Chapter 34

Keel woke up all covered in sweat and he felt like he had ran around the world 20 times. His head hurt, and he was lying on the ground in the forest.

He sat up, ignoring his queasy stomach and looked around. Tay was sitting a little ways away drawing something in the dirt. "Tay," Keel said. "Where is everyone?"

Tay looked up. "Finally you wake up. I thought I was going to have to dunk you in water. How do you feel?"

"Fine," He said impatiently. "Where is everyone?"

Tay pointed to a trail. "They went exploring."

"Exploring? Now?"

Tay nodded. "The ship flew off after we went into the forest. We had to carry you because you passed out, so I was elected to take care of you here while they went off."

Tay turned to the forest and whistled, and it sounded like a bird of some sort. He did it three times, waited, and then did it a fourth time, faster.

Tay laughed at Keel's look. "Yes, I can whistle like a bird. It's a signal your father and I have used over the years."

"What if a real bird makes that pattern?"

"Then what a coincidence. Here they come." Tay stood up and helped Keel up as Ava, Jacii, Mrs. Johnson holding Leah, and Mr. Johnson came up from the trail. They all gathered around Keel, asking if he was alright. Once he had assured them he was fine, they all sat in a circle on the ground.

"How long was I out?" Keel asked.

"About four hours." Ava said. "We got bored and left you with Tay."

Jacii grinned. "You slept like a rock."

"Four hours?" Keel exclaimed. "Where are we then?"

"Down at the base of Lookout Mountain in a little tree place." Mr. Johnson said. "When you feel better we need to get moving again."

Keel glanced nervously at the sky. "We can go now."

"No," Mrs. Johnson said. "You need to rest. We won't get anywhere if you can go."

Ava nodded. "Yeah. We'll be alright here."

Keel looked at her, wondering if she knew because of her ability, or if she was trying to make him feel better. She looked like she didn't believe what she said though, so Keel figured it was the second option.

Jacii looked around at them and held her hand out in front of her, palm up. A small flame appeared. She struggled to keep it going.

"What are you doing?" Keel asked.

"I have to practice." She said, the flames going out.

Mrs. Johnson looked nervous. "I think you should save that for when we get out of the forest Jacii."

They all grumbled their agreement and Jacii sat back. "What's black and white, black and white, black and white?"

"A zebra?" Tay guessed.

Jacii giggled. "No! A penguin in a revolving door!"

Everyone smiled, knowing Jacii was trying to cheer them up. "What has a face and hands but no body or legs?" Mr. Johnson asked.

"A clock dad, everyone knows that." Jacii said. Mr. Johnson shrugged. "I tried."

Ava laughed. "You all are crazy."

"Got that right." Keel said.

Mrs. Johnson smiled at them. "We should introduce ourselves a little more. We haven't gotten to know Ava."

"Yeah," Jacii said. "What's your favorite color?"

Ava shrugged. "I don't have one, but I'll tell you some more about myself. I'm 15 years old, my birthday was June 5th. I like playing soccer and I hate school. I get visions about the past and future, and I don't have any siblings."

"How can you not have a favorite color?" Jacii squealed.

"I like all of the colors." Ava said. "But I don't like green."

"Mine is pink." Jacii pointed to her pink shirt.

"Yeah, you should see her room in Florida." Keel said, grinning.

Mr. Johnson groaned. "That room took four days to paint."

"Four days?" Ava asked incredulously.

"Yeah, we had to get the old wallpaper off, prime it, put the pink on, and then paint dots on it." Mr. Johnson explained.

"I remember you cane out of the room one day covered in pink," Mrs. Johnson mused. "You had spilled a whole can on yourself."

"Don't remind me." Mr. Johnson replied. "That was torture."

"Reminds me of when we traveled to France and James leaned against a wet mural on the brick wall." Tay added.

"I've never been good with paint." Mr. Johnson said thoughtfully.

Keel started to hear a buzzing noise in his ear, like a bee or something. He swatted the air next to his eat, but nothing was there. Then he heard a voice. "I am coming." Very faint, but clearly the black-robed alien's voice. And then Keel couldn't move.

From above the spaceship came to hover. By an invisible force trees were uprooted and thrown out of the way, and the spaceship landed.

Keel desperately tried to move, but he couldn't, and neither could anyone else.

The hatch opened and the monster came out. It lumbered over to them and the spell was broken, only Keel, Ava, and Jacii could move, but they couldn't escape. The creature was pushing them on the ship, and all three of them were screaming for the adults, unable to do anything.

They lifted off, and once they were far enough away, Guardis turned to the large screen, which showed Earth. A bomb in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was ready to be denoted. Guardis put his hand over the switch to activate it, savoring the moment.

Then he flipped the switch.