Through the Flames 1-1 (Old Version)

Part 1 – The Discovery

Chapter 1 – Prophecy

“How many times do I have to tell you not to put your elbows on the table?” Timothy McLeon’s mom looked at him sternly. “It’s not good manners. You’re almost seventeen, for Pete’s sake!”

“I know, mom!” said Tim, looking at her indifferently. “I do it when I need to, but here it’s not really necessary.”

“Still, you should do it here too,” said his dad.

“Okay, but I still think it’s dumb.” Timmy finished his dinner quickly, then sat down in front of the TV and started looking for something to watch. But as he switched to the Food Channel, the TV suddenly began to show scenes that looked like they came straight from World War 3. The cacophony of screams, explosions, and gunfire was so loud that Tim almost had to cover his ears. Then, seconds later, the picture cut off and the sounds ended. Tim looked up slowly to see his mom standing next to the blank TV.

“Come on and help me with the dishes; you can finish those cooking shows later. I still can’t understand why you find them so interesting.”

Tim just stared at her blankly. Was she kidding? Cooking shows? “What do you mean, cooking shows? What are you talking about?” he asked, not quite sure what to say.

His mom looked at him strangely. “I think it was called Good Eats. I couldn’t really hear exactly what it was. Are you okay, though? You seemed kind of out of it when you asked me.”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said quickly. He got up and began to help his mom with the dishes. But try as he might, he couldn’t get the strange event out of his head. What could it mean? Did he just imagine it? If not, why didn’t his mom say something? He had to find out.

Once he finished the dishes, Tim went up to his room to finish his homework. He had a hard time concentrating. He kept thinking about the strange vision that he had apparently had. Finally, he finished the last problem. Closing his books, he started towards the bathroom, but stopped abruptly when he heard a huge explosion. Turning and looking out his window, he could only look in horror at the burning skyline of the city, rocked by massive explosions and the chatter of gunfire. Then, just as suddenly as the first one, the vision was gone, replaced with the usual sights of his neighborhood. He shook his head and got into bed, deciding he needed some sleep. With that, he dozed off into a peaceful sleep.

The next morning Tim walked into school feeling better than he had in a good while. No more strange visions had appeared, and he somehow felt stronger and more energetic. He saw his friends Matt and Ben talking excitedly in the corner of the classroom and walked over. “Hey guys” he said.

Matt spoke up. “Hey, Tim, how’s it going?”

“Never better.” he said. “What’re you talking about? You seemed excited about something.”

“It’s this,” said Ben, showing him a photocopy of an ancient-looking piece of parchment. “My dad’s an archaeologist, and he just found this a few weeks ago. The strange thing is that he determined the age to be several thousand years old, but it’s written in plain English. He can’t explain why the tests show such an old age, but he’s pretty excited about the whole thing. Here, read it.”

Tim took the paper and started to read to himself.

“When evils come and darken sky,
And unknown dangers threaten man,
Shall come a hero by and by
To rise and save with steady hand.

This prophecy shall make its way
Through ages long and hands unknown
To come to rest within the hands
Of destiny’s great Chosen One.

He shall be by his visions known,
Which others will not comprehend.
To him shall be the future shown
To help him conquer in the end.

Then two companions shall he seek
And search for secrets long forgot,
And only can these chosen three
Complete the quest and perish not.

To them shall be three weapons giv’n
Which like the moon at night doth gleam.
The stones within shall number sev’n
And like great diamonds they shall seem.

Then once again shall good prevail,
Brought forth by his unwav’ring hand.
And nevermore shall such a peril
Present a danger in the land.”

He finished and stared numbly at the paper. He couldn’t believe what he had just read. It couldn’t be! But it explained everything! “Can I take this copy? It’s really important.”

Ben responded, “But why -“

“Please? I can’t explain now. The fate of the whole world could be at stake!”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m serious! This morning – I’ll tell you about it later. Just trust me.”

Ben stared, a look of recognition and shock coming over his face. “You don’t mean -?”

“Yes, I do! If this piece of paper is true, then I’m -“

“What on earth is going on?” asked Matt.

Tim sighed in exasperation. “I’m the Chosen One!” He held up the paper. “Everything this paper said about the visions – I had visions this morning. They were terrible. I’m the only one who can stop them from happening.”

Matt looked at him for a few seconds blankly. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m serious. We have to -” Suddenly Tim seemed to stare at something in the distance. A strange look came over his face, one of surprise and horror. Just as suddenly the strange look was gone. Spinning around, he looked at the teacher who was walking into the classroom. “Miss Owens, turn on the TV, quick!”

It was Miss Owens’s tradition to let the students watch TV when they were waiting for school to start, but she always turned it on without being asked and was startled by Tim’s behavior. “Why the hurry? You do know I always turn it on when I get in.”

“It’s extremely important. It’s on Channel 43.”

“Okay, if it’s that important.” She walked over to the TV and turned it to channel 43, the local news channel. Tim watched intently for a few seconds, Miss Owens looking at him curiously. He seemed to be counting down, but to what?.

“Now!” he said.

Miss Owens looked at the TV, looking for something strange. The anchors were talking about some tax increases, but then they stopped. She could hear frantic yelling, like everyone in the news studio was in a panic. Then one of the anchors spoke up, his voice shaking badly. “We have just received word of a Code Red Emergency report in New York City. We will be temporarily relaying footage from a network that has correspondents at the scene in New York. Please stay tuned for more local news from WNCT, Piermont, New York.” The screen went blank for a second, then was replaced by CNN. The reporter was standing on the street amidst panicked citizens. He seemed remarkably calm among the frightened bystanders. “Just a few seconds ago, a scene unfolded that could have come straight from a science fiction novel. A fleet of strange aircraft of some sort simply appeared out of nowhere. We have so far been unable to identify them, although at the moment they seem to be passive. The President has issued a Code Red alert and advises citizens to stay in their homes and not panic. For now, let’s go to our newsroom for some footage. The initial event was captured by an NBC news crew running tests getting ready to film a segment in Central Park. We were able to capture most of what happened after that.” The screen switched to a view of Central Park. People were talking in the background. Suddenly a loud hum was heard, followed by a rapid series of strange popping sounds. People started shouting, and the camera swung upward. In the air were hundreds of strange-looking objects, with more appearing every second with blue flashes that seemed to accompany the popping sounds. The objects were triangular, were very narrow, appeared to have no engines, and made a high-pitched noise reminiscent of a jet engine. The view then changed to a close-up of the objects, showing that they seemed to be armed with what looked like lasers. Tim’s eyes widened, and he started to run out of the room.

“Where are you going?” asked Miss Owens.

“To the office!” he yelled. “Get as many people to the gym as you can, and fast! He disappeared out the doorway and ran down the hallway and into the office. Ignoring the stunned looks of the others in the office, he dove into the back room of the office, grabbed the PA mike, and powered up the system.

“What do you think you’re doing?” someone yelled, but Tim paid no heed. Instead he shut and locked the door and switched on the mike.

“Attention everyone, this is an emergency. Everyone needs to get into the gym right now. We need to shut the doors there in two minutes. If you don’t go, I’m not responsible for what happens. I repeat, everyone MUST get into the gym. Everything will be explained later.” Tim switched off the mike and unlocked the door, shoving it open and running through the hallways and into the gym. Only a fraction of the school had arrived so far. Miss Owens was there, arguing with two of the other teachers. She saw Tim and ran over to him.

“I got a few teachers here, but most of them think it’s a joke. What will happen if they’re not in here?”

“Trust me, you don’t want to know. They can be rescued, but it’s not easy to do. Apparently only I could have any hope of doing it.” Tim looked around the gym, then at his watch. “Everybody close the doors and lock them, now! Don’t let any light in! It’ll be over in under a minute!” The frightened students were all too happy to follow his directions. They waited a few seconds, then a high-pitched noise filled the room that got loud very quickly. Then a sharp buzzing sound like electricity replaced the humming, and a bright blue light could be seen through the cracks in the doors. The sound continued for about ten seconds, then stopped. The students looked at Tim, who nodded slowly. “Matt, Ben, I need you to come with me. The rest of you, get home and stay safe. I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but everybody within about ten miles of here has been turned into an animal. Call some relatives or something if you have to. Just don’t worry, everything will turn out fine. Do your best to stay out of sight in this area. I don’t think I need to say more.” As if to confirm the validity of his speech, a howl sounded outside the gym, followed by a rapid series of assorted animal noises. The students gasped and looked at the doors, afraid of what they would find on the other side. Tim looked at Matt and Ben and gestured at the back door, and the trio slipped out unnoticed and headed for Tim’s house.

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