The thing I remember most vividly from the day that changed our lives forever… was the shaking. Massive shaking and rumbling. It was a dream, yet I experienced it like it was really happening. The entire house was moving every which way and the rumbling outside was deafening. Yet, I looked over in the bed and there was Yvette, out like a light. And even though our surroundings were shaking so viciously, we were unphased. I was able to stand up with ease and walk without being affected. The physics to this was all wrong… that’s why it had to be a dream.
I remember the time, 3:04 A.M. I made my way through my rumbling, shaking house. I needed to know what was happening.
The next most vivid memory I have was when I opened the front door and saw fire scorching across the sky. Flames streaking against the navy blue sky in horizontal directions. I could feel the heat on my face, yet the back of my head felt ice cold. And even though I can recall the events of the day later quite clearly, it was these few moments that stand out in my mind most prominently. And these moments were… from a dream.
“Brendan, wake up!” Yvette shook me awake. “What are you doing out here?”
My eyes stung with pain. It’s that usual feeling I get in the morning after a deep sleep when it’s painful just to open them. Checking my surroundings, trying to figure out what’s happening… it’s a massive chore. My center of gravity was off.
Why am I tilted like this? Wait, why am I on the couch?
“Why are you on the couch?” Yvette has always had a direct line to my mind.
“I’m wondering the same thing.” I sat up and examined the couch like I’ve never seen the thing before. We’ve only had it for two years. But I have never once slept on it overnight. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and then the events from 3:04 A.M. come flooding back.
“What happened last night?! The house—” I shot up off the couch.
“I have no idea. I just woke up and realized you weren’t in bed.” Yvette was now concerned. “Were you sleep walking?”
“No, I woke up and the house was shaking. And I went outside and there was fire in the sky… or explosions—” As I am saying this, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. “What time is it?” It’s 5:04 A.M. Exactly two hours later. “Was I dreaming?”
“You didn’t see anything outside,” Yvette laughed. “You were just sleepwalking from the bed to the couch. And apparently had some vivid dreams.” Yvette had a way of explaining things and immediately making sense. I lay back down on the couch. Yvette stares at my feet. “Why are your feet all dirty?”
The bottoms of my feet had dirt and grass stains all over them. Nope! Not convinced it was a dream! I rushed to the front door. I flung it open. On our doorstep sat a basket with a child inside. Yvette rushed over. We’re appalled, the child can’t be more than six months old. We quickly brought it in from the morning cold. The child, a boy, was completely calm. Silent, eyes wide open, scanning his surroundings. He looked a little… different. But it’s hard to place exactly what it was that’s different. Maybe it’s the fact that he was in a basket and was on our doorstep.
We pondered what to do. Call child services? Some government agency, right? Suddenly, a sharp knocking at the front door interrupted us.
It was our neighbor, Debbie. I remember Debbie, usually cheerful, was hysterical. Crying and hardly able to string a sentence together. She kept asking what she should do because some men from the government are taking all her stuff. I stepped outside and looked to my right to see floods of men in suits… at Debbie’s place, at all the houses down the street. Talking to my neighbors, carrying things to vans, ripping up bushes and plants, working their way down the street towards us.
Was I dreaming last night? Or is everything connected?
I told Debbie to just let the men do whatever they need to do. I don’t know what was happening, but I had this aching feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t good. I also remember clearly looking to Yvette and seeing the worry in her eyes.
“I’ll explain later, but I just need you to trust me.” I spoke quickly. “We need to put this kid in the crawl space. Something is going on.”
Yvette didn’t question me at all. She has absolute trust in me. Our house happens to be ancient. And they used it centuries ago to hide runaway slaves. The trap door, underneath removeable planks from the living room floor, is also hidden under a giant area rug and our coffee table. We hid the child down there and waited.
These men in suits eventually made it to our place and told us they needed to look around. They combed through our whole house. Never found the trap door though. They couldn’t tell us what they were doing, except for the fact that the safety of our nation was at risk and we needed to cooperate. They asked no questions. All they left with was our phones, our tablets and strangely, my bird feeder. They gave us a check to replace these items and then they were gone… continuing their controlled raid of all the houses on the block.
Word of this event never spread far. Try as our neighbors might, everything always got shot down. Posts online removed. Whole sites shut down in fact. Social media accounts deleted. Radio stations off air for months. We never tried to say anything, best not to draw attention to ourselves. Because we were now raising this kid as our own. After hiding Yvette away long enough to fake a pregnancy. We now had a child. We named him Deon, after Dione, the Greek Goddess of Mystery.
And mystery continued with this kid. He never once uttered a word, not even a sound. We tried to teach him to speak, but it was almost as if he had no vocal cords. And he couldn’t really grasp a pen or pencil, so writing was out of the question. But this kid was so intelligent. He learned to communicate with us in his own way.
Two years after we found him, we had gotten him some animal toys. One evening we’re at the table and Yvette asks if we’re hungry and what we want for dinner. He places some animals on the table. I take a look. “We got a parrot, a couple zebras, an anteater… what’s that? A gazelle?”
“No, it’s an impala.” Yvette clearly was the zoologist among the two of us. “Look at the order he placed them in. Parrot, Impala, Zebra, Zebra, Anteater. P, I, Z, Z, A. Deon, do you want pizza?”
Deon began clapping and smiled with joy. This kid was beyond intelligent.
Four years after we found him, he started to incorporate the colored toy blocks we had given him. Red blocks meant he was mad, blue blocks meant he was sad. Orange and purple together meant he was happy. He never used orange or purple without the other. And yellow meant hungry. We saw the yellow blocks often.
But soon after this, we started to notice the decline in Deon’s health. He started to lose the ability to carry himself as he used to. Walking became a chore. He eventually needed a wheelchair. The doctors were baffled. It was as if his muscles were deteriorating, but his body makeup didn’t resemble that of known conditions and diseases. And as for the lack of speaking and his intelligence level, autism always came into the conversation, but then was usually dismissed as his brain scans showed no similarities to those with autism.
Deon was a conundrum. He was a mystery. And then we started to see a lot of blue blocks. Deon was sad.
It’s now roughly six years after we found Deon. His wheelchair helps him get where he needs to go. He’s gotten used to it. And he really does need it. He hasn’t stood on his own two legs in several months. Me and Yvette wake up this morning to find green blocks in the bed with us. One in my pillowcase.
“Green block again,” I groan. “Is that five days in a row?”
“In addition to the four days in a row last week.” Yvette replies, pulling a green block out of the pocket in her pajama pants. “I still don’t know what green means.”
We get up and cook breakfast. Deon wants Parrot, Anteater, Newt, Cat, Anteater, Kangaroo, Elephant, Snake. His favorite. And another favorite of his… his grandfather is coming over. Charles, Yvette’s father… he’s so good with Deon. When he arrives, he enters holding a green block like an awkward gift.
“After my last visit, I found this in my jacket pocket.” Charles explained. “Didn’t realize until I got all the way home.”
Yvette is laughing. “You got a green block too? He’s been putting them in our bed and our clothes for weeks now. We still don’t know what green means.”
“Maybe it means family.” Charles had a way of simply arriving to an answer without any effort. Deon began clapping and smiled.
“Green means family.” I looked to Deon and smiled. This mystery of a kid is too smart.
And then the next morning, 3:04 A.M. shaking and rumbling like I’ve never felt before… other than that dream six years ago. So, there was no dream. This is real. Yvette wakes up with me this time and we run into Deon’s room. He’s gone and his wheelchair sits by his empty bed.
We race to the front door, flinging it open, letting blinding, white lights splash upon us and fill our whole house. We shield our faces and squint through the light. And there, right in front of us, is a massive, rounded ship. The size of several houses. Glowing like a carnival at night. A door, wide open. We see silhouettes of… people? Human-like beings, but they are taller, proportioned differently. And one of them is holding Deon.
“Deon!” I scream as I start to run, but Yvette clutches my arm and holds me back.
“Wait!” She points at them. “Look.”
The being holding Deon is setting him down on the floor in the doorway of the ship. Deon stands on his own two legs with ease. Something we haven’t seen him do in quite some time. He waves to us. The others wave to us. The door shuts and the ship lifts off of the ground.
The white lights dim. Orange and purple lights alternate from the ship.
“Orange and purple… he’s happy.” Yvette wipes the tears from the corners of her eyes.
The lights stop again. The ship lifts higher. And then a glowing, vibrant green light beams down from every piece of the ship, forming one unwavering, and strangely calming green glow.
“Green.” I smile. “Green means family.”
The ship lifts higher and higher, rotating and spinning. And in the blink of an eye, it zips off towards the clouds, leaving just a green blip amongst a blanket of white stars.