Written by Danielle E. Pasqua
Copyright © August 9, 2018
On the table next to me lied a round orange lamp whose dark expression resembled that of a jack o-lantern. My parents had cleaned out the attic this past weekend and found this lamp covered with a sheet, that they said I had since kindergarten, though I didn’t remember. But they said would give me as much light as the moon, which I found quite eerie, though I had to agree with them. Our family basement was not always full of brightness, but secrets that unfolded gradually, a truth I had come to know.
But at the table where I sat I studied this replica of my home planet in the stars. I watched it spin and spin, pushed the asteroids out of the way and into space, which was really in the back corner of our basement. The balls then bounced back to the model, only to start the game again, which gave me entertainment. I remembered what my father had said about this globe Noah, this is a gift from our planet. How you saved it from “The Official.” It is not only something to play with, but something to learn from. Think of these rocks not as asteroids, but cannons for defeating the enemy. You will have “the-future-know-how” on saving our planet for good.”
For a moment I stopped tinkering around with the globe.
A creepy silence surrounded me.
Then the basement door opened.
I heard a creek.
I turned around to look at the stairs.
The infamous ambiance of lights on the steps began to shine.
There were two feet, green, with three toes each.
Dark eyes blended with the darkness, as if it could break the spell of my jack o-lantern.
“Are you learning anything from that globe?”
“Yes, Dad, “I said gazing into the eyes of this creature, “I’d like to learn more. When will I?”
But my father wouldn’t answer. Instead he grabbed a large flat rectangular box underneath the table where I sat.
“What is in that box?” I asked.
Before I could elaborate on any guess of what it could be, the object inside blinded my eyes, that I had to use my hands as a blindfold. Then my father pulled a switch down on this artifact only to say,” I know it’s bright. This is technology from our planet.”
The words on this sign were in the same neon colors as “The Dealer,” a car lot that was a cover up for my father’s intended company High Tech Star Gateway Machinery or known as HTSGWM. But this one said, “For Sale by Owner.”
“Are we moving? Why?’ I asked just as my hands had grown narrow and green. I turned into a reptile being like my father.
“Yes, we’re moving,” my father answered abruptly.
“Then I get to name our planet.”
“We’re not moving there.”
My father picked up the model replica of the earth, that stood on another table. He spun it around, until it reached the Sound. Then he moved his three fingers, only to zero in close to a location that was familiar to me.
“Heirloom Island? Why?” I asked, knowing we had been there before. It was this past summer, when we took “The Trip” to this factory island brought from our planet.
“It has to be rebuilt,” my father explained,” ‘The Official’ and his people destroyed it. It’s now our duty to help our people. It’s not safe for us here.”
“What did he do?”
“Everything imaginable,” my father answered,” Except no lives were taken.”
My father just stared at me.
“Don’t we have to wait for Mom and Lacey to return?” I asked. My sister had a music recital in Washington D.C. My mother was a chaperone.
“Their trip was cut short. I had to get the house ready to sell.”
“So they are at the island?”
“Somewhat,” my father wouldn’t elaborate, but only to add,” They are keeping watch.”
“What about HTSGWM?”
“It is out of commission for now,” my father explained,” Company files has been transferred.”
“To ‘Heirloom Island?’” I asked.
Still my father wouldn’t answer.
“Then I will have to leave Xavier and Ian.,” I tried to break my father’s silence.
“Not necessarily,” my father smiled,” We need their help with ‘The Move.’ “
“’The Move?” I questioned my father as if “The Move” was some kind of code, “When are we leaving?”
“’The Official will return,” my father started to carry the sign up the stairs.
“How are we getting there?”
“You will soon find out.”
Though all the houses in our cul-de-sac had their security lights on, the moment my father nailed the neon sign “For Sale by Owner” to the ground, our house turned completely dark. The sign still glowed, as if it was meant to be seen, by my home planet millions of light years away. I gazed at my vacant house, wondered if I would ever see it again, and how its’ structure was the base for the memories of my last fourteen adventures.
“Noah, turn around,” my friends Xavier and Ian called me. They each held a duffle bag because they had no clue of how long this excursion of ours was going to be.
I followed both my friends’ advice, waved goodbye to the only house on earth I had known. Because in the street, parked along the curb of the driveway, was a vehicle, but smaller than the one I had remembered. There was a large triangular structure in the front, where the pilot and passengers sat. Then two narrow tubes connected to the back, where two smaller triangular structures acted like thrusters for fast travel. It was a smaller sized version of the spaceship my parents had flown my friends and I to our planet for “The Homecoming.” I asked,” What happened to the long-term project?”
“Nothing. Believe me, this is just as versatile as the original,” my father promised as he used a remote that stretched the vehicle a bit, so that underneath a cargo transport was released,” This is where our belongings are going.”
“Everything we own?” I asked.
“Yes,” my father answered just as all the lamps lit up in the house. Tiny dark figures could be seen moving boxes from all three floors. In the basement window I could see my pumpkin lamp glow, but only turned off by one of the figures.
“Who are they?” Ian asked,” Are they ghosts? Is your house haunted, Noah?”
“No, I bet they’re ‘The EXIT’ robots,” I said as I studied the shadows of these machines, that also piloted ‘The EXIT’ ships or also known as EXpress Interstellar Traveler Ship. I had to ask my father why he was using ‘The EXIT’ robots.
“They have more power than any of the beings on our planet,” my father explained as he monitored their movements in our former house,” They are programmed to move quickly. That way we can get to the island.”
Then the front door to my house opened, as we watched ‘The EXIT’ robots march out in a single file. Some of them had two or three boxes stacked high. Their creepy shadows were larger than life, as they approached the small long-term project. They began to load my family belongings into the cargo.
“They sure were born with their Halloween costumes,” Xavier admitted.
“Just like me,” I joked.
“They’re too efficient to be human,” Ian commented.
“That’s because they are being operated remotely,” my father explained.
“By Mom?” I asked.
“Yes,” my father answered as he waited patiently for ‘The EXIT’ robots to finish their tasks,” And once we leave, your mother will pilot this vehicle, too. Remember, she designed this ship.”
The funny thing was when I looked inside the transport, it seemed to have been enormous, but outside it was small. “The EXIT” robots managed to push whatever materials my family had acquired over the years into the cargo unit.
“Time to go,” my father announced as he locked the transport and positioned it under the small long-term project. Then we all climbed into the large triangle of this vessel that left me perplexed by its’ size. The last EXIT robot that assisted my father with the cargo, the only one with green eyes, sat in the pilot seat and waited for the commands from my mother.
But I couldn’t help to take one last look at my house, as I closed my eyes in hopes to hold onto the moments my family and I had in there. “The EXIT” robots, who assisted in “The Move” were there to keep guard of our empty home. While the others hopped in their EXIT vessels and guided the small long-term project towards the end of the cul-de-sac, where the woods awaited us, only to turn into a dry and barren landscape, a place I remembered that “hindered any communication” after my first encounter with “The Official.”
“So where are we going?” I asked as I observed some of “The EXIT” ships that followed along, like spirits floating through a lost dimension.
“’The Bridge,’” my father answered, just as we left the desert world and entered a few minutes of darkness, before ‘The Bridge’ lied. It was our departure to the seas that led to Heirloom Island.
The long-term project then stopped at the beginning of the dock. A gate had opened controlled by robots, lizards and humanoids. The green-eyed EXIT robot who piloted the ship, shifted gears to get the small long-term project ready for take-off. But I saw a reflection in the window of our pilot. His green eyes blinked constantly, and I didn’t know why. Then the vessel sped across the dock, as if it was a runway and glided into the water, where this machine then turned into a seaplane, only that it had more power and could race against time.
Heirloom Island was covered in mass of smoke, that this secluded area looked like an enormous thunder cloud had been lowered to the surface. The converted seaplane circled the island, where fire could be seen, raised so high in the sky that sparks bounced off the seaplane’s windows. There was no other piece of land nearby, only the endless ocean, so I wondered just how this island would receive help. But my father said “The EXIT” robots were ordered to control the blaze, stop it from spreading, and ultimately hosing it down with sea water.
“It looks like the gates of hell had struck,” Ian commented as the seaplane made another circle of the island,” How are we ever going to see through this smoke?”
“This is worse than I thought,” my father’s remorse was obvious,” This island has enough damage for a major hurricane. I didn’t realize how bad it was.”
“Are Mom and Lacey, O.K.?” I asked.
“They’re doing fine,” my father promised,” They are safe. Just like us, they took a ride on one of ‘The EXIT’ ships.”
“Can we see them now?” I asked.
“Not yet,” my father answered and pointed to the miles of shoreline that surrounded the demolished island,” There’s something there I want to check out first.”
The seaplane flew across the shoreline, where I observed triangular patterns, that started small and grew larger and larger in the area where they lied. I couldn’t make out what they were until the plane lowered itself within feet above the shore. There were several heirlooms, compasses and radiation detectors, the broken inventions of my people, that formed these geometric shapes.
“Is this a sign?” I asked.
“I think it’s a warning,” Xavier guessed.
“Xavier’s right,” my father agreed, just as the plane levitated above one of the sand carved shapes,” There’s some wording written in the smallest triangle.”
“How can we read it?” Noah asked.
“I’ll have ‘The EXIT’ robot zoom in,” my father explained,” That way it will show up on all our computers.”
Then my father messaged my mother. ‘The EXIT’ robot then got a closer view of the wording. It read, “Noah’s Story of “The Move.”
I wanted to run.
But I couldn’t.
My father leaned over and held onto me tight.
“Why did he do this?” I demanded.
“Because of you,” my father cried,” You defeated him. You made sure no more asteroids could destroy our nation.”
“No,” I cried back, but as I tried read those chill driven words again, they were blown away with the smoke, so I demanded,” Where is “The Official?” I’d like to face- “
But the windows around the seaplane turned dark. We all scoured the skies around us, as black dots shot out from an angle that was northeast from where we hovered in the air. My father’s concern and fear were apparent, as he spoke,” The last time when they stole ‘The Heirlooms’ on ‘The Trip’ they arrived from a different part of the atmosphere. They must’ve discovered our secret porthole.”
“The one we traveled on to get here?’ Ian asked.
“No, the one we took to our planet,” My father explained as “The Official’s” triangular ships surrounded the seaplane.
“How did they find out?” Xavier asked.
“They must’ve seen us use the porthole and discovered its’ opening,” my father guessed as ‘The EXIT” robot lowered the seaplane, to avoid any confrontation with the enemy ships.
“Are they going to attack us?” I asked.
“No just like I told you in ‘The Homecoming’ they are going to follow us,” my father explained,” They want to know our secrets and achieve victory on our home planet. But then again his intentions could change.”
Then my father ordered my friends and I to keep a look out for the ships, in case they were in the green-eyed EXIT robot’s blind spots. Again, Xavier sat next to me on the right and Ian on my left. They were told to move their seats back, so they could get a better view, which formed the perfect triangle.
“Where are we heading now?” I asked.
“To another island,” my father answered as the ship bounced up and down, created massive turbulence to shake the enemy ships loose of its’ grip.
“And where’s that?” Xavier asked as the ship gradually calmed down and held a steady pace through a circle of clouds, only to reveal a perfect blue sky.
“Over there,” my father pointed ahead, where a large island lied, flourished with palm trees and surrounding by crystal clear blue waters.
“Where did that come from?” I asked,” Isn’t Heirloom Island an isolated world?”
“Sometimes the imagination can play tricks on you,” my father said as the smaller long-term project took a steady drop down above the water.
“Don’t tell me that island rose out of the sea,” Xavier asked.
“It’s a ghostly mirage,” my father answered and then smiled at me,” Noah, this is ‘The Move’ I’m talking about. Welcome to our secret island.”
The seaplane landed in the waters below, where a shiny silver building had peeked out of a massive crater, that welcomed sunlight and that in turn reflected across sea, as if it was a radio telescope calling for help across the universe. A sign was posted at the entrance of this hidden island that read “The Move.” When we all climbed out of the sea plane other EXIT robots were there to release our cargo and put it in at storage on the island. But at the bottom the of a metallic staircase that led to this great architecture, my sister and mother waited, strong reptile beings.
“When was this building constructed?’ I asked as my friends, our navigating green-eyed EXIT pilot, and my father followed my sister and mother up the circular stairs that led us to what I believed was our destined quarters to hide from “The Official.”
“Just like HTSGWM was built while I ran ‘The Dealer,’ this was also construction while I ran the factory at Heirloom Island,” my father explained and then pointed to the enormous opening below us,” This crater connects to all the other craters back at our previous residential area. Below it is steel bars that bend apart, so that the building can lower itself, in case of invasion or if we must leave the island.”
“What is this island for?” Xavier asked as we followed my mother and sister up the circular stairs to this building.
“This is our secret base on earth,” my father answered,” Since ‘The Official’ has one somewhere North, though we don’t know where, we must have one ourselves.”
“What does ‘The Move’ stand for?” Ian asked.
There was silence with my family, my two human friends and the green-eyed EXIT robot. Even the air around the island, seemed to have a haunting stillness, despite its’ heavenly scenery that gripped the positivity this island possessed in a presence that was full of darkness and the unknown.
“‘The Move?’ my father asked just as we reached the top staircase, where we were surrounded by gray walls, which reminded me of being stuck on ‘The Bridge’ where the walls caved in around us,” It stands for Mobile Operating VEssel. But I advise you not to say a word about this. ‘The Official’ doesn’t know, but this building of ours can detach itself from the steel bars it is connected to and take off to space.”
“Is there any chance that would happen?” I asked. I thought of that time when my friends and I took a ride with my father to HTSGWM and discovered ‘The EXIT’. For some reason there was an electric reaction when I stood too close to the control panel, that caused the I-shaped building to rise as if it would’ve took off, but my thought was broken when my father spoke.
“Let’s hope not,” my father said as he pointed above to a glass dome, like the Defense Center on my home planet in ‘The Homecoming’ that protected ourselves from asteroids,” I told you this is where ‘The Globe’ comes in handy. The training can help you with anything, make you a better fighter. It is universal in times like this.”
Then my mother used her clearance card to open the door to “The Move’s” Defense Center. Other EXIT robots were there waiting, and they gladly welcomed our pilot, that seemed entranced into this island, as if he had never been there before. But to me it was a recollection of my travels to my planet, only to be utilized from an invisible island found on earth.
“Now Xavier and Ian this is your assignment,” my father said as he showed a graph of the sky, where my friends sat on either side of me, Xavier to my right and Ian to my left,” The both of you have come to know, you are connected to my son. Therefore, if you see ‘The Official’s’ ship on this graph, you will guide Noah along. Meanwhile Noah will use his own eyes to scan the sky. Then I will show you the next step.”
But ‘The Official’ and his team, didn’t allow my friends and I any practice. The enemy ships engulfed the skies above ‘The Move.’ The Official’ started hammering small asteroids into the dome, but despite the protection shield the dome had, the space rocks managed to do some damage. So my father ordered for my friends and I to open a drawer beneath our seats. There were massive balls inside, in which my father showed a quick maneuver on how to release them and he said,” These are silent cannons or our own artificial asteroids. That way ‘The Official’ and his team can’t tell. It will only put them off course and hopefully it will deter them from escalating their invasion.”
I used my survival instincts and followed “The Official” with the radar in front of me, while Xavier and Ian gave me tabs on just where “The Official’s” track was according to their computers. My friends and I had a blast releasing these massive “bowling balls” into the sky. We pretended with each group of eight ships, they were bowling pins and our mission was to get strikes, but sometimes we failed and other times we got the aim just right. After “the game” in the sky favored our side, “The Official” and his team gave up.
“Why did they give up so soon?” my mother asked and kept her eye on the green-eyed EXIT robot. She then whispered,” I believe ‘The Move’ is haunted. The perfect time for Halloween on earth.”
My father stared at the green-eyed EXIT robot.
He wouldn’t look at me.
My father had failed, failed to recognize deceit in his own inventions.
Just like the future of artificial intelligence on earth, unfortunately my family brought it along with “The Move.”
“He has a recorder. Let’s get out of here,” my father sounded the alarm. The green-eyed EXIT robot disappeared. We managed to get of the building and head down to the seaplane.
“How could we have a traitor in our company?” my mother demanded.
“It probably happened on Heirloom Island,” my father guessed,” That’s where most of our EXIT robots have been. Even before the ravish. Remember we were having tests on Heirloom Island with the EXIT robots for a confrontation such as this.”
“Whose flying?” I asked.
“I am,” my mother shouted,” At least you can trust me, even though I look like a beast.”
When we lifted off from “The Move’ my mother flew the plane between the mirage island and Heirloom Island. I turned to watch ‘The Move’ sink under the ocean, just like the lost city of Atlantis. My mother zoomed into Heirloom Island, where our allied EXIT robots and other beings started to clean up the island. She scanned the skies for “The Official” but there was no sign of him at all.
“What’s that in the water?” I asked as my mother shifted the plane to get a better view of this object in the sea. But as my mother lowered the aircraft, the darkened object in the sea got bigger. But it wasn’t a vessel of any kind, only a huge green-eyed EXIT robot. It opened the palm of his hands where a message was released in the air,” Noah I know all about you. You’re a great narrator. Thanks for all that knowledge. You will never have the guts to face me.”
Then the green-eyed EXIT robot broke free of his casing to reveal “The Official’s” orange and scaled face and a laugh that echoed out of his dark mouth. He then swam under water and a moment later his ship took off in the direction of our home planet. My father rested his hands on my arms,” Don’t let him take advantage of you, Noah. You’re better than that. Learn to fight your demons. Right now, we must take your friends home and concentrate to build Heirloom Island up again, but I believe we can do it.”
“Who bought our house?” I asked my father.
“No one did. It never existed.”
“Was it a mirage?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“It’s up to you to tell the truth. No one has the power, only you.”
The unfolded ones?
And I believed I was almost there.