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 18: Nightmare Aftermath
“We’ll talk about this more later,” their mother said. She didn’t bring up the subject of canceling the summer programs for the rest of the night.
But, Kevin could tell she worried. How she barely let any of them out of her sight, even insisting Christy play downstairs on the main floor instead of in her room. How she kept looking up at the sky, but then they all did that.
The news, already on fire over a Vordac raid so deep into the core of the Peaceful Worlds Alliance, interrupted with something new. Word of the capture of the Vordac mothership.
Personalities debated what this meant on channel after channel. About Vordac expansion plans. Of a possible new outright war. Of the strengths and weaknesses of the Peaceful Worlds Alliance and Galactic Patrol.
Kevin relived the raid in minute detail in his dreams that night. It quickly descended into a nightmare of the mothership descending. Settling around Central City, surrounding it with vehicles, robots and Morde. An entire city trapped with no way to fight free. Of Galactic Patrol headquarters in smoldering ruins.
Kevin shot out of bed, blinking the sweat out of his eyes. He knew the dreams would come, but did they have to come with such intensity?
He went to the bathroom and washed off his face. After a drink of water he tried again.
It didn’t help. The next series of dreams involved the hovercar. Of not being able to get it going. Of it not flying where and how he wanted even once it started moving.
He didn’t try to go back to sleep after the second time, despite how tired he was. No point. He knew the nightmares would continue.
He got up and got ready, as if going to school, finding the familiar rituals comforting. Right down to going down to the kitchen to get himself a bowl of cereal.
Then he made the mistake of turning on the holovids. News still going strong, only now going through the names of those missing or those rescued.
He knew some of them.
Kevin turned off the holovid, casting the family room into silence. He swallowed hard.
Why did it make it somehow worse? To know some of the others? Ones who were there? Even if they were eventually rescued, he felt horrible about getting away with Christy. Not that it was easy. They almost didn’t make it.
He shook himself. They got away. They were now home. Galaxy Patrol chased and captured the Vordac mothership. That was what was important.
Even as the thoughts swirled around in his head, he found himself wandering towards the garage. The overhead lights turned on as he entered, illuminating the gray floor and shelves running along the outer walls. A garage that usually held two hovercars when the whole family was home.
Today it held one. The one their father usually drove. His mother must have brought it home via remote control while his father was out on his mission with Galactic Patrol.
But, he needed only one.
The door of the deep-red hovercar swung open at his touch. Inside he found several of their toys and Greg’s missing jacket. He ignored them and went to slip into the driver’s seat.
His insides quaked at being in the seat. One part of his mind relived his terror at not being able to get the hovercar to move when they needed. Like the other hovercar, this console was also dark, with only two spots illuminated.
The one on the upper right he knew well. That one would bring up the navigation controls. Ready and waiting to be told where to take the occupants. An easy way to get around, and not what haunted Kevin.
He touched the other spot on the wide screen of the console. The one marked ‘help.’
A menu appeared in the center of the console. Kevin took a deep breath and then set to going through each of the choices. One by one, he read through the online owner’s manual for the vehicle. How the various systems functioned. How to use them. Maintenance required.
He devoured all of it. If he was ever in the same situation, he intended to fly the hovercar as good as anyone. He would put Christy inside and just fly away in both real life and his dreams.
The information about a ‘response filter’ sounded interesting, if it remained functional during a malfunction. An adjustment to keep the manual controls from becoming too sensitive. They’d probably not been working when he’d been trying to fly the hovercar. At least, he hoped that explained the bad flying and not just his lack of skill.
“Kevin Bradley Taggert, what are you doing in there?” his mother demanded.
Kevin jumped, his fingers frozen over the top of the console. “Just reading.”
“A hovercar is not a toy,” she said, poking her head inside. She gestured at him. “Out. Now.”
Kevin swiveled out of the chair. As he climbed out, he muttered, “I wasn’t playing.”
His mother hovered over him. “What was that?”
“I was only reading the manual,” Kevin said louder. Then he waited for the lecture to start. How they weren’t supposed to touch certain things without an adult. Like the hovercars.
Instead, he found himself getting a tight hug. “I know you were scared, but really, no playing with the hovercar. Even just reading.”
“Okay, okay.” Kevin gave a quick hug back and then backed away. “Sorry.”
His mother looked him over, opening her mouth as if to say something else. Then she shook her head. “Inside. Breakfast is almost ready.”
Kevin went back inside despite already having eaten. No point in saying it.
No more studying the hovercar. Learning how it worked and how to make it fly better next time. Now what would he do about his nightmares now?
TO BE CONTINUED…
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