Through the dense timber area the boy walked along with his camera in hand, curiosity had wandered him away from the house where his sister and parents were, their home had been inherited from his grandfather. He was heading to the water-dam, where the legend of the sightings came from, where the mysterious burns on the ground were, and where some say people came to depart just after dusk. He hadn’t yet received the controversial vaccine yet, so he had no fear of being caught when the starship landed to load more of those who had been vaccinated. He wanted to get photos for the local newspaper, to document what was going on, and to prove to the skeptics of his discovery.
The boy had been warned not to go near the water-dam for fear of being taken away, but he also knew that without the vaccine he would not be located on their monitors, and would be safe in his hiding place so he could get the photos. He brought along his grandfather’s old 35’mm camera to further insure his safety, because their monitors would locate any modern device using cell or internet service. He only hoped that the sound made from the camera’s shutter click would go unnoticed, for that would cause his presence to be found. Finding an area about twenty feet away from where the burn marks were, the boy made the likeness of a sniper’s nest from the foliage on the elevated knoll where he would wait for the starship to land. Using his own make-shift timeline ~ with pen and paper ~ so as not to leave any computer trail, he based the landing according to when the last departure occurred, always at the same time, eight minutes after eight in the evening, on the eighth day of the eighth month. Just as dusk was upon him, the boy settled himself in place to await the arrival of the starship.
It was his grandfather’s handwritten notes, left behind after his death, that had stirred the boy’s curiosity. Most thought his grandfather to be out of his mind, while there were others whom the boy had overheard talking about the departures, but never did anything about it. They had concluded that the departures were voluntary.
His grandfather had documented his findings throughout the years as he remained a recluse, not trusting anyone. The boy had become intrigued by his grandfather’s insights to the bizarre happenings, his thoughts and predictions, all handwritten but also forgotten. His grandfather’s notes and supposed findings were considered to be nothing more than the ramblings of a mad-man. But the boy knew better, because he had followed his grandfather one evening and witnessed the starship
landing and the departures. The photos taken by his grandfather had been dismissed as fake, and later stolen. From then on, the boy set out to continue in his grandfather’s study, and to see that his legacy would officially be recognized.
After the viral outbreak, the success of interplanetary travel led to colonization on the Moon and on Mars. Only those who had been vaccinated were fit to leave Earth and colonize on the planets after being evaluated and given a position within the new colonies, some were returned after the evaluation and also given a position back on Earth to serve as recruits for development within the new world colonies.
The boy knew the time was near for the starship landing even though though he brought no timepiece ~ for it too would be discovered, giving away his presence ~ but he knew the time was near due to the position of the setting sun over the trees, as the last bit of sunlight illuminated a mark that had been etched in by his grandfather, at the base of a large tree nearby. The mark itself was unique, a crude circle the size of a baseball, with eight vertical dots going down the middle. It was a timepiece of its own, because as the setting sun went down it illuminated each dot down until all eight were fully illuminated, showing that it was eight minutes after eight that evening, just as it had been written in his grandfather’s notes.
Lights from the starship appeared overhead, sets of eight vertical lights with a circular light around them ~ just like the mark on the tree ~ spaced about eight feet apart to form the large circular shape of the starship. As it began to hover down, it stopped about eight feet above the ground as a scaffolding lowered to the surface. Its soon to be boarders revealed themselves standing in the twilight ~ dressed in white shirts and trousers, men and women ~ and as if moving on que, began walking toward the scaffolding, forming into four bodies wide and eight bodies deep. With his grandfather’s 35 mm camera poised and ready, the boy began clicking away as they stepped onto the scaffolding. Like a giant carnival ride, they all got into position, four bodies wide and eight bodies high, each row of four climbing above the others, the safety belts instantly embracing them, and there they stood silently as the scaffolding began its accent back into the starship. The only sounds were the high pitched whine from the starship and the rushing sound of air as the rocket burners engaged, leaving fresh burn marks on the ground that were in the same shape as the starship lights and the etched mark on the tree.
The boy stayed in place, out of sight still within the sniper-like nest he had made, until the starship disappeared out of sight, he then stepped out into the darkness to make his way back to the house. It would be there that he could develop his 35 mm film, just as he had learned from his grandfather. Alone in his grandfather’s darkroom he could re-live what he had just witnessed, documenting the bizarre happening, while his parents and sister left him to be, believing that he was developing more of his nature photos again.
At some future time the boy would make his findings known ~ but not until he could trust someone with his findings ~ thereby securing his grandfather’s legacy.
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