/23/19 18:06
Max sat and Jeff got a couple of Scrapples and sat down with him. He didn’t say anything for a couple of minutes and Max spent the time wondering what Jeff would say. Considering what he had heard, he would have much to ask about. There was no trace of fear or anger in Jeff’s face, but there was a deep concern. Max pretty much knew what that concern was before Jeff finally talked.
“I want to know what kind of danger Liz has been in and why she got into this. You seem concerned for her safety, but that hasn’t kept her safe in the past… has it?”
“Would you let me talk for a while before asking questions? This is going to be hard to tell in little drips, and it is important that you understand all of it.”
Jeff nodded his head. “Do it your own way son.”
Max kept eye contact with Jeff, as he talked. He didn’t want Jeff to think he was holding anything back. “Mr. Parker, I have loved your daughter long before she even suspected I cared. You might have noticed me hanging around a lot. I was here as often as I could be. Liz means more than my life to me. I didn’t realize that until the day of the shooting.
“Michael, Isabel and I are different, we know that if others knew how different we were, that we would be in danger. We spent all our time trying to look and act normal. We had a pact not to tell or show anyone our secret. Our lives depended on it. When Liz was shot in the stomach that day, all the danger to me… to us… was thrown out the window. I didn’t give a damn about consequences; I saved Liz.
“What I did, I did because I had to… it was Liz! But it scared me. It scared Michael and Isabel. We thought we would have to leave, run and keep running. Liz was scared too at first. She made me tell her who and what we were and it was hard for her to believe at first. I convinced her that we were aliens. ‘Not from this world’ aliens. She accepted us. Accepted me. You don’t know how that felt. I had to convince Michael and Isabel that it was okay and we wouldn’t have to run.
“Then she told Maria.” Max smiled at the memory. “Maria freaked, and almost blew it. By that time, Jim was snooping around and brought Maria in to grill her on what she knew about the shooting. Maria kept the secret. She was scared of us but she kept it. Later she accepted us too and her and Michael got close.”
“After Liz and I had that accident in the Jeep and I was sent to the hospital, Liz jumped in and got Alex to come and help out. Our blood is different. We would have been found out and that would have been the end of us. Liz lied to Alex in order not to break her promise to me not to tell anyone else. I think it killed her to do that.” Max looked down for a minute, a sad smile on his face. She had never failed them even for a minute. No matter how it made her feel. Max looked back up at Jeff. “ Anyway, Liz got him to give a sample of his blood to exchange for mine. Alex did it because he was a good friend of Liz’s and she asked him to. But I know it hurt him that she didn’t trust him enough to tell him what was going on. At the rave, when he and Liz got put in jail, she told him the truth and he came through for her and for us.” Max grinned as he thought of Alex. “Alex had had a crush on Isabel for years and it wasn’t hard for him to accept her as she was and to join in helping us.
“We now had three people that knew our secret and we didn’t know how important that was going to be for us.
“Sir, there are two factions that would love to kill us… or worse. One is the government. They have a special unit that does nothing but hunt aliens. They caught me and kept me at a facility nearby.” Max swallowed and turned a little pale as he continued. “That was really bad. I was caught between dissection and interrogation. They wanted to know things I didn’t know to tell them, and they wouldn’t believe me. I was broken out of there with the help of all of them, including Jim.. uh Sheriff Valenti, before it went too far.
“The other faction is of aliens that are my enemies. Healing Liz, set off a circle of events that kept us in danger. Liz, Maria and Alex wouldn’t stay out of it. They wanted to help and by helping… just by knowing about us, they put themselves in danger. They have also made a difference in our staying alive.
“Michael, Isabel and I have done our best to keep them safe. They in turn have helped to keep us safe. I know that without them, we would have been dead long ago. Sir, what it comes down to, is that Liz has been in danger because I saved her life. And because she has become part of my life, and chooses to stay.”
Jeff sat looking at Max for a long time after he finished. There was no doubt in his mind that Max was telling the truth. Not all of it, but enough to answer the questions. Each statement opened the door for many more questions. But the crux of the matter was that through no fault of his own, except the desire to save Liz, he had put himself, his family and his friends in danger. There didn’t seem to be any other way it could have turned out, the way he explained it. There was however a couple more questions that needed answering right now.
“Okay I can accept what you’ve told me for now. Would you tell me what this business with Tess and Alex is all about? I would also like to know how Jim and Kyle became part of the group and where Serena fits in, but I think there will be time for all that later. Just answer this Tess killing Alex part, who she is, and your talk of saving him.”
Max let out a loud sigh and ran his hand through his hair. “This is going to open up a lot more background questions.” He warned.
Jeff shook his head. “We’ll leave more questions for later. Just tell what you can about this killing. Or killings. I think there was a hint that you killed Tess and wanted to do it again? Confusing as that is, I still want to know how this affected Alex.”
There was noise from the lunch room indicating someone else had arrived. Jeff looked out and saw with not much surprise that it was Diane and Phillip Evans. “Reinforcements, I think.” He said softly to Max. “Continue.”
“Tess was an enemy but we thought she was one of us. She used Alex to get information on how to get us home where we could be killed., publicky, by our greatest enemy. It killed him. We found out and when she shot Maria, and tried to shoot Liz, we killed her. Now we want to go back in time and save him.”
“Whoa… whoa there, how about a little more details now and a lot fewer questions later?
Max smiled and nodded. He knew that Jeff would say that. He had used the brief time to collect his thoughts. “Me, Michael and Isabel lived on our planet as part of the ruling house. There was my bride, my sister, Michael who was betrothed to her, and my second in command, and me, I was the king. The enemy aliens killed us, and our scientists saved our bodies and mixed our DNA with that of earth humans and sent us here to develop and grow in pods. It was the only way that they could save something of us. I believe that when they did it, they hoped we could come back and save them from the enemy someday. Before we were sent, the enemy substituted one of their own for my bride. That someone was Tess. She didn’t come out of our growth pods until after we did… maybe because she was different. The alien that was still alive after the crash, and who had not been caught by our government, hid our pods away in a cave and took off running. He knew that the government would be searching for him and that he could lead them to us. Also the other aliens would be snooping around to find the pods.
“He came back when it was time for us to come out and found that he was too late for the three of us. Tess was there and he took her and raised her. We don’t know when he realized that she was not the real deal. His long life of running finally made him make a deal with the enemy aliens, at least that is what we think. I don’t know how much of a deal he made, but I do know that part of it was to have Tess take us back home. Home to be killed and with the people of our planet thinking she was my bride, they would rally to her and our enemies would rule through her.
“None of us had memories of our past life, none except Tess and those were planted and re-enforced by Nasedo, the alien who raised her. She was given the location of a book that told about us. It was in alien script that none of us could read. She also had a crystal that could make a machine work, the Granolith, which could take us back to our planet. But she needed the book transcribed. Tess had powers that we don’t. She could make people see what she wanted them to see and plant false memories in them. We call it a ‘mind warp’. She also had the power of compulsion. Both of these she used on Alex, because he was our friend and available, and because he was a super whiz at computers.
“That trip to Sweden that we all thought he took was a fake. She had him at a university in Las Cruses deciphering the book. The only way to keep him there was to keep mind warping him. It damaged his brain, maybe because he was strong enough to keep fighting it. I don’t know. Anyway, he finally got free of it enough to challenge her. She mind warped him one more time, and it was too much for him. It killed him. If he had come to me, I could have healed him and confronted Tess with him, but he didn’t. This happened at the Valenti house and Kyle was home at the time. He saw it all but she mind warped him into forgetting it and made him put Alex’s body in the car. She staged the ‘accident’.
“It was Liz who figured it all out. When we were all convinced that it was an accident… NOT a suicide… she kept at it. She insisted that he was killed. There were some faint clues that Alex had left as he fought Tess’s control and Liz managed to put all the pieces together.
“Tess, meanwhile had warped all of us in one way or another, and convinced us that we had to go home. We were seconds away from leaving to our certain deaths by the enemy, when Liz, Maria, and Kyle stopped us. They gave us the evidence we needed to see Tess for what she was… a cold-blooded killer.
“Serena, is another alien. One of ‘ours’. She and others like her have been watching our enemies and trying to keep them away from us until we were old enough to protect ourselves. When the Granolith was turned on they knew. She was close enough to almost get here before it was to take off. She sent a… vision I guess you would call it, to warn us but Tess kept us from hearing or seeing it. After Liz, Maria and Kyle warned us, I told Tess to go on home alone. Tess warped us into thinking the Granolith took off with her to our planet, but actually stayed behind to take us by force or kill us.
“Serena physically arrived in time to see us leave the cave where the Granolith hides, and saw that the Granolith didn’t take off. She stayed and watched Tess, hoping to help us if it got too dangerous.
“Tess used her powers to trick all of us one way or another back out to the Granolith. She wanted to kill us or take us home. Tess would have won again, but Serena was there to help. Tess used her mind warp to confuse us and took off running, but Liz and Maria weren’t fooled by it because Tess didn’t know they were there. They had been hiding in the rocks. They chased her down and Tess shot Maria. She was about to shoot Liz when we caught up with her. We killed her in self-defense and I was able to heal Maria in time.
“There was an incident a few months before that. A version of me came back from the future to give us a warning. He used the Granolith to do it, and that is how we found out that it could be used for time travel. Now we want to go back to the night Alex went to confront Tess at Kyle’s house and heal him before she can give the final blow. Then we can tell ourselves back then what she was up to and we, our back then selves, can deal with her.”
Jeff leaned back in his chair, looked up at the ceiling and ran his hands over his face, and through his hair. This was a lot! Maybe too much to take in all at once, but he had asked, and Max had answered. “Is that dangerous to any of you… that time travel? What happens to those that go and those that stay?”
Max shrugged. “We think those who go back will simply disappear back to here with a new set of memories. Those left here will have new memories from the moment Alex didn’t die to present. All of us will relive the same period but without whatever difference Alex’s death made in their lives. How much of a change, or not, we don’t know. Maybe one of us will step in front of a truck this time around and won’t be here when we ‘get back’. Maybe we will fail in warning ourselves about Tess and she will get us another way. Or maybe we will just all be happier and safer than we have been in a long while.”
Finally Jeff looked at Max again. “Your parents have known about this all this time?”
“No sir, they just recently found out, kind of like you did.”
Jeff grinned. “If you told them half of what you told me, their head must have been swimming. Come on, I’m sure the rest of you would like to know if I’m going to spill the beans, or ‘freak out’ I believe you called it.” Jeff got up and held his hand out to Max. “Thank you for saving Liz. I know it has cost you a lot and that she has been in danger. But she is alive to be in danger, and that is enough to focus on right now. BUT, I will want to ask some more questions later. Deal?”
“Deal… and thank you Mr. Parker.”
“Call me Jeff.” With that, he turned and led the way into the back room and out into the dining area.
Liz and her mom hugged each other. Both had tears in their eyes.
Nancy sat back and brought out another Kleenex. “Do you really think that you and Max will be alright if he goes back?”
“Oh Mom we just have to! We have had a lot of troubles, first with the destiny thing, then with Future Max and finally with Tess. All, except the worst of Tess, will already be behind us and I am certainly going to tell myself to let the others know about Future Max, right away. At least Max will know why I kept backing off and throwing Tess at him. I’m also going to tell myself that it is alright to let you know about me and Max.” Liz hugged her mom again. “Oh Mom I am so happy that I don’t have to sneak around about Max, Isabel and Michael. It has been the worst part of what we have been through, that I couldn’t turn to you for help or a hug now and then. I don’t want to face that again… ever!”
The sound of the new arrivals made Nancy get up and look, she waved to Diane and called that she would be out in a few. She came back over to Liz and Liz could see a little hurt in the back of her eyes. “Max and Isabel trusted their parents with the secret. But then I guess they would have to. I… wish you could have trusted us with it too.”
Liz pulled her mom back down. “Oh mom. It wasn’t my secret to tell in the first place, and we were so vitally dependent on each other to keep everyone safe. The last thing I could risk would be for you and Dad to go all ‘protective’ on me and tell me to stay away from ‘them’ or from Max. ” Then Liz smiled slightly. “Besides, they just learned a little while ago… they overheard a conversation.” Liz tilted her head and waited for it to sink in.
Nancy let out a giggle of laughter that made Liz laugh, and Liz’s laughter set her mom off more until they were both infected with helpless, tears-down-the-cheeks merriment.
Maria peeked cautiously in and watched them for a moment before going back out. Both of them saw her and the look on her face and that set them off harder. Maria shook her head and reported the others. “Well I would say she’s not exactly mad a Liz, unless she intends to kill her with laughter.”
Liz and her mom finally sank back into the couch in relaxed exhaustion. Nancy wiped her eyes one last time and sighed. “I guess that pretty much untied the knots. I don’t feel anything but good. How about we go join the others?”
Liz glanced at the kitchen. “Do you think… “
“I do not. There has been no yelling and no pot throwing and no ‘blasts’ so let’s leave well enough alone.”
In the lunch room, Nancy warmly greeted Diane and Phillip and offered them coffee. Maria already had some perking. The two mothers moved off head to head.
Maria shook her head. “Probably comparing notes. So… What about your dad? Where’s Max? Ohh! Are they… you know together? Do you think it is safe?”
Liz grinned and nodded. “As Mom says, there’s “no yelling and no pot throwing and no ‘blasts’”, so, yeah, I think it is safe.”
At that moment Jeff and Max came out to join the others. Max went immediately to Liz and took her hand. Jeff put his arm around her. “It’s okay.” He whispered and then moved off, greeted Phillip, and shook his hand.
Liz drew Max to one side. “They’re alright with it. They really are!”
Maria was not letting them off the hook until she found out what happened. “Tell me! What did he say? What did your mom say? Is it okay? It looks okay, but is it? Oh I was so scared, and Liz, you guys were crying and I thought Oh God and then you were laughing and I thought Thank God… you know? And then Max and Mr. Parker …alone in the kitchen!” She looked back and forth from one to the other. “ …So it’s okay?”
Liz only nodded because she didn’t want to erupt into hysterics, not again!
Coffee was served along with “Men in Black Berry Pie”, or “Green sLime Pie”. The parents kept moving around for a while, paring up in different combinations. It was clear that they were trying to digest what they had heard and wanted to compare understanding and reactions with each other. All in all, it looked like Liz’s mom and dad would settle down to the idea of ‘aliens among us’ without bad dreams or misgivings.
Diane and Phillip finally said they had to get back home. Phillip shook Jeff’s hand. “Sorry, but we have a brief to finish for tomorrow morning. If you need to talk about this some more, just call us.”
“Thanks.” Jeff said warmly. “We will!”
Jeff and Nancy said their goodnights too and went back up stairs. The group, in various states of “Thank God That’s Over”, settled back down again.
Michael restarted the discussion. “So we all agree and we know when to go. So now we just have to write our letters to ourselves. Right?”
Max looked at Serena. “I believe Serena had something to say before we were interrupted. You said something about another way, not as dangerous. That got my attention.”
Liz spoke up, nodding her head. “She also said something about it having it’s own problems.”
All eyes were once again on Serena.
She looked around at the group and dropped her bombshell. “We could bring him to now.”
Nancy pulled away from Jeff and sat up straight on the couch as Liz came barreling up the stairs, yelling. “Mom! Mom!”
“What is it honey? What’s wrong?”
Liz hauled to a stop at the end of the hall. “How well do you know the Whitman’s?”
Nancy sighed and leaned back. “Young lady you scared the you-know-what out of me. Not real well, why?”
“Darn!” Liz said. “Okay, go back to what ever you guys were doing.” She added with a grin and hurried back down stairs.
“Liz! Get back up here! What’s going on?” Nancy and Jeff followed her back down stairs.
Max was just getting off the phone when they got there. He shook his head. “Only professionally. Not well enough to make a judgment on it.”
“WHAT is going on? Why do you need to know about the Whitmans?”
It was Maria that answered. “We need an educated guess on how they would react to Czechoslovakians… uh aliens. You see… “
That was as far as she got.
There was a huge crash heard outside and they all ran to the windows and then outside. A car was halfway through the front of Amy’s shop. There were no lights on in the shop so Maria gave a silent thank you that her mom had gone home for the day.
They were the first to reach the crash. Most of the stores were closed and there were few around to hear or respond to the accident. Jim had his radio out and was calling for help as he ran.
Max was the first to reach the car and gingerly crunched through the mess that was the front of the store. He reached in and felt for a hint of life from the man inside. There was none.
Maria had gone on through to the inside and her blood curdling scream chilled them all to the bones. “Max!”
Max stumbled to her side where she knelt in a pool of blood and glass. Crumpled in front of the car was Maria’s mother.
Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - To part 44 6/23/19
Posted: 06/23/19 18:08
Jim let out an anguished moan as he guessed too clearly the reason for her cry. “No! Not Amy!”
Max knelt by her side. She was pretty messed up, but she was alive. There was the sound of a distant siren as the ambulance approached and the sounds of voices as people started to gather to the crash scene. Max’s mind went into hyper-speed.
“Michael, help me get her into the back. Isabel, erase every trace you can find of her blood. Jim, Jim! Keep those people back! We can’t risk anyone seeing her this way. Liz! Hold her arm tight above that deep gash while we carry her.”
Max and Michael gently lifted her up and scurried quickly out of sight of gawkers and into the back office, with Liz struggling to keep up and keep a tight hold on the blood slippery arm. Serena helped Maria as she stumbled blindly after, too much in shock to understand what was going on, or realize the hope of it.
Isabel got busy eliminating blood. She understood immediately how important it was as soon as she saw Amy. Max would heal her, but there would be big questions if there were unexplained blood puddles all over the place. Kyle, Nancy and Jeff helped Jim keep the people back until the deputies and ambulance arrived. It all went as smoothly as if this happened every day.
In the back room Amy groaned as she was laid gently down on the floor. Max knelt beside her. “Amy, Amy! Look at me Amy.” Amy tossed her head but kept her eyes closed. She was in too much pain to respond to Max’s urgent request.
Serena knelt next to him. “Allow me to help.” She gently took one of Amy’s hands in one of hers and placed the other on the back of Max’s neck.
Immediately he could feel a connection, and shuddered deeply as the wave of pain hit him. “Oh God! There is so much damage!” He took a deep breath and started assessing the worst of it. “I don’t know how much I can do now, but I can make sure she doesn’t die.”
The first thing he went after was the liver and spleen. They had been crushed by the impact of the car. As soon as he had them partially repaired, he went for the head. There was a crack in the skull, several torn blood vessels, and a swelling starting on the brain. He tackled that until it was totally healed, went for the torn artery on the arm and then went back to the spleen and liver again. ‘Good, good, so much so much, but there is still a little more. God I’m tired!’ By this time he was faltering… loosing his concentration.
Isabel slipped into the office and came around to Maria. She gave her a hug. “Hey, it’s going to be all right. See, she is starting to come around.”
Amy was starting to thrash her head from side to side. Liz moved to her head and placed one hand on each side of Amy’s head. “Shhh, its okay, shhhh. Relax now.”
Serena motioned to Michael and held out her hand. “Quickly!” Michael grabbed her hand and willed his energy to flow into her. She in turn, added her own and started pumping it into Max.
Liz could see what it was costing Max to heal Amy. She wished so much she could help. She closed her eyes, concentrating, willing him to succeed, willing Amy to get better. “Heal, Amy heal!”
Maria stood silent and wide-eyed as she watched her friends fight for her mom’s life. Then she saw a snake of blue green energy run over Liz’s hand and gasped. Then snake after snake of energy ran down her fingers and into Amy. Serena and Michael look at each other in surprise. Max didn’t even notice. He hung over Amy’s body, eyes closed and accepted the energy that flowed into him. He could feel Amy getting better, the pain fading, as two broken leg bones and three shattered ribs healed. Vaguely he wondered how Serena was healing her and giving him energy at the same time, but he didn’t dare stop until all the damage in the abdomen was taken care of. Then he sent out feelers for other lesser damage, pushed out broken glass and closed cuts. The energy from Serena and Michael had slowed to a trickle as their supply ran out.
There was a soft sigh next to him and he opened his eyes. He looked first at Amy and could see the color back in her face and hear her soft steady breathing. Next he looked to Serena, and took her hand. “Thank you! I don’t know what I would have done without you. I could feel Michael and you feeding me. But how were you able to have enough to do that and help with the healing too?”
Serena shook her head. “I didn’t.” She added in a hushed voice. “She did.”
Liz was laying on the floor slightly behind him on his other side, her head in Maria’s lap. “Maria?”
“She is just asleep.” Maria had tears running down her cheeks. “Thank you Max. Thank you for my mom’s life!”
“Yeah. She helped. I don’t know how.” Maria looked wonderingly down at her friend and ran her hand over Liz’s hair. “She doesn’t use a blue glow like you do, it was sort of like lightning. But she helped!”
Isabel took Liz’s hand in hers, and began to share energy with her.
Out front, Jim had stood back while the medics loaded the body onto a gurney and into the ambulance. There was no need for sirens as they drove off. The deputies took Nancy’s, Jeff’s and Jim’s statement and agreed to let him be the one that notified Amy of the damage to her store. Hanson shook his head as he took one final look at the mess. “I don’t envy you that task! Here is the paperwork to give to the tow truck. It should be here shortly. Good luck!”
It took all Jim’s self control as the minutes dragged by, to remain in front. He didn’t remember half of what he said or what was said to him. His mind was on that back room. The only thing that kept him out there was his confidence in Max and his determination to give him the time and privacy he needed to heal Amy. Nancy had sneaked to the back and came back with the good news… it was over and Amy would be all right. But he wanted to see for himself.
Finally the car was towed off and Jim put the last of the police tape up across the shattered storefront. At last he could get to Amy and see with his own eyes that she was really okay. He needed to put to rest, the horrid vision of the torn and bleeding body they had carried away.
He burst into the back room, and looked wildly around for Amy. Seeing her sitting at her desk, he rushed over and took her in his arms for a tender hug. “Oh God, I don’t know what I would have done if you had died. Amy! Are you okay? Are you really okay?”
This may have elicited shocked grins from everyone else, but on Amy’s face there was only annoyance. “Jim Valenti, you have a lot of explaining to do!”
The pain was incredible. Amy kept slipping in and out of consciousness…. Little side trips into no pain.
She had heard Maria’s scream and tried to open her eyes and talk to her. To tell her goodbye at least, but the effort was beyond her. She was aware of the crunch of broken glass and distant sirens before slipping out of it again.
Amy floated back close to the surface, hearing someone telling her to open her eyes. ‘Huh! Fat chance of that with a fifty pound weight sitting on my forehead!’ She thought. ‘Why don’t you bozos take it off first?’ She started to sink back down again, retreating from the pain, when she realized that there was a difference. The pain was starting to retreat itself. Not much. ‘I must be dying, I guess.’ That made her want to cry. There was so much she wanted to say… to Maria… to Jim.
The tidal wave of pain split into many smaller pieces. Each one advertising to be most recognized. ‘Nope, not dying or I would just feel like I was floating away… Wouldn’t I?’ Then the pain in her head went away, and the weight lifted. At that moment she could almost float away… it felt so good. ‘Nice… guess this is it...’ she thought, as she slipped back under.
When she came back up out of the darkness again, her first thought was surprise that she wasn’t dead after all. ‘They must have given me a pain shot. But then why do I still have pain?’ Then she realized she was on the floor, and felt a little indignant. ‘Why aren’t I in the ambulance yet?’
Amy opened her eyes a crack to see what was going on. There, leaning over her, was Max. His hands were over her abdomen and they were glowing a soft blue. Amy closed her eyes again. ‘Oh God, I knew it!’ She tossed her head in frustration and groaned. ‘ It looks like I’m going to live, but how can I run my business if I’m brain damaged?’
Shortly after, she felt warm gentle hands on each side of her face. Peace seemed to flow into her. Like cool water, energy seemed to wash over and through her, down into her chest, and the agony eased then disappeared. She could breathe easy again. Down it ran into her leg and it too lost its pain. ‘Oh glory! If this is imagination then I welcome it.’ Now she floated in the blessed absence of pain and she found her mind getting clearer.
Amy peeked out at the world again and found both Liz and Max huddled over her, eyes closed, faces intent. Her eyes took in his hands… ‘yep still glowing.’ She also took in Maria, Isabel, Michael, Serena, and the fact that she was still lying on the floor in her own office. She closed her eyes again and considered what she had just seen and felt. “Why am I in my back room? Where are the paramedics? The police? If the medics didn’t give me a pain shot, then why am I feeling so good? I know what I feel… and I don’t feel brain damaged.
Then she heard Max, Maria and Serena … and she wasn’t so sure!
“No!” She sat up and leaned back on her elbows. Amy looked around at the stunned group. Isabel was leaning over Liz and Max had fallen back on his rump.
Maria was right there and grabbed her, hugging her tight. “You’re okay Mom! It’s all over. You're okay!”
“Damn right I’m all right! But why am I alright?”
The door opened a crack and Nancy’s voice whispered in. “Max, have you healed Amy yet? Is she okay? Jim is having fits out there.” Getting no answer, she opened it a little more and peeked in, to see the group staring back, Amy right in the middle of them, and staring hardest. “Oooops!” Nancy’s head disappeared and the door closed.
Amy looked from Maria, to Liz to Max. “Now that’s what I want to talk about!”
Maria patted her shoulder. “I think we need to get you home to rest. We can talk later.”
“NOW” Was all she said. But the determination was there for all to see.
Michael helped a wobbly Max up to the couch and Isabel helped Liz over to join him. Amy watched with interest, as they seemed to melt into the cushions in deep weariness.
“Uh Mom? Why don’t we get you up off the floor and cleaned up?”
Amy jumped up and took a startled look at herself and the floor around her. Both were pretty much covered in blood. She put a hand to her head and it came away sticky with it. Liz too had blood down the front of her clothes and all over her arms and hands. Suddenly Amy wanted to sit down again.
Gingerly, she perched on the edge of her desk. She didn’t want to touch anything. All that blood! Her blood! She had been hurt bad… very bad. And now she couldn’t find a scratch on her.
Everyone looked tired except Maria… she just looked worried. As for herself, Amy felt great! Healed! Max had… healed her… and Liz? How? Mentally she hitched up her belt and pulled her cap down tight. She was going to get to the bottom of this right now!
“Maria, go home and get me another pair of pants and a new pair of Keds. Michael, would you go out to the shop and fetch me a T-shirt? Oh, uh small will do. The light switch is to the left of this door. Isabel, would you like to get some cold drinks from the fridge? There are several to choose from. I’m going to get cleaned up and we are going to talk!”
Isabel moved to get the drinks but neither Maria nor Michael moved to do what she asked. “Okay… what?”
Michael looked at Maria. “She’s your Mom.”
“Thanks! Uh… we can’t go out there until everyone is gone. We can’t let anyone know we are back here.”
Maria took a big breath. “Because if they knew, they would want to know why we are back here, and why we didn’t let them know before, and that would be because you were hurt and we couldn’t let them take you in the ambulance because you wouldn’t have made it. And that would be why Max took the chance and healed you because we are friends and because he would never let anyone die if he could help them and please don’t freak out. Because I freaked when I learned about them, but I don’t now…. Freak I mean.”
“So, Max is like, Elmer Gantry… you know, a faith healer?”
Michael spoke up with a grin. “More like an Alien Gentry.”
Liz smiled at her confusion. “Max is not from around here. He prefers the term…” Michael, Maria, Isabel, and Max all joined in. “Not of this earth.” And all started laughing. It was the fatigue talking, and Amy seemed to sense that. So she just shook her head. “Well I am not going to sneak out of here like this. I guess I will just have to wait until you………….. ….ALIEN?”
Isabel stood up from the chair she had retreated to and approached Amy. “I think I can help your fashion problem.” She started waving her hand slowly over Amy and her clothes. When she was done there, she worked on the floor and then Liz and Max, Maria, Michael and Serena. All of them had gotten blood on them somewhere. Amy just watched with her mouth open, while Max and Michael waited for the other shoe to drop.
Amy looked again at the room and her clothes, ran a hand through her clean soft hair and smiled. “Roswell… has… aliens. Does Jim know? Of course Jim knows, and Nancy… Jeff? Wait… JIM KNOWS?!! How long has he known about this?”
Max looked puzzled. “A few months is all.”
At that moment Jim burst into the back room and all eyes turned on him. Michael muttered under his breath…” Boy is he in trouble.”
Seeing her sitting at her desk, he rushed over and took her in his arms for a tender hug. “Oh God, I don’t know what I would have done if you had died. Amy! Are you okay? Are you really okay?”
Amy’s heart leaped when Jim put his arms around her. Her mind went back to a short time ago, when she regretted she had no time left to talk to him. There had been little or no declaration of feelings between them, and she wanted to change that…
Jim was not getting away with not telling her what was going on with her own daughter! “Jim Valenti, you have a lot of explaining to do!”
Kyle walked in with two throwaway cameras. “Here Amy. Pictures of the disaster! I took one of everything I could think of that the insurance company might want to see. Umm… Am I interrupting something?” Facing the glare of her eyes, he started to back out. “Uhh… well maybe you won’t need the insurance anyway. They can always zap it back together for you anyway.”
“Oh no they can’t!” Phillip, with Jeff close behind, pushed Kyle back into the lion’s den again.
Amy looked at Max. “Which is it? You can or you can’t?”
Max shrugged. “Well we can, like Kyle said. But we really can’t either.”
She turned to Jim, giving him a chance to get back in her good graces. “Jim?”
Jim took a relieved breath. “Well they are physically… psychically… whatever, able to fix everything back to normal. But they won’t for more important reasons.”
“And those are?”
Phillip came in on that one. “How would you explain the damage being miraculously fixed? The repair personnel in town all talk to each other. They would know that none of them fixed your place up and no one from outside came in the dead of night to do the job. People would want to know. And not just people from around here.”
“Okay, I’m confused. I can’t see people being afraid of teenagers who go around helping people and saving their lives. Why wouldn’t you want everyone to know? I mean it takes a minute or two to get used to, but hell, why not tell everyone! Tell the TV news; tell the newspapers. Real Aliens! Roswell would really be put on the maps after this!” Then Amy started pacing. Every attempt by someone to talk was waved down. “Shh. I’m thinking!”
Max and Michael had a really bad feeling about this. Amy was a spitfire and if she couldn’t or wouldn’t understand…
Maria caught Michael’s eye and winked, confusing him to no end. She put her finger to her lips and mouthed the word ‘wait’. Maria knew what her mom was doing. She had shot off the first thing out of her head, then listened to it and was now going through all the possible results.
Jim too had seen Amy go through similar bouts of figuring things out. He grinned at Jeff and Phillip and whispered in their ear.
Amy finally came to a stop before Isabel and stood looking at her for a moment. Then she hugged her. “No I don’t suppose we could do that, could we? You would all be either a side show or specimens.” She turned around and held her hand out to Kyle for the film. “Thank you Kyle, I’ll call my insurance man in the morning. I’m sure these will help. Now. Jim, can anyone leave yet?”
“Sure, all the looky loos have taken off. Are you ready to go home?”
“Are you crazy? Have you noticed that there is no front left on my shop? No. I want Mara to go get me a couple of blankets. I’m staying here tonight. First thing tomorrow, I’ll get someone to build me a barrier across the front and get some quotes on rebuilding my front…uh… the shop front.”
Nancy, followed by Diane came in with Coffee, Snapples, blankets and a couple of pillows. “Hi everyone. Who is going to stay and watch the place tonight? You know Jeff and I can keep an eye on it for you, but I didn’t think you would settle for that.”
Liz took the tray from her mom and sat it down on the desk and Amy took the sleeping gear and plopped it down by the couch. “Thank you Nancy, I will stay here tonight and Jim will keep me company for a while.” She turned to look at him. “We still have a lot to talk about!”
Diane turned to the guys. “We need volunteers to clear out a path to the front door. I darned near killed myself slipping on glass just now.”
Jim and Kyle nearly ran out the door to the front room.
Jeff and Phillip followed. “You want us to help?”
“Nah. Kyle and I can handle it. Besides it will go a lot faster with all of us helping. And I want to take my time. Maybe she will calm down a bit.”
Phillip looked at his watch. “Well Diane will probably want to stay for a while and compare notes, but this is the second time tonight I have been drawn away from that brief and I has to be done!”
Jeff clapped him on the shoulder. “Go on, Max and Isabel will drive her home when she is ready. I’m going back home. It’s been a long day and it will get longer before Nancy gets tired of talking! Night Jim, Kyle, night Phillip.”
Jim looked around at the mess. “To do this properly, we would need a shovel a wheelbarrow and a coupe of brooms. For right now I guess we can just shove it aside.”
“Dad, where are the brooms? I’ll get them.”
“In the back room.”
“Uhhh…… I’ll get the shovel from the back of the truck.”
“Good idea, son!”
All the teenagers, except Kyle, had gone back to the Crashdown, leaving the moms to talk and compare notes.
Amy stood in the office doorway, watching the clean-up job. Nancy and Diane joined her. “So, how long have you girls known about this?”
“I just learned about it tonight. Diane is a few days ahead of me. How much have they had time to tell you?”
“Enough to know that I have to keep it a secret. I can’t imagine what people would do if they knew!”
Diane shivered. “I can. Just the thought of the government trying to dissect them to find out what aliens are made of gives me nightmares.”
“Nancy, I have known Liz all her life. Where does she fit it? Unless you are trying to tell me that you and Jeff are aliens, and I won’t believe that!”
“What makes you think Liz is one of them?”
“Well for one thing, she helped to heal me tonight.”
Isabel was feeling so frustrated she could scream. “It’s some kind of a plot! Every time we get closer to getting Alex back, something happens. Now we need to figure out how to explain Alex if we bring him here, and no one has a clue to what reaction the Whitmans would have to… us.” She turned to Liz. “Can’t you figure out some way to explain his missing for all this time without telling them? Serena, what about you? This was your idea, can you think of something?”
“I figured out a way to explain it to the town, so no one will be suspicious, but ‘parents’ are another thing. Let me work on it. Okay?”
Maria had a determined look on her face. “Liz and I will work on it too. We all should! And we will meet here in the morning and either decide to save him and leave him back then or we bring him to now and hang the consequences!” At Liz’s outraged look, she added. “Okay! So we work around the consequences. Let just do it!”
That seemed to be the general consensus and the group agreed to do it one way or another in the morning.
Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - To part 47 6/23/19
Posted: 06/23/19 18:11
Hang onto your hats guys... we are going to be moving rather fast!
Liz didn’t get much sleep that night. Nancy told Jeff about what Amy told her and both of them wanted to know if it really happened that way …and how? …and why? They were totally floored when Serena explained that when Max healed someone from a near death experience it seemed to wake up the natural abilities that humans are capable of… or would be some day. That and the fact that Liz, Maria, and Kyle were all part of the ‘Now I’m like an alien' club would take some getting used to.
Jeff finally went to bed and Liz and her mom settled down in the front room on the couch with a chub of ice cream and two spoons.
Nancy accepted the chub from Liz, scooped a spoonful and passed it back. “So… what was all that about the Whitmans earlier? I understood that if you went back and saved him, he wouldn’t be dead and no one would know about how he was saved.”
Liz passed back the chub. “You eat, I’ll talk. Serena has an idea about bringing Alex to now. Then everything that has happened would still have happened… and we would still think Alex was dead all this time… and there would be the least amount of change possible.”
“Whoa there! The fact that there was no accident and no body would be a big difference! How would you manage that?”
“Someone would go back two times. The first time we, at least Max and Michael, would hide on the left side of the house and wait for Alex to arrive. Then we would rush out and grab him and take off. The second time back, we would hide on the right side of the building and wait for ourselves to take off with Alex. Then we would open the door, let a body that looked like Alex fall into the front room, yell or moan something like ‘Tess you killed me with your mind warp’, and split. The result to Kyle and Tess would be the same. They would find him dead. Tess would realize that one too many wind warps had killed him. Kyle would still be warped into helping her get rid of the body and still remember it later to help me figure out what really happened. Another team would follow Tess and make sure the body burns in the wreck this time around.”
“And just where were you planning to get a body that looks like Alex enough to fool everyone?” Thoughts of body snatching were firmly pushed out of her mind.
“Well that part is really incredible. They… Serena’s people, can get a sample of Alex’s body from him before they bring him back and make a copy of it, only it would never really be alive. After it was grown enough, they would come back to the same time and be waiting until we took Alex away and bingo! Substitute Alex.”
“Okay…. But how would you explain Alex coming back alive now? I mean everyone knows he died.”
“That part sounds the most complicated but is really the easiest. With the body burned, all they would have to go on would be the dental records to identify the body. And they wouldn’t study them too carefully because they would have a body about the same age as Alex and the same size and it was in Alex’s car that burned. Once Alex turns up, they will have to rename the corpse John Doe. Pass me the ice cream. This is thirsty work!” Liz scooped around the edges where the ice cream was melting fastest and thought about the rest of it. ‘I’m not going to mention the whole bunch of ifs. We can keep going back until we get it right if we have to!’
“Now, Serena can arrange for a woman and her daughter to show up in town with Alex. They will have some story about finding him along the side of the road and taking him with them. That he had a nasty lump and cut on his head and didn’t know who he was for a while. He will tell everyone that the last thing he remembers is picking up a hitchhiker, before waking up in their den and finding out that a lot of time had passed.”
“Wouldn’t that story work for the Whitmans too?”
“Oh I guess so.”
“Then why do you want to know what they would think about aliens?”
“Because, Max and Isabel don’t have to hide who and what they are from their parents anymore. You and Dad know and that makes it a lot easier on me for when we have alien business to take care of… and it gives us a support group when we need help. Believe me, having Jim in the loop has been great, but he is only one adult and things have been hard on him keeping it to himself. Also, now that my powers are coming out, there would be tremendous pressure on me to hide it from you. We don’t want that for Alex.”
“Yeah, when he starts showing his powers… whatever they will be. Remember, he was pretty near dying when he got to Jim’s house that night. There will be a lot of healing to do and the chances are, that he will change too. Now that Amy knows, she won’t wig out when Maria starts showing hers. Poor Alex would be the only one hiding around. He always hated it …as much as the rest of us… when we had to hide things from our own parents.”
“You know, I haven’t had the time to really think about all this. Just talk about it a little with Diane and Jeff. Amy knows even less that I do. I don’t think that us knowing about it will necessarily make it better for all of you though. We will always want to know if some activity is alien related and where, how, why…etc. We will probably want to interfere or join in too. To keep you guys safe. And we will worry… a lot!”
“I know this isn’t easy on you guys, but I am so happy that you know now. Even if we have some trouble over things we have to do, still it will be a matter of something that has to be done and we will be able to explain the real reason to you now. We have had to grow up a lot the last year or so, and we have done some things that you would have definitely wanted to interfere with, but we handled it each time. And we are all here… except for Alex. And we are fixing that right now! Mom what’s wrong?”
Nancy wiped a tear for her eye and shook her head. “My little girl has grown up and I didn’t even see it happening.”
The night ended with another teary eyed mother and daughter hug.
Maria didn’t get much sleep either. Jim would not allow Amy to stay up all night at the shop. He and Kyle promised to guard it if they had to lie across the broken window to do so. She decided to let him be a hero for the night and went home. Maria would be there by now and she had some explaining to do.
Amy had a flood of questions. And, while the questions weren’t so long…. The answers took some time.
Why didn’t you tell me about your friends being Aliens?
How serious is it between you and Michael?
How many times have you been in danger and didn’t tell me?
How come Liz is able to do stuff that the others can do, if she’s not an alien?
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU MIGHT BE CHANGED TOO!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN I MIGHT BE CHANGED TOO?!!!
(Somehow the thought of Amy with powers frightens me! CK)
Eight-O-clock the next morning Liz’s phone brought her groping out of the bed. “What?”
“Liz! Mom knows the Whitmans real well. Well she knows his mom real well… Alex’s... I mean and she says she should just like bring her over and tell her.”
“She’s sort of on her way over to the Whitman’s now and she’ll sort of be over there in like maybe a half hour. So if you want to tell everyone… Max and Isabel and Serena, I told Michael and he is sooo mad! Anyway I’m on my way over right now, and where can we talk? It should be upstairs because well we can’t talk down stairs and I’ll see you in a bit. Bye!” …click.
“Bye …What? Wait Maria!” But Liz was yelling into a dead phone.
She jumped up and ran for the bathroom taking her cell phone with her. “Max! Get Isabel and get over here now! Good morning to you too. Is your mom or dad still there? I’m getting in the shower. Are they? No you can’t come over and help me. Look Max, Max! Amy is bringing Mrs. Whitman over here in about a half hour! She wants to tell her about all of it. Max? Max!” But again she was yelling into a dead phone.
By the time Liz got down stairs, the gang was pouring into the café. Max, Isabel and Michael came in followed by Kyle. Liz had grabbed her mom on her way down stairs. Serena got a phone call on her way down and sat down on the stairs to complete it.
Maria came in last, avoiding Michael’s direction and sidling around to Liz. Michael looked like a stormy sky waiting to throw lightning at someone. Maria wanted to make sure it wasn’t at her!
Liz turned to face Maria. “Okay, so, now you’re here and can’t hang up on me. Tell us more of what your Mom said and how much she may tell Mrs. Whitman before she gets her here!”
All eyes were on Maria and she gulped nervously before starting in. “Now don’t get mad at me about this. I am just the bearer of news not the writer! Mom and I talked last night and she realizes that with all of our parents being in the know, it wouldn’t be fair to Alex if we get him back and he has to dodge around his parents all the time like before. Isabel, you know how upset it always made him. Liz you remember all the times you were practically in tears when you had to lie to your parents. So anyway, Mom said she knew Alex’s mom almost as well as she knew me and she wasn’t going to let her be left out. She said that ‘she would be able to get used to it, keep her mouth shut and handle her husband if it came to that’. Her words not mine. She is bringing her here without telling her anything about Czechoslovakians until you guys want to broach it. But she did say she was going to tell her that you guys heard something about Alex that she needed to know.” Maria made a huge sigh. “And that’s absolutely all I know about it. I just didn’t want you all to get surprised or not be able to talk about it before she got here.”
Liz hugged Maria. “It’s okay Ria. We appreciate the chance to think of something. And we better think fast!” She added turning to Max.
Everyone was looking at him now and he sighed. Yet another choice. “I would rather just tell her the story we have ready about Alex being found. But we aren’t nearly ready to produce him or the Ladies that supposedly rescued him. I don’t know but that she would demand to call and talk to them immediately. And we haven’t even started!”
Sabrina asked softly from one of the tables. “If we had him here already, would you think about telling her? If we told her the truth, do you really think she would be afraid of us or hate us enough to give you away to the FBI after you saved her boy?”
Everyone met everyone else’s eyes as they all thought it over. Put that way, it didn’t sound reasonable to fear her response. “Max, why don’t you take Maria’s mom aside and talk to her when they get here? We can take the time to get her coffee, something to eat maybe, and keep her occupied. You can feel Amy out and see how sure she is about this.”
“No. I think I should be the one to talk to her.” All eyes turned to Kyle. “I can pick up how confident she really is about this. If she has any feeling of doubt I will give you guys a head shake. If she is as sure as she made Maria believe, I’ll nod. Then you can decide.”
There were a few nods, but no one had the chance to discuss it further because Amy and Mrs. Whitman walked in at that moment.
Nancy walked foreword with a smile. “Kathryn! How nice of you to come! Can I get you some coffee? Why don’t we go up to the apartment? It will be less hectic there!” She herded the slightly confused Kathryn up the stairs ahead of her. “You know the morning rush will be here in a few minutes and I haven’t gotten to talk to you in quite a while? How is Carl? I hear he bought a new car last week?”
“I… I don’t really know why I’m here. Amy said it was important? Something about Alex?”
“Well let’s get you that coffee and how about a croissant? I know Amy and the kids will be up here shortly. Is that a new coat? Here, let me take it…”
Kyle collared Amy as she came in and Amy interrupted before he could ask any questions. “And just where is Jim?”
“He will be here shortly. We had some plywood at home and he is nailing it up until you get someone over there.”
Amy looked embarrassed to have forgotten that they were on guard duty. Kyle asked a couple of pertinent questions and soon gave the high sign to the rest. Amy was sure that Alex’s mom would be both ecstatically happy to get her son back and willing to keep her mouth shut. “Not only that, but she would probably kill anyone that messed with you guys. She is a real fighter to have in your corner. Come on. Let’s do this!”
As the gang started up the stairs, Serena stopped Max and Michael. To the rest she called… “Go on, we will be up in a couple of minutes.”
“Max. Michael, come with me for a moment.” She led the puzzled boys out back and around to the corner of the building where she had her car. “Look there.” She said pointing behind them.
There were Max, Michael, Serena and Alex going into the back door of the Crashdown. All of them stopped for a second and waved, grinning big. “It’s a done deal, but not until we do it. Come on, we have a date with Alex Whitman!”
Max and Michael were so stunned at what they had just seen that they didn’t speak a word until they were almost to the Granolith.
Michael was the first to break the silence. “What just happened back there? Are we really back already? How come we know about it? I mean, aren’t we supposed to forget it or something?”
Serena shook her head. “We aren’t going back in time and staying there. We are bringing Alex to now. So whatever rules apply to doing it the other way don’t apply here. I guess.”
Max looked behind them and shook his head. “I still can’t get over it. I have never felt so weird before. I mean, seeing …us! So how did you know?”
“I called myself. Oh and I noted the exact time so we would know when to come back.”
“How did it go down? Did we have any trouble?”
“I didn’t have time to explain it all to myself. Basically, I just told me to get out of there and start it going, and log the time of everything. Oh, and who to call when I get there.”
Michael ran both his hands through his hair. “This is crazy. We haven’t had time to get ready for this. What are we going to do? And how could the Granolith be ready, all ready? Don’t we have to warm it up for a day, like before?”
“The Granolith only needs a couple of minutes to warm up for a time trip, so we can leave almost as soon as we get there. What ever we do, it will turn out all right. Or rather it did turn out all right. My head is swimming with this time talk. Just remember, we have all the time in the world.”
Serena parked the car on the side of the road, and they walked up to the Granolith chamber.
Max looked back at the car and was surprised to see a girl jump into it and take off, followed by another car. “Hey!”
Serena shushed him. “It’s alright, we will need it when we get back to the Crashdown later.”
Michael scratched his head. “Won’t we need it to get back to town to pick up Alex? No, the car wouldn’t be there anyway, because we hadn’t even met you yet.” Michael sighed and continued on up the hill. “Looks like I’m going to have a hell of a lot to tell everyone when we get back… Unless I’ve already told them.” He turned and grinned at Serena. “Yeah, I think I understand the whole swimming head bit.”
Inside the chamber, Serena slipped the crystal into the base of the Granolith. While they waited, Serena stood looking at the Granolith. “You have no idea what a thrill it is for me to see this. Much less travel through it! I like that it looks like half of an hourglass. ‘Time in a bottle’ is what my mom used to call an hourglass. And that is what this is. ‘Time in a Bottle!’ All times.. any times.”
The Granolith began to give off a soft glow and the inside seemed to glimmer like sunlight on water. Serena wrote down the time and smiled at the others. “Place your hands on the Granolith. It’s showtime!”
They came out of the cave at sunset of the day Alex was to be rescued. Serena noted the time and wrote it down, then took out her cell phone and made a call. “Colin? Hi! So you got into this too huh? Where are you now? … Okay meet you there!” She looked up at Max and Michael. “Well let’s go. We have a ride waiting at the road.”
“How did you manage that? We haven’t been here yet!”
“Ah but Michael, someone will be going into the past to get the new Alex body ready. It takes several months you know. That is the reason for my time log. They will know ‘then’ what we need ‘now’.”
Michael pulled at his ear and sighed. “If you say so…”
There was a Chevy Nova waiting at the spot where they had… no, would leave Serena’s car. A slim redheaded young man jumped out and came to greet them. Serena hugged him and turned to Michael. “Michael, this is my brother, your nephew Colin Michael Reves. Colin. This… is Michael Guerin. And this… “ She said moving to bring Max forward, “Is Max Evans.”
Colin had started to move toward Michael, but when she said Max’s name, he turned instead to him. He took Max’s hand. “It is an honor sir, your highness, to meet you! I feel privileged to be able to help.”
Max shook his hand and smiled. “Just call me Max. There is no highness here. Got that? And we thank you for the help!”
Then Colin turned from Max and threw his arms around Michael in a bear hug. “And you! All my life I’ve heard of you. The success story of my family!”
“Uhh… thanks. I’m glad to meet you too.” Michael was a little embarrassed, but pleased to meet another member of his family, and thumped Colin on the back before disengaging him. He glanced up at the sky. “Don’t you think we should be going sometime soon though?”
Serena grabbed Colin’s ear. “Snap out of it Bro. It’s time for you to be a hero now.”
The group jumped into the Nova and Colin started the trip back to town. When they got there, it was nearing the time that they would have to intercept Alex. Max gave Colin directions to Kyle’s house. The next-door neighbor’s lights were out and there was a hedge between their yard and Kyle’s. “Here!” So Colin backed the car up in their driveway. Serena waited with Colin in the car while Max and Michael snuck around to the right side of Kyle’s house, and waited.
Alex’s car came around the corner and weaved slightly down the street to come to rest in front of the house. Alex got out of the car and held onto it as he made his way to the curb. Then he stood up straight and squared his shoulders. Max and Michael could hear his words very distinctly. “I won’t crawl in there. I will walk in and tell her that she can’t do this to me anymore!” He took one slow step at a time toward the house. “That is if I can keep from falling on my face!”
When he neared the porch, Max and Michael moved to intercept him. Michael kept a watch on the windows and Max grabbed Alex and pulled him to the side, out of site. “Alex. We know what Tess has done. We’re here to fix it. Come with us for now.”
Alex tried to argue but Max already had him halfway to Colin’s car. Michael stayed at their back and kept an eye behind. That is why he saw what appeared to be two figures holding up a body between them, moving around from the left side of the house. That is all he had time to see though, because Alex was already in the car and Michael jumped in as it turned out and away down the street.
The first leg of the great Alex rescue was well on its way!
Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - to part 50 6/23/19
Posted: 06/23/19 18:15
The end of 49 has an update one when and where... it can really get confusing!!!! lol
Alex sat with his head lying back on the seat. His eyes were closed and he didn’t seem to respond to questions. Max felt his pulse and had a hard time finding it. “Colin, pull over and get us out of sight if you can.”
Colin had just gotten them out of the town proper and found a place where trees crowded the road and worked the car behind them. “What’s up? We aren’t in a big hurry, but we don’t want to run into traffic of the car accident kind.”
“We know the risks Colin.” Michael jumped out of the car and let Serena out. Both of them looked in on Max and Alex.
“Colin, do you have a blanket?”
“In the trunk Serena!”
Colin jumped out fetched it. Max motioned for him to lay it on the ground, and Michael and Max moved Alex out and onto the ground. Alex seemed to be out of it. He mumbled something about not ‘getting to show her’, but not much else intelligible.
“Alex, Alex open your eyes and look at me. Come on Alex. You don’t want Tess to win do you?”
That got a response. Alex opened his eyes and looked into Max’s. “Which one of you?”
“Two of you.”
“Just keep looking and both of us will be able to help you. Okay?”
Max felt some resistance to entering. There was a much-frayed barrier that Tess had put up to keep anyone from knowing what was going on with Alex or helping him. Max had to push hard. Once he was in, he wished he wasn’t. Tess had set weaves and traps that made it hard to concentrate. Alex started to thrash and yell. “Serena can you give me a hand?”
Serena slipped into the connection and looked around. “I haven’t learned enough about how to combat this sort of thing. I don’t think we could have gotten in at all though if Alex hadn’t been fighting her all this time. You concentrate on the physical damage and I’ll see what I can do about the traps.”
Parts of Tess’s traps were extreme nightmare type memories to over-ride any evidence of what she had actually done. These had been set off when Max got in to heal him. Finally Serena was able to get a ‘hand’ on the nightmare trap, and blocked it off. Alex sighed and settled down more. Max shot a thank you her way. “That makes it easier!”
Max got busy on re-building damaged tissues. There was also some blood vessel damage and some serious swelling starting. It was far in advance of what he had helped Kyle with! Colin took a sample of Alex’s tissue and Max healed it without even thinking about it.
Serena accessed Alex’s memory bank, and started to replay all the nicest parts she could find. She kept him busy remembering nice things and re-living his life up to the time before she could see any Tess related memories. These had the mental damage connected to them. While he was ‘watching home movies’… she did her best to cauterize some of the worst and most obvious mental wounds but finally just built a veritable wall of temporary blocks. She was in over her head and knew it!
Max sighed and sat back. “Okay, he should be okay now.” Serena backed out, satisfied with the temporary fix.
Alex woke up and looked around, still a little groggy. “Hey! What happened? How did we get out here?”
Max gave him a hand up and steadied him until he got his legs steady under him. “How does your head feel? Any double vision? Dizziness?”
Alex shook his head cautiously. “It doesn’t hurt!” He grabbed Max’s hand. “Thanks Max, I really appreciate it. I feel better than I have in quite a while. Now… how did we get out here and where is out here?”
Michael clapped him on the back and grinned. “Halfway to your future. And I know someone who will be very glad to see you!”
“Alex nodded his head and looked blank. “Okaaay. So….” Serena and Colin had hung back but Alex smiled at them and asked Max out of the corner of his mouth. “Mind telling me who they are? And why you did what you did while they could see it?”
Michael motioned Serena and Colin closer. “Alex this is my niece and nephew Serena and Colin. Serena, Colin, meet my friend Alex Whitman.”
Alex shook his head. “Okay, how long was I out? Uh… pardon me; I am pleased to meet you. I didn’t know Michael had any family. I am glad he found you. Now... will someone please tell me where we are?”
Michael threw up his hands. “He’s okay Max. Let’s get going. You’ll find out soon enough, Alex.”
Back on the road, Michael kept watch out front for any activity and Max kept an eye behind. Neither of them was clear on the timeline of the accident and it’s discovery. No one knew where or in what direction Tess went after she set up the accident with Alex’s body, either. They wanted to be out of the area and out of reach by the time the accident was reported. They all tensed when a car came at them going the other way, then relaxed when it passed. Colin thought he recognized it when it passed and smiled.
They made it without incident to the Granolith cave and Serena turned to Alex. She held a small tape recorder in her hand. “Alex, do me a favor will you? Say something like “Tess your mind warping has killed me!” Say it like you are ready to collapse.”
Alex looked at her and at the recorder. “I know just what I’d like to say to her!”
Max grabbed his shoulder. “Alex. I’ll explain later, just say something you might say if you were collapsing on her doorstep. Something that would be overheard by someone else. We need them to know what she was up to.”
“Okay.” Alex smiled and closed his hand slightly around his throat. “Tess where are you… you bitch! I… the mind warps… I think they are killing me…. Oh help!” The voice was definitely Alex’s but it sounded like he was on his last gasp. All of them raised their eyebrows in surprised respect.
Michael clapped him on the back. “Didn’t know you had it in you!” Alex just smiled and shrugged.
Serena handed the recorder to Colin and turned to the others. “We won’t be going right away. There are some preparations to make first. So you can relax in the car for a while or come on up. Come on Colin!”
Serena sat in the chamber and made some notes then copied her time log for Colin to use. “Okay, brother mine, you know where to go and what has to be done before you come back?”
Colin checked out the notes and asked a couple of questions and nodded. “Let’s do it!”
Colin touched the Granolith and disappeared into it. There was a brief flash of light and he was gone. Max had just stepped into the chamber. “Hey! Where is he going?”
“He will be back in a couple of minutes and we can go back home. This is not the place nor is there time to tell you everything we are doing to make this thing work. But in an hour or so we will have time to talk. I have a lot to bring you guys up on.” Michael and Alex were just coming in and Serena lowered her voice. “I sent for help for Alex. All I could do was put on a couple of Band-Aids, so-to-speak. Please trust me on this, now is not the time to talk about it.”
Both turned and looked at Alex. He was sitting on a stone and leaning against the cave wall. There was quiet relaxation on his face. Not a normal reaction for Alex, given the present circumstances. Max had not been taking in the different Alex. ‘No strong emotional reactions. No fear, no anxiety, nothing.’ “What did you do exactly? Will he get back to normal?”
“Most of the Tess mess dealt with fear, self destruction, extremes in emotional stability. I couldn’t undo it all, so I set blocks at every exit to that part of his emotional self. I sent for the best help there is for him! We’ll know in a couple of hours.”
Okay, update time:
Current Group... they have gone to the Granolith, met Colin and picked up Alex. Max healed Alex and Serena helped with a partial clean-up on the mess Tess made of Alex's head. They just returned to the cave and sent Colin off with tissue samples of Alex, so a clone could be made of his body, and a recording of Alex's voice so Tess and Kyle would hear 'him' when the body was dropped off..
Serena has sent for help to deal with the rest of the repair to Alex.
Are you still with me?
Colin stepped out of the Cave and sighed. This was going to take a while. He took out his phone then put it away again. He only had this phone service for a couple of weeks and he had gone back too far to use it. He set out on the road and started hoping for a ride, preferably with someone with a cell phone that worked.
A day later, Colin was back on the road to the Granolith. A cousin had driven to Roswell to meet him. Now he was dropping Colin back off at the Granolith. The tissue sample, the notes, and another copy of the time log would be on their way to a group in Colorado. The second leg of operation Alex was now in progress.
Colin slipped the crystal back in place and took another trip. This time to shortly before Serena, Michael and Max arrived to pick up Alex. He was met by the same family member that dropped him off. “Hey long time no see!”
Colin grinned, “Not to me Bobby, not to me. You just dropped me off about ten minutes ago!”
Bobby shook his head. “I never would have believed that the Granolith was a time machine. Heck, we weren’t even sure it was here on Earth! This must be real ‘citin' to you getting to run all over time like this!”
Colin grinned. “Just as “’citin” as running around with a ‘body’ in your trunk?”
Bobby faked a shiver. “Not what I would call a pleasant trip, but not bad. As long as I don’t get stopped and searched by the cops.”
They drove to Kyle’s house and parked a couple of doors down on the street. Colin and Bobby looked carefully around before removing the second Alex.
Colin opened the eyes of the body and looked at the blank expression. The body was still alive, but no body was ‘home’ in it! “Its alive!”
“Don’t worry, it has been monitored by the best. It never had any brain activity at all!” Bobby opened the shirt and pulled off a small black box that was stuck to the skin. “Mechanical life support. It can’t stay alive on its own.” The body stopped breathing with a long sigh. “Now its ready for delivery! Let’s get this over with! This stuff gives me the creeps!”
This was the scariest part of the whole operation. It would be awkward to explain why they were carting around a dead body! They made it to the left side of the house unseen and waited for Max and Michael to snatch Alex.
Bobby kept craning his head around the corner. And Colin had to pull him back. “Come on Colin. This is the KING and Ra..uh Michael coming! You got to drive them around, talk to them and everything. I want to at least see them!”
Colin relented enough to have Bobby on the corner-watch, while they held the body up between them ready to run it out. Max and Michael arrived shortly after this and on the other side of the house, waiting for Alex.
Once the snatch was made, they were on their way to the front door before Max and Michael even got across the yard.
They propped the body up against the door and Colin took a careful look through the window while Bobby kept the body up. Colin took the recorder out of his pocket and nodded to Bobby. Bobby unlatched the door and held the body upright in the doorway. Colin played the recording and they allowed the body to fall in and ran for all they were worth!
They backed the car around the corner and waited. A few minutes later, Kyle came out dragging the body and put it into Alex’s car. Tess came out and sent Kyle back into the house and drove off. They followed, not too close behind. Tess drove out to the desert where the road was a two-lane, one coming and one going. Bobby turned out the lights and they drove carefully. When she stopped in the middle of the road, they pulled off and watched from some bushes. She jumped out of the car and pulled the body behind the wheel, then stood fidgeting and looking up and down the road. As soon as some lights showed up coming from ahead of her, they saw her lean in. The motor came on and the car started moving quickly down the road.
The lights belonged to a semi truck. The driver saw almost too late that the car coming at him was not going to move over. He swerved wildly and the end of his trailer hit the rear of the car. The truck driver never slowed. If anything, he accelerated on his way. The car swung sideways, turned over two times, and came to rest upside down on the far side of the road. Tess took off running into the desert slanting back the way she had come. She obviously knew of somewhere to go, but neither Bobby nor Colin could see anything in the direction she ran. They waited precious minutes for her to get as far away as possible then ran to the car and set fire to it. They were far down the road when the car exploded in a huge fireball.
“Well, Bobby, that went better than I planned!”
Bobby was about to answer when a figure stepped out onto the road ahead, and waved. Colin yelled. “Don’t stop!” And Bobby swerved around her and kept his foot down. Colin watched the figure disappear behind them. “Wow! Talk about nerve! Hitching back home!”
Bobby shook his head. “Uh uh. She would have warped us into forgetting we ever saw her and we would be none the wiser. You said they killed her?”
Colin retrieved the crystal from where he had hidden it, and put it into the Granolith. “It’ll be ready real quick. What do you think of it?”
Bobby stood transfixed staring at the glass cone. “It’s about the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!”
Colin clapped him on the back. “Thanks for the help Bobby! Look, I’ll be arriving with the others in a few minutes. So you’ve got to get out of here. What say we meet in town for something to eat and if you don’t mind, I would like to stay at your room for the night. I don’t fancy driving another few hours tonight!”
“Sounds fine with me! I could use some settle down time after running around with a corpse all day! Look for my car on the main drag, at the first place to eat that’s open.”
Colin grinned. “Will do!” A moment later, Bobby left the empty Granolith cave and started back.
Max didn’t like the idea of Colin taking off with the time crystal, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it but wait. He didn’t have long. There was a bright flash in the chamber and Colin appeared beside the Granolith. He reached into its base and retrieved the crystal, which he handed to Serena with a flourish.
“Did everything go as planned?”
Colin gave her a hug. “Have I ever let you down sis? Sure it did!” He handed back the recorder. “It worked like a dream! Oh and would you believe that Tess tried to hitch a ride from us?” He laughed at the looks on their faces and hugged Michael again. “Hope I see you again uncle.” To Max he gave a small bow. “It has been an honor to help you.” To Alex he smiled. “I’m glad we could save you. I hope all will be well with you.”
They all waved goodbye as he took off out of the cave and headed back to his car.
Okay, I am going to give a little list of the time line. I hope this helps some of you to better understand what is going on.
Crashdown present. Serena got a phone call from herself. The ‘later’ her is outside with the ‘later’ Max, Michael and Alex. Present Serena grabs present Max and Michael and they go to the Granolith.
Two months past. Serena Max and Michael grab Alex, with the help of Serena’s brother Colin.
Nine months before that. Colin arrives and contacts the elders of his home. They in turn arrange for Alex’s doppelganger to be grown. They send Colin’s cousin Bobby, to retrieve the tissue sample, and at that time Colin turns over the timeline notes Serena has made. Now they know when she, Max and Michael will need a ride. They also know when to send the body back and pick up Colin.
Two months past. Collin is already here this night with Serena and company. Since he is already using his car elsewhere (to rescue Alex), Colin is picked up by Bobby with the extra ‘Alex’, and they deliver the body to Kyle’s place. Then Collin is taken back to the Granolith where he jumps ahead to just after he left. Since it is the same night and Bobby is still in the same timeline of two months ago, they can share a room and kick back before going back home.
Back to the Present. Now Max, Michael, Serena and Alex can come back to present and… well read the next part! (Grin!)
The four of them found themselves once again standing alongside the Granolith in their own time. Serena took the crystal out and placed it in the hidden room, on the shelf. “I won’t need this now, and I am bringing one with me for us to leave with. Let’s go and see if the timing was kept right.”
They stepped out of the Granolith and once more it was sunset. Michael looked around. “Hey, isn’t it supposed to be morning? What happened? Did we miss the time?”
“No. I sent us back… uh forward to the night before. We aren’t finished yet!”
“Rena!” A small redhead about the size and age of Serena was barreling up the hill.
“Vi! I see you got here okay. Was she able to come?”
“Yep! She’s in the car. She said I could do all the huffing and puffing for both of us.”
Laughing, Serena turned to her friends. “May I introduce Max… Michael… and their friend Alex. Boys, this is my dearest friend Violet. But she might punch you if you call her that! So call her Vi!”
Each of them said hello, and was careful to call her Vi. Serena shooed them all down the hill. “We will hitch a ride with Vi and her mom. Gentlemen may I present Tilda. One of the elders of my group. Tilda… Max, Michael and Alex. Now get in. We still have a lot to do!”
Alex sat between Vi and Tilda in front. Michael was stuck in the back seat with Max, and Serena was sandwiched between. Vi drove them to a motel on the outskirts of Roswell and led them to a room on the end. In the distance they could hear a siren going.
Max sighed. “Well I guess we know where we all are right now!”
“If we only knew last night what we have been up to! Uh will be up to. Whatever!” Michael looked around at the double bed and the two single chairs and sat down on the floor. “So, what do we do now? Just wait here until morning? I thought you said we had stuff to do?”
Serena smiled. “Well I, for one, would like something to eat first!”
“If we eat in, the only options for delivery are pizza and Chinese.” Vi offered. “I already checked.”
They opted for pizza. Not much chance of any other choice with Michael there! Tilda stayed near Alex and offered chitchat while they ate. Then she broached the subject of healing to him. “You know, there was a lot of damage that Tess did to you.”
“Yeah. Max fixed me up though. With him around you don’t need doctors!”
“Well there was some damage that he couldn’t help with. There are things that Tess did, that require a different kind of healing. I am that kind of healer. Would you let me help you?”
Alex looked to Max. “Is it okay?” When max nodded, Alex smiled and agreed. “What do you want me to do?”
“Just lay on the bed for a few minutes. I won’t take long, and it won’t hurt.” Alex got up from the chair and lay down on one side of the bed.
Michael leaned closer to Max. “The way he just goes along is spooky! You think we will get the old Alex back? The way he was?”
“Serena says we will. I would sure like to know how it’s done!”
Tilda turned to Max. “I understand from Serena, that you are a very skilled healer. Would you like to sit in on this? And Serena, you still have much to learn and should at least be in the connection to show me what you did and didn’t do and learn what to do next time. Vi, you will sit on the left, observe and give help if needed to Serena. Michael, you will sit on the right and offer support to Max and myself. Ready? Come come, get into positions.”
Tilda didn’t give any time for answers or arguments. Everyone just moved to positions. Michael did give an aside to Max. “When you all get in there, will there still be room for Alex?”
Vi heard him and giggled. Tilda looked sternly at Michael and he just grinned back. She took Max’s hand and told Michael to maintain contact with him. Serena took Vi’s hand, and both Serena and Tilda lay their hands on Alex’s temples.
Tilda leaned over to a very relaxed and genial Alex. “Look into my eyes Alex. Let me in and relax… “
During the next few minutes, Alex’s mental corridors where repaired, scraped, painted and re carpeted…. At least the is what Michael said later. He had found himself sucked in with the others and couldn’t pull out. He ‘watched’ as Max, Tilda, and Serena fixed all the damage that Tess had done. He could hear Tilda’s instructions and see how they were carried out. His respect for healing went sky high. It was obvious that this was more than laying your hand on someone, patching a hole, and looking exhausted afterwards. He found the details and the dexterity with which they worked fascinating, and terrifying. To take someone’s mental faculties apart and put them back together again!
This time, the work was done without anyone getting extremely tired because there was more than enough energy to share around. And Max, Serena and Vi got to see what a real mind healer could do. Max shook his head in wonder. He had learned more about healing in those moments than he could have learned by himself in a lifetime! Serena learned how she could have fixed the problem and how to loosen a block or a trap and gently move it aside and dissipate it.
Alex had been given the suggestion to fall asleep and was gently buzzing in the background while they talked over what they had just done. Serena, Max and Vi asked a lot of questions, avid to learn more!
Michael went back to his pizza and just listened. It wouldn’t do him any good to join in. He was no healer! It was a thought that made him both sad and glad. It would feel good to be able to help someone… but to take responsibility for someone’s life that way! He couldn’t help anyone, but then no one would expect him to either!
Once the excitement had calmed down, Vi got into her suitcase and brought out a manila envelope. This she handed to Serena with a piece of paper.
Serena in turn came to Max and Michael. “This is what we have to do tonight. We have already replaced Alex with the body and it burned well. That was one of the things that Colin was doing while he was gone. And that is why we have Tilda here instead of Aunt Viona as I had planned.”
She opened the envelope and showed them the contents. After the accident, the body would have been X-rayed. They wouldn’t look too hard because Alex was alone in his own car and there wasn’t much doubt who he was. Now with Alex turning up alive, they will want to get the dental X-rays out again. These are X-rays close enough to Alex’s to fool a quick look but not a good match when they get down to details. And now they will take a very close look at them!
“So… We are going to break into the coroner’s records office tonight and replace the ones taken of the accident body with these. …Piece of cake! Right?”
Max took the envelope and looked at the prints. “Where did you get these?”
“They are Alex’s, uh the body I mean, but they have been altered. Don’t worry, they won’t be able to detect it.”
Michael stuck his last bite of pepperoni and pineapple pizza into his mouth and stood up. “Just a little breaking and entering… Right. Let’s get going. Uh, do you have any idea where we’re going? Exactly?”
Serena held up the piece of paper. “Address, room number, cabinet location. Gentlemen, all the work is in the preparation!”
Max stood up too, and turned to Tilda while he watched Alex sleep. “We should be back before he wakes up. If not, be ready for a different Alex than the one that lay down so passively. The real Alex gets excited, scared, and angry! Answer all his questions; don’t make him wait until we get back. Okay?”
Tilda smiled and nodded slowly. “I don’t think he will wake up for the rest of the night, but if he does, don’t worry. I understand the young man better than he does himself. We will get along just fine.”
“Good. Let’s go!”
As Serena said, all the work was in the preparation. They drove to the back lot of the building. Michael unlocked the outer door and they slipped into the hall and down to the correct room. In the matter of five minutes they were letting themselves back out into the parking lot. In twenty more, they were back in the hotel room.
Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - To 53 6/23/19
Posted: 06/23/19 18:17
Vi met them at the door. “Hi! Did it go okay?”
Serena gave her a hug. “Just like a dream! Thanks for the planning. You did perfect! Did you manage to get another room?”
“Yep, and right next door too! Hi Max, Michael! We have a room with two singles and a roll-away for you. Serena will stay with us tonight. All you need to do is help us with Alex.”
Max walked over to his deeply asleep friend. “He didn’t wake up at all?”
Michael slipped his arms under Alex and Vi led them to their room and opened the door. “We will be getting up about seven or so, so you guys can get a few hours rest. See you in the morning!”
Michael put Alex on the bed and sat down with a sigh. Max roamed around the room for a bit. These rooms had a small refrigerator in them and theirs had some drinks in it. There was also a bag on the bathroom counter that had some toiletry items in it. Vi and Tilda had been very thoughtful in their preparations.
“Hey Michael! Mind if I get a shot at the shower?”
“Naw. Go ahead. I might go out for a while.”
Max had just pulled his head into the bathroom and it shot out again. “Michael,… “
“I know, we can’t risk being seen and recognized when we are in two places. Don’t worry I know where I am and I won’t run into anyone I know.” Michael ran a hand over his hair and it turned black. Then he ran a hand over his face and it changed just a little, but enough. “Besides they wouldn’t know me anyway!”
Max shrugged and went on with his shower. When he came out, Michael was already back. He had three wolf burgers, three bags of fries, a bottle of Tabasco and two boxes of kitchen matches. He placed them on the table and plopped down a deck of cards. “It’s going to be a long night.”
Max had to agree. In spite of all the travel back into time, it would hardly be later than early afternoon by their own time sense. They sat the food aside for later, each grabbed a box of matches, and Michael started to shuffle the cards.
Alex woke up gradually. He became aware that he was looking at a strange wall, that he was in bed with his clothes on, and that there was a conversation going on behind him.
“Maxwell, you are as good as dead right now. Why don’t you give in gracefully? I’ve beaten you every way a guy can be beaten!”
“I will not give in yet! I’ve still got a little breath in me. Show me what you’ve got or admit that you haven’t got what it takes!”
“I’ll bet all you have left! Man enough for it?”
Alex rolled over cautiously and looked around the room. Michael was throwing down an open hand of cards. “Read ‘em and weep Max. Ace high full house!”
Max leaned over and looked at the cards. “Hmm. Guess who has the missing Ace? And I have a King, Queen, Jack, and oh yes a Ten… five pretty hearts all in a row!” Max lay his hand down and started raking in the pile of matches, while Michael groaned.
“Oh good grief!” Both turned to look around at Alex. “I thought we had a life and death situation here and all it is, is poker! What rotten luck!”
“Alex!” Both Max and Michael got up and went to Alex. Michael clapped him on the back. “Hey sport. Glad to see you back among the living!”
Alex grinned and accepted a hand up from Max. “Thanks, I’m glad to be back. Uh, where ever this is. Anything to eat around here? ”
Michael got the burgers and fries out of the bag and pushed the cards and matches aside. Max gave the food a little warm up, and fetched some drinks.
Alex dived into the food like a starving man. “This is great! I remember eating some pizza, but that seems like hours ago.”
“It was. That was last night and this is… 4 in the morning.” Max grinned at Alex’s surprised look at the darkness outside. “How do you feel?”
“Great! Hey! I think I remember a woman leaning over me. Now don’t laugh! But she was an older woman and I think she was in my head… “
Michael rolled his eyes. “Man, everybody was in your head last night!”
“The older woman is a healer. She came to undo the damage Tess did. I couldn’t do all of it. Sorry.”
“Oh yeah, be sorry for saving my life. You know what Tess would have done to me if I went in there!”
Max cleared his throat. “As a matter of fact, she killed you the first time… when you did go in. This time we stopped you.”
Well, outside of nearly choking to death on a mouthful of fries, Alex took it pretty well. As Michael and Max took turns filling Alex in on last night’s escapade, Alex turned his head from one to the other, like a spectator in a tennis game. He didn’t come close to loosing it until they informed him that his parents, and the whole town thinks he is dead….. for the last couple of months!
“Wait wait wait wait, this was last night that you guys saved me right? How… how can that be two months ago!”
“Max, you want to take this one?” Michael asked.
“Hmmm. Well, we told you we went back to last night to keep Tess from... well you know. Now, later on this morning, is the when we came back from.”
Alex wiggled his finger from Max to Michael. “You mean right now, you are here somewhere else?”
“Yeah, like home sleeping! Like I was until Maria called up hysterical about her mom telling your mom all about us!”
“Whoa! You mean Amy knows about you guys? How did that happen? What if she wants to tell everyone? What if your mom and dad find out? Or Liz’s! We can’t let her do that! … Why would she want to tell my mom about you guys?”
“Because Max’s parents already know, and Liz’s parents found out last night, (our last night, not yours) and then Amy found out, because a car crashed into her shop and nearly killed her, and when Max healed her....! Anyway, with bringing you back, it just seemed fair that they should know so you won’t have to be the only one lying to your parents!” Michael stuck another fry into his mouth. “At least that’s what Maria was yelling about.”
“What have you guys been doing, advertising in the paper? God, I thought the world was supposed to end because I was told. What do you think Tess is going to do about all this human/alien secret thing.”
Max smiled. Alex was going to love this part. “She won’t say a thing, because she is dead. We killed her.”
Alex looked stricken and a little bit pleased. “You killed her because of… me?”
“Hate to bust your bubble, but we killed her because she shot Maria and was going to shoot Liz… and anyone else she could get! And because she was a stinking, slimy murdering little traitorous…”
“We get the picture Michael. Alex, after killing you, and mind warping most of us, she tried to get Michael, Isabel and I to go to Antar with her. Where we would have been killed by Kivar. It was Liz that figured out how and what Tess did. Liz, Maria and Kyle stopped us just in time.”
Alex kept asking questions and Max and Michael kept trying to fill him in on all the happenings. This may not have been the best way to tell it all, because Alex felt like his head had been used for a punching bag by the time they were through, but at least he understood that he was back with them in the future and that it would all, someway work out. He sighed. “Yeah, sure!”
There was a knock at the door and Serena peeked in. “Wow! You’re all awake! I thought I would have to drag you out of bed.”
Michael grinned at her. “Are you trying to tell me that you actually slept in the middle of our day? It’s about dinner time now!”
“Sure! I don’t want to sleep all day when we get back! Or didn’t you think of that?”
Max and Michael looked sideways at each other. Max cleared his throat. “Actually we didn’t. But we had time to bring Alex up to date on what’s been happening!”
Alex stepped forward. “Hi! I remember you… I think, but I’m not sure we’ve been introduced. And anyone as pretty as you should definitely be introduced!”
“Why Alex! I’m going to tell Isabel you said that!”
“Michael, if Isabel really cares a fig for me, I will be surprised. And don’t you dare tell her!” He turned back to Serena. “Do you say that she has said… well acted as if she might care? Really? I would believe you. You don’t look like the practical joker type… unlike some people present. Say, and if you are one of them, how come you’ve been hiding… or where have you been hiding? Was there another ship?”
Serena giggled. This was certainly a different Alex than the one they rescued! So this was the charm that won Isabel! She solemnly nodded her head. “Isabel truly does care a fig for you Alex! And I can see why!
“At the time Max’s ship crashed, a whole lot of others from our planet came too. Only we didn’t crash, we just slipped in and stayed out of sight. Since the ship carrying the Royal four crashed, we lost contact with them and didn’t know if they survived or where they were. Until they activated the orbs… do you know about the orbs? Good! Anyway, that told us, and just about every other alien on the planet, where they were. We’ve been trying to field the bad guys ever since. You guys got to fight the ones we missed.” She smiled and tilted her head. “Oh and one more thing, I am Michael’s niece. And one of the boys that helped with the great Alex rescue was his nephew, my brother. Any more questions?”
Alex shook his head, grinning. “Boy I sure like this time better than the way it was a couple of months ago! You say she really does?”
“Alex, do you remember Tilda? She is the one that helped you last night. She would like to talk to you. Would you mind?”
“Sure! I… I mean no! Bring her in. Or do I go to her?”
Serena laughed. “I’ll go get her.” To Max she winked and whispered. “I can see why your sister likes him.”
Tilda came in and smiled at Alex. She took in his looks, his coloring and the obvious meal he had put away. “Well, I am sure this is unnecessary, but I would like to examine you if you will allow? Would you come over to the bed please?”
“Uhh examine? You mean go around inside my head? I’m really fine, just fine. Ask Max. Max?”
Max grinned, here was the Alex they all knew and loved. “Go on Alex. Tilda is the one that healed you last night. It won’t hurt.”
“Yeah, but last night I needed healing. Today I don’t.”
Tilda patted his hand. “I tell you what, why don’t we just talk then? Would that be all right?”
Alex sighed. “Sure! We can talk all you want. I just don’t know about someone walking around in my head.”
Tilda looked at the table with its two chairs, then motioned to the bed. “Why don’t we go over here and sit down? Just to sit.” Tilda was intrigued by the change in this young man. So different from the reasonable, co-operative Alex she helped the night before. She looked at Max. “Is Alex acting normal as far as you have observed? This is his normal behavior?”
Max and Michael grinned and nodded. Michael slapped Alex on the back. “Yep. This is our normal Alex back. Guaranteed!”
“Very well, leave us to our talk then.” Tilda sat quietly with Alex talking so softly that Alex had to concentrate to understand her. As Max, Serena and Michael watched, Alex relaxed and leaned back onto the pillow. Tilda gently touched his face and sat silent for a moment, then smiled and removed her hand. She turned and nodded at the others then shook Alex lightly by the shoulder. “Alex, am I that tiring to talk to? You were slipping off dear.”
Alex sat up straight and shook his head. “I apologize. Guess I shouldn’t have gotten up so early. Say, aren’t we supposed to be going somewhere this morning? Like to see Isabel… and everyone?”
Tilda got up smiling. “We certainly are, and I don’t see why you can’t get back to your life. Has Max and Michael told you what you are to say?”
Max cleared his throat. “We haven’t exactly been told what he is supposed to say.”
Serena explained what Tilda and Vi’s role was supposed to be in finding and helping Alex. “Supposedly, Alex picked up a hitchhiker and was hit over the head by him and dumped. It was then the hitchhiker that had the accident. Tilda and Vi, were on their way home and found Alex stumbling along the road. They stopped and offered him a ride. When they realized he had a head injury, and couldn’t remember who he was, they took him home. He stayed with them until he regained his memory.
“Of course the rest of us and hopefully your parents, Alex, will know the truth. But this should suffice the rest of the town.”
“Cool! I had amnesia huh? Well I feel fit as a fiddle now!”
“Think your mom will tell your dad? Amy says she knows your mom pretty well… at least enough to risk it. But what about your dad?”
“Max, you have to understand that my mom is a force of nature when it comes to dad. She will tell him and tell him to live with it. He will. Not because he is a wuss or anything, but because he trusts mom to know what’s what before she makes a decision. If she is willing to accept it, he will.”
A short time later, Tilda and Vi dropped the trio off at the side of the Crashdown. “We will be back in a while. Call us and let us know when we should come, should it be necessary.”
Serena hugged her and gave her a peck on the cheek. “You are the greatest!”
Vi handed her, her cell phone and took Serena’s. “Thanks, I almost forgot! Turn it off now! At least for a few minutes. Don’t forget to park my car on the other side of the building. Okay? Then see you guys later!”
(Vi headed straight out to the granolith and they set down out of sight to wait. A short time later, Serena, Max and Michael arrived to start the first leg of the rescue Alex program. As soon as they started the climb to the Granolith, Tilda drew her car up behind Serena’s and Vi jumped into it. It was Vi that Michael saw taking off with the car.)
Max was all set to go around to the back and into the Crashdown. “Wait Max! I have a call to make first!”
Serena dialed her own number and talked for a few minutes. Afterwards she explained to the rest of them. “I received that call this morning… uh just now, from me. I couldn’t have called my own number on my own phone, now could I? That’s why I had to use Vi’s. Lets give us a couple of minutes,” She looked at her watch. “… actually five and a half, before we come out. Michael, you can be our lookout!”
When Michael spotted himself, Max and Serena coming out of the back door, he motioned to the others and they all filed around to the back. They were ready for themselves to look back and see them and waved with big grins. Michael grinned hardest at himself. “Boy if I only knew what I was in for!”
Liz paused at the top of the stairs, curious as to what Serena wanted the boys for. She saw them walk out the back door and started down the stairs. Halfway down, they came back in again, and when Liz saw who was with them, she sat right down on the stairs, holding onto the rail as if she would fall the rest of the way down if she didn’t. When Michael glanced up the stairs, he saw a pale Liz with her mouth open. Max saw her too and grinned at the shock on her face. No one ever got sick from this kind of shock!
Alex opened his arms. “Don’t I get a hug?” Liz was down the stairs and hugging him in an instant. “Hey! Leave a little room for circulation. Will ya?”
Liz was crying and trying to keep the noise down, for the benefit of those upstairs. “Oh Alex! You don’t know how good it is to see you again! Oh God, I’ve missed you so much!”
Alex patted her back without letting go. He had tears in his eyes too. He realized for the first time what this whole thing had been like for her. Two months! And for him it was yesterday! “I’m sorry Liz. The next time I get myself killed, I will leave easier clues. Then maybe you won’t have to wait so long to rescue me!”
Liz let go and wiped the tears from her face and she grinned at him. She turned to Max, Michael and Serena and shook her finger. “You… you… “
Max smiled and put his arm around her. “If you don’t like the surprise, I can always take it back.”
Maria came barreling down the stairs. “Guys, guys, quit stalling already! We can’t hold off much longer. Mrs. Whitman is about to… “ Alex stepped from behind Michael and Maria clapped her hand over her mouth to stifle the squeal she couldn’t help let go! She was down the stairs like a shot. And for the second time Alex found himself in a stranglehold.
Liz joined the hug and the three of them jumped up and down, Liz and Maria for sheer joy and Alex because he couldn’t possibly have held them down.
Serena grabbed Liz and Maria by the arms and pried them away from Alex. “Come on, we have to get up stairs. We’ve left Amy, Nancy, Kyle and Isabel holding the bag. No offense Alex. But your mother is up there right now and we are supposed to be easing her in on the good news. And the Alien news if it comes to that.”
“I don’t think it would be a good time for Alex to show up, up there.” Max poked his head into the kitchen. “Mr. Umm… Jeff? Could someone stay in the kitchen with you for a couple of minutes?” Max pulled Alex into the kitchen and Jeff looked satisfyingly shocked.
“Alex! Come in come in. Let me take a look at you! My, these kids have been burning the midnight oil trying to figure out how to get you back. I’m glad to see they made it.” To Max, “When did this happen? I thought you were still working on it?”
“We just got back. Actually we just left too. The whole time thing… Anyway, we still have to tell his mom about him. Could he stay in here for a few minutes?”
Jeff clapped Alex on the back, and answered huskily. “Of course, he’s one of the family you know.” There was a trace of moisture in Jeff’s eyes too, and Max realized a little sheepishly that Jeff had known Alex like a son, what with Liz, Alex and Maria being the three Musketeers for so many years. Of course Alex’s death had impacted him heavily too!
“Okay, well I… we, got to get upstairs. Don’t worry Alex. We will be as quick and as gentle as possible.”
The girls were already upstairs and Max and Michael quickly joined them. Isabel was chewing on a piece of her hair, Amy was looking impatient, and Kathryn Whitman was looking annoyed.
“Look, Nancy, Amy said something about the kids getting more information on Alex. Amy, I don’t know why you got me up here and then don’t seem to want to tell me. I don’t know what information you could all have that would be so important, but I just wish you would come out with it! I left a note for Carl and he must think I’m nuts. All I had time for was… ‘Something important, I’m going with Amy. Be back soon?’ If you know Carl, I better be back soon with an explanation, or he will come hunting me down!” She stood with hands on hips glaring at one after the other.
Liz took her hands gently and sat her down on the couch. “Mrs. Whitman, this is important to all of us. We just wanted you to wait until all of us could be here before we told you the good news.” Liz took a big breath and looked around. Maria was busting and Amy was shifting from foot to foot. Collectively, they gave her the go-ahead to spill it.
First with the official version… One shock at a time. “Mrs. Whitman… we have learned that the boy who died in Alex’s car, wasn’t Alex.”
Kathryn looked at Liz and from one person to the other. There was no indication that they were in on some terrible joke. “Who could it have been? They said it was Alex… we buried him right next to his grandfather… You mean Alex is alive! Oh my God. Do you know for sure? Oh… “ Kathryn fainted dead away.
Amy sighed. “Well that went pretty well. Wait till she gets the next installment!”
Carl Whitman pulled up to the news stand like he did every morning. “Hi Mark! Anything earth shattering going on in the world today?”
Mark folded Carl’s usual two papers and handed them to him. “Just the usual flack Mr. Whitman conspiracy theorists Vs Government PR men. We did have a little excitement right here though, last night.”
“Oh? What? Did someone see a UFO?”
“Naw nothing as ordinary as that, heh heh. No, old Mr. Fletcher had a heart attack on his way home and ran right through the front of Amy’s shop!”
Carl started and looked down the street towards Amy’s shop. “Was anyone hurt?” He was thinking of the note Kathryn had left him.
“Well Mr. Fletcher is dead. But no, no one was hurt. Amy’s going to have one huge bill for fixing up her place though! You should see it!” Carl handed Mark two dollars and Mark pocketed the change as always and tipped his cap. “Thanks Mr. Whitman. Have a good day!”
Carl headed for Amy’s shop. He had been on his way to the Crashdown but decided to stop by there first. The shop front was boarded up with plywood and the Sheriff was just putting a toolbox into the back of his Jeep. “Hey Jim! Moonlighting as a repairman are we?”
Jim grinned and put his cap on. “Oh Hi Carl! No just helping Amy out. Heard about it already have you?”
“Yeah. Say you haven’t seen Kathryn or Amy this morning, have you?”
“Sorry. Been busy.”
“Well I’ll see you later. I’m on my way to the Crashdown. Join me for a cup of coffee?”
Jim couldn’t figure any way to keep him from going, so he shrugged. “Sure! I could always use a cup!”
“Good! Say have you tasted Amy’s newest pie? She brought some over last week. Said she was going to start them at the Crashdown this week. I aim to find out!”
Jim grinned, being a great Amy pie fan himself. “If it’s there, we will sniff it out!” He just hoped any gang activities were out of the café area and upstairs! ‘Well, ready or not here we come!’
Re: Time in a Bottle - CC - Gen. - Complete!!!!
Posted: 06/23/19 18:25
While Nancy and Serena ran around getting water and wet rags, Max drew Isabel aside, and led her into Liz’s room. By the time he closed the door, Isabel was more than curious, she was getting anxious, was something wrong? “What is it Max?” She asked softly.
Max smiled to let her know it wasn’t anything bad, and she visibly relaxed. “Isabel, we did it. We went back and saved Alex.”
Isabel’s heart jumped and she grabbed Max’s hand. “Max, don’t play games. You haven’t had time to get him back. We haven’t even finished talking about it!”
“We don’t need to talk about it anymore. Go down to the kitchen. There is someone you really need to see, before you see him with all of us around.”
Isabel stood there for one more minute clasping Max’s hand. She could see the truth in his face. As she slipped out the door, Max heard a soft …”Thank you Max”.
Isabel went silently down the hall and down stairs. Six quick steps brought her to the swinging kitchen door. With her hand on the door she froze for a moment. ‘What if I’m not doing the right thing? What if he’s not ready for this? Maybe I should just wait until he’s settled in again.’ She almost… almost fell into the same rut that had almost ruined it for her and Alex. She remembered a place in a garden, with a fountain and Alex asking her to promise something. Resolutely she walked into the kitchen.
Alex was laughing at something Jeff had said and it stopped as soon as he saw her. “Isabel!” It was pretty much all he could say at the moment.
Isabel stepped foreword and grabbed Alex by the hand. “Come with me.” That was all she said. She dragged Alex out of the kitchen and opened the back door. A quick peek showed no one out back, and she led him outside.
Alex could feel his heart react, when the most beautiful girl in the world stepped into the kitchen. He assumed she was going to take him upstairs to see his mom, and was surprised when she led him outside. Isabel stopped and turned to him. Now that they were alone, she seemed hesitant to tell him what she had to say. Suddenly she stepped foreword, wrapped her arms tightly around him and buried her face in his shoulder. Alex could feel her shaking and put his hands gently on her back and rubbed them up and down. “There, there, I’m okay, It’s all over. Isabel?”
She mumbled something that he couldn’t quite hear, but when he tried to push her back a little so he could see her face, she clung even tighter. Alex sighed and just held her. This was a place he wanted to be and she was where he wanted her. It just worried him that something was so bad that it upset her this much.
Isabel was confused by the intensity of her feelings. She had looked foreword to this moment, worked for it and even talked with Alex himself about it, but the reality was humbling. This was so unlike her! She sailed through the world, making everyone see how independent and cool she was, unruffled and uncaring. The only ones that knew it was a lie were the ones close to her. And she had let Alex get closer than anyone… including Max and Michael! Alex knew her so well, knew her secret, and didn’t care. Alex had told her that he loved her, told her that he didn’t want to live in the hell she had put him in before he died. But he had to die before she could see how much she returned that love.
Finally, she pulled her head out of his shoulder and looked up at him. She could see the worry in his face, knew that he was worried about her. “Alex…” Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat and tried again. “Alex, I promised you something. I promised that if … when I got you back, I wouldn’t make the same mistake I did last time. I intend to keep that promise!” She lifted her lips to his and for a couple of minutes they were both lost in the intense experience of sharing something they each wanted and needed so much. Alex felt dizzy with the wonder of it. Isabel was weak with joy. This was so right! She surrendered the last resistance, the last brick of the wall she had lived so long behind.
And there were flashes!
Everything Alex had seen in Isabel, the way she moved, the way she laughed, and the way she made him feel. Isabel felt shame and pain over some of those and deliriously happy about others. She also saw everything that Tess had done to him, the hateful things she had said to him, belittling, demeaning. She had used him, and tossed him away when he had finished being useful.
Alex saw things that would make him ask a lot of questions… later. Like him and Isabel sitting beside a fountain, some strange stones and wooden doors that turned into steel. But he also saw her sitting beside his grave and crying. Saw all the times that he had made her laugh when she felt sad, and how dear to her those times were. This kiss wasn’t a fond hello, it was a vow as strong as one made before a preacher. Isabel had just given him a real reason for living again!
Jim managed to be first at the Crashdown door and sighed with relief when he saw there were no podsters in sight. He led the way to the counter, and Carl sat down beside him. “Two coffees, Agnes, and do you have any of that new pie of Amy’s around?”
“Sure, she calls it ‘Berry-yum pie’. Blackberry to me. Want some?”
Carl wasn’t paying attention to the order; he was caught motionless at what he thought he heard in the kitchen. “Alex.” He said it so low, Jim wasn’t sure he heard it right. Carl jumped up and walked around the counter and looked into the kitchen from the order window. All he saw was Jeff working the griddle.
“Good morning Mr. Whitman! Everything alright out there?”
“Uh… fine Jeff, thanks. Agnes is taking care of us.” He shook his head and sat back down. Jim saw the slump in his shoulders and ached to tell him about Alex. Now he knew what Carl had said, and he believed he knew the reason. The kids had done it! They had gotten Alex back! He looked at Carl again and made up his mind.
Jim clapped Carl on the back. “Hey let’s go sit over there in a booth. I’ve been up all night, watching Amy’s shop and this stool reminds me too much of the chair I sat in all night.”
Upstairs, Kathryn was coming around. At first she was considerably embarrassed that she had fainted. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what made me do that.” And then she remembered. “What do you mean Alex didn’t die in that crash! Then who did? Where is he? Alex I mean. Where has he been?” She grabbed Amy’s hand. “Do you know? Is he alright?”
“Calm down Kathryn, we will tell you what we can.” Serena handed her a glass of water, but Kathryn just held it as she looked from face to face. Nancy was thinking that this wasn’t going to be as easy as they thought. Now that she knew Alex was alive, she wouldn’t be open to any other information about him except where he was. How were they going to broach the subject of who and how? Where do they go from here?
Carl took a sip of coffee and sat looking into his cup. Jim watched him for a couple of minutes. He decided to risk it. “You were thinking about Alex. Weren’t you?”
Carl nodded. “I still think he is going to walk in to the house and tell us about his day. I miss him Jim. I miss how he would go on and on about some computer program he had figured out. In spite of the fact that it was pure Greek to us, we were glad to listen because it was important to him. I want my boy back Jim. God how I want him back!”
“You and I both know, Carl, that the only way to get him back would take something out of a science fiction story. A time device that came here from another planet, say. Maybe even from a crash, like the one in Roswell. And there would have to be survivors that found out how to work it.”
Carl didn’t like Jim doing what he thought of as making light of the situation. With some little heat, he replied. “And while you are at it, why don’t you have their children grow up being his friend and go back and save him? He could walk through that door any time and say, ‘Hi Dad!’ Why are we having this conversation? Don’t you know this is tearing me up?”
Jim took a generous bite out of the pie and shook his head. “You know, the problem with that, Carl, is that they would be taking a huge chance with their lives. What if the family, you and Kathryn in this case, found out who they were? What if they couldn’t keep it a secret? What if they all ended up in some secret government compound? What do you think the military types, or some secret special unit, would do to them? Torture probably. Trying to find out all about their planet and when they were going to invade the earth. Only problem with that is they wouldn’t even know one thing that they could say that would save their lives.
“They might be kids like Alex that just want to live their lives out without being killed for what they were. It wouldn’t be their fault that they were sent to this planet to grow up. They wouldn’t know anything about their planet or anything on it. Just kids too scared to let anyone know that they were different. You know and I know, different can mean dead.”
Carl had known Jim since they were kids. They hadn’t hung around in the same crowd but he knew Jim well enough to know how outside his character this whole conversation was. If anything, the shame he grew up with because of his father and his alien fantasies, had kept him far off the subject of anything alien! And here he was spouting some science fiction bullshit, when he had to know how much the thought of Alex’s death hurt him.
The whole thing was fantastic! On reflection, it was at least as fantastic as Jim’s performance just now. Carl took a swallow of his coffee, because his throat had gone suddenly dry. “Jim… If such a thing were possible, if I could get Alex back in such a way… “ Carl stopped. This was stupid and futile. He just couldn’t go along with this! He felt crazy even hoping for a moment… “Never mind Jim. Let’s just drop the subject. I’ve had enough coffee. I have to find Kathryn and get back home.”
Jim placed his hand lightly on Carl’s arm. “What were you going to say?”
Carl looked him right in the eye. Alright. He would take the chance and God help Jim if it was all a sick joke. “They would never have anything to fear from me for as long as they lived. So help me God!”
Jim knew he meant what he said. Knew the hope hurt him too. “Then I would say that Alex is very lucky to have a dad like you. And very lucky to have the friends he does.” Jim took a nonplused and shaky Carl by the arm and led him into the back.
Jim stuck his head into the kitchen. “Did they go upstairs yet?”
“Don’t think so. Isabel dragged him out of here and out back. I think.”
Just then Alex and Isabel walked in. Both were glowing with such happiness that it took Jim’s breath away. ‘Well I’d say Isabel just gave Alex a proper welcome out there. Good for them!’
Alex blushed and then went pale when he saw his father. Carl stood frozen, for a second then grabbed Alex in a bear hug. “God! Alex!”
Panic touched Alex’s eyes as he searched Jim’s face for a clue about how to handle it. Jim just grinned and nodded his head. Alex hugged his father back, shocked to feel him shaking as much as Isabel had. ‘It’s a great day for me, but it is sure hard on everyone else!’ “Hi Dad! Uh… I’m back!”
Carl let go and rubbed his face, trying to get back his composure. He looked intently at Isabel. An act that made her extremely uncomfortable. “Are you one of Alex’s ‘friends’?”
The peculiar emphasis he put on the word ‘friends’ was not lost on Isabel. Jim mouthed the words ‘He knows’. “Yes Mr. Whitman, I am one of his friends and I hope to be yours too.”
Carl stepped foreword and took her hand. “My dear, I would be privileged to call you a friend. You are welcome in my home anytime. You and the rest of his ‘friends’.” He turned to Jim. “Does Kathryn know yet?”
Isabel answered instead. “We were trying to tell her, but she fainted when we got as far as telling her he didn’t die in the crash. They are trying to figure out a way to tell her now.”
Carl turned to Jim. “I have a lot of questions to ask you, but right now, I need to know how you were going to explain Alex not being dead to the rest of the town. I will help tell Kathryn. In spite of the fainting, (I can’t believe she did that,) Kathryn will take the truth as I did. Also with a lot of questions!” He added the last with a smile.
Isabel explained the whole amnesia thing to Carl while Jim drew Alex aside and gave him a quick hug too. “I’m glad to see you back Alex. I really am! I didn’t know the kids had gotten that far in their plans yet. When we heard you in the kitchen it really threw me for a curve!”
“Is that how Dad…. ?”
“Uh, well it was a start. I haven’t known your dad well personally, but I saw how upset he was and I figured he had to know sooner or later, so I decided to give it a shot.” Jim shrugged. “I gave myself an out if he couldn’t take it, but it worked out alright.” They turned back to listen to the explanation Isabel was giving.
Carl shook his head. “Well all I can say, is I would probably have sued that woman and her daughter for all they were worth, if it was for real, for not attempting to find the family of the boy. Pain and anguish I believe the term is.” He grinned. “As it is, I am going to have to convince everyone that I am so glad to get my son back that I don’t give a damn about it.”
He took Alex by the arm. “Let’s go make your mother happy!”
Carl went up first, with Jim and Isabel behind and Alex hiding behind them. “Hey Kate, are you alright honey?”
“Oh Carl! Did they tell you? Our Alex is alive!” She went to him and he closed her in his arms.
“Yes, and we have these fine children to thank for it!”
She looked up at him in confusion. “I thought that some woman found him and helped him.”
“Well we can talk about that part of it later. Right now I think you have someone else to talk to.” Carl stepped aside and so did Jim and Isabel.
Jeff heard them all troop upstairs and about two minutes later Kathryn’s loud shout… “ALEX!” came ringing down the stairs. Jeff grinned. There was enough excitement going around here this morning to last a lifetime!
Three days later, on Thursday, the restaurant was closed early. As several people started gathering at the Crashdown for an extended family dinner. Considering the number of people that would be there, the lunchroom was the only place big enough to hold all of them!
There was Mr. and Mrs. Evans, Max, Isabel, Michael, Amy and Maria, Jim and Kyle, Mr. and Mrs. Whitman, Alex, Liz, Jeff and Nancy, Tilda and Vi. Also, Colin, Bobby and Viona had arrived from Serena’s hometown.
Now that everyone was in the know, it was a good opportunity for everyone to get comfortable with the idea of others like Max, Michael and Isabel. Besides, there were still a few questions hiding in the woodwork that could be discussed.
For everybody’s benefit, the entire story of the last couple of years were told. The parents were alternately proud and horrified at what their kids had gone through. A lot of questions were answered in this way, and each parent wondered if other parents knew what their own children could accomplish without their knowledge. It was quite an eye opener.
It also made it quite clear that being different and having all these wonderful talents came with a great price. Alex, Liz, Maria and Kyle would find understanding instead of problems with their parents as their new gifts started to emerge. And Amy and Maria would learn together what it meant to have gifts unfolding in unknown directions.
Serena introduced Viona when it came to the part of the discovery of the stones and what they were for. “My Aunt Viona will be moving into town for a few months. She can help everyone who needs to work with the stones. They were made for the purpose of teaching and smoothing the talents that emerge, either from birth right, or awakening through healing.”
Tilda made it known that she could ‘awaken’ anyone who wanted to join the others. That caused a lot of excitement and a lot of thought. “Just because it has only happened as a by-product of healing, doesn’t mean it can’t be done voluntarily. There has been many instances of awakening for the benefit of a child or a parent, or even a spouse that needed to be a bigger part of their family. So, especially for you parents, if you wish it, I can give this gift to you.”
All the parents declined.
Diane did tease Phillip about how an extra talent or two might help his practice. Phillip denied the need for anything but legal expertise. “Besides… two... uh three counting Michael... Hmm... Four if I know Isabel... gifted in the family is enough!”
Amy had listened with great interest to the account Liz had given of the whole Future Max thing. She felt that with trouble in the future, those who could, should get whatever awakening they could. She also knew that with, Diane, Nancy, Jeff and Phillip declining, that Jim would not speak up and volunteer.
After thinking about it for a few minutes, she took Jim aside and talked to him. “Honey, you don’t have to get any powers. Maria and I will protect you when the war starts. You just stay in your jail or you could wait at home. We will come home when it is over.”
Viona got up to discuss the talents or ‘gifts’ as she preferred. “The gifts that our children have been born with come from the same potential that is dormant in all humans. When someone is healed from a deep hurt, there is a strong enough connection to awaken these gifts. We have learned that there are a tremendous variety of them too! Our own gifts have been trained into us for so many generations that we have lost much of the potential that we once may have had. This is not true with your children.”
She grinned at a memory and shared it with the others. “When the first child of a mixed union was three years old, she astounded us all by making pictures out of clouds! The newspapers the next day had a picture of the clouds on the front page. ‘Fluffy Clouds Enter Story Land!’ the headlines read. It was a picture of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet walking under a tree! The picture was right out of one of her Pooh books! It was very hard to get her to understand that she couldn’t do something so big that everyone could see it! I think she will be a great weather former when she grows up.
“A little boy that was healed from a serious car accident found that he could shape and color rock. He makes the most marvelous sculptures you ever saw! And one teenager has an incredible money sense. He just knows when a stock or company is going to make a move. He also has the sense to move softly and keep it down below attention getting levels.” She sighed and looked around.
“We had no intention of making ourselves known or making any changes, but just by existing and helping when there is need, we have done so. Look at how this is changing all your lives! I am sorry for the problems it has caused you. But I am glad we can now count you among our friends!”
Kyle spoke up when she sat back down. “I can testify on how good those stones of theirs are! I am learning how to shut down the volume of sensations I get from everyone. Boy was that a headache! And she says I will be able to help with healing when the problem is in someone’s mind. Imagine me as a psychologist!” Everyone laughed with Kyle on that one!
Max refrained from talking to everyone about his most important concern, but a private conversation with Viona and Tilda, had assured him that Kivar and any other aliens that came to Earth could now be taken care of by the combined might of over a hundred and fifty determined immigrants! Forewarned is forearmed, and all would be doing some serious combat training for the coming encounter. This was their home now and they would defend it with all their considerable abilities!
Much later on Liz’s roof, Max and Liz lay stretched out under the stars. “I think I can relax for the first time in my life, since I found out we were different. It’s kind of like a child that has been lost and is finally found by his family. I feel so free! Free to choose my own life now.”
“And just what would like to do with this new found freedom?”
He turned his head and nuzzled Liz’s ear. “I think we can finally start planning a family of our own.”
Liz sat up and looked down at him with as much irritation as she could manage to imitate. “You are taking a lot for granted Mr. Evans.”
Max looked stricken. “You mean you don't want to marry me?”
Liz softened her look and smiled tenderly at 'her man'. “Well... you haven't asked me yet.”
Max pulled her back down and drew her into his arms. “I plan to rectify that just as soon as I can get a ring and do it proper. What do you think your answer might be?”
Liz turned and raised her head up over his, her hair falling down around their faces like an ebony curtain. “Oh I think you will like the answer when you ask me.” That was the last of the conversation for a considerable time.
Kyle asked Serena to join him for a walk in the park. He had his own plans that he wanted to talk about. “So you will be staying with your aunt while she lives here? What about when she moves back home?”
Serena looked Kyle straight in the eye. “Can you suggest a reason for staying around?”
Kyle put his arms around her. “Only one.” And he gently and slowly leaned in for a kiss.
Serena sighed. “One is enough.” And met his lips with her’s.
Alex took Isabel home and they lay on a blanket in her back yard. The sky was clear and brilliant with stars.
Isabel twined her hand with Alex’s. “You know I can’t really believe it is over.”
“What exactly? I mean… well what?”
She let out a big sigh. “Well, I have you back. That has been what we have been working for so hard. Oh Alex I didn’t think that could ever happen!
“Tess is gone. We don’t have to worry about her anymore. All our parents know about the special problems we have been fighting and are all on our side in this. We really don’t have to hide anything from them ever again!” Isabel smiled just feeling the special freedom of having no secrets from her mom and dad.
“We found out that we aren’t alone anymore. We can have all sorts of help for finding out about our powers and how to use them. We don’t have to worry about going home anymore. Kivar has the world in his hands. And… when he decides to come and take us on, there are a whole lot more of us to fight him than he thought there was! So, no more ‘End of the world’ scenario.”
“What ‘End of the World scenario’!”
Isabel had to explain what all that was all about. “Wow! And Liz was carrying all that around in her? Why didn’t she at least tell someone about it?”
Isabel could tell from the hint of hurt in his voice that he thought that someone should have been him.
Isabel turned over and ran a finger down his shirtfront. “Do you really want to talk about that when we are out here together?”
Alex grinned. “That’s right. We shouldn’t miss all these terrific stars!”
Alex put his hand alongside her face, and gently kissed her lips. “Isabel Evans, will you let me change your name someday to Isabel Whitman? I want it on record right now that I can’t live without you. What do you say?”
Isabel didn’t say a thing. She just wrapped her arms around his neck and neither of them said a word for a very long time.
As Maria drove Michael home, she was wondering what was on Michael’s mind. He hadn’t said a thing since they left the Crashdown. When they arrived, Michael jumped out of the car. “Thanks for the ride Maria.”
He turned to walk up to his apartment but turned back, only to find Maria a step behind him. “Ummm.. I was wondering if you wanted to come in for a couple of minutes?”
Maria smiled and tucked her arm into his. “Just try to get rid of me Spaceboy. I want to know what has you so tongue tied.”
Inside, Michael paced and Maria sat on the couch watching him. He didn’t show signs of stopping or talking and she was about to go nuts. Finally she jumped up and went into the kitchen. When she didn’t come back for a few minutes, Michael followed after.
“What are you doing? I thought we needed to talk?”
“Oh yeah, you were doing a lot of talking in there Michael. Talk, talk, talk, whew! It was all I could do to keep up!” She snagged a bowl from the cabinet and dumped a big pan of popcorn into it. “If I am to survive one of your silent treatments, I need to eat something. Move!”
She led the way back into the front room and plopped down on the couch with the popcorn. “If you want some you will have to stop pacing and sit down here with me! Don’t worry; the popcorn can stay between us!” She added rather testily.
Michael stood in front of her for a couple minutes more, then took the popcorn and set it aside. He pulled her up and into his arms and just stood there silently hugging her. Finally he turned and sat down bringing her onto his lap. “This isn’t me Maria. I don’t go in for these kind of conversations.”
“What kind! God Michael, you haven’t said anything!”
“Haven’t I? It seems I have been telling you everything I always wanted to tell you and couldn’t. I have finally realized that we are here to stay. I have seen that we aren’t alone. That Max and I can have any sort of life we want, as long as we don’t tell the world about us. And most important of all, I have seen that I can’t keep doing this to you. I… Maria, I… “
“Of for Pete’s sake! Say it! Please Michael!”
“I want you to be the biggest part of my life. Will You?”
Maria started crying, and buried her head into his chest. “I thought you would never ask me! Yes Michael! Yes I want to be Mrs. Michael Geurin!”
Michael sighed a big one and gently settled Maria on the couch next to him. “Boy, I didn’t think I would ever get that out.” He held her tightly for a bit and then grinned merrily. “I’m glad that’s over, now pass the popcorn.”
Instead she jumped up onto his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I can think of a lot better way to pass the time, Spaceboy, my Spaceboy.” She murmured softly.
The popcorn went unnoticed for the rest of the night.
I need to write and to have someone share it. I don’t get that from anyone else but you! I am pretty much the shut in, only my family for friends and they don’t go in for fiction at all. Especially fan fiction - boohoo.
I have another story here... a crossover between the Pretender and Roswell. "The Other"
As soon as I finish loading the rest of that one, I will be putting up its sequaol..."Centre Stage" (yes it is 'Centre' instead of center, because that is how they spell "The Centre" in Pretender.)
I really hope to see you there!