Summer comes to a crashing end…
Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.
Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.
Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)
Part 16: Fading Battle
Chatter picked up slowly, but no one relaxed. Certainly not Kevin. Not after the crazy escape from the robots in the hovercar.
Christy recovered faster than he did. She insisted on sitting in her own chair and playing with her doll. Kevin stared at a wall for a while, breaking out of his tired stare when someone came by passing around bottles of water.
The water helped soothe his throat. With it, hard thinking set in. And worry.
Worry about his brothers, his mother, and especially his father. Out there in a fighter doing battle with the Vordac. Would they win? Would they rescue the people already taken? Or would the Vordac also take his father away?
He started to shake again, the battle outside suddenly overly vivid in his mind. He reached for his backpack and pulled his small computer out again.
“Can I play a game on it?” Christy asked.
“No, I need to use it,” Kevin said.
Christy frowned at him. “Because you want to play a game on it, too.”
With a flick of a thumb, the computer activated and the holographic screen deployed. “No, not quite.”
The computer locked into the wireless signal of the room, bringing up several options. Only one of them interested him at this point. Estimate on the opening of the doors.
There he found simple text updates on the attack outside, issued at regular intervals by the Civilian Defense Department. A notice of the first attack and a declaration of an emergency as the robots moved into the city. Defense forces deployment. Updates on location and scope of the attack. Lockdown of all shelters. The timestamp on that last one coincided to shortly after he and Christy made it into the shelter.
Then a message to stand by.
Kevin continued to check the page. Refreshing it, just in case his computer missed something.
“I’m getting hungry,” Christy suddenly said, setting Boo on her lap and looking up at Kevin.
He didn’t have much to offer. He found a nutrition bar in a backpack pocket. Who knew how old it was, but Christy ate it completely, and then asked for more. Who said boys ate the most?
He dug into his backpack again, hoping to find something lost at the bottom under all the sports equipment. He looked up at a sudden rise in conversation.
“Hey, the GP beat them back!” a man in the back shouted. A cheer went through the crowd.
Kevin dropped the backpack and picked up the computer. On the update page appeared a new line. “Vordac forces repelled from Earth. Estimated time of shelters opening: fifteen minutes.”
It took a little more than twenty minutes, but Kevin didn’t mind. The Vordac were gone. The skies of Earth were safe and clear.
Those in the shelter started crowding the front entrance. Kevin kept himself and Christy well back. No point in trying to be first out and risk getting trampled. Not after surviving what they just did.
Christy held his hand as they slowly made their way through the access tunnel. “What now?”
“Now we find a way to get home.” One that did not include a hovercar.
Power once again ran through the city. Lights, robots, and moving sidewalks worked as if nothing had happened.
The obvious solution to get home was to call a taxi. But with so many people in need of the same thing at the same time, every service Kevin tried estimated hours before they could respond. Instead, they walked several blocks and waited for a trolley car. They had to stand in line, but they eventually boarded one heading in the right direction.
With a lot of trolley changes, walking, and finally finding a taxi to take them the rest of the way, they arrived outside their house.
Their simple two-story white house with the blue trim. A green lawn and the hoverbikes leaned against the side of the garage. So ordinary. Not so long ago, Kevin didn’t think they’d ever see it again.
The door slammed open. Sean leaped off the front porch and raced across the yard. “Where have you been?”
“Trying not to become slaves!” Kevin yelled back.
Christy ran forward, tackling Sean at the edge of the lawn. Kevin followed more slowly, the backpack suddenly heavy in his hand. Greg raced out of the house, but Kevin managed to dodge him.
Sean lifted Christy into the air, making her squeal. “We’ve been worried sick! We all rushed home the moment the attack started.”
“We were right under the attack,” Kevin said.
Greg pushed him. “Yeah, right. Hey, were’s Nanny-Bot?”
Christy grabbed Sean around the neck, Boo poking him in the jaw. She said sadly, “Nanny-Bot didn’t make it.”
Greg stopped trying to wrestle with Kevin, his eyes going wide. “Didn’t make it?”
Sean held Christy against his side. “What?”
“Where’s Mom?” Kevin asked.
“On her way home,” Sean said, his eyebrows pushing together. “What happened? Why do you smell like smoke?”
“Another taxi,” Greg said, pointing down the street.
“The hovercar,” Christy said, still holding Sean so tight around the neck that she threatened to strangle him. “It wasn’t fun.”
“Where is the hovercar?” Sean demanded.
But, Kevin’s attention was on the taxi. It glided to a stop in front of their driveway. Their mother burst out of the back, yelling, “You’re all here? You’re okay?”
Kevin and the others were enveloped in a new hug, one that nearly pushed all the air out of Kevin’s lungs.
“We’re fine!” Greg protested.
“Oh, what a horrible day. Vordac here?” His mother sniffed, pulling back to look them all over one by one. She stopped at Christy and Kevin. “What happened to you two?”
“That’s what we’re trying to find out,” Sean said, setting Christy down on her own two feet.
Kevin swallowed past the lump in his throat, all the memories of the day coming back with violent force. Five of the family now safe.
Only one left. One he hoped also survived the attack.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.