Marcus knew right away that there was something wrong, as soon as his twin sister, Keri, walked into his room. Her face was almost like chalk, and she looked really shaken.
“What’s up?” He asked her, hoping it wasn’t a ‘girl’ thing; But all she was able to do was begin to cry.
He jumped up and started towards her, but she quickly darted back out of the room, and towards the back door. As he followed her, a million things began to rush through his mind. Was it their dog? Was there a dead animal in the yard? He knew his sister had been tending to her prize, 4-H, heirloom tomatoes in the garden, could something have happened to them?
Keri, silently sobbing, continued out the back door, and towards the back corner of their yard. As Marcus trailed behind her, he was simultaneously scanning his surroundings, trying to get an idea of what to expect.
Keri stopped, about three feet from the fence line, and stared at what appeared to be a fairly large hole gouged into the grass. As Marcus got closer, he noticed it wasn’t just a hole. This wasn’t from any dog, or possum. The grass was still smoldering from being somehow burned.
“What the…?” But before he could finish his sentence, he saw it; A white-hot, orb of some sort, partially buried inside the hole. From what he could see, it appeared to be about the size of a baseball, and the portion that was still exposed exhibited a metallic-like surface.
Keri gasped, and was able to belt out some words in a panicked voice, “It, it, it almost hit me! It almost hit me in the head! I-I-I heard it, and I looked up, j-just as it flew past my head, and crashed! Is, is it a meteor?”
Marcus didn’t really know what to make of it right away. It certainly could be a meteorite, but, generally they are not perfectly round and smooth like this object appeared to be.
“I really don’t know, Sis.” He whispered.
He figured that by the size of the crater it had made, it had probably hit with great force and momentum. He looked up into the sky, wondering if it had possibly been ejected from something else, but the sky was clear. He also noticed that the neighborhood around them, was strangely silent. No birds, no dogs, no cars. Even the guy across the street, who is always blaring his music, wasn’t making a peep. It was an odd feeling, but he didn’t want to create even more fear in his sister, so he kept his observations to himself for the time being.
The minutes seemed like hours, as they both stood there, gazing upon this strange metallic ball. It had begun to cool, and the impression of heat began to dissipate, leaving a glassy sheen reminiscent of mercury. Keri had been able to compose herself somewhat, and asked, “What do we do?”
They looked up at each other, both extremely perplexed as to what was happening, and what to do next. Then, Marcus went over to the garden shed, and grabbed a shovel. Keri wasn’t sure if this was the best idea, and said, “Can’t we just wait til Mom gets home? Please Marcus, d-don’t touch it!”
Marcus wasn’t listening at that point, he was on a mission, to unearth this thing, and control the situation. After all, he was the man of the house since their father had died last summer. The thought of burying it never crossed his mind. Instead he wanted to contain it, in order to take it to his science teacher at school; But something told him not to touch it with his bare hands, so he used the shovel to lift it from the ground, and carry it over to the patio table. He gently rolled the orb off of the shovel, and into an empty terracotta pot that had been sitting on the table. It hit the bottom of the pot with a strange reverberation, as if it was not a completely solid object.
“This isn’t happening, this is weird!” Uttered Keri, “You don’t understand Marcus, this is what I’ve been dreaming about! Something is wrong!”
Marcus remembered, on several occasions, ever since they had their thirteenth birthdays two years ago, that Keri had been claiming she was having these disturbing dreams. Dreams about what she described as “bubbles in the sky,” and about “lightning that had faces in it.”
He never, ever told Keri, or his parents, that he was having similar dreams his whole life. “Keri,” he said, “don’t worry, we’re fine!”
He grabbed the pot containing the metallic ball, and took it into the house, straight into his bedroom, and swiftly shut the door behind him.
Keri was not having any of her brothers’ macho crap, and followed right behind him to his room; But when she went to open the door, she realized he had locked it! Marcus never locked his door!
“Marcus! Marcus! Open the damn door dude!” Keri yelled.
She pounded and pounded, until finally, she heard a ‘click’ as Marcus slowly unlocked, and opened his door.
“What the hell, dude?!” She demanded.
Marcus’ head was hanging, facing the floor. He was clearly upset about something. He couldn’t look Keri in the eye. Keri just stood there for a moment, waiting for him to come back from being deep inside his own head. When he rose his head back up, and their eyes locked, Keri could tell that her brave and confident brother, had been crying.
“Keri,” he whimpered, “I haven’t been completely honest with you, and I’m so sorry!” Marcus again began to cry, in a way Keri had never seen displayed by her brother before; Even when their dad died, it was never like this, and Keri began to cry with him, because now she was really worried.
“What is it Marcus?” she asked, wiping her face with her hands.
Marcus went to his bed, lifted up the blankets, reached in between his mattresses, and pulled out a notebook. He flipped beyond the cardboard cover, and pulled out a clear plastic sleeve, that appeared to contain a document. He slowly slid the paper from it’s protective cover, unfolded it, and showed it to his sister.
As Keri began to inspect the document she had just been handed, she immediately realized what it was: A Certificate of Adoption, listing herself, and her twin brother, as the adopted children. She began to feel the tears welling up in her eyes, and her throat became tight, and drawn. She felt sick to her stomach, and ran to the bathroom, unable to hold the contents of her stomach. She screamed into the toilet bowl, moaning, and crying out “Why?! Why?! Oh my God! WHY?!”
Marcus, waited for her to compose herself, because he wasn’t done. There was still more he needed to tell her.
After a few minutes, Keri emerged from the bathroom, holding a damp cloth to her face, her nose, as well as her eyes, were swollen a bright red.
As she struggled to find words, all she said was “Why, Marcus?”
Marcus had already arranged the next few papers for her to see, and he handed the entire bundle of them to Keri. “I’m sorry Sis. This wasn’t how I thought it would turn out.”
Keri took the papers, while looking at her brother, as if he was suddenly a stranger to her. She began thumbing through the pages, and was stunned by what she was now witnessing.
The first page, was a report from an orphanage nearby. As she scanned through the complicated jargon, the two things she noticed were ‘abandoned’ and ‘birth origin unknown.’
She went through the next few pages, and saw that they were drawings that Marcus had been saving. Drawings he had been doing for many years. All with the same main theme: Balls and orbs, falling from the sky, bolts of lightning, and strange peoploid looking creatures gazing down from above, through the mist and wisps of cloud-like swirls.
“This is impossible! What the hell is this Marcus?! What is happening?!” She begged for some logic from him.
Marcus stood by, silently waiting for her to absorb, and waiting for her to remember. It was all becoming clear to him at this point, but he didn’t want to rush Keri, she was always the emotional one.
Keri pondered these pieces, seemingly belonging to a much larger puzzle that she knew was just on the cusp of her memory. She began to see clips, snapshots flashing in her mind. She remembered how, even when they were younger, she and her twin shared special ‘gifts.’ Not just the knowing what each other was feeling, or thinking, but other stuff as well. There was the time Marcus fell off his skateboard in the road, and there was a car coming really fast, and just before it hit Marcus, his body was lifted to the curb, by an invisible force. Or the time when the little brat down the street was picking on her, and Marcus came up to them, and just began to stare at this kid, clenching his fists, and staring. When the kid began bullying her again, something ripped across his face, leaving deep, bleeding wounds, as if a lion had just swiped with full claws across that boys’ face.
There were fires. There were power surges. There were bent and twisted pieces of silverware strewn throughout the house. Now she was remembering; And the biggest thing was all those missing chunks of time.
She looked around the room, and saw the terracotta pot holding the silvery orb inside it…
“What happens now, Marcus?”
All Marcus could do was shake his head, as if to say, “Wait.”
As they both stood there, somehow knowing the climax to their story was about to unfold, they began to hear a very low humming sound. A low, deep pulsating tone of some sort. Looking over toward the orb, they could see a bright bluish light emitting from it, in a rhythm that they were both oddly familiar with.
Marcus reached his hand out to Keri, and Keri grabbed his hand tightly. They both shared an internal goodbye to their mother, took a deep breath, and all at once, a bolt of blue lightning reached out from the orb, connecting to one, and then the other. The entire room glowed with energy as the current of blue light injected itself throughout their bodies, and as if they knew what to do at this point, they welcomed it. They embraced the warm flow of energy and enlightenment; Space and time became transparent. Then, in one final, great flash, they were gone.
Later that evening, when the twins’ mother came home, she immediately sensed something was wrong. She wondered, as she made her way through the front door, why there were no sounds of music, or television; No life or activity in the house. She smelled something, was it dinner? “If it was,” she giggled to herself, “it was burnt to a crisp.”
She wandered throughout the living and dining rooms, and eventually made her way to the kitchen. There was nothing, nobody. Nothing was cooking, no oven had been turned on and forgotten, just nothing.
Her heart began to race, and she felt her face flush; “Kids!” She yelled out. “Hello, where are you two?”
She became frightened at that point, and ran to the back bedrooms, “Kids! Marcus? Keri?”
She flung Marcus’ bedroom door open, and froze. There were papers strewn about the floor, and shards of a shattered terracotta pot. The smell was overwhelming, like an electrical fire.
She picked up a drawing from the floor, and smiled with peaceful satisfaction. She pulled out her phone and dialed. When the voice on the other end answered, she said “They’ve gone, it has begun.”
Written for The 24 Hour Short Story Challenge