Dante De Esperanda
The leaves shined with their usual early morning slick reflecting the light from a nearby cluster of dying stars. This oily layer would simply roll off and land on the ground to be raked up by his mother in the morning as solid globules of clear jelly like substance. A perfect and wonderful accompaniment to breakfast. The smells from his mothers cooking quickly and rigorously penetrated through the air and attacked Dante’s senses. Stirring a yearning within himself he had to stifle the urge to attack the food being prepared.
He remained on the small cement stair leading into a crippling old barn. A bad infestation of snorquiels rocked the entire building forcing it to have a twisted appearance from the road. Not entirely vile creatures these little guys flew headlong into objects before taking a large bite. They ate anything. They also couldn’t see, so when one got into the barn it couldn’t figure out how to get out. It just continued to fly in circles eating. The constant thud eventually drew more believing there was a feeding frenzy. Eventually ten snorquiels took a toll on the barn. Now Dante sat in front of it on a small cement step. Small green entities grew beside the step and whispered their airy songs to each other in the morning’s light.
Two of Dante’s friends sat beside him contemplating their plans for the evening. Marsha and Egna were excited to be there. Dante was quite the odd man. He was one of very few who never made the trek into the Norchanelin Forrest. It wouldn’t seem like a big thing to anyone from another planet, but this forest granted wisdom to the seeker, yet fear to those who feared. Lime green tonda, much like that of water to us here, to those who sought, or poison to the disbeliever. The forest called to you when it was your time, yet the forest never called Dante. This was a phenomena that was not witnessed often. It was a thrill to be with Dante as he was a one not called.
The three sat there, on the cement slab, outside of the crooked barn, snorquiels long gone, when fireworks began over the roof. It was only morning, yet the sky seemed to be darkened. Brilliant flashes of green and red illuminated what was now a dark sky. Deafening cracks of the fireworks echoed between the buildings. Though fireworks were often something of celebration, there was a certain oddity to these. They stared into the sky in amazement.
Within a moment the fireworks ceased but only as an old fashioned earthly helicopter flew into the scene. It’s spotlight shined on many objects, following this one there was another. The second helicopter had a light as well, but it was directed at the other helicopter. Directly behind that there were others, in fact many. Each had a light affixed to the bottom that was shining directly at another. It was as if there were an airshow today. They flew by quickly, some hovered, others coming within a few feet of the three sitting on the cement slab. The second helicopter soon turned off its light, which the first faded with it. Each helicopter was projecting the next helicopter. They were all holographs. Projections in the sky that held their own intelligence and physical capabilities. It was a scene much unlike any had seen before. It seemed so real.
The sky as a whole soon switched to a fake sky but there was a tall tower, and a large crane with a claw. The picture moved with the claw as it picked up a small box. Red, this box. With a poor lady within, dressed in white, while her brown hair hung low to cover her eyes and shield them from what she may see. A projected and extremely loud female voice soon resonated through their minds as if an internal speaker had begun.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, announcing Code shift twenty one OC.” The claw carries the lady in the red box to the top of the tower. Placing her there, small clasps from the tower secure her position. Still without seeing her eyes the picture zooms on her. “We have your best interests covered.” The voice boomed happily. With that the sky went back to normal. Dante’s mother was looking skyward, amazed. Dante, Marsha, and Egna made eye contact. Eyes wide they couldn’t believe what they saw, but they knew it wasn’t good. An unsettled feeling quickly gripped them.
“Get in the HOUSE!” Dante’s mother screamed. She was shrieking with terror as she ran towards them, flailing her hands.
Screams could be heard. Hoards of screams. A thousand banshee’s were making their way across the land. The three stood and ran toward his mother.
“Get in NOW!” She screamed at them, and grabbed the closest thing that might work as a weapon. “It’s begun!” She shivered in her own words. Fear had gripped the land.