by Clyde Andrews
Part 2 appears|
in this issue
|part 1 of 4|
Roy Edgars stared down at the finely cut crystal beaker he had just drained. His vision was cloudy and blurred. But he didn’t care. He wanted to finish the bottle, if only to experience what it was like to do so. Feeling anything was better than feeling like he had been lately.
He poured himself another glass, his hand shaking uncontrollably as he did so, some of the content spilling out onto the table. He still didn’t care.
He glanced casually at the kitchen clock on the wall in front of where he had parked himself. He then snorted the air, showing an outward disgust at the fact that his father wasn’t home yet. It was now well past 11:00 pm. Every night his father had been getting home later and later from work.
In fact, ever since his Mum had had the accident, his father hadn’t been the same. Actually, the family hadn’t been the same. Roy sighed, then gulped the contents of the glass and poured himself yet another. The bottle of Scotch was now half drained. He smiled at that achievement.
Hearing the engine of his father’s car pull into the driveway, he looked up at the clock again. It was three glasses later and 11:35. Roy tried to stand, but the room spun like he’d just stepped off a theme park ride. He sat back down, knowing this was the best way to greet his father instead.
As he waited, he thought about how alcohol was his only comfort now. Turning the glass in his hand he contemplated this thought for a brief moment before quickly swallowing the contents. He frowned. He heard the front door creak open.
“Sneaking in without even talking to me, Dad?” Roy spat, realising his speech was slurred and incoherent in many places.
“I see you’re up to your usual-”
“I’m old enough,” Roy snapped, looking directly at his father as best he could through hazy and bloodshot eyes.
“Anyway, don’t talk to me about usual,” Roy screamed, managing to pull himself half up by using the table as support. “What about your usual, like never being home when I need you? You make me sick.”
“I’m not talking to you in this state. Sort yourself out, then maybe we can have a decent conversation.”
“We’ve not had a decent conversation... Not lately,” he slurred, tripping over himself as he attempted to move toward his father.
“You can see why,” John said, turning away.
“Don’t walk away. Do you have any idea what I have to put up with? Do you?” Roy said, losing his balance several times and having to catch himself from falling, various objects crashing to the floor in the process. “Mum’s worse than ever. I have to care for her... I’m, I’m only eighteen, Dad. What’ya think I do here all day?”
Roy noticed that his Dad just stood there, saying nothing for what seemed an eternity. “I’m... going to bed,” John Edgars finally said. Roy’s demeanour suddenly changed to one of sadness, disappointed his Dad didn’t — no, couldn’t — express to him why he was away all the time and working so hard.
“Correction, Dad. I am gonna be sick!” It was true: Roy began to sweat like a race horse and his stomach heaved.
“Fine. Do whatever you have to.”
“I will,” Roy managed as he stumbled away from the table.
They both turned their backs on each other, John retiring to his room, while Roy decided he’d seen enough and stormed out of the kitchen. All that remained in the kitchen was the stale rancid smell of alcohol.
Stumbling past the sofa, Roy, as carefully as he could, slid open the glass door that led out to the patio. Stepping outside he took in a deep lungful of crisp, cold night air. He felt a little better for it all of a sudden and was about to turn around and see if he could talk to his Dad — make some sort of amends — when he heard a rustle from the bushes near the fence.
“Who’s th-there?” he stuttered, his mind still annoyingly cloudy.
The bush, a camellia (his mother’s favourite) moved once more. This time with more intensity.
“I said: who’s there?”
Roy would never be able to explain it fully, even though he experienced it, but he was suddenly hit by a force. A force that took him up and flung him backwards into the lounge. His landing was stopped by the coffee table. He blacked out.
* * *
Roy groaned as he held his head; gently, so as not to aggravate the headache he had acquired from not only the alcohol, but the force that put him on the floor in the first place. He tried to moisten his dry tongue, to no avail. “What a night,” he mumbled to himself.
“Get up! Did you lie there all night?” John said, shaking his son’s shoulder.
“Don’t you have any shred of dignity left?” John snapped, standing over Roy and looking unimpressed.
“What do you care?” Roy whimpered, squinting at the morning light as he looked up at his father.
“I... I...” John hesitated, picked up his briefcase gingerly, and added meekly, “care.”
“I haven’t seen you for more than an hour over the last six weeks. Did you even realise that, Dad?”
John frowned. “You don’t understand.”
“I don’t understand! I don’t understand! Why, do you even understand what I have to do? Do you? I have no life, Dad,” Roy said, pulling himself up from the floor. “Why do you need to be away so much, especially now? We need you too, Dad.”
“I don’t have time to discuss this now. I have to go... Look, um... I’ll try and get home a little earlier tonight... We’ll all have dinner together. All right?”
“So you say.” Roy glanced over to the half-finished bottle still resting where he had left it on the kitchen table. “And if you don’t come home early... What then? Am I to spend another night alone because I can’t leave Mum?”
John turned away from his son. “I’ll try,” he mumbled as he searched for his car keys in his jacket pocket. “Believe it or not I do appreciate what you do. I... I...” John cut himself short, turned to look at his son one more time then left, gently closing the door behind him.
“Let’s see how good your promise will be,” Roy whispered to himself, feeling forlorn. He glanced at the bottle once more, his brow furrowed. “We’ll see.”
Checking his watch, he suddenly remembered his Mum. He noted it was 6:30 a.m. and time to wake her up.
As he prepared himself for his daily routine, which always started with him getting his Mum a cup of coffee, something caught his attention. At first he was not sure about it; then, as he dismissed it in his mind, he heard the ever so faint whisper once more. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he heard a voice say: ‘We need you.’ He knew it wasn’t his Mum, either, for it was most certainly a male voice that had said it.
“We need you,” the voice said again, this time louder and more distinct.
That confirmed it, but Roy dismissed it as a remnant of his hangover. His mind was playing tricks on him, he was certain. As he walked away, he realised how much the alcohol had affected him; his tongue had grown hair, and his brain no longer wanted to remain inside his skull.
He had no time to worry about such things, however, and decided to let it be for now. He opened his Mum’s bedroom door. “Morning, Mum. I’ll go get your dressing gown so you can keep warm, then we can get breakfast going, okay?”
Roy’s heart sank as it always did when he came into her room each day and she didn’t answer. He, however, wished with all his heart that she could. He’d give anything to even hear her speak his name.
“I’m going to get you some coffee first, is that okay?”
She didn’t answer.
Roy went over to her, standing over his Mum in a vain hope that doing so would register some response. It didn’t, and she just looked up at the ceiling in a zombie-like state. It was like Roy wasn’t even there.
“Mum, I need you... I wish so much that...” Roy cut himself short. He kissed his Mum gently on the forehead before he clasped her hand in his. The next thing he knew he began to feel that oh-so familiar lump form in his throat and he was fighting back his tears.
* * *
Roy prodded his stone-cold mashed potatoes. He had already fed his Mum and placed her to bed hours ago. It was now 9:30 p.m. He sighed and shoved the plate to one side. Roy, in that instant, decided to hit the bottle again, pulling it closer to him and quickly unscrewing the cap.
There really wasn’t anything else to do: too early to go to bed, too depressed to watch TV. What else was there? Roy poured out the golden-brown fluid into the glass. Picking it up, he swirled it in his hand, thinking for a long moment whether or not to take that first tempting sip into oblivion. He then remembered what happened last night. It was weird, that was not in dispute.
“I need you, Dad... Now more than ever,” he said to no one but himself, thinking of the good times they used to have before Mum’s accident, and before his Dad retreated into his work.
Shrugging his shoulders, he placed the glass on his lips, the smell rancid, yet inviting. He thought about his life. His shallow empty life. The only thing worth living for was the love, the devotion he had for his Mum. His father — he sighed as he thought about him — what the hell had happened to him?
His father had broken one too many promises and this was now the last straw. As Roy gulped down the contents of the glass, he heard a crashing sound outside. It sounded to him like the outdoor dining set had been knocked over. Startled, Roy, got up from the kitchen table and ran to investigate.
“Who’s there?” he said, trying to put on the most manly voice he could muster, even though the adrenaline was pumping through his body at a rate of knots and the ends of his fingers tingled. Thinking the worst, he slowly opened the sliding door.
A momentary flash of light, as if from a powerful torch, blinded Roy. He turned his head away in reaction, but it was too late. All he could see were spots of light scintillating in front of him.
“DAMN! What’s going on?” His voice was shaky. He’d lost all confidence in himself and his ability to fend off any would-be burglar — if that’s what this was. All he could think of in this desperate moment was his Mum’s safety. How would she survive if anything should happen to him?
Before he could step away and make sure his mother was all right, he heard a noise that reminded him of an electric motor or generator winding up. It was bizarre. And it stopped him in his tracks.
Then, as the noise reached its peak, a voice boomed, “We are here... to see... you.”
“What?” Roy glanced down at the empty glass he still held in his now sweaty hands. He turned his nose up at it. “I don’t think I’ll touch this stuff ever again.”
The noise and the voice continued. “We are... just learning... only now. We need to fornicate with you.”
“What did you just say?” Roy was truly baffled by what was being said to him. He tried to see what was outside but, because of the light being directed at him, found it useless to gauge any information other than what he already knew. “I’m gonna call the cops now, you hear me?” he said feebly, but still trying to maintain his bravado. “Or else.”
There was a moment when the generator noise, sort of like a loud hum, gained in intensity. Then: “We apologise. We want to... communicate with you.”
Roy was somewhat relieved. “Oh, well, turn off that light then. If you want to talk, talk.” Deep down, he was actually glad for the company. Even if it turned out to be a mad axe-wielding maniac, at least it was someone to talk to.
“We can’t turn off our light.”
“Why not?” Roy asked, puzzled. “I can’t see a damn thing.”
“We are the light.”
As Roy strained his eyes to look outside once more, he could only just make out three forms of light against the stark contrast of them and the black void of the night. They looked ghost-like, ethereal even. Roy swore, right there and then to never, ever touch his Dad’s Scotch. Ever again.
* * *
Roy stood for a moment, dumbfounded; fixed to the spot like a stunned animal in a car’s headlights.
“I am Mondaras. This is Escallosh to my left. And this is Lapizious to my... other side.”
“I can’t — oh, wait, yes, I can see you. Oh my god, you’re aliens, aren’t you?” Roy stammered, the glass falling from his hand, smashing on the tiled floor. He could see them and quite distinctly now, like a stage curtain had been lifted, revealing the setting beyond.
There was then another increase in the intensity of their light and the background humming. “We are from another planet, if that is what you mean by the term ‘alien’.”
Roy nodded slowly, his mouth agape.
“We are beings from far away, trapped here by accident. We need to explain this happenstance too, so you are informed enough to help us.”
“Sooo, what do you w-want from me?” Roy replied, unable to contain himself any longer.
“There is an eclipse coming,” Mondaras stated flatly.
Roy looked on, puzzled yet amazed by what he was hearing and seeing. The three aliens approached and instantly the humming eased until it was only a background murmur.
The ethereal beings looked at each other. One, obviously Mondaras, glided forward effortlessly. Its light, its being, burning with a greater intensity as it began to hum again. Roy now knew it was about to speak.
“During the eclipse period, we must travel through the tunnel to a place of our reckoning, where we will transfer ourselves when safe to do so. With no turning back from where we started, for we must do so before the diamond ring occurs,” the ethereal Mondaras said with a relish that only he understood.
“What the heck does that mean?”
“It means that we, the three of us, see this upcoming celestial event as the only brief chance for us to find our way home,” Mondaras said, turning to his companions. Immediately they nodded, confirming his words. “Will you help us, naked ape boy?”
Copyright © 2007 by Clyde Andrews