Bjorn felt the sturdy grip of the man holding him in place. The bag that was slipped over his head was dusty and smelled of burnt oil. The vice-like grip on the back of his neck tightened as the van accelerated. Bjorn wanted to scream but was too scared to even form the sounds needed.
Wherever they went had been relatively close by. Bjorn’s feet barely touched the ground as they walked him into a building and forced him up a flight of stairs. Not a word had been said in the few minutes since he was snatched out of the park. He was roughly pushed into a chair and could hear tape being ripped from the roll.
His legs were taped to the legs of the chair, and his arms taped behind the back of the chair. The adhesive, pulling tightly at his skin, hurt. The minutes seemed to tick by. He could hear whispers nearby but couldn’t understand the language that was being spoken. Then there was silence. He couldn’t tell if anyone was in the room or not. Bjorn tried not to cry, but he couldn’t help it. He wasn’t sure how long he had been taped to the chair when he heard the sounds of the men’s voices again.
The light was dim in the room when they pulled the bag from his head. Four men, one of them significantly older than the others, stood regarding at him. They stared for a minute, not moving, not saying a word. They just peered at him with cold, uncaring eyes. Tighter and tighter, the fear gripped Bjorn, making him wonder if he would ever see his mom and Dylan again.
“What do you want?” begged Bjorn when he couldn’t stand the silence anymore.
The older man sneered at him. Bjorn hated this man from the moment he’d seen him. He reminded Bjorn of some of the homeless men that would panhandle and hassle the kids on the busy street near his home. He looked gaunt, and his greasy hair clung to his head.
Another of the men began to chuckle. “Do you realize that we have members of three exploratory missions here in one room, and we’ve got a potential Transprophetic right here in front of us? What are the odds?”
Bjorn looked around, hoping to find something that would give him some clue as to what was going on. The room was obviously some type of industrial building. The ceiling was high, and the few old sodium lights that still worked barely lit the room. There were empty shelves along one wall, a stack of rusted 55-gallon drums, and doors on each end of the room. In front of the chair, where he was tied, stood a small table with a single rose and a large, unsheathed survival-type knife.
“As the senior member, Dr. Tarea, do you want the honors?” asked one of the younger men.
“Tempting for sure. I’d love to see what this little boy is made of,” replied Dr. Tarea, “but I’d also like to see if you young guys have any new tricks up your sleeve, Commander Fahey.”
The Commander gestured to another of the group, “Dr. Nadina, please, proceed.”
Dr. Nadina took a step towards Bjorn, slapping him hard across the face. “Do you want me to hurt you little boy?” he asked.
Bjorn began to cry. “No, no, please don’t hurt me.”
“I’m going to carve your fingernails off of your thumbs if you don’t do exactly as I tell you. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I’ll do anything.” The tears streamed down Bjorn’s face like a river.
“Lift the rose,” commanded Dr. Nadina.
Bjorn looked at the man, wondering what he meant. “I can’t. I’m taped to this chair.”
“Just lift it with your mind, or I’ll cut your ears off and feed them to you,” threatened Dr. Nadina.
Bjorn looked at the man, his tears stopped flowing, and his fear replaced with curiosity and indignation. Could this guy be that stupid? “Untape me, and I’ll dance around with the rose,” Bjorn offered coldly.
Dr. Nadina put his hand on Bjorn’s shoulder and, in a very gentle and calm voice, “You have the capability to lift that rose using nothing more than your mind. You can do this. I don’t want to have to carve you up. Just lift the rose.”
“Okay,” replied Bjorn as he began to focus on the rose. He looked at the red petals of the flower, then the leaves and the stem. He knew that he would have to lift it by the stem. He focused, but nothing happened.
“Believe that you can do this, and you can, little boy,” Commander Fahey assured him. “We don’t want to hurt you. We just want to see if you are as special as we think you are.”
Bjorn looked at the men in the room. They were all staring at him intently. “They must be insane idiots,” thought Bjorn, “How can four grown guys actually think that I can do magic?” Inside he chuckled to himself. “They’d all crap their pants if I actually made that rose fly into the air.” Looking at the rose again, he imagined how funny it would be to lift it. In his mind’s eye, he put the rose into the air.
“Lords of the Fourth System!” gasped the fourth man in the room as he watched the rose rise into the air. “A Transprophetic has evolved on this planet.”
“You stupid fucks,” snapped Dr. Tarea, “I told you that I found one thirty years ago in Thailand. This has been a waste of time. We need to get to your return vessel and let the Donovackia Corporation know that it is time!” He turned to the fourth man in the room, admonishing him, “Gomarha, you and your crew should have found at least one ten years ago when you were here.”
“Yes, it is time,” Commander Fahey agreed. “Our return vessel leaves from Fat Bottom Lake in two days, and we now have proof that Transprophetics exist on this planet.”
The sound of a door squeaking on its hinges alerted them that someone had entered the warehouse. Commander Fahey gestured to Dr. Tarea to come with him. Pointing at Bjorn and then looking at Dr. Nadina and Gomarha, the Commander drew one finger across this throat.
Bjorn watched as Gomarha walked to the table. As he reached out for the knife, Bjorn visualized it flying away from the man’s hands. Gomarha cursed as the blade shot away, leaving his hand grasping at air. Dr. Nadina walked towards the door, opposite the one that Commander Fahey and Dr. Tarea had slipped through. “I’m heading out. We’re not risking all four of us. Kill the boy and catch up if you can.”
Bjorn, holding the knife in the air, began to move it around. He found that if focused on what he wanted the knife to do, rather than on just the knife itself, that he could move it easily. Gomarha grabbed for the knife, as Bjorn floated it in front of him. Bjorn shot it across Gomarha’s face, leaving a gash across his cheek.
Gomarha spun trying to follow the knife’s flight. He shot out his arm again, and the knife slashed across the top of his hand, opening another wound. He spun towards Bjorn. “I’ll just strangle you, stupid kid.”
Bjorn, spinning the knife in the air, brought the point it into Gomarha’s butt. It took every bit of focus Bjorn could muster, but he pulled the knife out of Gomarha’s butt, spun it in the air, and then drove it into Gomarha’s thigh. Gomarha grabbed the handle of the blade, wrenching it from his leg. Holding it up in the air, Gomarha stepped towards Bjorn, his eyes burning with hatred and anger.
Bjorn visualized the knife stabbing into the man’s shoulder, and Gomarha shrieked in pain as his own arm flailed, making him stab himself.
The door that Commander Fahey and Dr. Tarea had left through burst open, and Tim and Dylan ran into the room, followed by Joanna, Mr. Freeman, and Hector. Gomarha turned and ran through the other door, hoping he could catch up to Dr. Nadina.
“I’ve got this,” Hector announced, as he bolted after the escaping Gomarha.
The rest of the group ran to Bjorn, freeing him from the chair. Tears flowed freely down everyone’s faces as they reunited with the little boy. The nightmare was over. The little boy was reunited with his family. He was happy to see that Mr. Freeman was there too.
“Mom,” Bjorn said, as the group began to regain its composure.
“Yes, my precious angel.”
“There was never a poltergeist, and I was the one who made that vase hit that man,” the little boy confessed, with another tear streaking down his face.
Joanna, reaching out, wiped the tear away. “I know, son. We have a lot to talk about.”
A smile crept across the boy’s face, and he turned to his brother. “See – brainwaves, baby. I gotz dem brainwaves.”
Gomarha, having misjudged the stairs at the back of the building, stumbled and fell. The wounds inflicted by the knife, wielded by the boy Transprophetic, made him weaker than he had anticipated. He pulled himself upright, trying to stand, but realized that he had injured his knee in the tumble down the stairs.
Hector, slowing, walked down the stairs when he saw that the man was unable to stand without the support of the wall.
“Commander, you’re alive!” Gomarha exclaimed as Hector descended the staircase. “We found one. Upstairs. There’s a Transprophetic. We’ll all be rich heroes!”
“Gomarha,” replied Hector, “ten years is a long time. What have you been up to?”
“It doesn’t matter. I found the next crew that came here to Earth. One of them is already on his way to Fat Bottom Lake. Their return vessel is hidden in the same place as ours was, and the crew before that. Crazy. Their return vessel leaves in two days. We could be home within a year.”
“Can you walk?” asked Hector
“No, I think I broke my leg or maybe my knee,” replied Gomarha.
“Too bad. I guess only one of us will be a hero when we return to Koranth,” Hector declared, as he drove his dive knife low into Gomarha’s gut, pulling it upward until he hit the bottom of the man’s ribcage. He stepped back as Gomarha slumped to the ground.
“Why, Commander – why?” Gomarha pleaded.
Hector looked down at the man, as blood began to pool around his body from his already blood-drenched shirt. A crooked smile spread across Hector’s face, and he turned and headed back up the stairs.
• • •
|Chapter 36||Chapter 38|