Isaac woke up abruptly from Unknown number one slapping his face to wake him.
“Ergh what time is it?” he asked, just just as the sun came over the horizon.
“Time for you to wake up,” was the alien’s reply. He was back in human mode, wearing his shades. “Now come. This is your parents house, I believe?”
“You are leaving me here?” asked Isaac.
“Yes,” replied Unknown number one.
“You know, I never caught your name. I’m guessing it’s not ‘Unknown number one,’” said Isaac.
“No, it’s not.” Unknown number one gave a slight smile. “It’s Shadowscale. And as for your name, there’s no need to introduce yourself; I know that you are Isaac Johnson.”
Isaac looked at his parent’s house. He hadn’t seen them for so long. They never approved of him joining I.S.U.E. “It’s a cool organization! And I’ll be making 50k bucks a year, which is a lot of money for a kid my age. What’s wrong with that?” he had asked.
“I don’t trust these guys. Extraterrestrials? Don’t be ridiculous. You’ve got your head in the clouds, son. Besides, what kind of government agency hires fourteen-year-olds?” had been his Dad’s response.
Isaac was sixteen now, and he realized that it had really been two years since he had seen his parents. Why didn’t I visit? He pondered. He answered his own question. Because you knew that they disapproved. You couldn’t bear to face them. You told yourself that you didn’t have the time.
Isaac had been living in an apartment nearby the underground I.S.U.E. bunker since he got the job. He again thought about what his Dad had said. “What kind of government agency hires fourteen-year-olds?” Well, his Dad had been right. His dream job of course had a catch, meaning the founder, Donnovan Gaver, was some sort of extraterrestrial psychopath who wanted to take over the world to enslave humanity and at the same time stop pollution.
Isaac of course wanted pollution to stop, but like Shadowscale had said earlier to Donnovan: “This planet can be fixed, but cruelty and force is not the answer.”
“Isaac,” said Shadowscale, adjusting his sunglasses.
“Yeah?” asked Isaac.
“Don’t tell your parents, or anybody really, about all of this. Donnovan might kill them to keep information from leaking out into the world,” Shadowscale told him.
“What about me?” asked Isaac. “Won’t he, um, kill me too for knowing this stuff?”
“Probably. I’ve got some saving business to do, and you would just be in the way. When I’m done saving Melissa Remington, the other scientists, and any other prisoners, I’ll come right back here to pick you up,” explained Shadowscale. “But in the meantime, lie low, and don’t cause any sort of commotion or anything that would get attention.”
“I wasn’t planning on it,” Isaac told him.
“Good. Now, I’ll see you in a few days.”
Isaac watched as Shadowscale zapped upward in a flash of electricity. Then Isaac turned around and walked up the driveway to his parent’s house. The house was not the nicest house, but at the same time it was not the worst. There was nothing special about it; just plain white paneling and a neatly-mown yawn. He looked up at the garage and saw that a certain broken window still hadn’t been fixed. He arrived at the front door, paused before ringing the doorbell, sighed, and then tentatively pushed the button, hearing the ding-dong! inside the house.
The door opened, and his Mom stood there. Isaac and his mother just sort of stared at each other awkwardly. What do I say? wondered Isaac. I’ve been away for just two years, and already my own mother seems like a stranger? What is this?
His mother ran up to him and wrapped him in a hug. He stood there and tentatively hugged her back, though he generally disliked physical contact.
“Isaac?” asked his mother. “Did... something happen? Were you fired?”
Isaac heard hopefulness in her voice even though she tried to hide it. He answered; “No, I quit the job because of, well… it’s classified, actually. I can’t say.”
“Oh. I won’t ask then,” she said, though she sounded relieved that he had quit.
“You do know that I’ll take the next investigator job opportunity that becomes available, right?” he said to her.
“Or you could get a less dangerous job,” she offered.
Isaac sighed. He knew that his mother still thought of him as her little baby boy.
“Anyway, would you like to come in? Your bedroom was made into a storage room, but we can take all of the stuff out,” she said.
“I guess,” he mumbled. He walked in, and stared around. He felt a strange feeling of nostalgia from seeing his parent’s house again after two years.
“How’s school?” she asked. “You’re still in school, right?”
“I was in the special I.S.U.E. training program. That was my school. I completed it about three months ago,” Isaac said. He chatted with his Mom some more, and then walked up to his old bedroom and sat on the bed next to the box of baby toys sitting there. He heard a ding, and looked at his phone. Jeez, Josh, really? he thought, seeing the billion or so texts from his popular friend. Half of them were Josh asking if Isaac was there or if he had died or something.
Yes, I’m alive. I was just a tad busy. Isaac wrote.
Busy wth what? came an almost instant reply.
Work. Isaac tapped.
Yeah, right. U never tell me about this “work” of yours. I’m not buying yur whole “government classified” excuse.
Well, I just quit my job. Happy now?
Yes. Now u have no excuse to not show up at my parties.
Isaac didn’t reply. He sighed. It would be hard to live life like normal after all that had just happened.
His phone got another notification, and he saw another text from Josh. It read, bty I actually do have a party planned this evening at 10 pm. U better come. And try not to be too late.
Isaac collapsed backwards on his bed, using the stack of old magazines as a pillow. He was really tired and didn’t want to have to talk to a bunch of Josh’s acquaintances at another crazy party. He’d much rather just lay there in bed and take a nap for the whole day.
I should really stop letting Josh drag me to party after party, he thought. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any good excuse other than ‘It’s been a long night and I’m tired,’ to avoid the inevitable. Isaac internally grumbled a bit more and then decided to take a nap anyway, albeit a short one, because he still had the whole day to wait until ten o’clock in the evening. He didn’t know why he was so tired; after all, he had just slept a few minutes ago on Shadowscale’s back. Then again, before then he had been up all night for the last couple days working for I.S.U.E.
Isaac set his alarm for 7 pm and promptly fell asleep among all of the magazines and boxes of toys.