The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 17

Friday, August 11th, 6:05 AM

Casper, WY


Thin rays of bright, orange sunlight escaped through the spaces beneath the curtains, settling on Evan’s chest, gently influencing him to stay awake.

Ugh. Those dreams. He couldn’t recall them exactly, now, but many were of Syrrah, of course, and how he wanted so badly to be with her. But obstacles, massive obstacles were always in the way. He moved around until he could reach his phone on the floor. He picked it up and removed the charger. He looked at the screen through sleepy eyes. It was early, 6:05 AM.

But from his position on the rollaway, near the room’s table dresser and their locked entrance door, he could see, hear Freddy and Neraeh yet sleeping, even with the air conditioner softly running.

Before attempting to get out of bed without waking them, he felt his left forearm. It was hurting some, but only slightly. He looked at the injury spot. Weird. Barely a bruise. Really? Maybe turning 18 just meant stronger healing. He smiled to himself.

He then slowly, methodically tried to sit up without the darn rollaway creaking a rusty spring with every movement he made. It was next to impossible.

Finally he was sitting up completely, his feet on the floor. He turned to see Neraeh and Freddy. Yes! His battle with the rollaway had not disturbed them. He focused only on Neraeh. She was sleeping on her right side, her hands hidden under the blanket, her knees bent up slightly toward her body’s center. Her pretty face, her soft hair, her quiet breathing presented a peaceful, beautiful image. If only she wasn’t convinced Syrrah was within Dana Zypher, if only she was truly the only connection left of Syrrah, and if only he didn’t feel the obligation to get back with Heidi, well, then, Neraeh would be in trouble. He would pursue her until he won her, even if it were easy, given her attraction to him already.

But that darn experience, of seeing Heidi, or any other girl possibly in the future, as Syrrah. Some form of mental illness? Dear God, hopefully not. Or maybe, just bereavement, like Dad. Even Limati’s influence would be a better option.

All of it. Just a complicated mess.

So. The plan he had conjured up while driving back yesterday, the plan he just couldn’t tell them. He was torn for sure on what to do. Leave them both here, with no guarantee of their safety, though Freddy’s defense skills, his gun disarms, were much better than most fighters, or simply not do this at all? But more than ever, he needed someone to talk with, and not Alan, Rob, Nahas, or Dad, but someone else. Especially someone who possibly had an even better understanding of military paranormal events than any of the hull people, including himself.

He stood up. If anything happened to him, and the Ram was gone too, Neraeh’s dad or Freddy’s mom could come get them both.

This just had to be done.

After quietly putting on his shorts, T-shirt, socks, and hiking boots, since he had made sure to leave them on the floor by the rollaway, he took his phone and headed toward the door. His keys and wallet were already in his shorts pocket.

He grasped the door handle. He quietly turned the knob. It barely made a sound. He opened the door, and again no creaking or any other noise. This was going far too smoothly. He began stepping outside.

“Evan! Wait!”

He froze in his steps. Yup. Far too smoothly. It was inevitable.

He turned back. Neraeh was rushing over to him, looking way too good in that tan T-shirt and grey shorts.

“Where are you going?” she asked quietly, once near him.

“Hey!” It was Freddy. “What’s going on? Wait for me.”

Evan walked back inside and closed the door. He crossed his arms over his chest, leaned against the door and looked at them. “I didn’t want to take you guys. You were both sound asleep. How do you wake up so easily?”

“I wasn’t sleeping that well,” Neraeh said. “Too much on my mind, like you. You were going to see Art, and didn’t want to take us. Am I right?”

Evan sighed. “Yeah, yeah. You’re right. I need to find out what they know.”

“Dude, really? Come on, man,” Freddy said. “We need to discuss this first!”

“All right, all right. I know.”

Yanked back from his attempt, he waited. Freddy and Neraeh each made quick visits to the bathroom and got dressed. Evan used the bathroom too. He then led them outside to the Ram. Neraeh sat up front like usual, and Freddy in the back but leaning forward. Evan kept the windows up, since the cool, morning Wyoming air was in the 50s.

“Okay. I have an idea,” Evan said. “I am going to call them, but I want to meet somewhere public, very public. If they can’t handle that, then all bets are off.”

“Yeah, but dude,” Freddy said. “If they’re worried about other people hearing this stuff, which they most likely will be, given these types believe MIBs are just around every corner, I don’t think they’re gonna like that.”

“Well, then, I won’t meet with them. I’m calling their bluff. If they are seriously interested in talking to me, then they’ll make the effort and the arrangements to do so.”

“I like that,” Neraeh said. “Don’t go visit with them if the terms aren’t right.” She was quiet a moment. “Wish we could still attempt to visit with Dana. You sure they said she was heading out right after the concert?”

Evan looked at her carefully, though he tried not to be obvious. With Syrrah so deep in his mind, he wondered if he would see her, today, in Neraeh. But thankfully, he didn’t. “That’s what one of the tour managers said, when I asked. She was leaving for Denver ASAP, but the rest of the tour roadies were remaining behind, like Carter. He is still supposed to be there today, at least in the morning for a while. And don’t forget, she’s scheduled to play in Minneapolis near the end of September.”

“So,” Freddy said, “have you decided to try for the security job?”

“Yes. I think I will.”

“You sure, dude? Like we talked. Football. Bob’s. Master Ren. Plus, we got those possible gigs coming up too. Never mind your dad totally freaking out, and toss Oz and Randal into that freak-out mix too.”

Evan chuckled a bit, thinking about those two goofy dudes. “Yeah. I know. Oz especially. My dad, well, he needs to let me be an adult now. I am eighteen.” He lifted his phone. “But we can discuss it later.” He searched in his image gallery for Art’s business card Neraeh had sent him. He memorized the number. He entered it and placed the phone to his ear. He put a finger to his lips. “Shhh. It’s ringing.” 

After about five rings, a man’s voice answered. “Hello?”

Evan recognized the voice as Art. “Hey. This is Evan, you know, the guy you’ve been following. I was wondering if we could meet.” 

“Sure. No problem. What do you have in mind?”

“We meet at a restaurant, discuss things.”

“Cannot do that, Evan. We need to meet in a private location.”

Evan eyed Freddy, who was silently mouthing ‘I told you so’, since the phone call was loud enough for all of them to hear. “Fine,” Evan said. “Then forget it.” He was in the process of swiping to end the call when he could hear Art say ‘wait, I have an idea…’ But the call ended completely.

“Well,” Neraeh said, “you tried.”

“Yup. The decision was made, then. I’m not meeting with--”

Neraeh gasped.

“What’s wrong?”

She was staring out Evan’s driver’s side window. “Evan.” She lifted her hand slightly and pointed in that direction.

He looked out his window and jolted back. Art was standing right there, outside, staring at him. “What in the f-ing hell?” He pressed the window’s control button and let the glass down about a third of the way. “Why the hell are you here? I just told you I don’t want to meet with you.” 

“We need to talk.” Art glanced toward their motel room door. “We should go inside.”

“Hey. What did I tell you? We need to meet in a public place. You refused, so we’re leaving now.” Evan took hold of the key, already in the ignition at the accessory position and turned it to start up the engine. Instantly he knew something was wrong; the engine did not turn over at all. “What the…what is this?”

“Why won’t the Ram start?” Neraeh asked, her voice unsteady.  

“Dude,” Freddy said quietly, “why won’t it start?”

“Need some help?”

Evan looked at Art. “I don’t need your help.” He pressed the window’s button, to close it up.

But the glass would not rise. A sudden system-wide electrical problem?

Evan pressed on the button again, and again. He made sure the key was in the proper position for the window to work, and it was. But the window would still not rise.

Freddy and Neraeh tried their windows, but it was the same – they could not get the glass to budge at all.

This was insane! Evan attempted starting up the Ram again. Nothing. He tried several more times. But again, nothing would occur. No sounds. No turning over. Nothing at all.

Art drew closer to Evan’s window. “You know, when your father, Lang, wouldn’t embrace Kyleigh right away, after she ran into your hull enclosure, in your room, in Tauring’s underground base, this really bothered you. Didn’t it, Evan.”

Evan, speechless, stared directly into Art’s black eyes. This was impossible. He hadn’t told Art about this, nor had Freddy.

Art was not deterred one iota by Evan’s intense stare. He smiled, and kept his gaze locked with Evan’s. “And, I have to say. It would have made me feel really great, to have watched Tauring’s face break apart into millions of pieces. After all the damage he has caused in so many people’s lives? Yes. I would have loved to see this too.”

Few people knew about that. MOTC never posted it online. Okay, Evan realized, Art must also be behind the Ram’s untimely electrical issues. “Yeah, I bet you would. With your apparent abilities, why haven’t you done something similar, already? Sounds to me like Tauring is still alive.”

“Because there are those with greater powers who can protect him.” Art shifted his head back slightly, tilted to the side, and stared at Evan with curious eyes. “But no one that I know of ever had the powers that you had, Evan.”  

“What is he talking about?” Neraeh asked.

Evan didn’t answer her. He continued to stare at Art. “What do you want from us?”

“As I revealed earlier, Kamal, and I, have felt a force, a positive, guiding force, bringing us to you. We need to talk, that is all.”

Movement from behind Art caught Evan’s eye. Kamal was walking between some parked vehicles and heading toward Art.

Kamal arrived and stood to Art’s left. “We wish you no harm,” Kamal said. “We only want to talk.”

“Okay.” Evan rested one arm on the steering wheel. “Talk. I’m listening.”

“We should not talk here,” Art said. “Not only for your safety, but for ours.”

“Give me a break,” Evan said. “With those large goons following you around? You have protection.”

“They are only some protection, and only in the physical world,” Kamal said. “We still need to take precautions.”

“Okay, then. I don’t want to talk anymore.” Evan seized the Ram’s key and turned it. Nothing occurred. The starter would not make a sound. He looked at Art and Kamal. “Remove the electrical block, or I’m calling the police.”

The left side of Art’s mouth curled up in a smirk.

But Kamal sighed and his eyes saddened. “Your cell phones are disabled too. You can’t call anyone.”

“He’s right,” Freddy said, planting his phone on the middle compartment. “Completely dead.” Evan could see that. The screen was black. And no lights were blinking around the edge at all. “Can’t turn it on.”

“My phone too,” Neraeh said quietly. “Evan, I want to leave here.”

Evan felt that uncontrollable heat, that burning rage building within. “I’m about to step out of this truck and take both you guys on, goons or not.” Some nearby motel customers stopped walking and turned back, staring at Evan and the rest of this situation. Good.

Art placed his fingers on the outside bottom rim of the door’s window but didn’t draw too close. “All right. We will leave. You can go.” His eyes focused on Neraeh. “But as to the ultimate question here? Yes. I have felt it. Kamal has felt it. Your sister Syrrah is still alive.” He turned away, along with Kamal, but then stopped and looked back. “Another thing. We are not secretly working for the government. Far from it. We do not want to hurt you. I hope you will think about this some more. We really need to talk.” He stepped on the sidewalk in front of the motel doorways, following Kamal, both men heading back in between the parked vehicles until they were out of Evan’s sightline.

But Evan kept his eyes scanning like a hawk. He twisted around until he could see them walk toward the side of the parking lot near the highway. And then he saw their van. They approached their van, got inside, and the van drove off, heading towards the motel’s front exit on the other side of the building.

“I didn’t see their goons out and about this time,” Freddy said. “What the hell just happened?”

“Lord knows what just happened.” Evan lifted his phone. He pressed the home button. It was on now. “Are both your phones on too?”

“Wow, yeah,” Neraeh said, handling her phone. “I can’t believe this.”

“Mine’s on,” Freddy said.

Evan grasped the Ram’s key and turned it. Instantly the motor started up, like it always had done. He pressed the button to close his window. It worked like normal too. He sat back into his seat and looked at Neraeh and Freddy. “Yeah. I can see why the government wants them.”

“Or, they are the government,” Freddy said.

“That thought passed by me too,” Evan said. “And hence Art’s attempt to deny it.”

“I’m literally in shock,” Neraeh said. “First that disappearing card, and now these…these supernatural, paranormal events. And what he said about Syrrah. How could they even know, her name, or anything about her?”

Evan gazed into her pretty blue eyes. “Neraeh. Are you all right, hon?”

“Yes, yes, I’m fine. I don’t mean I’m going into shock physically, just feels that way mentally.”

“I know what you mean.” Evan inhaled a deep, quiet breath and stared out the window toward their motel room door. “Either they were directly responsible for Syrrah, or they truly can read our minds. And, after what Art said about me, and how much he knows about a timeline that never existed in our current universe, we better hope they’re not from the government.”