OCTOBER 8TH, 12:22 AM (OCTOBER 7TH, 11:22 PM MOUNTAIN TIME)
Evan stood between both beds and stared down at his PSP, pressing its buttons, playing a game. “Stupid General Tauring. We all could have relaxed in the commons area.” He didn’t look up but kept his eyes focused on the game.
“Yeah, true.” Lang glanced at the clock on the wall. 11:22 PM, base time. “Remember, Colonel Stevens said they’ll be back at midnight. But you’re right. I don’t know why we had to go to our rooms.”
“Stupid general’s trying to keep us separated. We’re stronger together. We scare him.”
“Evan, please. Enough with the name-calling.”
Lang kept his eyes on Evan a moment. The game was being a distraction again, especially since being stuck in here. “But that is quite observant of you.”
Evan stopped playing. “I don’t know why, but I feel smarter lately. I notice more things too. Even though we’re not eating or drinking.” He looked at Lang. “You think it’s what they’re giving us, in our blood or something, whatever it is?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. The amazing thing to me is we’re never tired. And don’t need to use the bathroom at all.”
“It is really amazing. But I notice other things too, Dad.” Evan stepped closer and smiled. “I know why Robert treats you like that.”
“You do? Why?”
“You really…don’t know?”
Oh, all right. This was familiar; Evan often had this demeanor when Lang needed to be alone with Deidra. “Okay. We both know Kyleigh seems interested in me, but…but Robert--”
“He sees you as competition. He must think Kyleigh’s pretty. I do. And you’re a handsome guy, Dad.”
“Thank you, son. But…well…” Memories of beautiful Deidra filled Lang’s mind. No. Not now. Yet the tears were unstoppable; a weak stream trickled at first, but then an overflowing pool. “No!” Lang turned away and jumped off the bed. He walked over to the empty white wall opposite the beds and shut his eyes tightly, forcing the tears to stop.
“Dad, are you all right?”
Covertly, Lang snuck in his hand, closest to the wall, from the hull’s arm enclosure and moved it upwards until he wiped his eyes free of tears. He put his hand outward so the hull formed around his arm again. He turned and faced Evan. “Yes, I’m all right.”
Evan frowned. “Dad. No, you’re not. See, look at you. I know you just started crying. You’ve been doing better but why keep fighting this? Kyleigh is a really nice lady. And besides, I’m totally okay with it.”
“No.” This was going to be solved right now. “We need to work together, all of us. We need each other, especially us guys. If what you say is true, and I think it is, then I’m avoiding her.”
“But she likes you, Dad. She doesn’t like Robert.”
“No, it’s all right,” Lang said, shaking his hand up and down, walking away from Evan toward the corner of the room across from the sliding doors. “I don’t want this problem with Robert any longer. Besides, they should be together. They’re from the same country.”
“But, didn’t you hear me? She doesn’t like him!”
“You don’t know that for sure.”
“Dad, look at me.”
Lang ceased shaking his hand up and down and stood still, keeping his eyes on Evan. “Yes?”
Evan stepped closer. “I know I asked you this before, but you never answered. What exactly did you pray before this whole thing started? I mean, you felt that your prayer started all of this.”
“Why…why do you want to know?” Yet he didn’t want to lie to Evan.
“Akina said she prayed to have the Savior take her now. That means she wanted to die. Is that what you and Kyleigh prayed too?”
Lang let out a trembling sigh. “Evan…I’m…I’m not up to discussing this now.”
“It’s okay,” Evan said sadly, turning away. “I understand.”
An important, clever thought hit Lang. “But how about this. You tell me what happened after you passed through that wall, and I’ll tell you my prayer. Deal?”
Evan exhaled a gush of breath and leaned against the side of his bed. His short height in relation to the bed was something Lang could never get used to. “I don’t know. But can you tell me something?”
“Sure.” Lang walked over and sat down on the bed near him.
“Are you sure Major Ko promised Dr. Maplen that they won’t use nuclear reactions or particle accelerators on the hull vehicles?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure they settled it, but I can’t say for sure. I didn’t actually hear it from them.”
“I don’t believe it.” Evan inhaled deeply and shivered a moment. “Dad, I’m just gonna say this. We need to get together with the other hull people.”
“How? We can’t. They wanted us to stay in our rooms until they come at midnight.”
“I’m ready to discuss it now, your deal, and we all need to hear it.”
“Really? Right now?”
Evan thrust himself forward and walked over to the white wall opposite the sliding doors. He placed his hull-covered hands against it. “I’m going through.”
“Evan…what?” Lang stood up. “Now, wait a minute. Maybe my last prayer fixed things. Maybe there won’t be another decrease event, so we don’t need to worry about those nuclear and accelerator experiments.”
Supporting himself with his hands on the wall, Evan lowered his head very low. “I’m sorry, Dad, but you’re wrong. There will be more decrease events.”
“And how could you possibly know that?”
“I’m not sure, but I just do.” Evan lowered his right arm and looked back. “You went through that pool wall. And our Suburban went through walls. And I did too that time.” He erected himself upright. He used both hands and pressed on the wall in different spots. “So…I wonder, if I can now.”
None of this was feeling right. Evan was acting totally different. “Evan. You remember what Deuteronomy 18 says? How we are to avoid magic, spirits, all that’s related to psychic things?”
“Yes, Dad. I remember.” Evan pressed the wall a few more times in random spots, but the outer surface of his hull-covered hands just lightly grazed against the wall’s surface, as would normally be expected; his hands weren’t sinking in, at all. He lowered them. “But I think…we’re in far too deep now, in everything psychic, to not do whatever we can to help ourselves. Dad. Think about it. Our survival depends on it.”
Lang walked over near him. “Yeah…I suppose you’re right, regrettably. But walking through walls? Is that a good idea? I don’t think you should do it.”
“I don’t agree, Dad.” Evan stared at the wall a moment. He lifted his arms toward the wall, but then lowered them. Then he lowered his head, not saying a word, concentrating deeply it seemed.
Wrong on so many levels, this felt, watching Evan struggle to sink into a wall. His gut wrenching, Lang drew closer, until about a foot from Evan’s right side so the repulsion wouldn’t kick in.
Evan relaxed his arms by his sides. He looked at Lang. “Remember. We’re not really here.” He faced the wall again and began stepping forward.
Speed in his motion, Evan walked into the wall and just sunk right into it, his hull-covered figure vanishing into a solid white motionless pool.
“Evan, no!” Lang reached out for him, but his own hull-covered hands could only slam against the wall. “Evan! Wait!” His words came loud. He quickly looked back at the door, but no one had entered their room. He turned forward and stared, helpless, at the wall once more.
Evan was gone. Again.