The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels




CHAPTER 5

 

OCTOBER 5TH, 9:41 AM

 

Lang looked at Evan. Evan stared back, his eyes wide, serious, his chest heaving faster.

 “You okay?” Lang asked.

“Yeah, Dad. Just a little…freaked-out. This is getting weirder by the second.”

“Try to stay calm,” Dr. Bohanek said, stepping closer until standing between Lang and Evan. “There is always on explanation. Really. Always an explanation. That’s what I tell myself.” 

But did he truly believe his own words?

The white entrance flaps swept open. Peggy stepped in. Following her were Lou and three other men in HAZMAT suits.

Dr. Bohanek walked over by the three men and spoke to them, their discussion seeming to center around the strange drill events. Lou, however, didn’t group with them. He stayed near the entrance and looked up at a small dark object in a corner where the tent’s ceiling met two of its walls. Lang wondered why he hadn’t noticed this before. The object was quite small, maybe two inches long by one inch wide, with a small, rounded dark lens that sparkled from the nearby sunrays.

They were being watched? Discomfort hit, but Lang pushed it aside.  Who cares? Let them monitor this. It was obviously very important. And besides, all the people interacting with them so far had been cordial and considerate, given the incredibly bizarre circumstances.

Dr. Bohanek left the tent with the other men following him. But Lou stayed behind.

Peggy talked with Lou a moment, and then she walked over and began questioning Lang about his vital signs. She did the same for Evan. After hearing both their responses, Peggy said she believed they were both in surprisingly good shape, considering everything. And Lou’s final test result showed no microbe contamination.

 “Just keep playing that PSP,” Peggy told Evan. “Let me know if you set any new scoring records.”

Evan smiled. “I will. For sure.”

“He’s quite the tough guy,” Lang said. “Tougher than me.”

She gave Lang a wink and a smirk. “I believe that.”

The white entrance flaps swung aside again. Dr. Bohanek walked inside. And Lou walked out, for some reason.

Dr. Bohanek approached Lang, concern and confusion riddling his face. “Lang. Could you step over here please?”

“What’s wrong?” Lang got off the bed.

Dr. Bohanek had him walk to a clear area midway between the beds and table. “Uhh, I’ll explain in a moment, Lang.”

Lou and two other HAZMAT men walked into the tent. And their eyes were directed squarely on Lang.

Evan stepped closer to everyone.

Dr. Bohanek walked to the table and removed a flashlight out of the black case. It was one of those small, powerful LED flashlights, with a one inch wide lens. He turned it on and held the bright beam behind Lang’s head, moving the flashlight’s white circle ball back and forth in front of Lang’s feet.  But no shadow was being produced. “Wait a minute,” Lang said, realization hitting hard. “The light’s going right through my head?” He turned back to see the light’s position and saw it was true.

“Like I said, Dad. Weirder every second. It’s like your head’s not even there.”

Dr. Bohanek turned off the flashlight and stood in front of Lang.

“The sun…” Lang remembered from just a short time ago. “On my arm. It didn’t look right. And that photo I took, with my phone, of the encased Suburban. Didn’t show up at all!” He began breathing harder again.

No. Stay calm, for Evan.

“It’s okay, Lang. We’ll figure this out,” Dr. Bohanek said. “Do you see your reflection in my face shield?”

Lang stared intently, but it was difficult not to see Dr. Bohanek’s face at the same time, especially since the shield wasn’t flat, but rounded. He really couldn’t tell. “Umm…I don’t know.”

“Peggy, stand next to Lang.”

Peggy hurried over and stood close to Lang’s right side.

“You see Peggy?”

Moving his head in just the right position to procure a reflection, and avoiding Dr. Bohanek’s face, Lang finally saw her distorted figure. “Yes, I do. But…but I don’t see myself…yet.” He leaned closer to Peggy by an inch or two, and then leaned back, hoping to see his motion reflected. Yet he still could not see himself. He tried several more times, even moving closer or backing away. But he still wasn’t reflected. Heat began filling his body’s core and his underarms wetted. “How…how can this be?” He swallowed quickly to sooth his dry throat. “You see us, right?”

“You don’t see your reflection?”

“No…no, I don’t.”

Evan drew nearer to Lang until that awful repulsion prevented him from getting any closer. He was struggling just like Lang to see his reflection in Dr. Bohanek’s shield.

Lang inhaled a deep breath, trying to relax his frazzled soul from the vanishing drill episode that yet made raw his nerves. And now this too? Calm. Stay calm. “But you see us?”

Dr. Bohanek looked at Evan and Lang. “Clear as I can see anything else in this room.”

“I can see both of you too,” Peggy said kindly, her words giving some reassurance. “And I have since Dr. Bohanek and I first entered the tent.”

Dr. Bohanek turned toward the two unknown men. “You have a large mirror anywhere?”

“I think so,” one of the men said. “Be right back.” He rushed out of the tent.

“Mark.” Dr. Bohanek spoke to the other man. “We have a scale?”

Mark turned and headed out of the tent, not saying a word.

“Lang. Evan. We’ll be right back,” Dr. Bohanek said, and then he, Peggy, and Lou walked out, urgency in their motion.

“Great. They left us alone again.” Lang looked at Evan. “The time thing?”

“Yes, Dad. Think about it. We’re not supposed to be here…or something.”

“What time period are we supposed to be in, then?”

“I don’t know. We felt that inner explosion that slowed you down while crossing 10. Remember?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Well maybe God put us in another time, so we didn’t get hit by a truck or something.”

An awful thought invaded Lang’s mind; maybe he and Evan weren’t alive anymore. No. Shove that thought away – it’s the last thing Evan needed to hear now. “That could be it. I mean, we’re being protected somehow. Did you see how this material ate up that drill?”

Evan slowly nodded. “Yeah. This stuff rocks…I guess.”

“But, if we’re in another time, how can everyone see us here?”

“Maybe because they don’t want to believe we’re somewhere else? I don’t know.”

The tent’s flaps swept open. Peggy walked in and made that potato-chip-bag ruffling until she stood near them. “You two doing okay?”

“Yes, we are, considering things.” Lang looked up at the small camera in the tent’s ceiling corner. “Did something happen with the video recording?”

“Well, I…I’m not supposed to tell you yet.”

Lang stared beyond her plastic shield into brown eyes surrounded by wrinkles. “Please. I want to know.”

 “Me too,” Evan said.

“Okay. Dr. Bohanek will tell you eventually either way. Neither of you showed up on the video feed. We couldn’t see you, or hear you. Dr. Bohanek and I talked and moved as though we were alone in here.”

After his phone’s camera incident, with the Suburban not showing up at all, this wasn’t too much of a surprise. Yet it didn’t matter; Lang felt the hair on his back stand up. “But…but you can see us, talk to us?”

 “Yes. Of course.  Like I mentioned before.”

Lang pulled both his arms in from the encasing sleeves, slipped his right hand into this pants pocket, and took out his cell phone. “Let me see if my camera can view you.” He held the camera with both hands in front of his chest, like Evan and his PSP, prompting a bubbled-out area of the encasing stuff. He pressed the icon for his camera.

“Good idea, Dad. I’d take a pic too, with my PSP, but you never bought me that camera attachment.”

Lang forced a smile. “I promise you, that once we’re back to normal, I’ll definitely buy it.” His phone’s camera app was up, onscreen. But right away, something proved very wrong; everywhere that he pointed the camera’s lens in a direction outside the encasing wrap, it only displayed black. “What? It’s just black on the screen.” He pointed it toward his chest. “And it’s black here too, even on me.”

“Well, don’t worry,” Peggy said. “Maybe, coincidentally, they’re just both not working, and we’ll--”

Dr. Bohanek walked into the tent again, a long, door-size mirror under his arms. Mark, carrying a large white and black scale with an electronic display, followed him. The other unknown man, and three other HAZMAT people, two men and one woman, entered too, slightly crowding the tent’s close quarters. Most of them stood near the tent’s entrance.

Lang slipped his phone back into his pocket. He moved his arms outward and they became individually wrapped again.

“Peggy,” Dr. Bohanek said, “stand between Lang and Evan.”

Evan took a few steps away from Lang, and Peggy stood between both of them.

“Lang and Evan. Flank close to Peggy’s sides.”

Lang stood closely to her right, Evan to her left.

Dr. Bohanek held the length of the mirror horizontally about three or four feet away from Peggy. Two of the unknown HAZMAT people moved behind and near Lang and Evan and stared at the mirror.

Lang gasped; he and Evan weren’t in the mirror. “Oh, dear Lord. It’s like looking through a window, at Peggy and the other two standing between the beds in this tent.” He looked at Dr. Bohanek. “Where are we?”

Peggy and the other HAZMAT people uttered words of disbelief.

Evan turned away and wove himself between Peggy and the HAZMAT people until he arrived near the bed, leaning against it. He pulled in his hand holding the PSP and formed that domed-out area near his abdomen and began playing, quite intently.

“All right. That’s enough,” Dr. Bohanek said. He flipped the mirror over and placed it by the tent’s wall so the mirror’s cardboard side now faced everyone.

Good. Stupid mirror. “First the drill.” Lang spoke quietly, feeling weakened by his increased breathing and annoying trembling, but really not wanting to be heard. “And now we’re not here.” And Evan was still immersed in the PSP. Lang let out a shaky sigh.

Dr. Bohanek glanced around at the HAZMAT people. “Who has the laser light? And someone needs to record our voices.” Mark held the laser up in his free hand. Dr. Bohanek walked over to Lang. “As far as your question, Lang, I don’t know. I think you’re here. We see and hear you. But something’s blocking light and sound from the two of you from entering the video recorder, or light from entering the mirror. How? I don’t know.” He became still and quiet a moment. “Lang. I want you to walk to the tent’s other end.”

Lang looked beyond his bed, to the tent’s other end, about fifteen feet away. This other end had a similar white flap entrance that was zippered up, unused.

With Dr. Bohanek leading the way, Lang followed him over there.

Mark placed the scale on the floor and rushed over to Lang’s left side, keeping in step. “Is it hard to walk?”

Lang looked at Mark. His face was ablaze with intense curiosity and alarm. Great. We’re circus freaks now. “I have total freedom of movement, but…but it’s like I’m walking on an air cushion.”

Mark didn’t answer but kept staring.

Many of the HAZMAT people spoke words of awe, describing the fluid accommodating ability of the encasing substance to move with his motion and yet not show one crack or break in its enclosing behavior.

Glad they’re in awe. Lang sighed. Try being trapped within it and then see how you feel.

Dr. Bohanek turned around and stood still. Lang stopped walking. “Stand right there, Lang.” Lang did. Dr. Bohanek held out his right gloved-covered hand. “Laser, please.”

Mark, still nearby, eagerly thrust the laser into Dr. Bohanek’s hand.

The laser Dr. Bohanek held was small, thin, and silver, the kind probably used on someone’s key chain. It certainly wasn’t one of those powerful, burning lasers used in a hospital. So why did Dr. Bohanek want it?

“Hold out your right arm.”

Lang’s right arm was relaxed by his side, so that the encasing material allowed his hand to brush against his pants and jacket. He held out his right arm and fluidly, swiftly the material formed an arm sleeve. Many of the HAZMAT people mumbled amongst themselves upon seeing it.

But honestly, it was rather amazing - it seemed never would this material allow a break within itself, yet readily allowed effortless motion.

Evan and the other HAZMAT people walked closer.

All eyes on Lang’s arm, Dr. Bohanek turned on the laser and shone it at the top of Lang’s forearm. The thin red beam stopped at the very top of the encasing material covering Lang’s forearm and then, disturbingly, just continued its path as if his arm wasn’t even there, coming out below at the material’s surface beneath his arm and making a bright red dot on the tent’s yellow floor.

Lang’s breathing increased yet again. “To this laser beam my arm doesn’t exist.”

“Don’t jump to any conclusions yet,” Dr. Bohanek said.

Lang stared at his tan jacket sleeve covering his forearm. He eyed the encasing substance itself. “Well, I don’t see the laser beam anywhere on top of my arm.”

Dr. Bohanek didn’t respond. He shone the beam through Lang’s hand. He shone it through the top of Lang’s head, so the red dot lighted the floor between Lang’s feet. He shone it through Lang’s back, so a red dot formed on part of the blue material in Mark’s HAZMAT suit. He shone it through other parts of Lang. Everywhere he did, the beam came out the other side, placing its bright red dot wherever it pleased, ignoring Lang’s solid, real body.

Or was he solid, and real, now?

“Mark,” Dr. Bohanek said. “Hand me that flashlight in your pocket.”

Mark seized the flashlight from his pocket and placed it in Dr. Bohanek’s other hand. It was another one of those bright LED flashlights, with a one inch wide lens. Dr. Bohanek turned it on. He shone it above Lang’s arm again, a light ball forming on the floor in a straight-line path from the lens to the floor. Dr. Bohanek leaned closer, studying the light’s touch on the material’s surface. “As I thought. No reflection.”

Lang recalled the sunlight on his arm. “I noticed that earlier too.”

“It makes no sense, Lang. We can only see you, and Evan, and anything else in this world because light is reflected off a surface. Yet, from our own proof right here, right now, light is not reflecting off this surface.”

A lump was forming in Lang’s throat. He swallowed. “How…how is that possible?”

“It’s not. It defies the laws of physics.” Dr. Bohanek stared at Mark. “Get me that scale.” His tone was getting more demanding. More frustration, probably.

Defies the laws of physics? Savior, please, help us. Is this from you?

Dr. Bohanek smiled at Lang. “I usually have one on me, but didn’t see the point this time.”

Lang smiled, but it didn’t seem to stop the trembling taking control of his body again. “Are you…” Lang blinked, clearing his eyes. A face was reflecting on Dr. Bohanek’s shield. He stared closer. It was his face! “Hey! I can see myself!”

“What?” Dr. Bohanek said. “Quick! Someone get me that mirror!”

A streak of motion, one of the HAZMAT men carefully thrust it into Dr. Bohanek’s arms. Dr. Bohanek placed it vertically before Lang.

There he was, in the mirror, surrounded by the strange, eerie transparent material, from head to toe, like a thick, see-through spacesuit. “Evan! Hurry!”

“I’m right here, Dad.” Evan weaved in between the HAZMAT people until he stood about twelve inches to Lang’s left side. Dr. Bohanek adjusted the mirror, so they both could get a view.

 “You see me?” Lang asked.

“Ha, ha. Yeah, Dad. And I can see me too. Wow, how weird we look.”

“Yeah, but the good news is I see you in the mirror.”

“I told you, Dad. This just keeps getting weirder by the second.”

Dr. Bohanek gave the mirror to Mark and told Lang to hold out his arm. Once Lang did so, Dr. Bohanek pointed the red laser beam at the top of Lang’s forearm again. The red beam dove right through the transparent material and formed a red dot on the surface of Lang’s tan jacket sleeve.

Lang couldn’t believe his eyes. “What the…now it’s behaving normal?”

“Wow, Dad. Look at that!”

Mark, Peggy, and some of the other HAZMAT people couldn’t believe their eyes too, saying words to that effect.

“Okay.” Dr. Bohanek moved the red dot up and down along the length of Lang’s arm. “I’m not gonna lie. This is some of the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Sorry, Lang. I don’t normally swear in front of my patients.”

 “No, that’s all right.” Lang’s eyes were glued to the red dot’s motion. “I understand…this…this is just too weird, our words exactly.”

Leaning closer, to eye it carefully, Dr. Bohanek pointed the red beam in a few more areas around Lang’s arm. “I don’t see any refraction taking place, so light is traveling at similar speeds in our tent’s air space…and through the transparent material surrounding your arm, and the air around your arm.”

Lang wanted to ask what refraction meant, but didn’t.

Dr. Bohanek lowered the laser and stared all around Lang’s body. “However, I still don’t detect the potential convex and concave optical distortions from the material’s rounded surfaces.” He sighed, loudly. “Can’t explain why.” He placed the laser in his other hand and turned on the flashlight and pointed it toward the top of Lang’s forearm. The light beam behaved exactly at the laser beam did, passing through and landing its white circle on Lang’s tan sleeve. The rest of the light beam even created a shadow from Lang’s arm on the tent’s yellow floor, whereas it hadn’t earlier.

A HAZMAT man, carrying a small camcorder, walked up to Dr. Bohanek. He placed the camcorder LCD screen in front of Dr. Bohanek’s shield-covered face. Lang, and Evan, could see it too; they were now showing up on the video, with even their speech being heard.

“Unbelievable,” Lang said.

“Weirder by the second.” Evan then let out a quick laugh.

 “Why Lang?” Dr. Bohanek said. “Why would it be doing this now?” His tone held a slight hint of suspicion.

Lang shrugged. “It’s intelligent? I certainly have no control over this.”

“I know you don’t.” Dr. Bohanek sighed. “Seems it’s toying with us. But it’s just some…some clear material that’s tough as steel yet can mold effortlessly, repel light, swallow my drill like it’s nothing…all of it, impossible. I don’t get it.” He looked at Evan. “Evan, your God idea is starting to sound more and more plausible.” He turned to find Mark. “Could I have that scale now?”

Mark lifted the scale off the floor.

“Put it down here,” Dr. Bohanek said. Mark did. “If I’m right, Lang should have weight now, since he wasn’t depressing the mattress earlier. Go ahead, Lang. Step on it. Give it a try.”

Lang stepped on the scale. He watched the digital display. It didn’t give a weight promptly. But Mark told him to be patient.

Finally a number in black digits was displayed against a gray background: 0.01 pounds.

Evan peered down at the display. “Wow, Dad. You lost a lot of weight, for once.”

“Ha, ha, very funny.” Lang smiled at Evan and took a small measure of joy in seeing Evan’s former worried, anxious state replaced by lighter kidding. “But seriously, is this scale working?”

“Let me get on it,” Dr. Bohanek said.

Lang stepped off, stood near Evan, and kept his eye on the display.

Dr. Bohanek stepped on. The display gave 176 pounds. “That’s close to my usual, one hundred fifty-five pounds, adding about twenty pounds for all this gear. So it’s obviously working. Step on again, Lang.” Dr. Bohanek stepped off.

Lang did and waited anxiously to see his normal weight. And then it came: 0.02 pounds. Bewilderment and fear set off his trembling once more. “How could it be doing this?”

“Are you cold, Lang?” Dr. Bohanek asked.

“No. I’m just…just very puzzled, I suppose.”

“It’s okay. I’ve noticed you shaking earlier, but glad you’re not cold. All right. This thing wants to play hard ball.” Dr. Bohanek’s words had more frustration mingling. “Lang, how much do you normally weigh?”

“About one hundred-ninety. And I’m six feet tall.”

“And you’re probably a bit taller with this material surrounding you.” He became quiet, thinking, glancing around the tent. He looked at Evan. “Son, you want to get on the scale?”

Evan wasn’t playing his PSP, the game player probably snuggly placed in one of his pockets, and his eyes were alert, watching Lang and all that was going on. “Sure. I’ll give it a try.” He walked over and stepped on the scale. He stared intently at the display. “I’m normally five feet one inch tall, and about one hundred and five pounds. Not bad for a twelve year old, I guess.”

“Sounds about right to me.” Dr. Bohanek eyed the display. “So let’s see.”

Lang watched it too. Finally the numbers arrived: 0.01 pounds.

“I know what,” Evan said, yet staring at the display. “This stuff is somehow controlling the scale…or subtracting weight.” He looked at Dr. Bohanek. “Is that possible? Could it do that?”

He smiled at Evan. “You’re a smart kid. But for both your questions? I honestly don’t know.” He looked around the tent. His gaze settled on a tall, broad man, one Lang hadn’t met so far. “Dillon, you’re that shredded weight lifter I keep hearing about, right?”

“Yup. That would be me.”

“You up to carrying a hundred and five pounds?”

“Sure,” Dillon said, walking over.

Dr. Bohanek eyed Evan. “Evan. Would you mind if he did?”

“You mean, you want to see if he can detect my weight from carrying me, and then get on the scale with me, something like that?”

“Yes, son. Exactly that.”

“Yeah, sure. I don’t mind.”

Dillon approached Dr. Bohanek. “I normally weigh about two hundred sixty-seven.”

“Right,” Dr. Bohanek said, “so you’re about two hundred eighty-seven pounds now with your gear. So, adding one hundred and five, we should get about three ninety-two. First of all, see if you can even feel his weight.”

With Evan cooperating, and Dillon being careful, and fearless, considering the unpredictable nature of the encasing material, the big guy scooped his HAZMAT-covered arms under both Evan’s arms and behind his knees, lifting Evan up. “Oh, yeah.” Dillon struggled because of the wide girth the encasing material added around Evan’s limbs. “I can feel his weight. He’s not weightless, for certain.”

“He’s a bit husky,” Lang said.

“Haha, Dad. At least I’m not one ninety.”

Lang smiled, happy again at Evan’s kidding.

“Does he feel more than a hundred and five, with that material around him?” Dr. Bohanek asked.

 “Yeah. I think so.” Dillon was breathing heavy, which had to be difficult beneath all his headgear. “You want me to get on the scale now?”

“Yes, please.”

Lang moved around to the front of the scale, with Peggy and some of the other HAZMAT people giving him space so he could see the display. Dillon stepped on, the scale creaking in protest at his large mass, and then the numbers came. “I see two hundred ninety point five pounds.”

Lang and Dr. Bohanek could see the numbers too.

“How is that possible?” Lang asked. “Dillon is obviously feeling Evan’s weight.”

“Can I get down now?” Evan asked.

“Yes, sure son,” Dr. Bohanek said. “Dillon. Thanks.”

Dillon eased Evan to the floor, the encasing substance seeming to allow a smooth, friction-free slide downward. And then Dillon stepped off the scale.

Many in the tent mumbled at how impossible all of this was. And how true.

Dr. Bohanek sighed, his shield speaker making the sigh even louder than normal. “All right. Look, everyone. I started all of this, the weight, video, and mirror tests, to ascertain better this unknown material. But now, we just need to focus on getting this stuff off Lang and Evan.” He looked at Lang, and then at Evan. “But…” His voice trailed off. He sighed again. “But how on earth…” He perched his glove-covered hands on his hips and shook his head. He walked over to the table. He placed his palms on the table and stared down at the table’s surface.

Several of the HAZMAT people walked near him, one even placing a hand on Dr. Bohanek’s shoulder.

Lang looked up at Dillon. “What’s wrong?”

“He probably just needs to regroup his thinking. He’ll get this figured out.”

Voices increased in volume and intensity. Lang eyed Dr. Bohanek. He was now arguing with several of the HAZMAT people, his arms raised, moving. “I can’t hide it from them,” Dr. Bohanek said. “Why do this? My drill and knife parts disappeared into thin air on that video. How is that explained?”

Peggy began heading toward Dr. Bohanek and the others, her motion deliberate and swift.

“Why wouldn’t they want us to know?” Lang wondered out loud. “We already know anyway.”

Dillon didn’t answer.

“Dad.”

Lang looked down into Evan’s probing eyes. Didn’t help matters he had to view Evan’s face from beneath the awful, conniving transparent material surrounding him. “What is it, Evan?”

“I’m sort of having trouble breathing again.”

“Really?” The encasing material covering Evan’s shoulders was heaving up and down slightly. “You want to lie down?”

“No. I think I’m fine.” Evan pulled his hand in, away from the encasing arm sleeve, and dug into his jacket pocket and removed his PSP. He held it out over his chest, the encasing material doming outward again, and began playing, staring intently at the LCD screen. “But I wish they would stop it over there.”

“Let me go talk to them,” Dillon said.

 An idea popped into Lang’s mind. “No, wait, Dillon.” Dillon halted. “I will.” Lang walked over until near Dr. Bohanek.

Dr. Bohanek stared into Lang’s eyes. “Is everything okay, Lang?”

“Evan. He’s getting pretty upset again from the loud talking.”

“Yes. You’re right. This is very unprofessional of us.” Dr. Bohanek looked at everyone. “Let’s take this outside.” They began leaving the tent.

“Wait,” Lang told Dr. Bohanek.

Dr. Bohanek looked back.

“Could you please see if you can get our pastor, Pastor Reynolds, from the Park River Baptist church to come visit us?”

A stunned though concerned demeanor emanated from Dr. Bohanek’s face. “Yes. I will certainly see what I can do.”