Summary: No questions. No challenges.
That seems to be the policy of those who live in the city of Morgan—a place where asking too many questions can lead to disappearance. But this is a policy that Simon thinks difficult to adopt when his son is snatched from right under his nose...and all signs seem to indicate that there is more to it than meets the eye.
Simon soon discovers that there is a conspiracy deeply rooted at the very core of the city's government; one that leads to the disappearence—and sudden appearence—of youth in Morgan...and nobody ever seems to remember them. But Simon remembers as clearly as he is sure that his son is not in the city anymore. And so he must fight—against a central force that would stop at nothing to ensure that he doesn't—to escape...
Majestic beams of orange light penetrated the city's skyline, now a glistening silhouette of high rise buildings and the moving objects that seemed to float across them, as the sun continued its slow descent to the horizon. Two pairs of jet black eyes observed with dumbstruck awe, shielded by pale hands. Neither man—nor boy—uttered a single word, and so their surroundings were quiet, save for the soft rustling of the autumn leaves in the breeze. Quiet, because around them nothing moved. The golden slope which they sat on observing their city from this unique vantage hosted nothing but grass, leaves and small insects.
Their picnic had turned out to be just about the way they had imagined, only better. The warm cinnamon buns and ice cold orange juice had only complimented the evening's magnificence. Talks over cars, girls and loss of virginities had ensued, and silenced once the sun began to put on its show. By the time it had sunken into the horizon, both were wearing wide grins, symbolic of their satisfaction over the afternoon; their bond had strengthened.
"Told you it would be worth it, didn't I?" The man asked.
The boy nodded. "It was, father. I'm glad I came."
And then the silence took over once again, as the men gazed on at the darkening night sky. Not even the breeze could be heard now; all was still. It was almost an eerie state, seemingly artificial, but neither man noticed.
All was disturbed by a loud whirring overheard. Leaves and twigs twirled violently around them, as a fierce wind spanned their diameter with rage. The whirring became louder as they got to their feet, bending forward and shielding the top of their heads by instinct. And then louder still, until it slowed to a chopping sound.
As both men gazed up into the night sky, they saw a black rotorcraft slowly pacing its way to ground. By instinct again, the older man pulled the younger one close. The vehicle landed just a few feet above them on the slope, still swirling the remains of dead plants and insects around it as its glistening black blades chopped into the night air. Despite all this, just for a moment, all was still again as man and boy gazed at the aircraft with mouths agape.
But this very different kind of still was shattered when men in black armor and green goggles piled out of the rotorcraft, armed with semi-automatic guns. They charged the two who stood still alone on the slope. As army of six got nearer, perhaps a move of desperation, the older man pushed his son behind him and stood his ground with balled fists.
"You're not hurting him…" he just barely began to say.
Barely, for he was discarded within a squirrel's blink; tossed over and pinned down on the slope's burnt grass blades. He attempted to shake the force off him, but it was like the weight of a thousand boulders had bent his arms around and pressed them into his back. He could feel his ribcage bending under the pressure; his lungs being constrained. But it all went away when his son screamed out for his father. Just enough for him to fight the struggle and turn his head.
"Luke! Lu—" he was interrupted as something slammed his head on the ground.
"Take it easy there pal," said a voice above him. "We'll bring him right back."
The last thing he wanted to do was "take it easy", but he had no choice. He could already feel himself passing out. His limbs had become numb, and his eyes were slowly swirling into darkness. Sounds around him were becoming distorted too; the whirring blades, soldiers' yells.
Soon all he could hear of his son's screaming voice was nothing.
A\N: Edited and re-released on June 10, 2008.