Rory was beginning to doubt his deductive abilities. Just when he thought he had it all figured out, Ericka gives him a third son. Baby Jaron was a great little baby. Typically very demanding and downright noisy in the middle of the night, but a great kid — with lavender skin!
This sent Rory into a bit of a tailspin. His theory completely shattered. Obviously, the alien DNA wasn’t so diluted even four generations down, as he thought. The notion that this was possibly just an anomaly crossed his mind. He began to think having yet another child might clear things up, but he hadn’t approached his wife, who was just back to work again, with the idea.
When Rory’s three days off wound down, he went back to the lab. Unfortunately, he was exhausted. He began to theorize that too much time off led to it. He tried to work, had aspirations of creating a cloning machine, but he lacked the right metal. He even asked two different co-workers for some and still he didn’t have two common pieces of metal. He went and tried to dig some up. All he got for his efforts, besides being covered with dirt, were some gemstones and a couple of capsules. No metals here.
Frustrated and very hungry at this point, Rory went upstairs to the lounge and bought a sandwich. He also made a fresh pot of coffee. He needed something to ward off the fatigue that muddled his mind and made him seriously look around for a pillow and a blanket. He showered while up there and drank some coffee. It was bitter and too strong. One day, perhaps, he’d learn how to make a decent cup of Joe.
Next, he decided to experiment with some chemical. Perhaps, he could find a serum or two. Everything he touched, every attempt ended in a miserable failure. He all but blew up the lab table! Shades of his childhood …
Suffice it to say, by the time he got off of work he was beat, discouraged and all but ready to call it a day. Little Johnny was waiting for him on the drive. The boy hugged him tightly, and Rory was grateful for it. He was also beyond hungry. The pitiful, miserable, poor excuse for a sandwich he consumed for lunch just didn’t stick. He thought about it and decided he would grill up some sausage and peppers for the family. Dragging himself through the house out to the patio, he started the up the gas grill. Kablewy! Fire erupted from underneath the rack and set his chemical-drench lab coat aflame! What was he thinking? He should have ditched the coat, first.
Happily, his father was right there, fire-extinguisher in hand to put him out again.
“I’m an idiot! I’m an idiot!” Rory cried out. Joseph busily drenched his son with the fire-extinguisher.
“You’re not an idiot, son. I just think there’s a bit of a family curse. Jade, your third great-grandmother was killed in such a tragic way. Of course, Jaylen went to prison for exchanging the lighter fluid with gasoline. I almost set myself on fire at the stove. Happens. Say, do you mind if I use this in a routine?”
“Dad. I’m nearly char-broiled.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right. You do look a tad on the crunchy side. I’d ask you how your day has been, but I’m afraid you’d beat me with a stick.”
“Very funny, not. I’m going to try to scrub this stuff off.”
The jet tub upstairs was spewing forth water, so Rory decided the downstairs tub would just have to do. He was still feeling the stress after he’d cleaned up, but the glorious aroma of grilled sausage and peppers met his nose. Leave it to Gramps to take over the making and serving of dinner. Sometimes, it was just plain nice to have a live-in ghost.
Rory ate his fill. “This is great, Gramps, really hits the spot. Best meal I’ve had all day.”
“You’re quite welcome, my boy, I’m just glad to be of some use to my family.”
“I’m going to go take a swim,” Rory said as he took up his plate and left the room.
Cannon-balling into the refreshing cool water was fun. Rory swam around for a few laps and was just deciding to jump in again when he heard a very ominous, throbbing sound overhead. He saw his father out on the patio. Joseph had just made certain the gas was turned off from the barbecue and looked up at the sound. Rory was agape, horrified with what met his eyes. Joseph was caught in some ethereal beam of light, seemingly paralyzed, unable, even to cry out for help. Strangely, Rory, too, felt unable to move or even cry out. What was this? How did the aliens exude this kind of mind control? And just who were they?
A few hours later, Joseph was returned. Rory ran over to his father. Ever the scientist, “Dad, are you all right? W-what happened, what was it like. Who are these creatures?”
“I thought you knew.”
“How and why would I know?”
“You’re the one who called them.”
“Me?” Rory frowned. “I did attempt to make contact while at the lab … But how would they know it was me … oh. The radar! I brought it home with me.” They both turned to gaze at the apparatus over in the corner of the pool yard. “They must have traced the call back to its source. I’m sorry, Dad. I’ll take that thing back to the lab tomorrow. In the meantime, are you okay? They didn’t hurt you, did they? Here, let me just check your DNA to be sure.”
Joseph opened his mouth while Rory swabbed the inside of his cheek.
“Thanks, I’ll just run this through when I get back to the lab, also. In the meantime, maybe you should go get some rest. You’re looking a little green … so to speak. You’re still lavender, just a tad pallid.”
“Their sense of time is different from ours,” Joseph said. “They told your great-grandfather they would be back. He was certain, as the family story goes, that when they abducted him a second time, it was for proliferation of their race. That he would end up going through another pregnancy. Turned out, they just wanted the twins, your grandfather Marc and your aunt Aubrey. Nathaniel turned them down flat. But they threatened to return. It’s been all of this time, nearly four generations for them to return. I pray they don’t come back again.”