It sat, watching them. They were dressed in their expensive everyday clothes, talking on their cellular devices. It despised them. Their planet would soon be theirs, it always happens that way. New York this time of day was bright, so It sulked back into the alley a bit more to the darkness behind a dumpster. Taxis sped by, completely oblivious to what was happening around them. It put Its native planet's communication device up to its mouth.
"It's time for the first phase." It said in Its native tongue.
There was a garbled response in the same language. It somewhat grinned, if what It did could be considered a grin. Then It stood up and walked back down the alley and faded into the shadows.
"…a nice 92 degrees here in Honolulu, Hawaii. A great day to do some sightseeing, don't you agree Beck..."
Tourists were exploring a volcano. It was a beautiful day, August 13th, 2012. The weather was a little warm but the sky was cloudless and the water shone. On one of the many volcano sites was several tourist buses full of people, all with cameras and t-shirts and sunglasses, all dosed up with sunscreen. The volcano was simmering slightly, but nobody was worried; it made the pictures look interesting. Precautions weren't on the tourists' minds right now; the volcano was dormant and had been for many years.
A family of tourists from Texas was talking to a ranger about when the volcano had last erupted. The youngest kid, being about two, was playing with a toy truck. He got up and wandered away from his family, towards the opening of the volcano. He rolled his truck across the top of the safety rail; it slipped, and fell into the dark hole. Something shiny, falling through the sky, caught his attention. It went straight into the volcano. He ran back to his mother, crying for his truck.
Then the rumbling started.
It was faint at first, so faint that nobody noticed it. Then it got worse. The shaking became violent. Adults and children alike screamed. People were thrown everywhere.
The rumbling stopped. Many were dead. The few that survived were gravely injured. There was a moment of silence, pure dead silence.
Then the volcano erupted. It spewed ash and lava thousands of feet into the air. Anybody who had survived the initial earthquake anywhere within Hawaii was killed quickly by lava or ash.
News reports would look frightening, saying the death toll was still unknown. So far there nobody had made it out alive. Only a note had survived the eruption. Reporters would speculate it was dropped after the eruption. It would be blamed on terrorists; it always would be, until they saw it for their own eyes.
The note wasn't anything special, just a piece of notebook paper singed around the edges where the hot, ashy ground got to it. The note simply said:
We are here
The beginning of the end of the world is unfolding before your human eyes. You will not survive, so enjoy this story, this prediction. I now present to you, The End.
Keel Johnson was leaning up against the counter in his kitchen. The smell of burnt toast wafted through the air from the toaster. Keel glanced down at his own toast, slightly crispy, not burnt. Jacii was only nine, apparently not old enough to make toast correctly. The small, old-fashioned TV on the counter was on the local news channel for Atlanta, Florida.
Jacii jogged into the kitchen, ran up to the toaster and sniffed. "Keel! Why didn't you tell me my toast was burning?"
Keel looked over. Jacii was standing in front of the toaster with her hands on her hips. Her bright red hair was in two pigtails on top of her head. Her bright green eyes were glaring at him, waiting for an answer. Keel raised an eyebrow. "It's your toast."
"But I'm only nine!" She tried unsuccessfully to make a puppy dog face but only succeeded in looking like she needed to use the restroom.
"Yesterday you were saying you were old enough for a phone. If you are, I think you can make your own toast." He went over, got down a plate, and put her blackened toast on it. He held it out to Jacii who looked warily at it. Keel shook it slightly. Jacii took it, stuck her tongue out at him, and ran into the dining room.
Keel checked his watch. It was a quarter till ten. His parents would wake up around ten thirty. He threw away his extra toast; put his dishes in the dishwasher, and grabbed the remote for the mini TV. He turned the volume up, leaning against the counter again. They were talking about a big eruption in Hawaii.
"Thousands of people died. The exact death toll is still unknown." The news lady said. Keel turned off the TV and went to his room.
Keel's room was nothing special. One wall was covered in bookshelves and posters of the world. His bed was shoved into one corner. He had a dresser, and his computer desk. He flopped on his bed and looked at a picture of his parents on his dresser.
His dad, James Johnson, had red hair and green eyes, just like Jacii. In the picture he had a grin on his face showing his good natured personality.
Keel looked just like his mother, Cameron Johnson. She had dark brown hair, olive skin, and brown eyes. She was smiling to the camera like she had a huge secret nobody knew. There was a knock on his door.
Keel's father came in. He sat down next to Keel and looked at the picture. He smiled. "That is my favorite picture of your mother and I. Arizona I think."
When Keel didn't respond, James waved his hand in front of Keel's face. "Son what's wrong?"
"Nerves." Keel mumbled.
James nodded. "Don't worry; first day of tenth grade is okay. You'll be fine."
Heel sighed. "But dad, I've never been to a public school before."
Keel's father grinned. "It's not that different. More people that's all. You'll also be away from Jacii for 8 hours."
Keel laughed. "You are probably right." His smile faded. "Did you see what happened in Hawaii?"
"Yes." James sighed.
"You're going to have to leave then? To help them?"
"Quite possibly. We'll have to look for survivors and get all of the…um…non-survivors out of there." He saw the look on Keel's face. "Bud, I have to. It's my job as-"
"Yeah, I know dad. It's your job as a navy S.E.A.L. to help people out on the ocean with dangerous missions. But why you? We're all the way here in Florida! Its way closer to the west coast."
James looked sad. "They need more people. They called us and informed us that we might be needed. If they call, I have to go." And with that he got up and walked out of Keel's room, shutting the door behind him.
Keel sat there. He wished that his father wasn't a navy S.E.A.L. It was so hard on their family, him going away all the time on dangerous missions. Keel's mother couldn't homeschool him or Jacii anymore because of the stress and Leah, their 11 month old sister.
He got up and walked to the dining room, where the rest of the family was.
Mr. Johnson was at the table reading the paper. Jacii was teasing Leah in her highchair with some cheerios. Mrs. Johnson was tiredly watching Jacii and Leah, while eating her own breakfast.
Keel sat down next to his mom. "Good morning sweetie." She said. "Did you sleep alright? Did you eat your breakfast?"
"Yes mom." Keel rolled his eyes and laughed. "I'm 15. I think I can take care of myself."
"That's what I said when I was 16, and it didn't work out too well." Mrs. Johnson winked and took her dishes to the kitchen.
Jacii was still messing around with Leah's cheerios. Keel got up and took the bowl from Jacii, setting it down in front if Leah. "Let her eat her breakfast. You don't want her to starve do you?"
Jacii looked sad. "No, of course not."
"Okay then, let her eat." Jacii ran off to her room.
Keel sat and watched Leah make a complete mess of herself eating cheerios. When Leah was done, he took her into the kitchen to clean her off. He never knew you could make a sticky mess eating dry cheerios, but Leah succeeded in doing just that, so Keel had to wipe her off, and then clean out her highchair.
Leah looked just like Jacii did when she was her age, a cute redheaded 11 month old. Leah could walk short distances, so when Keel was done cleaning her highchair, he had her walk to him.
The phone rang on the in table next to Keel. He handed Leah a stuffed animal and picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hello." The man on the other line said. "May I speak to James Johnson please?"
Keel put the phone between his ear and shoulder and picked up Leah. "Yeah, I'll get him. Just a sec."
Keel looked for his dad, and found him in the kitchen, watching the news reports for the Hawaii disaster. "Hey dad."
"Yes Keel?" Mr. Johnson said.
Keel held out the phone to his dad. "There's a man on the phone asking for you." Leah squirmed and Keel set her down. Mr. Johnson took the phone. "This is James Johnson." Mr. Johnson gave Keel a look and Keel picked Leah up and went back to the living room.
He could hear Mr. Johnson sounding panicked. Then Mr. Johnson went into his office.
It must've been and important phone call because it was long. So long, that Mrs. Johnson went to work (she was a vet), Jacii invited a friend over, and Keel started getting worried. After lunch Keel put Leah down for a nap, asked Jacii to keep an eye on her and to tell their dad he was going to the park down the street. He grabbed his house key and started towards the park.
He always went to the park when he needed to think. The park was small, with a few benches and a small play set.
Keel sat on one of the swings. Ever since the newer, bigger playground was built, the smaller park was usually people less. It was muggy in Florida this time of year, at the end of summer.
What is dad thinking? Keel thought. He'd already left his family 20 times and counting. There were a lot of kids who had parents, both of them, and never gave a second thought to those families that were divorced or in the service. He was proud to say his father was a navy S.E.A.L., but it was really hard to have him gone all the time.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, Keel saw a flash in the clear sky to his left. He looked at where it was and he saw it. A small pinprick of silver, miles away probably.
Oh wow. He thought. A U.F.O. The idea amused him. It is probably just a hot air balloon or a plane. Then, the silver object zoomed across the sky, behind him, and off to his right.
Hot air balloons don't do that.
Keel convinced himself it was nothing. He had never believed in magic and aliens. They were crazy, the people that believed in those kinds of things. He was the kind of person who needed evidence to believe that kind of stuff. He had never seen any evidence.
He got up. It was probably about 3:30, so he started home, shooting glances in the direction of the mysterious object.