Erik Reilly rolled out of bed and turned on the television. He saw news reports on every channel about the meteor shower and the fires, but, oddly enough, there were no reports of any meteors being recovered. Erik thought that was bizarre. Surely, if he found one, others must have as well. Maybe, just like him, they kept it quiet due to the strange behavior of the rocks. Erik didn’t have any classes today, so he decided to text his friend, Bryson Indiana. Bryson loved mysteries. Hell, Bryson even had his own private investigator business. Sure enough, Bryson answered right away, and, as soon as he found out it was about the meteors and fires, he was interested. Erik turned off his television and practically ran out the door.
Gavin drove up yet another street in his search for Logan. Finally, he spotted him. He drove past his brother and pulled off the road right in front of him. He got out of the car and walked right up to Logan. “What the hell, Logan? Are you trying to worry Harvey and me? With all that’s happening, you decide to just wander off and not answer your texts?”
Logan looked confused. “What are you talking about? What’s happening?”
“Didn’t you get the text from dad? Or any of the texts from me? Have you seen the news?”
“No. I didn’t watch any news? I left the house early. And I don’t have a text from dad. Shit, what time is it?” Logan looked down at his phone. “Dang. I never even turned my phone on. I’m a little preoccupied, Gavin. I’m sorry. I meant to go to my class. I didn’t realize it was almost ten o’clock already.” He said while turning his phone on. “Here’s the text. What does this mean? What’s going on, Gavin.”
“There was a strange meteor shower last night. The meteors were glowing with a blue light. It was strange, but I wouldn’t have been too concerned. What’s got me worried is that the army must be worried. With the text from dad, I just don’t know.” Gavin said. “Your turn. Why are you out so early and not in class?”
“They were glowing blue, you said?” Logan sighed. “You might think I’m crazy, even with all you just told me.” He pulled the feather out of his pocket and showed it to Gavin. “My friend Obadiah gave this to me. It also glows with a blue light. Gavin, Obie plucked this out of his own wing. He’s an angel.”
Carl Chambers sat in quiet contemplation. So much had happened since last night. Most of the twelve members of his group experienced at least minor physical changes. For some, the changes were dramatic. They all felt different. After their strategy session this morning, he sent ten of them out into the town to search for the blue meteor stones with orders to kill anyone who had already touched them. Carl wanted their group to be the most powerful beings, not only in the town but in the world. He glanced over at the other remaining person in the room, Danielle Gordon.
“Dani, have you figured out how to balance and properly move with that.” He pointed at the six-foot-long tail that curved up and over Danielle’s head.
“Yeah. It pretty much just came naturally. It is surprisingly maneuverable.” She swung the tail around from side to side.
“If you’re sure, then we have a job to do.”
“Collecting rocks like everyone else?”
“No. If we are going to rule this town, and eventually, even more, we need cash. What do you think about robbing the Newville Community Credit Union?”
“That sounds absolutely perfect to me, boss man. Let’s go.”
Carl stood, shook out his golden mane, and led his scorpion-tailed companion out the door.
Bryson rushed home to turn on the news and catch up on the stories about the meteors while he waited for Erik. He didn’t have to wait long. Less than ten minutes later, there was a knock on his door. “Come on in,” Bryson yelled.
Erik rushed in and closed and locked the door behind him. “I see you’re watching the reports about last night. Have they said if any meteorites were recovered yet?”
“No. Maybe the meteorites were too small to find or were destroyed in the fires that they caused.”
Erik grinned. “I find that hard to believe. I found one right behind my house last night!”
“Show me! Did you see it fall from the sky? Are you sure what it is?”
Erik took the blue rock out of his pocket and held it in his open palm. “Before you touch it, I have to tell you something. Yes, I saw it fall from the sky. I pulled it out of the charred remains of that big maple tree in my backyard. My dad is gonna be pissed. He loved that tree! But, anyway, as soon as I picked it up, it started giving off energy. It pulsed throughout my whole body. I… I feel different, Bry. I feel stronger. Hell, it even changed the color of my hair! Weird, right?”
“I noticed the hair. Bright red looks good on you.” Bryson winked.
Erik blushed. “Thanks, but you know I only like girls. You just don’t give up, do you?” Erik smiled shyly.
“You’re even cuter when you blush. Broaden your horizons, bro. Bisexual is the only way to go! So many possibilities!”
“Can we please get back to this?” Erik waved the meteorite in front of his friend.
Bryson smirked. “Ok. He reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out his own four blue stones. “I went for a walk to investigate the fires, and I found these. I felt the energy pulses that you described. I haven’t experienced any physical changes like you with your hair, but you’ve had yours since last night, and I just found these an hour ago.”
“What do you think it means? What’s happening to us, Bry? I’m scared, but I’m excited at the same time.”
“I have no idea, but it’s obviously going to be my top priority to find out. There’s a reporter friend of mine that’s helped me with a lot of my cases that I’m going to call. She should be able to help me. She has a lot of contacts in the government that I don’t have.”
“Reporter? Government? Can you trust her?” Erik thought for a moment. “Do you think we should turn these rocks over to the authorities?”
“To answer your first question, yes. I trust Grace about as much as I trust anyone. To answer your second question, no. I can’t tell you what to do with yours, but there’s no way in hell that I’m turning mine over to anyone until I find out what they are and what they’re doing to us. If we give them to the army, the best-case scenario is we won’t find out anything. The worst-case scenario is that nobody ever sees us again. Once they find out about the energy pulses, we’d be lab experiments forever.”
“So, what do we do now?”
“Let me investigate. Let me get Grace involved. You carry on with your everyday life. Go to class. Have fun. I’ll be in touch.”
“I knew you’d know what to do. That’s why I came here first. Thanks, Bry. I’ll text you if I notice any other physical changes or feel any other effects at all.” Erik said as he left the apartment.
Bryson was on the phone with grace Santos, and then out the door heading for her apartment before Erik had been gone five minutes.
Gavin didn’t look convinced. “An angel? Are you serious? That’s impossible, Logan. Maybe he’s part of whatever is going on. The army is involved. You need to be careful. I think you should stay away from him until we talk to dad.”
“Come with me, please, Gav. Let me show you what I found.” Logan led his brother back to the crater in the field. They both walked to the center of the crater. “Look. Doesn’t that look like the imprint of a body? And look at the size of this crater. And the footprints only lead out of the crater, not in.”
“It is all very odd. I guess odd is the theme of the day. But an angel, Logan? I just don’t know. It could mean just what I said. He could be a part of whatever is happening.”
“Wait. One more thing. The feather was glowing a bright blue earlier and look at all these little rocks. They’re all glowing blue. Explain that! Touch one, and maybe you’ll understand.” He picked up a blue rock and tossed it to his brother.
“What the hell? It feels weird. Like it’s pulsing or something.” Gavin was now just staring down at the glowing blue rock in the palm of his hand. “Grab a couple more rocks so we can show them to dad when he gets home.”
Logan stuffed a few more blue rocks into the pocket of his jeans. “Gavin, I think Obie is out here somewhere. I’m worried that he may be hurt. What do we do?”
“Let’s go home and see if dad is there. If dad isn’t home, we can drive around and see if you see your friend. But, Logan, we have no way of knowing where he is… or even what he is. You have to understand that we probably won’t find him.” Gavin said.
“When I hold the feather, I can sometimes feel if he’s close. I can’t get an exact location. I appreciate you trying to help. I really do.” Logan said.
“Let’s go and see if dad is home yet,” Gavin said, and they walked back to his car.
Ashton Connors sat in his math class, trying to calm his nerves. He couldn’t seem to sit still. His mind was in serious overdrive, and he hadn’t even had his usual latte that morning. Ashton heard a cracking sound, and he looked down. The tile underneath his foot had splintered as if someone hit it with a hammer. “Shit!” He thought to himself. “I hope Mr. Bailey doesn’t see that or he’ll blame me for sure!” In his nervousness, he started tapping his pencil even faster. Ashton watched, spellbound, as his hand moved so fast that all he saw was a blur. With another loud crack, the pencil completely drilled through the desktop.
“Mr. Connors, what is going on back there?” Mr. Bailey asked as he turned from the blackboard and looked directly at Ashton.
“Nothing, sir. Everything is fine.” Between the broken tile and the pencil sticking out of the desk, Ashton was so worked up that his whole body started to shake. He could barely follow his own movements as his desk started to vibrate.
“Mr. Connors, whatever it is that you are doing, please stop this instant!” You’re disrupting the class, and if I have to speak to you one more time, you’re going to the principal’s office.”
“Mr. Bailey, I…” Ashton started to say, but then… CRASH!
Ashton’s desk fell apart, and he landed amongst the pieces on the floor. The students closest to him leaped out of their seats and backed away.
“Ashton! What have you done? Are you ok?” Mr. Bailey rushed to Ashton’s side.
“I… I’m alright. I don’t know what happened.”
Mr. Bailey’s eyes took in, not just the disassembled desk, but also the smashed tile and the pencil impaled through the desktop. He shook his head. “I don’t understand why so many of you kids have to be so destructive. Come with me, Mr. Connors.”
Ash opened his mouth to try and defend himself but quickly closed it again. It was no use. He couldn’t even explain what happened to himself, never mind trying to explain it to someone else. He sighed and followed Mr. Bailey out of the room.
As Bryson drove through town, he took a right turn onto Sunset Street, and suddenly a car came flying out of nowhere and landed on its roof directly in front of him. He slammed on his brakes, but still smashed into the side of the other car
Shaken up but basically unhurt, he got out of his car and rushed to see if anyone needed help. Bryson got to the other car, looked in, and saw two men, both were unconscious. The vehicle lay on its roof, and both doors were damaged and wedged shut. Bryson peered in through the smashed windshield to see if he could pull the victims free. The driver was pinned in by the steering wheel and looked unconscious. The passenger was hanging upside down from the seatbelt and moaned softly. Bryson dialed it into 9-1-1 and reported everything he saw. After he hung up, Bryson crawled into their car to see if he could do anything while he waited for the paramedics. From out of nowhere, Bryson started feeling pain all over his body and then heard a voice. He looked at both men, and they were both unconscious. Yet a voice clearly said, “Oh God, please help me. I can’t feel my legs. I hope Brett is ok.” And someone different crying, “Oh my God, what was that thing. It looked like a bull. I can’t believe it picked up the car like it was a toy. Why can’t I wake up? Where’s William? I can’t see anything!”
Bryson shook his head. What the hell just happened? Was he hearing their thoughts and feeling their pain? He started to search and see if he could find the names William or Brett anywhere in the car, but then he felt a totally new set of feelings. Suddenly he was filled with white-hot rage and heard a roaring inside his head so loud it felt like his skull may bust in two. He fell to his knees and grabbed his head. Slowly he turned back towards the road and then wished that he hadn’t. He found himself face to face with something that should not exist outside of the movies.
The creature was at least seven feet tall and looked to Bryson almost like a minotaur out of Greek mythology. He could still see human features beneath the dark brown fur. It had a brown leather-like hide that completely covered its massive body. It’s head closely resembled that of a bull, except the muzzle wasn’t quite so prominent. The creature also had large sharply pointed horns protruding from the top of its head. Its arms and upper body would put the bulkiest bodybuilders to shame, and its tree trunk thick legs ended in hooves instead of feet. Bryson could not believe his eyes. He was almost too stunned and scared to react at all. He tried to slowly back up, but almost immediately hit up against the wreckage of the cars. Bryson nearly fainted from shock when the creature began to speak.
Harvey was staring outside, lost in thought, even though he should have been paying attention to his calculus teacher. He was startled out of his reverie when he noticed his friend Ashton Connors walking out of the school, closely followed by the vice-principal. They walked to the end of the parking lot where Ash kept walking off of school property, and the vice-principal turned and walked back into the school. “What was that all about?” Harvey thought to himself, then he raised his hand.
The teacher acknowledged Harvey. “Yes, Mr. Kastala?”
“May I go to the restroom, please, Mr. Sawyer?”
“Can’t it wait until the end of class?”
“Not really, sir.”
“Ok. Fine. Go. Make it quick.”
Harvey grabbed the hall pass from Mr. Sawyer’s desk and nearly ran out of the class. He ran right past the bathrooms and out the front door. When he got to the street, he looked all around, trying to see if he could find Ashton. Bingo. He spotted Ash across the street, just entering the park. Harvey dashed off to try and catch up to his friend.
“Stand aside or share their fate. The stones they possess must be mine.” The bull creature stared at Bryson with its red glowing eyes and waited for him to move.
The thoughts that ran through Bryson’s head were, “Could this thing be talking about one of the blue meteor rocks? Can he possibly know that I have one too? Can I live with myself if I just let him do whatever he wants to these injured men? What do I do?” The words that came out of his mouth were, “Are you really a bull? I called the cops already, should I call animal control instead?”
The creature roared and charged right at Bryson. He reacted without thinking. He ducked under the creature’s outstretched arms and extended his own arms out towards the bull, palms outward. He felt a power surge through him, and he saw the beast thrown through the air back towards the center of the street. The bull was even angrier now. “Who are you, little man? You must have a blue rock, too. Taurus the Bull shall grind your bones to dust and take it from you!”
“Taurus the Bull shouldn’t refer to himself in the third person. It’s pretentious, especially for a heifer like you.” Quipped Bryson.
The bull lowered its head and charged again. Bryson tried to do the same thing he did before, but it didn’t work. Pain exploded in his right side, and he was lifted off the ground and tossed thirty yards down the street. Bryson smashed into a row of mailboxes. He looked back towards Taurus and saw that the bull was trying to pull one of the men out of the car. Bryson was scared, but he knew he had to try and protect the men from that monster. Bryson groaned and stood up. He thought about how he had thrown the creature using only his mind. He needed to access that power again. Bryson looked around at all the mailboxes and posts, broken and scattered at his feet. He closed his eyes and pictured himself picking up a mailbox with his mind. When Bryson opened his eyes, one of the mailboxes was floating in the air in front of him. He concentrated, and the mailbox flew at an incredible speed and smacked Taurus right in the back.
The creature snarled and turned to face Bryson, letting go of the man in the car. Taurus strode forward, head lowered, and yelled. “I’ve had enough of you, little man. I’ll beat you into a pulp and then finish what I came to do.”
Bryson crouched behind his pile of mailboxes and started sending them out at Taurus. Taurus, caught off-guard by the sudden rain of metal, stopped and covered his face with his arms. Seizing this as an opportunity, Bryson let his new weapons fall and sent his power out at the Taurus, sending the creature flying about fifty yards backward through the air.
Sirens wailed in the distance, growing ever closer. Bryson glanced in that direction. He saw two police cars blocking the end of the street, but not moving any closer. Bryson waved at the cops, trying to get them to come help. They needed to help the men in the car, even if they didn’t want to help him fight the giant nightmare bull monster. Bryson knew the cops saw him, but they moved no closer. While he watched, an ambulance drove up. The police initially stopped the ambulance, but Bryson heard raised voices, and then the ambulance pulled onto the sidewalk and drove past the police roadblock. Help was on the way. Now all he needed to do was distract the giant homicidal cow.
Bryson positioned himself in between the ambulance and Taurus. The bull was back on his feet and ready for a fight. He could hear the creature’s jumbled thoughts. “You’re from the docks? Who were you before you became Mad Cow Man?” Bryson asked with a smile.
“Get out of my head!” The Taurus yelled. “I’m gonna shut your wise-ass mouth for good.” Taurus charged at Bryson. Still listening to the bull’s thoughts, Bryson easily dodged the charge. He kept taunting Taurus and kept leading him further and further away from the paramedics and the two men in the car. By the time the bull realized what Bryson was up to, it was too late. They were three blocks away when Taurus noticed the ambulance driving away in the other direction. He turned to head back towards the scene of the accident when two army helicopters landed in the street.
Men poured out of both helicopters. The bull started forward, then thought better of it and ran off, roaring in frustration. Bryson considered checking on the men in the car, but he caught random thoughts from the army guys. They planned on questioning him, so he decided to leave before they could grab him. He darted down a side street and disappeared into the city.
Christine Justyce heard the boy stirring in the living room. She peered in to see if he needed anything, and she saw that he was already back to sleep. She picked up her phone and made a call. As soon as the other person picked up, she began to speak. “Caleb, it’s me. I need you to come over to my house right away.”
“What’s wrong, sis?”
“An injured boy showed up at my house last night. He’s hurt bad. Can you come over right now?”
“Why did you call me and not an ambulance or the police, Christine? What else is wrong?”
“He has two very large, very raw wounds down his back. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
“I’ll ask again. Why call me? What’s happening, Christine?”
“His blood is blue. Like a bright glowing blue. He showed up covered in mud right after that strange meteor shower. Caleb, I don’t think he’s human.”
“I’ll be right there.” Caleb Justyce hung up the phone and headed to his sister’s house.
Coming Soon: Frozen Fisticuffs!