The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels




CHAPTER 2

 

OCTOBER 5TH, 8 : 58 AM

 

“But that’s not all of it,” Ron continued. “There are two people, in the front seat…who look just like you two.”

“What? That’s, that’s…” Lang found himself at a loss for words. His throat tightened and an uneasy sensation whirled around in his stomach. He placed his hand on his abdomen to ease the strange feeling. His breathing increased.

“And I’m not the only one who saw this,” Ron said. “The driver of that pickup…nearly hit the second Suburban. Strangest thing he ever saw. He…he’s gonna need some help. And I’m sure lots of other people saw this too.”

His breathing now nearly as rapid as Ron’s was initially, Lang could only stare back at him - none of this was making any sense!

Evan jabbed a finger into his own chest. “You’re telling us there’s a kid down there that looks just like me?” Evan’s trembling was now diminished, probably suppressed by excitement. He squinted at the other Suburban. “And someone who looks just like my dad?”

For some reason, Evan’s response brought fear to Ron’s strong countenance. Ron’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped slightly. The distrust he showed earlier vanished. He stepped a little closer. “You two…really don’t know what’s going on here, do you.”

“No,” Lang said, shaking his head. “I assure you. We do not.”

Ron cleared his throat, and swallowed. “I’ve called the Beyton County paramedics, but I have to admit, my training never prepared me for this.”

“You called the paramedics?” Evan asked. “Are those two people paralyzed?”

Lang’s heart pounded harder against his chest wall. “And what do you mean, your training never prepared you for this?”

“I don’t know what’s going on, but those people down there aren’t moving, talking, or breathing, at all. And I, I really don’t know what to do, but I think…I think…”

“Don’t worry, Ron,” Lang said, suddenly finding himself shivering. “We’ll figure this out.” But Ron’s surprising display of incompetency only fueled Lang’s distress even more. “Did you call for backup too?”

“Yes. I did. The Beyton County sheriff.”

“I want to see this,” Evan said. “I want to see the two people who look just like us. This can’t be happening.”

Lang remembered his prayer. He stared at the other Suburban. “This can’t be an answer to my prayer, Lord, it just can’t be.”

“What are you talking about?” Evan’s tone was demanding. “What did you pray?”

“The usual, you know, asking for forgiveness of our sins, and for your protection.” Lang shrugged and gazed into Evan’s worried eyes. He simply couldn’t tell Evan the last part of the prayer, not now.

“Unless you prayed for your Suburban to magically become two Suburbans,” Ron said, “I doubt this has anything to do with anyone’s prayer.”

Evan stepped closer to Ron. “I really want to check this out.” He looked at Lang. “Dad, come on. Can we?”

“Actually,” Ron said, before Lang could answer, “I believe it is imperative that you both do. I need you two to help me verify this. I was going to bring you down there in my squad car, but I’m using it for traffic control.”

Though shivering even more, Lang wanted this answered. “Let’s go, then. W-we can’t take too long, since Evan needs to get t-to school. He’s already late. We were on our way.” He shoved his phone into his pocket.

Ron didn’t hesitate. “Come on then.” He turned and began leading the way. “I’ll get us across safely. Don’t worry.”

Making certain Evan stayed by the curb’s side, Lang walked in step with Evan, both of them right behind Ron. The last thing he needed now, in the heat of this insanity, was anything happening to Evan. The impulse for that stupid, self-centered prayer felt so gone. How could he even have considered that? Lord, please, forgive me. I never should have prayed what I did.

Ron walked near Main’s curb too, the necessary police items in his belt, like his gun, making clicking noises in beat with each of his steps.

Lang stared at that other Suburban again. He wanted to study the two people in the front seat, but his eyes caught sight of the reporters instead. They were perched right at the edge of the grass median, the man’s camera pointed at a reporter woman, talking, and at the other Suburban. “Now we know why they were interested.”

“I know. I see that too,” Evan said, his voice rattling slightly from walking. “And good thing we can still see those two people enough with the sunlight.”

Lang noticed he was right. “Yeah, true.” And he could see that the two people did resemble him and Evan. But he didn’t want to say anything.

They arrived at Highway 10’s shoulder right near Bob’s. Thankfully traffic was quite slow, due to Ron’s flashing police car and the red flares yet sparkling on their diagonal track. Vehicles still had to pile into only the right lane, which slowed things down even more.

Once the stream of vehicles presented a break, Ron stepped out, holding up his palm. The nearest car stopped and the line of vehicles behind it did the same.

Ron led the way across 10. He paid close attention to any vehicles entering the left turn lane of the eastbound side that could cross to Main or make a U-turn. This was actually more hazardous than Lang anticipated, but it had to be done. And Evan was fortunately staying close to Lang’s left side.

“No way!” Evan was staring at the Suburban’s windshield. “That does look like me!”

But Lang only followed Ron and kept an eye on Evan, ignoring the interior through the windshield for now.

Ron brought them around to the driver’s side window. He then positioned himself back far enough so that with his presence and hand signals, vehicles drove around at a safe arc from their location. “The other strange thing is this Suburban is not running,” Ron said, “even though it’s in drive and the ignition appears to be on.”

“Really,” Lang said, his shaking decreasing, maybe just like with Evan, from sheer excitement. He really didn’t want to look inside but forced himself to. He leaned closer until peering into the driver’s side window. Astonishment struck him like never before; sitting in the driver’s seat was a man, brightened by the morning sun, who looked exactly like Lang, with the same bronze-colored skin, hefty roman-style nose, short black hair, and wearing the same light tan jacket.

Immediately Lang seized Evan’s hand and pulled him close to his left side, not caring if his twelve-year-old son felt embarrassed or not.

“Dad. I’m all right. You don’t have to hold my hand. And your hand’s all sweaty.”

“Okay, sorry.” Lang released Evan’s hand. He leaned even closer to the window. This copy Lang, with eyes staring straight ahead out the windshield, resembled a living, unmoving statue that definitely wasn’t breathing. Copy Lang grasped the wheel just like real Lang would. And the other person, an older boy, exactly resembled Evan, staring out the passenger side window at the oncoming traffic.

Lang’s breathing picked up even more though he tried to relax.

“Dad.” Evan was breathing harder too. “That’s my backpack…in there, on the back seat. What is this? It’s…it’s like they’re look-alikes of us…from a wax museum or something, arriving here instantly. This makes no sense.”

Calm. Stay calm.

But Lang’s inner reasoning only suppressed a fraction of his frazzled nerves and pumped-up circulation. He moved back a step and scanned around this Suburban’s outer surface. His heart nearly dropped to his feet. “Oh my Lord, Evan. This IS our Suburban.” He pointed at the driver’s side door. “See? We have that same exact red paint scratch, from--”

“That time at Walmart, when that lady’s door hit ours!” His eyes wide, Evan looked around the rest of the Suburban. “All the scratches and dents are exactly the same!”

Lang reached out and touched the driver’s side window. It felt exactly like the glass on their Suburban.

“No, Lang!” Ron blurted. “Don’t touch anything!”

Lang yanked his hand back.

“We don’t know what we’re dealing with here.”

“I know what this is,” Evan said. “Someone took a 3D snapshot of us.”

“That’s impossible.” The words flowed from Lang’s mouth, but it didn’t seem as though he spoke them. He swallowed, and his throat was so dry. “The glass feels like normal glass, solid, not…not a soft image.” Lang turned and looked back at Ron, wrinkles of worry sculpting Ron’s face, his hands motioning a pickup truck to drive by slowly. “What the heck is going on here?”

“I don’t know,” Ron answered. “The sheriff will be here soon.”

A running motor sound erupted from out of nowhere. Had someone just started a loud truck video on their cell phone?

Evan grabbed Lang’s left arm. “Dad! It’s running and moving!”

Lang looked back at the Suburban. The Suburban was moving forward, tiny pebbles crunching, powdering beneath its large tires, the motor humming away like always. “What is…no way!”

“Ron!” Evan yelled. “It’s going to hit that SUV!”

Evan was right. The Suburban drove as though copy Lang saw nothing in front of him. And an olive-green jeep was heading right into its path.

“Stop!” Ron yelled, running after the Suburban. “Police!”

Lang stared carefully; the jeep’s driver was bent down across the front seat, maybe picking something up or dealing with a child, but unaware of the Suburban. Not good.

With no traffic currently in the median turn lane, Lang seized Evan’s hand and ran with him until they were on the grass median. “We should be safer here,” he told Evan.

The Channel 3 News reporters were now about twenty feet away from where he and Evan stood, farther down west on the grass median.

“Dad. Please.”

“I know.” He released Evan’s hand. “Sorry.”

Lang watched Ron and the Suburban. Fortunately, the jeep had stopped, yet only inches from hitting the Suburban. But Ron’s yells and commands for the Suburban to stop were totally ignored. Ron glanced back at them, his face distraught. “We’re good,” Lang called out, and he gave Ron a thumbs-up.

But Ron and the Suburban were not good. The stream of westbound traffic had stopped, but for some strange reason, the Suburban was picking up speed, in increments; every foot or so in distance, it accelerated forward, like a choppy fast-forwarded video. This couldn’t be happening. It was too unreal. And the Suburban was heading straight up Main and straight toward the back of their Suburban.

“What is it doing?” Evan’s voice came high-pitched. “It’s going to crash into our Suburban!”

Ron quickly realized he couldn’t do anything and instead ran in the opposite direction, back toward 10.

Cringing, squeezing his eyes shut, Lang wrapped his arms around Evan. That Suburban had been in the family for years. He waited for the horrible crash-bang from the impact.

But instead, he barely heard a thing, save for a soft yelp from the nearby woman reporter and a few shocked outcries from other people in the area.

Evan wiggled about from under Lang’s arms and broke free. “Dad! This is Outer Limits stuff. Look at it now!”

Lang opened his eyes. Only one Suburban existed where he had parked their Suburban on Main’s curb. Yet something was very wrong. He blinked and squinted, adjusting his eyesight, unable to believe what he saw. This one Suburban was now surrounded by some sort of thick, transparent, plastic-like wrap. The wrap was all-encompassing, covering the Suburban evenly and everywhere, from tailgate to front end and from tire bottoms to the rooftop. “How is that possible?” Lang felt like he was leaving his body; this just couldn’t be happening. “What…what is going on here?”

“I saw it!” Evan said. “It was really weird. That other Suburban just - just glided right into our Suburban, like our Suburban…sucked it up or something. And then that stuff…instantly formed around it.”

Ron ran over until he stood on the grass median near them. “The sheriff is moments away.” Ron looked back at the encased Suburban. Lang did the same. Vehicles heading north on Main looped far enough around the strange, encased Suburban, giving it plenty of room. And vehicles on Main heading to 10 drove away from it too, with some parking at Abby’s convenience store. A few drivers soon got out to gawk at it and snap photos, though they then stared at their phones with disbelieving behavior. And vehicles on 10 were rubbing-necking, drivers and passengers exhibiting stunned faces and reactions at seeing the bizarre thing. “Just hang in there,” Ron said, eying them again. “He’ll be here soon.”

But it sounded more like Ron was actually reassuring himself.

“Why is this not working?” a man’s frantic voice said.

Lang turned left, from where the voice came. Channel 3 News’ cameraman was haphazardly moving his camera around, clumsily pressing various buttons. The other reporter people near him tried to help.

Of course. Take a photo too.

Lang thrust his hand in his pocket, took out his phone, and directed it at the wrapped, encased Suburban.

“Of all times for it to fail!” the cameraman said. “Why won’t that white SUV show up now?”

Lang looked at his phone’s screen. Instantly his breath caught in his throat; the encased Suburban wasn’t appearing in his camera’s viewing window at all, even though everything else was! But he snapped a photo anyway and then shoved his phone back into his pants pocket.

“No way!” Evan said. “Dad, look!”

Lang focused in the direction of Evan’s pointing finger. The driver’s side door was opening on the encased Suburban, stretching that transparent wrap stuff out as far as the door swept outward. The copy Lang, now obviously no longer a frozen-like, sitting human statue, slipped out of the Suburban, exiting through the thick, plastic-like enclosure like it didn’t exist. Copy Evan did the same. “What?” Their two copies then walked down to the end of the Suburban, meeting up there. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“There’s something…wrong…with…” Evan was struggling to slow his breathing. “There’s something wrong with time.”

“They’re doing exactly what you two did.” Ron stepped closer to the grass median’s edge, about ten feet away from Lang. “And I see them talking. Can’t hear them really. Too far away. And if you’re right, Evan, they’ll be expecting me at any moment and then they’ll start walking down to 10. And traffic has increased since the Suburban isn’t blocking it anymore.” Ron’s radio transceiver had chatter. He lifted it right up to his mouth. “Thirty-four, what’s your ten-twenty?”

“Can see your lights flashing. Just coming over the hill.”

“Copy. Code three. Move around to the intersection and block all westbound and Main Street traffic. Two pedestrians crossing blind, man and boy.”

“Thirty-four. Copy.”

Lang heard the sirens and then quickly saw the lights flashing at the hill’s crest. The sheriff’s police car zoomed down along Highway 10’s shoulder, prompting the other vehicles on the highway to eventually slow to a complete stop. Once near the intersection, the sheriff slowed his police car and carefully parked it sideways on 10 so that it blocked the path of a dark blue minivan, the first vehicle in the long line of westbound traffic. His car’s position also helped slow traffic crossing from the median’s left turn lane to Main.

And just in time. The copy Lang and Evan were walking down Main and getting closer to 10.

“Unbelievable,” Ron said. “They’re not even noticing the sheriff’s squad car.”

How true that was. They mostly stared ahead, though they did glance around at traffic, like he and Evan had done. And the two copies were eerily moving faster, maybe even in increments, similar to how that other Suburban had moved. Though that couldn’t be humanly possible, could it?

The sheriff got out of his car just as the copies walked past him.

Ron lifted his transceiver. “Thirty-four. Ten-zero. Do not touch those pedestrians. Repeat. Do not touch pedestrians.”

“Thirty-four. Copy.”

“Why not, Ron?” Evan asked. “Why can’t he touch them?”

“We don’t know what we’re dealing with here,” Ron said hurriedly, his face focused in the direction of copy Lang and Evan.

The two copies rushed across 10. Lang suddenly found himself breathing even harder than earlier. No. Calm. Stay calm. But how? This was just getting more and more disturbing; he could now confirm that with every step the copies took, their talking, walking, and other movements accelerated. They were two people in a fast-forwarded recording that was only getting faster. They looked into, touched, and pointed at an invisible Suburban, far too rapidly to be humanly possible. And they spoke to each other, and an invisible Ron, far too rapidly to be humanly possible.

Lang quickly forced himself to recall everything he and Evan had done. And unfortunately, both his memory recall of their actions and the memory of events leading up to the Suburban’s current state met at a horrible, twisted center; those two copies were heading to exactly where he and Evan were right now, and with the same results as the Suburban. “Good Lord help us.”

Ron turned back, his face ashen. He knew too.

He ran over to Lang and grabbed both his and Evan’s upper arms, and began forcing them westward, nearer to the frightened reporters. “You two need to get in the sheriff’s car, now!”

“But you’re going the wrong way!” Evan struggled to yank his arm free. “And they just need to catch up with us, that’s all. Then…we’ll be fine!”

“Evan! Stop!” Lang struggled to breathe through his scolding. “You see…what happened…to our Suburban?”

Ron then directed them northeast, in a diagonal line to the sheriff’s car across 10. “I was trying to get more distance…away from them.”

Lang glanced back at the two copies. Their feet buzzed like slow mechanical scissors and they were already on the median’s grass, where Lang had brought Evan earlier.

“The highway’s clear,” Ron said. “Run, now!” Ron then shot away and sprinted back toward the two copies.

Lang grabbed Evan’s hand and took off. But he kept turning back, to watch Ron.

With his arms spread wide open, Ron bowed his head down and charged at both copies as a tackling defense player.

But Ron had no effect at all - the two copies passed through Ron’s arms and body as ghosts! “No!” Lang yelled. The copies raced after them even faster now until about ten feet behind, their facial expressions showing the same fear and disbelief but sped up, fast-forwarded.

Adrenaline surging through Lang, he faced forward and sprinted with Evan toward the sheriff’s car.

Ron charged across the highway, meeting up with Lang. He grabbed Lang’s right forearm and gave him a hard tug forward. “Come on, Lang. You can make this!”

Lang tightened his grip around Evan’s hand and ran with all his might, his legs cramping from the pain, Ron’s tugging just barely helping.

The sheriff drove his police car at an angle toward them. He opened his window and stuck his head out. “Get in the back seat!” He was now about twenty feet away. “Hurry!”

Lang looked back. He wished he hadn’t. The terrified, running-exhausted face of himself, from seconds earlier, plowed right into him from behind.

He felt no pain but immediately his peripheral vision caught sight of a thick, transparent layer surrounding his head. And instantly he ran taller.

“No!” Ron called out.

An odd force popped Ron’s grip right off of Lang’s arm. Ron tumbled down to the asphalt. The same force flung Evan’s hand free. Lang glanced down at his moving arms. Both his arms were completely covered by the same transparent layer.

“Dad!”

Lang pressed his feet into the asphalt, stopping, and immediately sensed a cushion under his shoes. He looked left for Evan. No, Lord, no. Evan was completely surrounded, from feet to head, by the same thick, transparent wrap that surrounded the Suburban.

Yet like Lang, Evan could still run. But he was running right in front of the sheriff’s car, heading for the grass triangle next to Abby’s. “Evan! Careful!”

The sheriff slammed on the brakes, stopping within inches of Evan.

Evan kept running a short distance onto the grass. He stopped and began swinging his arms and contorting his body in a frenzied, chaotic manner.

Lang tore off in Evan’s direction and again felt a cushion of air beneath his pounding shoes. He looked down. His feet and legs were entirely encased. As with Evan, he too had to be completely surrounded by this stuff.

He ignored it, kept running, expecting a rapid suffocating sensation from a lack of air. But remarkably, he could breathe fine, even after sprinting so hard.

He ran up and halted several feet from Evan.

Evan had exhausted himself it seemed. He was standing steady, his arms outstretched on either side of his body and his shoulders heaving up and down from labored breathing. The sheriff and many others, mostly strangers and some of the Channel 3 news people were slowly drawing closer to Evan, but Lang ignored them.

“This shouldn’t…be happening.” Evan’s voice was shaky, though clear, not muffled at all by the confining layer. Lang glanced all around Evan. The transparent layer, maybe an inch thick, allowed about an inch of air space everywhere above Evan’s body surface, even by his nose, fortunately. “This shouldn’t be happening, Dad.” Lang’s heart sank; Evan’s eyes held fear, and something else Lang had never seen before – a blank stare. “We should…just be getting back…with time, that’s all. What happened?”

“I don’t know…Evan, but…but don’t worry. We’ll figure this out. Can you…can you breathe okay? I can…for some reason.”

“Yes, but I’m…breathing harder…and feel panicky.”

“I know. I understand. But just stay calm…and let the police…and paramedics figure it out.”

Unfortunately those words weren’t ringing so true; Ron and the sheriff, gradually drawing closer, displayed confusion and ineffectiveness from their words and actions, though they definitely wanted to help, it seemed.

“This is my body!” Evan yelled suddenly, anger darkening his eyes. “Leave me alone!” He began throwing outward jabs, punching at nothing. Then he punched as fast and as hard as he could in front of himself until his numerous jabs became a blur of motion barely discernible.

Like a switch turning on, the transparent layer suddenly ballooned itself outward, in front of Evan’s torso and away from his punches.

Lang’s eyes widened. “What the…Evan, you need to stop!”

“Whoa, son.” Ron stepped closer. “Let the paramedics…handle this. They’ll be here…soon…about two minutes out. Just relax.”

Lang looked at Ron. “You see what it’s doing?”

Ron’s face was even more ashen now than before. “Yes, I do.” He stared incredulously at Lang, and then back at Evan.

Evan finally noticed it too and ceased his punching. He stretched his palms outward and attempted to touch the inner side of the layer. But in an eye blink, the encasing material whipped down and surrounded his arms as before.

Evan started breathing faster. He shook his hands rapidly from side to side.

“Evan, can you breathe all right?” Ron asked.

“Yes. What is…this…this stupid stuff?”

“Evan, you need to stay calm.” Lang reached out to place his encased hand on Evan’s right shoulder. But at about six inches away a force stopped him. “What the…what is this?” He gently pressed up and down around the air above Evan’s encased shoulder and the rest of his body, but a strong repulsive force, similar to the force produced by the same poles of two powerful magnets was everywhere around Evan. “Try this on me.”

His face pale, his breathing worse, Evan reached out his left hand to Lang’s right arm. The same thing occurred for him. Evan closed his eyes. “Dad, I can’t…I can’t stand…anymore.” His body became limp and he slumped down toward the grass.

“Evan! No!” Lang thrust his hands out to wrap around Evan’s upper body but the repulsive force made it even worse, shoving Evan backwards.

But Ron easily caught him. The repulsion, whatever it was, had no effect between Ron and Evan. Ron was able to lay Evan carefully upon the ground.

The sheriff rushed over.

Ron looked up at him. “Jimmy, any word on the paramedics?”

“A few minutes out.” The sheriff knelt down by Evan’s other side. “We need to get this off Evan. Looks like a panic attack or shock. You feel any adverse reaction?”

“No," Ron answered, "nothing." He opened a snap pocket on his gear belt and pulled out some blue surgical gloves. He hastily slipped them on. He clicked open another pocket and took out a large knife.

Evan stared skyward, his skin pale, his chest heaving rapidly.

Desperation flooded every cell in Lang’s body. “Ron.” Lang’s throat felt so dry. “Please. Hurry!”

“Evan, focus on slowing your breathing,” Ron said. “Try to relax.” Ron placed his glove-covered hand near Evan’s right hip, on top of the encasing layer. With his other hand, he tightly grasped the knife. He plunged the knife into the layer’s surface though careful to be clear from Evan’s hip. But the fisted unit of knife and Ron’s tight grasp bounced off, nearly smacking Lang in the face. Undeterred, Ron plunged the knife down again, this time near the layer’s surface above Evan’s right thigh. Lang knew he wouldn’t stab Evan and was targeting areas less likely to cause harm. Yet the same thing happened; the knife and Ron’s fist bounced backwards. “Okay. Different approach.” Ron wobbled on his knees and quickly arrived by Evan’s feet. In short, swift scrapes, Ron tried cutting or sawing the layer around Evan’s foot with his knife.

Lang looked at Evan’s face and his throat tightened; Evan’s condition hadn’t changed. Lang turned and watched Ron’s knife strokes. Not one cut or indentation marred the encasing layer from that knife. Nothing was happening. This stuff was impossible and unreal.

“Evan,” the sheriff said. “Are you getting enough air?”

Evan didn’t respond.

Ron stopped trying the knife cuts. He wobbled back to Evan’s upper body. He looked at Lang. “He was breathing okay before, right?”

“Yes, yes. As weird as it sounds, I can breathe fine in here, just like I’m outside now. I’m scared, breathing faster, but…” Tears began welling in Lang’s eyes. “No…no. Why is this happening? What did I do?”

Ron wedged his glove-covered hands between the grass and the layer covering Evan’s back. He lifted Evan up slightly, and then laid him back down. “Probably not a good idea.” He took hold of Evan’s right hand, sandwiched it between his two glove-covered palms, and pressed hard, trying to crush the top and bottom layers. Ron strained with all his might, pressing with intense force. “This substance…is impossibly strong. Won’t…budge.”

The sheriff looked at Lang. “And yet it is extremely flexible. Both of you can bend and move easily.”

“Yes, for some darn reason.” Lang swallowed and stared at the sheriff. But then he stood up, hoping to ease the panic building in his chest. “We need expert help. Now.” He searched around, looking for the ambulance. He couldn’t see or hear one. But he could see even more people moving about nearby, especially those reporters. And cars traveling westward were slowing, passengers gawking, snapping photos, taking videos.

He had to get out of this thing. This shouldn’t be happening!

Panic hit a boiling point, fueling rage within him. None of this was even possible! He stepped back far enough away from Evan and swung his feet and blasted kicks in any direction. But it wasn’t working. He made fists and launched punches at the confining transparent layer everywhere around his body. He quickly realized no repulsion occurred when the layer around his hand smacked against the layer around his body. But didn’t matter; similar to Ron’s knife strikes, his encased fist bounced back at each hit with the layer’s surface.

Maybe Evan’s approach? Rage injecting more energy, Lang pounded his right thigh with his right fist, picking up speed and using the bounce-back to nail a hit more forceful each time. But wasn’t enough. He fired away with both fists on his right thigh, until striking so fast his motion was nearly a blur. Then, in a split second, the entire front layer ballooned outward away from his arms to his thighs. Unable to stop, his striking knuckles plunged deep into his pant-covered thigh muscle. “Ahhh!”

“Lang!” Ron yelled. “Let the paramedics handle this! Your son needs you level-headed now.”

Lang buckled over a few inches, rubbing his hands into his thigh to lessen the pain, but remained standing. “I’m sorry…Ron. Just wanted…to get out of this.” The pain in his thigh only compounded his earlier running cramps. He stared around his thigh and upper body. How strange. Like he had quickly noticed, the transparent substance had left those arm-sleeves and his upper legs, making a ballooned-out area from his neck to his thighs. Yet he wasn’t free; the substance still completely surrounded him everywhere else.

He held himself motionless, unsure what to do.

“Move your arms out.” Ron was eying Lang’s thigh. “See if that will release you.”

“All right.” Lang slowly moved his hands off his thighs and spread them outwards. Instantly the transparent substance encircled around his arms, right up and over his fingertips, and rapidly flowed elsewhere to conform to his torso and legs. And from what he could tell, not once did it break its connection or cause even the slightest gap in all of its rapid flow. A spacesuit. That’s what it was like. An air-tight, one-unit, see-through spacesuit, with intelligence. “That’s impossible. No way could this be happening.”

“Never mind it,” Ron said. “Just talk to Evan.”

Lang knelt to the ground with his right thigh yet throbbing in pain. But as the sheriff had noticed, the encasing substance didn’t hinder his bending knees one bit, even bowing outward behind his legs it seemed, so the back of his thighs rested on his calves, like always. “I’m sorry, Ron.” Evan was still the same, though thankfully breathing. But Ron and the sheriff could only stare at him, or Lang, their shocked, frightened demeanors indicating a complete loss of how to help. Lang looked into Evan’s pale face. “Evan. Please. Snap out of this. Please.”

Nothing changed. Evan didn’t respond at all.

“Evan. Please. Can you hear me? Can you say something so we know you’re aware of us?”

Again, nothing.

From off in the eastward direction, Lang could finally hear the ambulance sirens.

But a terrible dread pulsed through his veins; after experiencing the intelligent and indestructible behavior of this substance, his gut sense told him there was going to be very little the paramedics could do.