The Sphere

Posted: March 16, 2014 in Love, Science Fiction, Short Stories

Tonight’s date was kind of a bust I guess. Mulling it over, as I cleaned up the dishes and emptied wine glasses, it seemed like another ‘first and last’ situation. I mean, she was pleasant enough, and plenty good looking enough too…so, what was it? Chemistry I suppose, maybe it really does just comes down to chemistry after all. She was pretty boring, come to think of it. Stories about her cat, her mother, her successful ex-husband, it was all so boring.

 

Well, that, and the fact that she didn’t get any of my jokes too. No quicker way to go from ‘Hot to Not’ in my book than to have me explain each one of my jokes or puns. Does she ever watch the news? Ever read the paper? I’m thinking that she doesn’t. I bet if I’d brought up something about that ‘The Bachelor’ show, she’d have had plenty to say.

 

Okay, what am I doing? That was mean spirited of me. It’s just the disappointment of another potential romance gone by the wayside. I’m a better person than that, and I do apologize for those negative thoughts. I think that being over 50 and single again makes me feel like the sand in a giant hourglass is pouring past, and I don’t have a lot of time left to find someone. Meh, I know that’s not true either, and I’m not sure what’s really behind this flair for the melodramatic tonight.

 

I know that I’m a good guy, and I don’t lose sight of that. I’m not perfect by any means, but good-natured, funny, kind, open hearted, creative and considerate to everyone. What’s not to love, right?

Well, okay, there are a couple things, but nothing major. Just like anyone, no different.

 

Yet, sometimes I do get this feeling that’s hard to explain. It’s like ‘time is running out’; but maybe more accurately ‘something’s coming, and I’d better be ready’. Although I have no idea how you get ‘ready’ for something you aren’t sure is really coming – and don’t have any clue to what it is.

 

So, I just live my life, same as you do. Get up every morning, do the three S’s, get myself to work on time, half-ass my way through my workday, and head home to relax and do it all again the next day.

 

Kitchen is cleaned up, now to find that cat and kick him out for the night. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great cat and all, but he also has a bad habit of thinking my nose is a toy at 3am. So, we have our quality time before I go to bed, and he can serenade the lady cats all night on his own. Right on the bed of course, where else would he be? I am sometimes surprised he’s not in the middle of my pillow, the comfort-seeker that he is.

 

Just as I reach for him, he startles and dashes off the bed, and crawls under it. “I don’t have time for these games Chairman Meow. It’s time for you to go out now buddy.”

 

As I’m getting on my hands and knees, and lifting up the edge of the comforter to see him, well, all I saw are huge golden eyes looking back at me in terror. He looks scared spit-less, and I can tell I’m going to need a tow truck to get him out from under there.

 

I have no idea what spooked him so badly, and I can’t remember seeing him act like this before. We’ve been roommates for over two years now, and he’s about the best cat I’ve ever known. He just showed up at my back door one evening, and I let him in for what I thought would be a minute.

 

He came right in and casually went from room to room as if he were inspecting the place. I could almost hear him thinking “I suppose this will do for now.” And, he’s been here ever since.

 

He’s great though, as cats go anyways. He’s fairly quiet, doesn’t shred up my furniture, poops outside, and it’s one of those super needy types. He’s just perfect for me. As long as I have a comfy bed, and keep him supplied with the good type of canned food he loves, I am pretty sure he’ll stick around. But tonight’s behavior, well, I have no explanation for.

 

Sitting on the carpet by my bed and wondering what my next move is going to be, I feel a slight rumble. Not really an earthquake type of rumble, but more like a vibration in the floor. I better check the window in the living room, I think, just to see if anything is going on outside.

 

As I’m padding down the hallway all hell breaks loose. A boom like I haven’t heard since I was a kid, when jets at the nearby airbase were allowed to fly low. But this boom knocks me off my feet, and blows in all my front windows too. If I’d have been ten feet further down the hall, I would have been shredded by flying glass.

 

I don’t know what the hell just happened, but something hit the ground outside, and hit it hard. My mind is reeling, and my earls are ringing. Plane crash? Space junk? What the hell could blow out my windows and knock me on my ass like that?

 

As I get to where the window, um, was – I can see my front yard looks like it was just plowed up. I can smell the fresh soil, and burnt grass, and something else I can’t identify. I go out the front door to assay what’s left of my front yard, and make sure I don’t need to put out any fires.

 

There’s a single furrow starting at the street, about three feet wide, and five feet deep and ending just short of the foundation of the house. In it lay a steaming ball of what looks like solid rock.

 

Small clumps of smoldering grass line each side of the trench cutting across my front yard. I can hear voices coming up behind me, neighbors who want to know what happened here. Quincy, from across the street is first to get to me.

 

“Damn man, what the hell is that?!”  Just behind him is Brinn, she lives next door to me. “Oh my God Lenny, are you all right?”  Both their voices seem muffled to me, probably the result of the massive sound wave when this thing hit the ground.

 

“I’m fine, I’m not hurt believe it or not.” I tell them. “I wish I could say the same for my windows, and stuff in my house.”

 

“I can’t believe you’re not hurt Lenny, and look how close that came to smashing right in to your house!” Brinn says.

“That’s the biggest meteor I’ve ever seen!” Quincy says. The look on his face is priceless. Part fear, and part astonishment.

 

My brain probably isn’t thinking clearly at this point, and without concern, I step into the trench to get a closer look at the meteor.

 

“Lenny, don’t get close to it man, you don’t know if it’s all radioactive, or has some kind of space shit on it!”

 

“Yeah, Quincy’s right, I wouldn’t go near it Lenny, it looks roasting-hot too.”

 

But, I can’t explain it; I just need to get closer to it. I move within about three feet of it, and Brinn is right, I can feel heat still. Suddenly the meteor begins to glow. A soft pinkish light starts to emanate from its surface, and I also feel the heat go away instantly. It doesn’t scare me, and hardly even startles me. It is almost like I’m expecting it to react to me.

 

“Lenny, get away from it man, that fucking thing could kill you!” Quincy is pretty riled up now, I can see it in his face. He is actually a few steps further back than the last time I had looked over at him. Brinn too is moving back a little, like they both think this is going to explode suddenly.

 

I dont share their fears though, I feel calm, and assured that it is all okay. Since I had felt the heat dissipate suddenly, I kniow it isn’t dangerous anymore.

 

So, I reach out for it; I really want to touch it.

 

“Damn dude, don’t touch it! Have you lost your mind?” I hear Quincy say, but it is even more muffled than before, like when someone speaks in a dream.

 

The pinkish surface of the meteor has somehow cleaned itself. It had been splotched with dirt and grass, but now it is smooth as glass and glowing. It has changed slightly to an almost peach color, and it is very inviting in a weird way. As my fingers make contact with the surface of what’s now, in my mind, a perfect sphere, I feel a small electrical spark, like carpet static.

 

I’m in an unfamiliar landscape suddenly. I’m standing on firm ground, but it’s not my yard, not my neighborhood, and I even fear it’s not my planet anymore. The sphere is right in front of me still, but I’m not where I was just one second ago. The sky is the same peachy color that the sphere was glowing, but there’s not much else here. No trees, no buildings or houses anywhere that I can see. As I turn in a circle to look all around me, just as I face the sphere again, there’s a woman standing right next to it. This time I’m actually startled, she made an entrance in complete silence. No footsteps, no nothing, just suddenly here.

 

She isn’t really what I’d call a normal human woman, but she does possess some of the features that women I know also have. She has no hair that I could see, not even eyebrows or lashes. In fact, she is completely hairless, and also completely naked.

 

But, her skin is what I am mesmerized by. I can only describe it as being somewhat like the sheen you see when oil is on top of water. Like a kind of rainbow effect, but denser, darker, and more vivid. The colors are also slowly swirling and moving all over her, it’s both fascinating and calming at the same time.

 

“I don’t sense any fear from you, and this pleases me.” She says. “I was correct in feeling that you were the perfect one to bring here.”

 

“Um, yeah, about that… where is ‘here’?”

 

“This is the Meeting Place. It is simple and hopefully calming to you. I made it for you based upon some images I had felt when you came close to the, um, the sphere, I think you call it. Your favorite color and a simple empty landscape, nothing hidden and no distractions for us.”

 

“Wow, you got this all from my mind?”

 

“Yes, all but my own appearance, which is true, and also unhidden.”

 

Um, yeah, I see that.” I stammer out.  She is just a few inches taller than me, and probably could be best described as voluptuous. In any other circumstance, she’d be a totally desirable woman, but these are not normal circumstances by any stretch.

 

“Would you prefer to be unhidden as well?”  But before I can answer, my clothes are gone. I am naked as the day I was born, and I had not one second to think about it.  Instinctually moving my hands to cover my crotch, I think I must look ridiculous now.

 

“Would you prefer your coverings to be returned?”

“Um, well, no I suppose not. It only seems fair I guess, I mean you’re not covered and all.” More stammering, but at least I’m not lying, I actually did feel like it was fair, and puts us on even footing.

 

“You have many questions, I feel them swirling in you like a storm. Please allow me to begin to answer them for you.”

 

Clearly she has some kind of ESP skills, because up to this point I had asked no questions at all. We stood about five feet apart, facing each other. The main difference being that her hands are at her sides, and I’m still covering.

 

In some other circumstance I’m almost sure I’d have found this funny.  She was right about the questions and the storm part too. I don’t think I could have put the questions I have in any kind of order of importance if I had to. Still, it isn’t from fear as much as it is just the absurdity of the situation. She actually has quite a calming presence, and an unusually soothing voice too.

 

“The sphere is a conduit, not a meteor, ship or capsule as you were first thinking. Your atmosphere was thicker than I had planned on, so it was an unfortunate landing for it.” 

That was an understatement.

“Hey, wait… You meant that to land in my yard?”

 

“Yes, but not nearly like that. I am sorry for the damage it caused. It was supposed to land gently and summon you with the light. I had no intention of traumatizing you or your friends, I fear I have complicated matters now.”

 

“Oh, I don’t know if anything’s complicated yet, but it sure was a show. I’m pretty sure Quincy and Brinn have got to be curious about where I just disappeared to.”

 

“No need to worry about them, they still see you at the sphere, just as you were when you touched it. For them, time is frozen, and you are not any different to them.”

 

“So, then this is not real? It’s like a dream or something?”

“You can think of it like that, but it’s more like a pocket in time. We just stepped in to it for a bit. The sphere helped with this. It does many things to help me.” Her voice trails off as if she got lost in thought suddenly.

“But, as I said I know you have many question, so I will endeavor to answer as best I can. You can call me Avital for the ease of conversation. It sounds very close to my actual name, in fact, this sound is very pleasing to me.

I am from a very distant system outside of your galaxy. I am both here with you, and also not. Like you, part of me remains on my world, safe and frozen in time. We can meet here for as long as we wish to, and nothing changes back on our respective home worlds.”

As she’s speaking about the details of this “pocket in time” I can feel myself drifting in thought for some reason. Maybe it’s her voice, I don’t know, but I think a bunch of it went over my head anyway. I snap back when I hear my name being said.

“Lenny? I’m sorry if that was a complicated explanation, I felt as if I lost you for a moment. I will try to keep my answers a bit shorter.”

She continues “I know you are wondering why I chose you, of all the people on your world, to contact and bring here. The answer to that might be even more complicated than my last answer, so I will say this; you are the most receptive mind I have encountered in a very long time of searching.”

“So, you’ve been looking for someone to talk to for a long time? I can’t even guess how you would have come across me in a search like that.”  Attempting to be a little funny, but I can tell that she doesn’t get it.

“No Lenny, not just someone to talk to, but someone to really communicate with. Someone whose mind and spirit operates in a certain way, and is open to the complex energies that are making this work. Also, someone whose mind is emotionally open like yours is. You may not know it, but it’s your emotions and internal energies that are helping to make this happen Lenny. You are half of this process even if you don’t realize it.”

She’s right I don’t realize it. I don’t actually feel like I’m doing anything at all, no concentration, no meditative state, no effort I can detect at all. To me, this is all just kind of happening, like any dream might happen. But, she’s the expert here, and if she says I’m helping make this happen, I choose to believe her.

“I know you very much want to know the reason behind my contacting you like this. Let me explain; after I discovered you, or your energy here, I knew I’d be able to make this happen, and just in time too. Lenny, my world is dying. My home planet will be gone in a very short time, and I am reaching out for help.”

As she continues I can’t help but notice that the patterns on her skin are changing with increasing speed. It looks like a film I once saw about Jupiter, and its bands of clouds moving in opposite directions.

“What kind of help could I possibly provide to you? I mean, clearly you’re way more advanced than we are, just what you’re doing right now is proof of that.”

“Lenny, you can help save me, and in turn I may be able to save a few others once I am safe. It’s probably too complicated to explain it all right now, but if you agree to what I propose, we will have time to talk about it later.”

“Okay, um, I need a minute to think about this. Wow. I mean, what does this consist of me doing? I wonder if it’s against the law even? I mean, I definitely want to help you, or save you, or um… ugh, I can’t think.”

“Calm down Lenny, I can feel your pulse racing, and your mind is a blur to me. It’s going to be alright, it’s not complicated, and the only risk is to me really.”

“Risk?! There’s risk? What kind of risk? Could someone die or something?”

“Truthfully Lenny, if what I wish us to attempt does not succeed then there is a possibility of death; my death.”

“Oh God, I don’t want that to happen, really. I mean I barely know you, but I like you, and I sure don’t want anything to happen to you. What do you need me to do?”

“Well, first Lenny, you’re going to have to be the very best salesman you can possibly be.”

“What? Sales? Me?”

“Yes, and I can promise you it will be very difficult too. You are going to need to enlist the help of your two friends. I need three of you to be at the sphere to have this be successful. It needs three minds, and their energy to activate the sphere’s controls.”

“Oh crap. I don’t know Avital, um, Brinn and Quincy are pretty freaked out right now. And, I don’t even know if they’d believe me if I tell them every single thing we’ve said here. Quincy is kind of a disbeliever when it comes to stuff like this, he’s a pretty religious dude and not likely to suddenly believe in aliens contacting me.”

“I know Lenny, that is why it is going to be so hard for you, and so very important that you are able to convince them. You will have to employ all of your best qualities to make them believe you. Just be honest, and sincere and I think they will come to see that you are not either joking, or mad.”

“But one more thing, you said that they are like frozen in time right? So, they saw me touch the sphere, and then, I’m guessing that once you, um, put me back; they’re going to think I touched it and just suddenly stepped back right?”

“Yes, you are correct. For them, almost no time will have passed. I will seem as if you touched the sphere and received a vision from it. You may be able to use that to your advantage Lenny.”

“Well, I can promise you that I’m going to do my absolute best. I won’t let you down. But, let’s say I convince them to help me, then what?”

“The next part will seem relatively simple after getting your friends to help us. The three of you will need to gather close to the sphere, and place your hands on it. Once you do that, you will be in charge of what happens there. You and your mind will be leading the other two, and showing them the way. You will see the sphere here on my world, and you will see me next to it. Once you’ve focused on my sphere, a connection will begin to be made. You and your two friends will need to concentrate your mind’s energies on that connection. You will feed it energy, and you will direct that energy back to your sphere.”

“Oh, wow, is that all? No sweat.”

“Lenny, I detect insincerity in your voice. Are you being untruthful with me?”

“No, I’m sorry. I was being a little sarcastic because it all seems totally overwhelming to me. I’m sorry. I’ll get a better attitude from now on.”

“I understand Lenny, please believe me I do. I thought about this day for many cycles now, and I did try to imagine the feelings and complications you might encounter. I realize that this is not only extraordinary to you, but it may also not even seem real to you. You have to trust me that this is all real, and that actual lives are at stake.”

As she is finishing her sentence she reaches out and takes one of my hands into hers. I didn’t even realize that in all this crazy conversation, I had ‘uncovered’ myself, and my hands had dropped to my sides. Her hand feels warm and soft in mine and I wasn’t expecting that for some reason. Her skin feels just as soft as any I’ve ever felt. Maybe even softer.

“Well Avital, I do trust you. Even though this is all completely outside of anything I have ever experienced, or even fantasized about, I still believe in you. I guess I am ready to go back, and do everything I can do to help you out. I can’t honestly promise you that I’m going to save you, but at least I can promise that I’ll do everything in my power to try.”

“You must realize this; once you return to your time, and we step out of this pocket, I will not be able to recreate this. You will be on your own to fulfill your part. Have I answered all of the questions you have for me?”

“I’m sure I haven’t even hardly scratched the surface of the questions I have but, the rest can wait until I see you here…err, or there, or well, you know. When you’re really in front of me, on Earth. I am pretty sure I know what I need to do to get you there too.”

She still has a hold of my hand, so I just naturally pull her in for a hug. I was not really thinking that through; I mean she wasn’t resisting it or anything, in fact she came right to me, and it’s a great warm hug. Very warm. And, she’s making this kind of purring noise too. I, um, kinda start to feel myself respond to that feel and sound too. I decide to back away quickly before my developing situation gets any more obvious.

“Okay, well, like I said, I am going to do everything in my power to make this work, and get you safe. So, I’ll see you soon Avital. Don’t you worry too much, okay?”

“I do not worry too much, Lenny. I have faith in you, I feel you will succeed in this. I have so many good feelings Lenny. But, as you said, we will speak at length once I am with you. I will project my most positive energies towards you Lenny, to help ensure a good outcome.”

“Sure, I mean, if that was your way of saying ‘good luck’ then I am all for it, and same here.”

Suddenly I am pulling my hand away from the sphere, and listening to Quincy, once again, ask if I was nuts.

“Lenny! Get away from that damn thing man.”

Brinn is pulling on my shirt to move me back from the sphere, and I stumble back into her.

“I’m fine, I’m totally fine.” I say

“Well just get back here by us and we’ll all feel fine together okay?” she says to me.

“Damn Lenny, I just have a bad feeling about that thing and I think we should get the cops here before it does some weird space shit.” Quincy is clearly rattled by this whole thing.

“No no no, just relax Quincy, you too Brinn. Just give me a minute to sort this out. It’s not all like it seems here, I mean, not what you think. Ugh, this isn’t coming out right.”

“Take a breath Lenny, maybe you were zapped by that ball-thing there. Just take a sec and gather yourself. Maybe Quincy is right and we should get some cops here?”

“No, please don’t do that. I’m fine, all right? I am just trying to figure out how to tell you what is happening. I know that sounds kinda crazy, or mysterious or whatever, but I really don’t mean it to.

“You guys know me, and you trust me right?”

Since they are both nodding their heads, I feel safe to go on.

“This is going to sound so nuts, but you’ve got to hear me out, no matter how crazy I sound, okay?”

Again, both nodding to me.

“When I touched that sphere, well, I know to you it looked like I touched it for a sec and then pulled away from it, but that’s not what really happened. And, here we have the crazy part…”

“Lenny, maybe that thing did zap you man, you don’t sound like the normal Lenny I know. You even look kind of shook up man.”

“Just bear with me Quincy, and hold off on judging until I am done okay? It’s gonna sound wild, but I am dead serious and not making this up. I wasn’t zapped or anything like that. But, I was taken away for a little while.”

“Lenny, you know I’m not as skeptical as Quincy, but I was here, and I saw with my own eyes that you were also here this whole time. You didn’t go anywhere Lenny.”

“Yeah, well, maybe I chose my words poorly, I didn’t physically leave, but in a way I kinda did too. You guys were um, frozen in time for a while. I saw you for a few seconds all stopped like a movies that was paused. But, then suddenly I was somewhere else completely. Like it wasn’t even Earth. It was, um, well, I don’t know exactly where I was. All I know is that it sure wasn’t here, or anywhere near here.”

“Well Lenny, you were right about the crazy part, because this is really starting to sound pretty bizarre, my friend.”

“Hey, I asked you to be patient Quincy, please man, just listen okay?”

He was looking exasperated, but I could tell he was going to listen now. In fact he backed up to the edge of the trench and sat down. Brinn was still right by me like she thought I was going to fall down or something, but that’s okay. She’s listening at least.

“Look, you don’t have to totally understand this, and I’m not even sure I do, but I believe what just happened to me. As soon as I touched that sphere I was taken to a place I won’t even bother describing. Just know that it wasn’t here, and you guys were kinda frozen in time for a little while. I met this, um, woman there. But not like a regular women, kind of more like an alien woman.”

Both of them looked like I was an alien suddenly. But to their credit, they weren’t saying anything, or arguing.

“Her name is Avital, and she’s from some other world that’s fantastically far away. She’s the one who sent this sphere here, to contact me. How weird is that?”

“Brinn, I think we may need to get an ambulance too, along with the cops. He’s delusional now, that can’t be a good sign.”

“Stop it Quincy, we said we’d listen, so lets do that. Go on Lenny.”

“Well, so anyway, Avital told me that there’s something happening to her world, and it sounds really bad. She sent this thing to contact me because She said I have some kind of ‘mind energy’ that she picked up on. I still don’t know what she means by that, but I’d say the sphere being here pretty much says she’s telling the truth.”

“She said that I, or um, actually we, can help save her by using this thing. She asked me to do everything I could to convince you guys to help. I guess it takes all three of us to make it do something. She said I’d know once we all touched it. Now I know this sounds crazy, and even I don’t have all the info I’d like to have, but her situation sounds pretty desperate, and I don’t think we can wait long. I really need you guys to help me. Please.”

Nervous glances back and forth between them, fidgeting and finally some words. “Lenny, even if we believe what happened to you, in what looked like a millisecond to us, we still have no idea what that thing does. I mean what if it’s a bomb, or a beacon to bring alien invaders here? All I’m saying is we just don’t know.”

“I hate saying this Lenny, but Quincy’s kind of right. We don’t know. And you’re asking us to take a leap of faith and go along with something that you can barely describe yourself. I mean, what if it is something bad?”

“Oh man, I get the feeling we don’t have a lot of time to argue this out guys, but I hear where you’re coming from, and had it been one of you that touched that, and then had a crazy story, well… I just don’t know. I think I’d trust you though. You’re my friends, and in my mind that’s what counts. If it’s something bad, well, then we’re in it together at least. I know it’s asking a lot, more than a lot, I’m asking you to make a leap of faith. I realize that, but I have to do this.”

I don’t know if it’s how I said that, or the look on my face, or divine intervention, but I saw both their faces change almost at the same time.

“I can’t speak for Quincy, but I’m in Lenny. You’re my friend too, and I truly believe that you’d do the same for me, anytime.”

Quincy breaks out in a big laugh suddenly. “I’m in too my friend. I guess I was just waiting to hear what Brinn was going to say, but she just said it all. You’re right about another thing too, at least we’re in it together, for better or worse. So, what do we have to do to save Avital the alien?”

The smiles all around feel really good, and I believe we can really do this now. Well, whatever ‘this’ turns out to be.

“Alright, well, like I said, she wasn’t full of details about this. She said once we got together on the sphere, I’d be leading us, and I’d know what to do. It’s supposed to connect to a sphere on her world somehow, and we’re going to help it. So, I guess we just have to get around it, and put our hands on it and see.”

The sphere was actually looking a bit brighter now, still a peach color, but bright now. As we move around it, the colors seem to move inside it a little. Maybe I am imagining that, but I don’t think so.

“Alright you guys, this is it. Let’s put our hands on it at the same time. I don’t want to get whisked away all alone again, okay?”

Looking in to each other’s eyes, we start to lower our hands in unison. Just as I feel the smooth surface of the sphere, a vision opens up before me. Just like an invisible television screen suddenly come on! I can see both Brinn and Quincy in front of me, but what I can see behind them is almost indescribable.

We’re in space. We’re moving through space, past planets, asteroids, then galaxies, and things I don’t even have names for. Long gray trails of what looks like fog just underneath us, like an extra-solar highway we’re following.

“Um, can you guys see all of this?”

I can see that Quincy isn’t going to say anything at all, his eyes say all I need to know.

“Oh Lenny, it’s so beautiful, so amazing… I can’t…”

Brinn’s voice trails off, but I understand her completely. Actually I feel like I can sense what she’s feeling right now too. As if we’re more connected by this sphere than we know. She’s right, it is so beautiful out here, seeing things no other person has ever seen. Well, no one from Earth anyway.

As we ‘move’ along this galactic highway, I suddenly see another one that almost paralleled to us. But, it’s brighter than the one we we’re following. I think maybe it’s a sign I should be on that one. As soon as that thought occurs to me, we are on it.

I had navigated us there just by thinking that it’s where I want to be. This is so amazing. I recall Avital saying I’d know what to do once we got the sphere going, and I think she’s right. I feel like I can see where we need to go, and I have the ability to make it happen now.

Suddenly, we’re heading right towards a big peach colored sun, right in front of us. It looks huge, much bigger than the one I know. Then, I see it, her world, and I ‘turn’ us to it. In the blink of an eye we’re on the planet, right next to her sphere. Right next to Avital herself, and she’s smiling at us.

“Lenny! It is so very pleasing to see you again! And, your friends as well.” Quincy still wasn’t ready to make words, but he manages a smile. Brinn smiles and nods to Avital, but also doesn’t say a word.

“It’s good to see you again too Avital. I wasn’t sure what I was doing at first, but I got the hang of it pretty quick.”

“Yes Lenny, I could see your journey through my sphere, and I think you did a fine job of navigating. But, now will come a much harder part, yet I know you will succeed at it just as well.”

“Okay, so what do we do?”

“I am going to concentrate my essence into the sphere Lenny, it’s how I am going to get to where you really are. But the return trip will take the concentration of all three of you. Carrying my life energy will drain the sphere, and you will be not only navigating, but giving energy to the sphere too.”

“How do we do that?

“Once again, all I can say is that you will all know as the need arises. What I have not said yet is that in doing this, it will tax your energy as well. You mustn’t over tax yourselves, for it can be dangerous. You might begin to feel tired, or even sleepy. If you do, you must stop giving energy to the sphere. Watch the color and brightness of the sphere, it will be your indicator of its energy level.”

“Hang on, what if the sphere fades, and we’re all getting tired, I mean what happens?”

“If that happens Lenny, the three of you will find yourselves back on your planet, right where you last touched the sphere. You may be lying on the ground sleeping, or even in a coma state if you drain yourself too much. As for me, I will no longer exist. The sphere will no longer exist, and your life will go on.”

“I’m not going to let that happen, okay? None of us will. We’ll do everything we can to make this work. So, when do we start the return trip?”

“We can begin immediately. I need just a moment to prepare myself. You will know when it’s time to go. I hope to see you again very soon Lenny.”

As I’m about to answer, I see her begin to, well, shimmer. The patterns on her skin begin to swirl faster and faster, then they seem to emit light in a rainbow of colors. The light starts to surround her whole body in this amazing color tornado. It looks like she levitating a little bit, then she’s gone, in a blink.

“Alright guys, let’s get her, and us, back home shall we?”

With that single thought, we’re off into space again. But, something is different feeling about this, she was right, it feels like it’s taking an effort from me to get us moving. Just to get back to that ‘highway’ we were on earlier is an effort. I see it, just off in the distance, but I feel like I am steering us with my whole body now. Quincy and Brinn are smiling in approval, and their apparent confidence in me gives me a little boost. With a heft to my right, I get us on the pathway leading home.

Keeping one eye on the pathway, and another on the sphere, I notice that it doesn’t glow as brightly as it did on our way to Avital’s world. But, Quincy and Brinn both look happy and determined, so I decided not to worry, and just do my part.

I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination, but it also feels like we’re not travelling as fast as we were on the way here. For lack of a better idea, I lean in to it, like if I were riding a motorcycle. I feel us speed up a little bit, and this is good.

I see that the sphere is looking slightly dimmer, and I see that Brinn has noticed too. She gets a look of concentration on her face, like someone straining to lift something heavy. She looks right down at the sphere, and almost touches her forehead to it. Right then the sphere begins to brighten up, and we move a little faster too. Now we’re on to something.

“Quincy, see if you can do what Brinn is doing, she sped us up by giving energy to the sphere, and I really believe that we need to go faster.” I just have a sinking feeling that time really is of the essence now. We need to get home before this ride slows down, or we run out of energy.

Quincy does the same thing Brinn is doing, with closed eyes and leaning down to the sphere. I swear I can see a faint light between their foreheads and the sphere. I can see the energy moving between them.

The sphere accelerates to the speed we came here with, and I know we’re coming to that place where I need to move from this pathway to the one that leads back to home. I’m concentrating on the surroundings, now passing by so fast, and then I see it. It’s actually glowing a little brighter this time, I think it’s a cosmic map-hint of some kind. Like it knows where we’re going, and saying ‘come this way!’

I use all of my strength and body English to move us onto the new path. I swear I just felt a bump as we switch, but it doesn’t’ see possible. Now on the right pathway home, I suddenly see that Brinn looks almost asleep, and Quincy looks pretty tired too.

“Brinn, wake up! We need you, we’re not home yet. Quincy, can you get her to wake up?”

Quincy looks up at me with tired eyes; I can hardly hear his voice as he speaks.

“I can’t Lenny, I think she gave everything she had. She’s drained, and I’m not far behind her. I had to back off a little bit or I’d be drained too. This seems to take a lot of energy, and I’m not sure I have much more to give man.”

“It’s alright Quincy, I think we’re going to be okay, we’re on the last leg of this trip, and maybe it’s downhill.” I say with a smile, trying to bolster his confidence.

But, once again I can see the sphere is dimming a little, and we’re slowing some too. I am not a actual navigator, and without this pathway I would never find Earth again. It’s a sudden and scary thought, and I try to put it out of my mind. We can make it, I really feel we can, I just need to concentrate.

The dimming sphere is looking urgent though, so I ask Quincy “Can you give it just a little more Quincy? I think we’re almost home, but it’s not looking good right now for Avital.”

Quincy nods and lowers his forehead to the sphere again, and again I see the faint flow of the energy from his mind to it. The color of the sphere is darker now, but the energy Quincy is giving it seems to move us a little faster at least.

Then I see him go limp, and I know he’s given it his all. He’s tapped out like Brinn, and probably somewhere between asleep and unconscious. I still don’t know how much farther we have to go, but my confidence is waning a little. When Quincy folded, we slowed down a little more. The sphere dimmed just a little bit more right then too.

I knew it was up to me now. I am suddenly scared that Avital’s life is in my hands, and I’m the only one who can get us home safely. I decide to see if I can add energy to the sphere, like Brinn and Q did. I lean down a little bit, and close my eyes.

“Lenny, I feel you.” I suddenly hear Avital’s voice in my head. “Lenny, don’t put yourself and your friends in danger. You have the option of pulling your hands off the sphere if you want to. I didn’t tell you this earlier and I’m sorry. I was being selfish, I guess. But now we’re all in danger, and I cannot have the three of you damage yourselves for me. Let go of the sphere Lenny, just let go. You’ll be back home and safe.”

“No! I won’t do that Avital. I won’t abandon you. You’ll die if I give up, and I am not going to let that happen. When you took my hand, when we were in the pocket of time, I felt something I have never felt before. It was like you were part of me. Like I’ve been missing something all this time and I didn’t know it until you touched me. Now…”

I am suddenly overcome with emotion, and even though I am not actually speaking, I still have a hard time telling her.

“I feel like I… need you now. Like my life needs you in it to be complete, and I am not going to just give up the chance to have that. Not when I’ve just found this feeling, and just found you too. I’ve got to make this work, I have got to make this happen.”

Tears are streaming down my face, and dripping on to the sphere and I see that each place a tear hits, the sphere brightens there. I can still feel Avital in my mind, and I focus on her, on her face and her words. I drop my forehead on to the sphere, but instead of feeling a thud, like I was expecting, it feels soft and warm. I don’t know why, but that feeling just triggers something inside me, and I cry out.

“We’ve got to make it!” and then all is black.

I feel myself lying on my back. I hear a voice, faint but I hear it. “Lenny… Lenny we made it, you did it.” It’s Avital bringing me back to my senses.

I sit up and see her kneeling right in front of me, and Brinn and Quincy are right there too. All of them are looking at me and smiling. They all look fine too, actually better than fine, they look kind of radiant.

“Damn Lenny, you pulled us through my friend. I thought we were done for, but your last charge of energy to the sphere pushed us here in a flash of light! I wasn’t even tired anymore when I realized we made it.”

“Yeah Lenny, you made the difference. I was completely drained, and just barely conscious, but when we appeared back here, I felt recharged and awake.”

“Wow, I don’t even remember what I did. I felt you talk to me Avital, and I kind of remember telling you some things, but then it gets kind of blurry.”

Avital helps me stand up, and she holds on to my hands, and as she does so, I begin to remember everything I said, and more important, everything I had felt too.

“Lenny, it was your soul’s connection to me that saved us all. Your pure heart and true emotions that burst out in an energy release I have never seen before. Your feelings, and your mind’s energy are so much more that I first thought.”

“I remember now, I really do. I was telling you I couldn’t lose you after just finding you, and right then I realized something. I realized I loved you, and I don’t even know how it’s possible, but I’d never lie to myself about my own feelings. Love was what just popped into my head, and it felt huge, and so overwhelming, but really good too. I have never felt this way before either. You are like a missing piece of my life, and now, here you are!”

I lean in and kiss her right then and there. She seems a little surprised, and a little awkward at first, but suddenly I feel her kiss back with passion. The colors on her skin start to swirl, almost like they did right before we left her planet. I think it’s a good thing.

 “Oh, Avital, what about your other people still on your world?” I ask her.

 “We now hove two spheres here, Lenny, so we can use them like a homing beacon and we will not have to make the trip ourselves. My people can transport here using their own energy now.”

“How many people are on your world? I don’t have a very big house.” I say smiling at her. I’m kidding around, but I kinda sense that they don’t do that much from where she’s from.

“Sadly, Lenny, there are only a very small number of us left there. Many chose other places to travel to, places that were closer and required much less energy. I will use the sphere to contact the few that may still be there, but it may only be two, or three.”

“Well, that’s not many, I am sure between Quincy, Brinn and me we can handle them staying with us. Are you guys cool with that?” Both were nodding in agreement. Soon we’d have our own secret alien colony, and how amazing is that? 

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