The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels




CHAPTER 49

 

OCTOBER 5TH, 8:41 AM

 

Like when they went from standing on that deck, to sitting on the bus, by Jupiter, Lang felt that mystifying unease once more; here he was, suddenly sitting in their Suburban! His hands were firmly gripping the steering wheel just like before. He kept his eyes wide open and waited for the scene before him to become clear and decipherable.

And then he saw it – good old Main Street right across Highway 10, from their position in the median turn lane. “Yes! We’re back!” He turned right, thinking of Evan. He jolted against the driver’s side door. “And look at you! My twelve year old Evan again!”

Evan smiled, and touched his jacket, his arms, his face. “Remember, Dad…” He grabbed his mouth. “So weird! My voice! How many people can say they’ve jumped from a teenager back to a kid again?”

“No one can! And look at us. No hull, no decrease events. Yes! But what were you going to say?”

“Remember. We almost got hit by that pickup.”

“Oh, yes, I remember that.” Lang looked to his right. “Oh my gosh, Evan. Look. Everything’s motionless, just like the Savior said.”

Evan looked out the windshield and his side window, his movement and behavior again soothingly familiar of that fun, energetic twelve-year-old kid. “Wow. Unbelievable. Total Outer Limits or Twilight Zone stuff. Cars and trucks are just sitting there on the road.” He turned and looked out the middle and back driver’s side windows, in the direction of Cenex. “And look! People are just stopped in their steps like statues!”

Lang turned far enough around. Customers walking into Cenex and pumping gas for their vehicles were frozen in time. He could even see that Channel 3 News vehicle still parked there. “Wow. You’re right! But not like we haven’t seen it already. Those horrible Causalitors showed us the underground base, with Colonel Jennings.”

“Yeah. I remember that. But Dad, quick, let me see your cell phone.”

Lang took his cell phone out of his pocket. “Why? You think it will work now?” He handed it to Evan.

 “I don’t know. But if it does, it’s our last chance to get any evidence of what happened to us.”

“Sure, I guess it’s worth a try. But even if you get a video, people can always say we altered it.”

Evan didn’t respond to Lang’s doubting words. He swiped the phone’s screen and stared at it a moment. “Excellent. Battery’s still good.” After clicking on the camera icon, he held it up and pointed it to the right. He closely observed the screen again. “Dad! The camera’s working now! No black screen.” Lang saw it was true. “Awesome! I’m taking a video.” He slowly moved the phone in front of the windshield, then near Lang, and finally toward the back, in the direction of Cenex. He loosened his seat belt and held it there the longest. “I’m making sure I get that. People will be freaking when they see Cenex customers like statues. So cool.”

“Okay, I think that’s enough, though. Remember. I’m driving us across the road.”

“Oh yeah.” Evan settled himself back into his seat and stared to the right.

Lang tightened his fingers around the steering wheel and readied his foot on the accelerator. “You ready?”

“It should be happening soon?”

“I don’t know.” Lang eyed his watch. “I didn’t think to keep track of the time.”

“You just have to make sure you go fast enough, and don’t slow down. That truck won’t hit you then.”

“I know. We should be fine.”

In an eye blink, everything suddenly returned to normal. It felt really strange, but Lang couldn’t concentrate on that now.

“Dad. Go! The path is clear!”

Evan was right. They had the same exact space in traffic before all this took place. Lang sunk his foot harder into the accelerator, supplying the needed speed boost, and they headed across to Main easily.

Once there, Lang continuing to drive the Suburban up Main, he found himself trembling some. “Evan. You shaking too?”

“Yeah. I am. A little bit. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know. I’m going to pull over by the curb.” Lang clicked on his right turn signal and eased the Suburban to the side of the road.

“That’s weird,” Evan said. “We’re stopping in the same exact spot when all this happened.”

The memory of that moment, when this whole frightening, incredible event began, weighed heavily, making Lang shake even more. “I know. Tell me about it.” He yanked the gear stick into park. He released his trembling hands and watched them a moment, thinking. “Evan. We just saw Mom, and the Savior…and we talked to both of them.”

“I know! Tell me about that! It was amazing beyond belief!” Evan held out his own hands; they trembling just slightly. “And I can actually see my hands without the hull.”

Lang let out a short laugh. “I know. I told you! What a relief, for sure.”

Several quiet knocks pattered on the driver-side window. Lang looked to his left. Ron was standing next to the Suburban.

Quickly Lang eyed the rear view mirror. Ron’s police car was parked right behind them, though the car’s lights weren’t flashing. “When did he get here?”

“I don’t know,” Evan said, shrugging.

Lang immediately pressed on the button, lowering the window. It felt great to breathe in fresh, morning air again.

“Everything all right with you two?” Ron asked. He gave Lang a deep, inquisitive stare. “Your hands are trembling.”

“Did I…did I do anything wrong?” Lang asked.

“No, no, I don’t mean to alarm you,” Ron said. “I was just thinking about church service yesterday, saw you drive by. I was behind you and then you stopped. It’s a slow day, so I thought I’d make sure everything’s all right.”

All that had happened to him and Evan was right on the verge of coming forth in an explosion of words from Lang’s mouth. But that wasn’t going to work. “We just…we just had…the most amazing thing--”

“Dad. Don’t forget. I have to get to school.”

Lang looked at Evan; worry and embarrassment was building on Evan’s face. Yikes. 

He glanced up at Ron. What a relief – Ron appeared only curious, puzzled, not distrustful and suspicious like he had been when seeing the two Suburbans. For some reason, the Parent’s telling words abruptly burst forth through Lang’s mind: ‘Oh, look. Here comes someone who does believe you are real.’ Of course. Nothing here is real. “Ron. We’ve always been taught that…that we need to believe in the Savior. But Ron, the truth is, he believes in us.”

A few cars passed by, thankfully traveling by slowly and far enough away from Ron. The cars’ slow swooshing motion and humming motors felt good on Lang’s ears, a pleasant reminder that they were truly home again.

Slight worriedness showing on Ron’s face, he knelt down a little and rested his forearms on the window’s edge. “I was taught we need to believe in him, and confess our sins, to get to Heaven.”

“Yes, we do. But maybe the key isn’t so much as believe in him, but trust in him. Because…because we’re not real.” Once saying those words, Lang wanted to grab them back. But it was too late. And besides, they were the truth.

“My dad had an episode again this morning, seeing Mom again.”

Ron nodded. “It’s all right. I understand.” He laid his hand on Lang’s shoulder. “You’ve been hanging in there pretty good, Lang. You’re gonna be fine.”

Lang lowered his head, realizing Evan wasn’t the only one feeling embarrassment. He wanted to say more, about how joining with the Savior will eventually make us real, about seeing Deidra, but maybe this wasn’t the time now. Besides, he would only be speaking to the choir; Ron was already a born again Christian. “Thanks, Ron. I appreciate it.”

Ron raised himself up higher, yet resting his hands on the window’s edge. “You going to be all right now?”

And then Lang couldn’t contain it anymore. He stared up into Ron’s eyes. “Ron. I saw her. I saw Deidra. And she wasn’t in my imagination.” 

 “Dad. I really, really need to get to school now. Remember? I’ll be late.”

Ron furrowed his brow, squinted slightly, and glanced from Lang to Evan and then back to Lang again. “Lang, can you drive safely now?”

Lang sighed and stared forward. “Yes, I can. I’m sorry. I’m all right.”

“You’re still shaking.”

“I’m just cold, I think.” Lang looked up at Ron again. “But I want to talk about this more, another time.”

“That would be fine with me. You have a certain day in mind?”

“Could I give you a call? I’d like to have you over for dinner. I’ll order Chinese.”

“Chinese, huh.” Ron nodded, and the side of his mouth turned up a half smile. “Sounds like a deal to me. All right, you two. I’ll see you then.” Ron’s radio suddenly had some chatter. He waved good-bye and walked back to his police car.

Lang drove out onto Main, once an opening in traffic gave way.

“Dad, you can’t do that again. And I can’t believe Ron let you drive away after saying that!”

Lang let out a loud exhale. “I’m sorry. You’re right. It’s just that…the Savior wants us to tell people about what happened.”

“Yeah, but, you need to pick a better place and time. I don’t want to end up in a foster home, because they think my Dad is a loony bird.”

“Okay.” Lang smiled. “I see your point. I’ll be more careful next time.”

Evan pressed a knuckled nudge into Lang’s right shoulder. “Don’t want to lose my best bud.”

Lang smiled again. “You won’t. I’ll be more careful.” He thought a moment. “And I guess it is odd Ron still let me drive off.” He glanced at Evan. “The Savior?”

“I don’t know.”

Lang continued driving, and then took the left turn down the school’s road. He was still trembling and it didn’t seem to be subsiding. His mind became full of wondering thoughts. Was everything that had just happened to him and Evan, with the decrease events, the underground military base, and meeting the Savior, a hallucination? Or could it all actually be true?

 “Dad.”

“Yes?”

“Do you think it all really happened?”

“That’s funny. I was just thinking the exact same thing.” He gave a quick glance at Evan. “We need to call them. We need to know if they all remember it too.”

“You should pull over. Take a quick right here, down this side street. Park by those trees.”

Lang checked around and in his mirrors, and saw no cars nearby. He took the right and parked next to the trees, orange and brown leaves falling in a zigzagging motion to the ground, blown by a light breeze.

“Good thing we got everyone’s numbers,” Evan said. “Dr. Maplen was right. So, who you calling first?”

Lang stared down at his cell phone and thought a bit. “Well, Kyleigh is driving right now.” Suddenly the phone rang and vibrated in his hand. “Hey. What the…” He lifted the phone closer to his eyes, noticing the name right away. “Wow. That’s weird. It’s Kyleigh! She’s calling me!”

“Answer it!”

Lang pressed the answer button and placed it to his ear. “Hello?”

“Lang, it’s me, Kyleigh! I’m still heading down Holden Street right now. Robert and Alan are standing by me. We’re all here!”

Evan scooted nearer to Lang and leaned closer to the phone.

“That’s great!” Lang said. “Did it…did it all really happen? Evan and I just started to doubt, a little.”

“We did too! That’s why we had to call. And Lang, I just wanted to say…that I miss you.”

Lang inhaled, and let out a soft sigh. “I miss you too.” His heart felt like it skipped a few beats. Say something else, quick. “It’s amazing, though. It had to have happened. There’s no way we could call each other if it didn’t. We all really did just meet with the Savior, in Heaven. Hard to believe.”

“It was heaps amazing, Lang,” Kyleigh said, though Robert and Alan’s voices were getting louder in the background, distracting a bit. “Lang. Robert wants to speak with you.”

Noises of the phone being passed crackled from the speaker.

“Lang, you old bastard,” Robert said.

Lang smiled. “Hey, Robert.”

“Good to hear your voice again. I’d say something definitely happened to all of us, confirmed.” Yet Robert’s voice had a touch of skepticism.

But Lang didn’t care to address that now. “I know, so true. What about Nahas and Akina? Did you guys contact them yet?”

The background sounds filled with loud cell phone music of some sort. 

“Perfect timing,” Robert said. “Nahas is on the phone with Alan right now. We just have to…hold on.”

Lang listened carefully. Alan was telling Nahas to hold on a moment, since he needed to check a text message.

“It’s Akina,” Robert finally said. “She sent Alan a message. So it’s definitely official, Lang. We’re all now in touch with each other.”

Evan nudged Lang and pointed to the time on Lang’s watch. It was 8:47 AM. “Oh no, Robert. Evan just reminded me. We’re running late. He needs to get to school.”

“Got it, Lang. No problem. Nahas is suggesting that we all get together, at a place called Ada Foah beach, in Ghana, since he’s really eager for us to visit.” Some off-phone talking went on in the background. “Lang. Kyleigh wants to talk to you again.”

Good. He really needed to hear her speak once more. Lang listened attentively for her to get back on.

 “I just wanted to say good-bye, Lang.” Kyleigh’s kind, pretty voice, enlivened with her Aussie accent, felt so soothing to Lang’s worn, frazzled body. “And…and, please, contact me on Facebook. Can you?”

“Yes, of course.” How could she have any doubt?

Evan clamped his fingers tips on Lang’s watch and tugged it slightly. “Dad. Please.”

“Kyleigh, I’m really sorry, but I have to get Evan to school. I’ll contact you as soon as I can.”

“It’s okay, Lang. Bye-bye. Talk to you soon.”

“Yes, we definitely will. Good-bye, Kyleigh.”

Lang sighed and put the phone down on the seat. He looked down and placed his hand on the seat’s fabric, smoothing his hand across it for a moment. “Good ‘ol Suburban. Good to be in her again.”

“Yeah, I know. But we have to go. We have to get there. I’m already late as it is. You’ll have to come inside and explain, and sign me in.”

Lang smiled at Evan. “Okay. Sorry.” He readied the gear shift into reverse to get back on the school’s road again. “Here we go.”