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Avalon, the Prequel: Invasion of Memories

Avalon, the Prequel: Invasion of Memories

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Avalon, the Prequel: Invasion of Memories

Lunghezza:
411 pagine
6 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 7, 2013
ISBN:
9781301161065
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

It is said the Kairos has never lived a quiet life, but in the deep past, when the ancient gods conspired to block his memories, he found he could at least live a relatively normal life, most of the time. Such a thing had to be done with great care, even by the gods, because there would be times when he would need to remember himself as the Kairos, the Traveler in Time, the Watcher over History. In those times, the memory block was designed to come down, but everyone could only hope it did not come down too fast or all at once. A sudden influx of memories from so many past and future lifetimes might be incapacitating, and that might prove disastrous for humanity and for history.

When Glen, the Storyteller, is attacked by the alien Vordan, disaster is what everyone expects. His mind and memories as well as his body all need to move fast to meet this threat to the future of the human race. But he is in danger of being overwhelmed when memories of past and future lives bombard his mind. He needs a release valve for the pressure. He finds it by telling stories of his past, of times earlier in his life when the memory block came down and he had to deal with whatever threatening situation presented itself at the time. The stories help, and that is important because this time he cannot afford to become incapacitated by too many memories coming too fast. There are three Vordan battleships on the moon and an invasion he needs to stop.

Invasion of Memories tells 9 tales of the Storyteller from Nursery School to well into adulthood. It is a journey from New Jersey, to Ireland and Vienna, to Virginia and New York City, and to the ships at sea. And all the while, Glen is trying to stop an invasion that history (the future) does not remember – one that never happened. But there are serious problems here. There are layers of trouble and Glen, with the help of the Men in Black, and Alice, an innocent lawyer drafted into the middle of it all, have to dig deep to uncover the whole story and find a solution. Glen knows these local Vordan could not have come to Earth without help. It isn’t the pilot fish that he must find and contend with, it is the shark.

Invasion of Memories ends where the Avalon series begins. The Men in Black recover Lincoln, once held captive by the Vordan, but Lincoln’s wife Alexis is still missing and he is desperate to find her. The Kairos turns his mind from alien intruders to a missing woman and determines she is lost somewhere in time.

Look for Avalon, the Pilot episode, available now for 99 cents, a science fiction-fantasy, time travel adventure aimed at that sweet spot where all good television belongs – where the improbable becomes possible and the impossible becomes probable.

Also look for Avalon, Season One – 13 episodes of magic and mayhem, cavemen and space aliens, kidnappers and other ghouls, demons and monsters, all of whom stand in the way of the travelers from Avalon who only want to get through the time gates and return to their homes in the future, alive.

Thank you for reading Invasion of Memories. I hope you enjoy the memories and Happy Reading.
-- Michael

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 7, 2013
ISBN:
9781301161065
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

I live, work, and dream in the southeast United States, where I occasionally wipe the dust from my shoes.My stories stretch back to the beginning of history and forward to the horizon of the future. They stretch out to other dimensions, other universes, other earths. They stretch up to the heights of human potential, and down to the depths of human depravity. And I always tell stories.Give me a cave, a bonfire in the night, the distant howl of a wolf under a full moon, and a listening, attentive ear, and I will tell you a story.Other than storytelling, I continue to walk with my family and friends, day by day, and only now and then wonder how long this road may be. I can't wait to see what happens next.--MichaelM. G. Kizzia

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Avalon, the Prequel - M. G. Kizzia

Avalon The Prequel

Invasion of Memories

M G Kizzia

Copyright 2013, 2020

MGK Books

(version 1.43)

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Table of Contents

Vordan 1: Beginning

Happy Hill

Vordan 2: People in Black

Pumpkin Seeds

Vordan 3: In the Night

Moira

Vordan 4: Museum Piece

The Big Bad Wolv

Vordan 5: Prisoner Release

A Worm’s Tale

Vordan 6: The White House

Dawg Days of Summer

Vordan 7: The Killing Part

Gaian, Across the Universes

Vordan 8: Fetching Mister Smith

Nazi Hunters

Vordan 9: In the Dock

Werewolf?

Vordan 10: Layers on the Cake

END

Postscript

Vordan 1: Beginning

1

Glen looked down from his perch. He stood on an upside-down milk crate to adjust the butter, which would not fit correctly on the top shelf. The girl was blonde, very pretty, and about half of Glen’s age, which would put her under thirty, but not by much. Glen ran his fingers through his gray and mostly missing hair, and felt very old.

Excuse me. The woman repeated herself and attempted a smile, though it seemed a very poor attempt. I would like one of those, she pointed. Glen tried not to sigh as he stepped off the crate so she could reach around him. She still tried to smile when Glen grabbed her. The butter landed on the old tile floor, the woman landed on the butter and Glen landed on top of the woman.

She screamed. What is wrong with you? I am a lawyer— she growled, but did not finish the sentence as the margarine above their heads exploded in a flash of blue-green light.

Glen grabbed the woman by the hand and dragged her around the corner, into the bread aisle. She still screamed, but sat and watched as the old man in her face vanished and a well-built young man with a terrific smile appeared in front of her. He came dressed in chain armor that looked ancient, like something medieval, if not Roman, and he had the sword to go with it, slanted across his back, with the handle up above his left shoulder.

N-no. Ex… The young man tried to say, Excuse me in echo of her words, but his stutter got in the way, and he had other concerns. Keeping low was a big one. The young man peeked around the corner of the aisle and whipped out the long knife that rested across the small of his back. He sent it flying with his left hand. It entered—whatever it was—and the thing shrieked a thoroughly alien sound and collapsed.

You missed. The woman leaned over his shoulder, more curiosity than fear in her face. My fiancé is a doctor. Heart is on the left.

The man in armor shook his head as he stood. The—whatever it was—sprawled on the ground, its weapon having clattered across the dirty tiles. The young man pointed at the thing and then at the right side of his chest and smiled a smile that pierced the poor woman’s heart. Her heart on the left skipped a beat; but then the young man vanished and the old man came back. Curiously, he kept the armor, and in fact, the armor adjusted in size to fit the shorter man, belly and all. He took her hand to bring them close. The woman gave her hand without hesitation.

Vordan have their heart on the right side, Glen said. But what on earth is it doing here... on earth? Glen cleaned and returned the knife to its place, and picked up the alien weapon. He held it in a way that suggested he knew how to use it.

Vordan? The woman looked at the green colored creature on the floor. It looked like it might double for a swamp monster. Vordan. She repeated the name and looked at the old man. I would guess it is not from around here. She smiled a genuine smile for the first time.

Come on. Glen pulled on her hand to move them to the front of the store, but the woman balked and yanked her hand free. One side of her lip turned up as she spoke; not a flattering expression.

Who the hell are you? You’re just a grocery clerk.

Actually, I work for a national merchandising company, Glen said. He started to walk.

But, wait! What is with that chain mail get-up? Who was that other man?

Later. Glen turned to walk backwards. Are you coming or not?

The woman did not hesitate for long. She had on a soft summer dress, and though Glen imagined jeans would have been a better choice, she had on running shoes instead of flip-flops so it took nothing for her to catch up. Where are we going? She asked above the screams that echoed around the super market.

To find the rest of them. Glen thrust his arm out to hold her back while he let loose with a shot from that alien weapon. One was coming in the door, but it got distracted for a moment when the door automatically opened. The Vordan collapsed in the doorway and Glen rushed outside, right over the body. He kept low the whole way to stay below the front windows. He scooted up against one of the big columns in the shopping center and the woman stayed right on his heels. He pointed.

An alien ship about the size of a tractor-trailer sat in the parking lot, and three more Vordan hovered around the perimeter. One spotted him and fired. Glen turned and held up his cape between the woman and the blue-green energy beam—a cape that he had not been wearing a moment earlier. The shot hit the column, and while the façade melted, the steel beam at the center remained solid enough.

As soon as the enemy fire paused, Glen spun and returned fire. He did not appear to do any better than the Vordan. He missed all three and hit the alien ship instead. Bad aim, she said. Glen paused and looked at his gun as if something might be wrong with it.

Communications array, Glen responded, absentmindedly. I don’t want them calling in reinforcements.

Too late. The woman tapped Glen’s shoulder and pointed to the sky. An odd airplane-like vehicle looked to be closing in, fast.

Cavalry, Glen said, as he clicked something on the Vordan weapon and turned to fire again. The Vordan that had been creeping up close turned on sight of the oncoming ship. They ran back to their ship. Glen shot the mechanism that would delay their ability to open the door, and in a few seconds, the saucer vehicle came overhead. It emitted a greenish light that encompassed the Vordan ship and everyone around it for twenty yards. Both humans and Vordan in that section of the parking lot collapsed, and Glen grabbed the woman’s hand once more. Come on, he said, and this time she came without question.

After a few moments, the plane landed, but it had to crush one car to do it. The only thing the woman could do was gasp. The plane looked much bigger than it appeared in the sky. A door opened in the side and a ramp shot to the ground. A dozen armed people poured out and most headed for the Vordan and their ship. Three headed toward Glen and his woman follower.

At least these look human, the woman quipped, but Glen let go of her hand without responding. He reached out and hugged a big, African-American woman and she hugged him right back.

Glen smiled at the greeting, but turned his head. There’s another one by the butter, he shouted toward the man who was examining the Vordan in the automatic door. The door kept trying to close, but opened every time it bumped the body. Glen kissed the black woman on the cheek before he let go and turned to the blond. You’re a lawyer?

The woman nodded to the word but her eyes darted around. She gave the impression that all of this suddenly caught up to her and she might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Corporate contracts and such. She managed to say that much.

Good. My name’s Glen.

The African-American woman pulled out a thin billfold. Roberta Brooks, FBI. She showed her I. D. but the woman lawyer shook her head.

The FBI doesn’t have flying saucers.

Sanchez is with the State Department. Ms. Brooks pointed at the man who still worked in the doorway. Carlson here is with the ATF.

Glen handed Carlson his car keys. Glad you didn’t crush my car. It’s that silver Ford. Tell my wife I’ll be late for supper, will you? Carlson looked briefly at the black woman. She nodded her head and Carlson smiled.

I’m only sorry I’ll miss it, Carlson said, as he headed toward Glen’s car.

Glen returned the smile as he once again took the pretty blond by the hand. He began to pull her forward as he and Ms. Brooks started toward the ramp and the saucer. So, Bobbi, what are the Vordan doing here? Glen asked.

Vordan? Ms. Brooks said the word as if tasting it for the first time. We did not even know who they were. You tell me.

Mister Smith not around?

No, and that concerns us as well. There are three battleships on the dark side of the moon, and we only found out that much by accident. Normally, Mister Smith shows up with that kind of information, but no one has seen him.

Can’t be time for… Glen stopped walking. Clearly, he did not finish his sentence. Still, this is a Kargill planet by treaty. The Vordan have no business being here.

The high-pitched wail that came from the parking lot caused them all to hold their ears. Apparently, there were some Vordan still on the ship and they were taking off for the skies.

Get them. Can’t you get them? the woman lawyer asked.

Bobbi shook her head. We were lucky to find them on the ground. Despite appearances, our vehicle is just a modified stealth bomber with Harrier capabilities. We are not a space corps. The Vordan vehicle had already moved out of sight. Glen turned and once again held out his hand, but this time the woman balked.

Do you have a name? Glen asked.

No. I’m not getting in that ship-thing, she protested.

I need a lawyer. How are you with treaties?

I’m a lawyer, Bobbi protested.

When was the last time you practiced, or dealt with binding contracts? Glen asked, and Bobbi said no more. Glen turned again to the woman. What do you say we hire you. Name your fee. After all, I assume there is not time to send this out for bids. By the way, are you any good?

The woman stood up straight. I am very good, she said, proudly. But wait.

Oh, come on, Bobbi said. Glen won’t bite.

Not hard anyway. He and Bobbi shared a knowing look.

The woman lawyer still hesitated. How long?

Bobbi shrugged, but Glen responded. One day at a time, he said. You can go home anytime you give the word.

Promise?

Glen crossed his heart. See? On the left, just like you said. That got the woman to smile as they walked up to the ship entrance.

So, who are you people? she asked.

Men in Black, Glen answered.

I am not a man, Bobbi said.

But you are black, Glen countered as they stopped in the doorway. Bobbi slapped Glen in the elbow where the short sleeve of his armor did not quite reach to the long gloves he wore.

Don’t you ever get tired of that joke? Bobbi asked.

It’s always like the first time for me. A serious expression came and went across Glen’s face, but then his smile returned as he stepped aside to let the women in first. So, what is your name?

Alice.

Well, Alice. Welcome to wonderland.

2

The inside of the plane looked more like a corporate jet than the inside of a military bomber. Bobbi took Alice by the arm and pulled her to the front while Glen fell in behind. They had to wait for the men outside to bring the dead Vordan into the hold. The live ones got away.

Let me introduce you. Bobbi pointed to a middle-aged pilot and a co-pilot who looked close to Ms. Brook’s age of somewhere in the early or mid-sixties. Captain Stoloyovich is an ex-cosmonaut who went twice to the International Space Station.

Fyodor, the man said. He turned his head briefly and smiled, but did not move his hands or take his real attention from his tasks.

Alice Summers, Alice responded, kindly.

Alice is a lawyer the Traveler picked out.

Congratulations, I think, Fyodor said.

Hi, I’m Glen, I think. Glen spoke in a strange tone of voice, and as he looked at Alice, he added a thought. Was I someone else back there? Alice nodded, not knowing what else to do. Diogenes. Glen gave the young man a name, but when he looked at Bobbi, he added another thought. I think. He shook his head. Too much memory coming back to me too fast. Maybe I need to sit down.

Who are you? Alice finally asked, now that Glen reminded her that he had briefly been a completely different person.

WhoamI? Glen ran the words together. Maybe you should just call me WhoamI for now.

Can’t. The old copilot flipped a switch, looked up, and turned toward the group. Jackie Chan already did that one.

Lockhart! Glen yelled. He shook the old man’s hand, vigorously, even as he noticed that the man sat in a wheelchair.

How’s the Princess? Lockhart asked, and Bobbi had no trouble slapping the old man in the shoulder despite the wheelchair. Lockhart looked appropriately humble for about three seconds.

We’re not supposed to tell Glen about lifetimes he does not remember for himself. Bobbi explained to Alice who nodded but felt very confused. Glen, meanwhile, had no trouble answering Lockhart’s question.

She is great. Good as ever. Still young, too.

It isn’t fair, you know, Lockhart complained, though he looked like he would not mind seeing the Princess again, young as she might be.

Unfair? Tell me about it. Glen also complained and rubbed his lower back as he stepped over to a table where a chair seemed to be calling to him. The table looked full of papers, and three people, two men and a woman, who were working their way through some rather large files and typing furiously on computer consoles in their off moments.

Glen sat heavily and ignored them all. Bobbi and Alice came over to sit in comfortable chairs where they could watch him. Bobbi only paused briefly to speak to the three at the table.

After the plane lifted straight up into the sky, Lockhart followed them and brought his own chair with him.

Alice had been thinking that whole time, but Lockhart’s arrival finally broke her out of her introspection. I would say you all have some explaining to do.

Actually, we know nothing about the Vordan. Bobbi responded. We do not even know if they are hostile.

I imagine she is thinking of something else. Lockhart pointed at Glen.

Alice agreed. Look, I get the Men in Black bit. I saw the movie. So, we got aliens on the moon. So, I look good in black, but I am engaged. Actually, all of this sounds like a show my fiancé would love, if only it had some football in it. Anyway, I was talking about him. She also pointed at Glen.

That is a little more difficult to explain, Bobbi said.

Is he an alien too? Alice asked.

No, Bobbi said emphatically. He is one of us and that is what makes it so difficult.

Not so hard, Lockhart disagreed, as they watched Glen put his head in his hands. Glen appeared to be mumbling to himself, but otherwise withdrew into his own little space. They spoke around him.

I tried Vordan under every possible spelling. One of the paper shufflers interrupted. All I can find is a reference that says see Gaian, but when I looked under Gaian it said, mind your own business.

Neither Bobbi nor Lockhart knew what to make of that, but they heard a little chuckle from the cockpit, and Glen paused briefly in his introspection to grin. Keep looking, Bobbi decided, and Alice took the stage again.

Well? That was all she had to say.

Bobbi looked at Lockhart. He pulled a bit closer before he locked the wheels on his wheelchair and began. Glen is a person, a human being just like us, only he lived a number of lives in the past, and some in the future, and he can remember them, or some of them anyway, more absolutely than anyone else I ever heard of. If you already met Diogenes, you know what I mean. He calls it trading places through time.

But I saw him actually become another person. Alice protested. He just vanished and this other person stood right where he stood, or squatted, actually. Do you know what I mean? How can he do that?

It was not another person, exactly. Lockhart began again, but Bobbi interrupted.

Still him, just another one of his lifetimes. Diogenes was a first cousin of Alexander the Great way back when. Bobbi noticed the slight reddening of Alice’s face. He claims he was married to Aphrodite, the love goddess, toward the end of his life. I cannot verify that, but I think some of her may have rubbed off on him. What do you think? Bobbi teased. It required no great insight to tell what Alice thought.

Alice could not seem to prevent the smile that came to her face. Wait! You don’t mean a real goddess.

Later. This time Lockhart interrupted. For now, you will just have to accept that he has access to other lives like no one else does. He says since the genetic pattern is nearly exact, and since time has some small flexibility, or relativity if you prefer, he doesn’t disturb the timeline when he borrows a past or future life.

Wait. Alice had another question, or several. What do you mean disturb the timeline? Isn’t this like reincarnation or something?

Absolutely not. Lockhart answered her. He says his lives are because some mysterious friends, as he calls them, keep forcing him to be reborn every time he tries to die.

Sometimes he talks about himself as an experiment in time and genetics, like he is no more than a hamster on a treadmill with no way to get off. Bobbi added with a touch of sadness in her voice. They all paused for a minute to look at Glen.

One of the men from the table took that moment to bring over a tray of coffee, tea, and snacks. They were at cruising altitude, not that any of them ever buckled a seatbelt.

Wait. Alice regained the floor even as she accepted a cup of tea. You said future lives.

Bobbi and Lockhart looked at each other again before Bobbi took up the explanation. Yes. You must be a lawyer. And, yes. He remembers the future, too. She said that much, and then she paused to sip her coffee while she considered something. The others waited patiently, including the three at the table who were neglecting their work to listen in. Let me just say this, his memory, I mean Glen. She pointed. It got toyed with at some point in his early years. Most of the time, he has no idea that he is the Traveler and he just lives a normal, everyday life.

Like a grocery clerk?

He is a minister if you must know. Mostly, though, he is the Storyteller. That is what his other lives call him, but he claims it is not an honorific, just a job description.

Anyway, he mostly lives as normal a life as such a person can live. Lockhart interjected. He says that even with his memory blocked, the past and future have a tendency to leak into his mind at the most inopportune times, but without the context to understand what is happening, he says it is very strange and makes him feel like he is living as a stranger in a strange land.

Bobbi put her hand up to stop Lockhart from speaking further. She continued with the explanation. Anyway, at times of crisis, the block on his memory is designed to come down and he remembers at least some of his past lives and usually one or more future lives as well. It is like actual memory, too; triggered by events and little things just like real memory. It is a lot to process, though, all at once like that. Bobbi paused again to sip and reach for a cookie, bad as it was for her waist, but in this way, she gave Alice time to process her own thoughts.

I’ve seen him like this before, some years ago. Lockhart said to reassure Alice that Glen would be fine after a while. He just needs time to straighten it all out. Lockhart tapped his own head and stayed away from the cookies.

So, he remembers the future? Alice shook her head. That doesn’t make any sense.

It is the only way to understand it. Bobbi responded. And another strong reason why his case is not like some kind of reincarnation.

I can see that. Alice understood that much. But, now, Traveler?

Kairos, technically. Event time. An ancient Greek word. Lockhart did the translation. We might call him the god of history, though he prefers the term Watcher over history. The Traveler is just shorthand for the Traveler in time.

Time traveler? Oh, of course, Diogenes.

Lockhart and Bobbi both nodded and a moment of silence followed before Alice spoke again.

So now, who is this Princess?

Lockhart and Bobbi passed another glance, but they were smiling. She is a lawyer. Bobbi said again. She doesn’t miss much.

Lockhart nodded and pointed at Glen. He is the Princess. Before Alice could respond, Glen lifted his head. He spoke, though it did not seem like he was speaking to any of them.

What? Sure, that might help, he said. He stood and vanished from the airplane, and got replaced by an absolutely stunning young woman who looked twenty-something, around five-seven, with long golden brown hair that appeared so light it looked nearly blond, and eyes as blue as Glen’s; but her eyes flashed with life, youth and health. Indeed, Alice could not see an ounce of fat on that perfect body. The Princess stood with a smile for Lockhart, and she turned once all the way around, slowly. She arrived in a dress that fell halfway to her knees but hid none of her figure. Alice wondered where the armor and weapons went, but she held her tongue as the Princess spoke.

How do I look?

Beautiful, as always. Bobbi spoke first.

Gorgeous. Lockhart confirmed as he matched the Princess’ smile, and then some.

Alice thought the word gorgeous was an understatement, but her mouth said something else as she watched the woman sit in Glen’s chair. The Princess kept her knees locked together as only a real woman would do. So, you are the Princess? Wait a minute. Alice’s thoughts caught up with what her eyes took in. Do you mean he has lived as a woman?

The Princess nodded. Half of my lifetimes, she confirmed before she turned to Bobbi. There was so much memory coming all at once I was afraid my Storyteller might burn his little brain out. What? Oh, he says his brain is not so little. The Princess laughed softly, and the laugh sounded as beautiful as the rest of her.

But isn’t he still remembering? Bobbi asked.

Yes, but this way I get some of the pressure and he doesn’t have the distractions so he can focus better on integrating it all. At least I think that is what is happening. She shrugged.

All right. Alice spoke and threw up her hands for emphasis. I’m getting it, but not really. I think you better start at the beginning. She looked straight at the Princess. And I mean you, whoever or whatever you are.

Me? I was born in 228 BC. The Princess said. She sounded a bit confused, like maybe she had trouble translating into English from her native Greek.

Do you mean the Traveler? Lockhart asked. That would be around 4500 BC, near as we know.

I think she means just Glen’s life. Bobbi tried, and Alice nodded and pointed at Bobbi.

Like when did he first realize he lived all of these other lifetimes, and when did he first, what did you call it, trade places in time?

Oh yes. The Princess liked the idea. Talking it out might be the best thing to do.

Well... Bobbi drew out the word as they watched the Princess vanish and Glen return. He came dressed in the jeans and shirt he wore in the market and, Alice noticed, he did not keep his knees together at all.

That would be before my time, Bobbi said. Lockhart, you met him at that college in Michigan. What was he, seventeen? Eighteen?

Actually. Glen got their attention. I remember a time when I was four, or actually not quite four. Things do not usually happen that early in my lifetimes. Normally, I get the chance to develop my own personality and learn some things before time starts to open-up; generally, sometime during puberty; but this was a special case if I remember it rightly. Let me see…

Happy Hill

1

Glen sat in the sandbox and pouted. The swings and other playground equipment were full of kids, and though the late September wind started to turn too cold to swing, Glen found that when he sat in the box, the other kids left him alone. He was not especially anti-social, but he was not pro-social either. Not yet being four years old, he honestly did not know what he was, except that he was careful about strangers for some reason, and all the kids at that place were strangers as far as he could tell. He never saw any of them before his first day, a day he spent in tears, and he never saw any of them later in life, either. They did not even live in his town. His Mom called this place Murray Hill. Happy Hill in Murray Hill, she told him when she tried to convince him that nursery school would be a wonderful thing. Glen was not so sure. It certainly did not feel wonderful.

Glen liked to pick up the sand and let it run through his fingers. It felt like the sands of time, he told himself. To be sure, he did not yet have much of a concept of time other than the time he got dumped at the school and the time he got picked up; and he certainly could not tell time, but in his mind, the sand felt like time all the same. The time winds were blowing strong, he told himself, and with that, he looked across the road. Over the chain-link fence and through the trees there stood a huge building complex. Glen would rather be home, away from that building altogether, but as long as he was there, he felt it important to keep an eye on the place, and at three, nearly four-years-old, he did not have the presence of mind to ask why.

Glen turned his eyes from the building when a car pulled up on the gravel drive. A man got out and Teacher Nancy went to him while her assistant, Mrs. Waterhouse, corralled the children into the building. Mrs. Waterhouse knew better than to bother with Glen. She let him stay in the sand to avoid a fuss.

Nancy. The man called the teacher by name and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

David. Aren’t you supposed to be at work? Teacher Nancy asked, and the man nodded.

But you forgot this. I thought you might want it.

Oh, blessed coffee, the teacher said, and she took a big sip before she gave the man a hug. She took a second sip before she spoke again. You never finished what you were saying. What is it you are working on these days?

All hush-hush stuff, you know. He smiled to tease her with the secret.

What can the phone company be into that is so hush-hush? She did not buy it.

No, really. The Labs has gotten some stuff from the government picked up in some crash out West a few years back. We are supposed to figure out what it is and what it does. Pickard has coined the phrase reverse engineering. I suppose that sound about right.

Russian? In 1957, the first and most obvious assumption was Russian; but the man shook his head.

I don’t think so. No one will say, but the stuff is indescribably detailed and sophisticated. I don’t know. If it is Russian we might just as well surrender right now.

But if it isn’t Russian, whose is it? Teacher Nancy looked more curious than doubting, but Mister David just shrugged again before he pointed at Glen

Mrs. Waterhouse missed one,

Oh, that’s Glen. Teacher Nancy smiled and the two of them came near and squatted down to be friendly. Sometimes Glen spends all morning in the sandbox, don’t you Glen? Glen could only shrug.

Why is that? Mister David asked. Glen pointed at the building complex in the distance. What is he pointing at? Mister David squinted. Teacher Nancy shrugged, like Glen. Apparently, Glen pointed before when asked the same question, but no one yet figured it out.

Are you going there? Glen asked, still pointing. It surprised his teacher who heard very few words escape Glen’s lips, but the man responded, even if it took him a minute to understand that Glen pointed at the distant building.

You mean Bell Labs? You mean the building there? Yes, I work there.

It is bad, wrong, broken, sick. Glen used every word he could think of to explain, but it felt hard for him to explain, since he was not exactly clear what he sensed.

Huh! Teacher Nancy could not help commenting. You are full of words today, aren’t you, young man?

Hush. Mister David hushed her. Why is it sick?

Glen shook his head. He did not have an actual answer for the question. It has bad things. It is wrong. Very wrong. No! No! He really could not explain it.

Mister David smiled and began to think that the boy really had nothing to say. Teacher Nancy smiled as well. Now, how do you know it is bad? Mister David asked again, but this time he spoke with some disbelief in his voice.

They are not people things. They are Reichgo. Glen said the word though he had no idea what a Reichgo was. I can smell them. He concluded, and he reached out for David’s hand and smelled the hand when David gave it to the boy. I smell them. The boy said, and with one brief blue-eyed look into David’s face, he stood, wiped the sand off his hands, and whatever else might be clinging to his hands, and ran inside. Suddenly, he had too much going on inside his little head and Glen needed some space. He needed to be alone, but there were grown-ups speaking inside his head and he could not escape them.

Huh! David looked briefly at his own hand with a very curious expression. Spooky kid.

I have never heard Glen say that much since the first day. Teacher Nancy’s eyes followed the boy to be sure he got back inside.

David shrugged it off and let his smile return as he kissed the teacher again on the cheek. See you at supper, he said, and he rose, got back in his car, and headed out.

Teacher Nancy watched and sipped on her coffee the whole time, but when David’s Hudson pulled around the corner, she shrugged it off too, and went back to the children.

Mister David came back three days later, near noon, when school got done for the day, and Glen stood outside, waiting to be picked up. David? In that name, Teacher Nancy expressed all her curiosity

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