However, the Karhath have other plans for the future, and their goal is to gain the power they have long sought after.
While the sunrise brightens hope, sundown brings darkness, and results in appearances that are not always what they seem. One question remains: What side will the six-planet system find itself on?
This story is included in the ebook All My Fiction. Pay Once—Read Forever
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(Book 1 - Story 6)
Copyright © 2011 B.C. Young
David sat on a plush, soft couch and his fingers slowly rubbed his forehead, soothing a pain he never expected to experience again. The lamps around him lit the room well, but in his mind’s eye it seemed dim and grew darker by the moment.
“How did this happen?” he said to nobody.
Thirty-four years earlier, his life changed, and he couldn’t help but wonder if the current moment in time would have happened had things gone differently.
He thought back to that day long ago. There was a knock at the door early on a Saturday morning. It surprised him that someone would be there to visit. But he loved this time before the world woke up. He’d sip his coffee and look out the window as the sun rose into the sky. That time definitely was pleasant. So despite the stranger’s early arrival, David was wide awake and ready to go.
He opened the door and a fresh breeze of morning air rushed towards him. More relaxing pleasure before his day began. He breathed the cool, crisp air in and closed his eyes. For a second, he forgot someone knocked at the door. Reality set in, he opened his eyes, and the relaxed feeling rushed out as quick as the air blew into the room because he saw a uniformed police officer in front of him.
“Mr. David,” the officer said. He was a stocky fellow, with a lightly formed mustache, and he stood a good head shorter than David. He smiled weakly, then his mouth went straight—like he was uncomfortable standing at the door.
“Yes,” David replied. All kinds of thoughts went through his mind. Did something happen on the street? Had another burglary happened? Did he do something wrong?
“I’m Officer Resolva. May I come in?”
“Sure, sure,” David said. He backed up from the door and let the officer enter. Then, nervously, he closed the door, holding on to each fraction of a second as he did so. He knew when the door closed, he might hear unpleasant news. It clicked shut and the sound seemed to crack on David’s ears until they bled.
“I’m afraid I have some bad news,” Resolva said as he removed his hat and held it. “Do you have a son named Darius, and his wife’s name isSandy?”
“Yes,” David said. A lump formed in his throat, tears even began to fill his eyes. What had happened to them?
“I’m afraid your son and his wife have done a terrible thing.”
Terrible? David couldn’t comprehend it. What terrible thing could they have done? The boy had always been good. He never got into trouble. Not only that, his wife was involved, too. This officer must have the wrong man.
“I’m sorry, are you sure you’re talking about my son and his wife?” David asked.
“They’re away on vacation with my grandson. There’s nothing they could have done here or would’ve done.”
“I understand this might be difficult to hear, so I’m just gonna say it,” Resolva said, becoming quieter and somber. “We believe Darius and Sandy abandoned your grandson while on Ptolomo.”
“What?” David yelled. “What’s wrong with you? My son wouldn’t do that. How dare you come in here and say such a thing.” While David couldn’t believe the words, the officer’s serious face told him he wasn’t lying.
“We have proof, sir. We talked to your grandson, Daniel.”
David gasped. How could this be? Why would Darius and Sandy do this?
“Daniel? Is he here?”
“Yes. Authorities from Ptolomo brought him back to Cormos. The boy’s in shock. Claims something killed them. Some sort of blue flashes of lightning, or something to that effect. But it’s clear to us, and the child psychiatrist who spoke to him, that the boy can’t deal with what happened. He refuses to believe his parents left him, and he’s conjured up this story to cope.”
David was speechless. A sadness filled his emotions he had never felt. Could this be true? Could his son really do this to Daniel? He needed to regain his composure. Daniel’s on Cormos. He had to go see him.
“Daniel. He’s here?” David asked.
“Yes. Down at the station. I’d like you to come with me to speak to him. He’s inconsolable. He got tired of our questioning. Says he’ll only talk to you.”
“Of course. I need to see him. The poor boy.” David’s voiced weakened as he spoke. “Let’s go now.”
David went with the police officer, getting into the back of his car. As it hovered away from the house, his mind raced with thoughts. Could it be true? Did the police have it wrong and Daniel told the truth? One question haunted him, because he knew it was inevitable: Would he be able to raise a child again at 53 years old?
Before he knew it, they arrived at the police station. Officer Resolva opened David’s door, and without thought, David ran towards the station. He could only think about how Daniel must feel. How crushed he must be. Abandoned or killed, either one is hard on a child, and it’s even harder when he has no one to help him.
He opened the door to the police station in a panic. The door slammed against the door stop. Had the stopper not been there, the glass would have shattered as it slammed into the wall. The bang of the door caused everyone in the station to jump. One startled officer pulled a gun out and pointed it at David. David stopped moving and instinctively raised his hands in the air.
“I’m…I’m here to see my grandson, Daniel,” he said.
The officer stared him down, but held the gun steady.
“Calm down,” Resolva said. “He’s with me. He’s the boy’s grandfather.”
Everyone in the room relaxed and went back to there business at their desks. The officer who pulled the gun took three seconds longer, but finally put the gun in its holster.
“Right this way, Mr. David. Daniel’s in the back.” Resolva said.
David followed Officer Resolva through a maze of desks. His despair overwhelmed him as the gravity of the situation continued to weigh him down. He wondered what he would say to Daniel. How would he console him? Being prepared for situations like this was impossible. He never considered them because he refused to believe they could happen.
After passing through the office area, they walked down a hallway and stopped at a door marked “INTERROGATION”. David immediately became angry.
“Why is he in an interrogation room? He’s a nine-year-old boy who’s already been through enough, now you gotta put him in a room like this and scare him more?”
“Calm down, Mr. David. This was the only place we had. Go ahead. Go in. I’ll wait out here.”
David wanted to yell at the officer some more and vent his frustrations. But he knew it wouldn’t serve any great purpose. It wasn’t Resolva’s fault this happened. So instead of giving in to his emotions, he stood in front of the door, took a deep breath, and reach for the doorknob. As he turned it, again the loud click of a door pierced his ears. The news he received so far changed his life, and walking through that door meant it would change even more.
He opened the door which revealed a large room with a table, a chair, and bright lights. The room’s black walls were uninviting, and David wondered why they wouldn’t make an interrogation room more relaxing. Seems like it would make an accused person more willing to talk. At first glance, Daniel didn’t appear to be in the room.
He turned around to Resolva to tell him when Daniel’s sniffles reached his ears. In the left corner of the room, closest to the door and away from David’s initial line of site, Daniel sat with his knees to his chest and his arms wrapped around his legs. His body bounced slightly as he cried.
“Oh, Danny,” David said. He went over to Daniel, sat down next to him, and wrapped his arm around him. “I’m so sorry, Danny.”
Daniel remained silent. Every other time David saw his grandson, Daniel’s eyes lit up, he’d call out his name, and give him a big hug. But that greeting didn’t come today. Daniel turned his head and peeked in David’s direction.
“Grandpa,” he said.
“I’m here, son. It’s going to be okay.” Despite not knowing what he would say before hand, being forced into the situation made David’s words come naturally and without hesitation.
“They’re dead, Grandpa. They’re dead. I saw it. The blue light just shot out and they disappeared.”
Daniel shifted his body and buried his face in David’s chest and continued to cry. David didn’t know what to think. They said Darius and Sandy abandoned him, but he had a hard time believing they’d do it.
“What happened, Danny? What’d you see?”
“We went outside to go down to the beach.” Daniel sniffled and hiccuped as he tried to control his breath. “Then it just happened. It was so quick. This blue lightening shot through the air, hit Mom and Dad, and then they...they were gone.”
“Did anyone else see it?” he asked. He knew the resorts on Ptolomo prided themselves on their seclusion and privacy, but maybe someone else could confirm Daniel’s story.
“No. Only me. I stood there a few minutes thinking it was just a trick. But they didn’t come back. So I ran back to our room and called for help. A policeman came and got me. I think his name was Jacob. He told me it would be okay and brought me back here.”
“That’s it?” David asked.
“That’s it,” Daniel replied.
“Have they been nice to you here? Any problems?”
“Yeah.” He looked up at David. “They just had a few people come in and ask me questions.”
“Listen, Danny. I don’t know what happened. I understand you’re sad, because I am, too. But you’ll be coming home with me. It’ll be okay. We’ll get through this.”
“Okay, Grandpa,” Daniel said. He cried again and put his face back into David’s chest.
David couldn’t contain himself anymore. Daniel’s sobs soaked his shirt, and David began to cry, too. The tears streamed down his face uncontrollably. He wanted to stop it and make it go away, but they just continued to flow downward. His life changed on that day.
That all happened 34 years ago. Not even a year after that, David got the confirmation that Daniel’s story must be true. They had gone to Central Market for the day, and someone attacked the popular FloCo ride in the market. David knew the Karhath must be behind it, and met a man named Jack who saved them from certain death during the attack.
David couldn’t deny the similarities to David’s short but powerful story. The attack on Central Market had the blue flashes of light. The pinpoint accuracy of hitting someone and evaporating them from existence. Somehow he knew the disappearance of Darius and Sandy, and the attack on Central Market were related. He never told anyone about it, because Jack told him to keep it quiet. Even though he thought Jack was part of the Karhath, he listened to him because he saved his life, and because any appearance that David had knowledge of the attack could get him in trouble.
Those two events haunted David’s life for 34 years. Now, as he sat on a soft, plush couch, the same feelings he felt then, crept into his heart. The similarities between what happened now and then were once again familiar. The events could not be coincidence, and he was unable to change it. All he knew was that in his life he again lost those he loved to an unexplainable attack, and he would never see them again.
Aaron sat at his desk and drifted off into his thoughts. His life had been about one purpose—to see the Karhath gain power. His grandfather instilled this desire in him. Nothing was more important than the Karhath movement. He dreamed about controlling the entire six-planet system, and his name rising above all others throughout history.
It would happen. He knew it. With the plan J.J. and he set in motion three years earlier, success should be certain. The only potential flaw in the plan was J.J. had all the power. He held the key to what the Karhath would do next, and he used that key to gain control. But Aaron would see to it that J.J.’s chance at a power grab wouldn’t happen. He’d make sure to stop it.
Aaron didn’t blame J.J. for wanting the power. After all, his grandfather, John, once lead the Karhath. With John’s apparent death 13 years earlier, Aaron had become the new leader. That was what John wanted, but Aaron knew J.J. thought he should have the power, that he was the next in line for the authority.
A signal buzzed, interrupting Aaron’s thoughts and letting him know someone waited to enter his room.
“Come in,” Aaron called.
The door slid open. J.J. entered the room with a serious look and stared at Aaron as he sat down opposite him at the desk. There was no doubt he wanted the control. His demeanor showed it. He sat erect, looked at Aaron, and smiled. But the smile didn’t greet him with joy. To Aaron, the smile said soon these roles would be reversed.
“Can we begin now?” J.J. asked.
“Not yet. Lyle should be here soon. I want him in the discussion.”
“Lyle? Are you kiddin’ me? Sometimes I wish I never took him under my wing. He’s still a kid with a lot to learn, and I’m tired of him always following me around like a lost puppy.”
“We wait for Lyle,” Aaron said without hesitation. “He needs to learn. I can’t keep having us make all the decisions.”
Aaron had another reason, too. His real motive was to have someone watching J.J. at all times. Over the years, Lyle trailed J.J. on every assignment he received. Aaron knew this made him an unlikely suspect as a spy, so he wanted Lyle to be with J.J. on this assignment so he could find out more about the weapon—the [JV1] same exact weapon used in the attack on Central Market in Cormos 33 years earlier. Besides J.J., the only other person who had information on the weapon was John, and he never revealed anything about it to Aaron. He’d taught J.J. to guard it, too.
“Fine. But sometimes, I think he’s not worth the effort we put into him.” He sat back, letting Aaron gain the minor victory.
“You lack your grandfather’s vision, J.J. You can’t just think about now, but have to consider the future. If everything we want happens, we still won’t be around forever. The legacy can only survive if we teach it to others.”
Aaron glanced around his office and his eyes stopped on a picture of John and him taken 25 years earlier. The resemblance between J.J. and John was uncanny. If not for the fact that J.J. was 31, and John was almost 60 in the picture, Aaron would think they were the same person. They had a conversation at the time the picture was taken, at the same desk where J.J. and he now sat. They discussed plans for the Karhath, and what direction would lead to the most success. He thought about that conversation often, and what John told him.
“But John,” Aaron had said. “This political wing is faltering and losing traction. It won’t work.”
“Aaron, look at this,” John said. He handed over some paperwork to him. “Look at the charts for the political party. On Cormos, of all places, we have 20 men with strong positions in the governments around the planet. Twenty! The other planets have anywhere from two to three representatives. Another 10 or 15 years, we’ll be unstoppable. Remember, we have to think long term.” John’s head moved so enthusiastically with the words that his gray, shoulder-length hair fell to the side of his face. He pushed it back behind his ear.
“I don’t know.” Aaron said.
“Trust me. This is working. Long term. You have to think long term. The Groundswell is growing, and continues to every day.”
Aaron had trouble with it. The Karhath couldn’t be part of a democratic society. Their power wouldn’t last if they gained it through traditional means. Everything he knew told him they needed to attack differently.
“This is ridiculous, John. We can’t keep doing this. We bang our head against the wall and think we’ll get different results. But the only time we’ve ever moved in a positive direction was when we attacked Central Market. What we used then struck fear in the people.” Aaron’s voice raised in intensity. He could feel the success another attack would bring. If only John wanted to do it again, but on a larger scale, a greater scale, one that would cause a near immediate shift in power to the Karhath. “That’s the only way it’ll work. That’s all we need to do. Why are you so blinded by this idea of voting our members into office to take power. It’s slow and cumbersome. Crazy!”
John jumped back, surprised at Aaron’s outburst. Aaron questioned John’s leadership, overstepping his rank, but he didn’t care. His passion told him what to do, and he didn’t want to keep it quiet anymore.
“Aaron, listen.” John leaned towards Aaron and made him look up at him to make eye contact. “I know what you’re like. I know what you want. Truth is, we both want the same thing, but we’re trying to achieve it by different means. As long as I’m in charge, we do it my way. But I will not tolerate any more insubordination. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir,” Aaron said reluctantly.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get your time,” John said.
That time was now. As Aaron waited with J.J. for Lyle to arrive, he couldn’t help but notice the situation’s similarities. The roles had changed, but the argument remained the same. Now Aaron led, and J.J. wanted the power. The one difference here is J.J. and Aaron agreed on what to do next.
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