|| All My Aliens-Sci-Fi Soap Opera #86|
Al burst into his grandparents house, almost unable to contain his excitement. The dogs and Barbara were right behind them.
“Guess what?” Al asked, as he half-crashed into his grandfather’s hug. “It’s a big surprise, Grandpa Joe! We’re all going on vacation! Can you believe it, isn’t it great? It’ll be a lot more fun than summer camp!”
His grandmother got the next hug, “Better start packing, Grammie!” Al told her. Barbara’s mother, Amy, looked at her daughter with a question in her eyes. Barbara nodded, solemnly, with a forced smile as she glanced at Al. Her mother didn’t ask any questions, but gave Al a quick kiss and started gathering the suitcases. She wasn’t sure what this was about, but she could read her daughter, and knew that something was afoot...
Outside, Dave asked Bard where they were heading. Bard replied, “Well, you my friend, are heading back.” Before Dave even had a chance to raise an objection, he was told, “We are all in danger, but Barbara and Al most of all. My sister, Bird, has arrived on Earth, and though we have not spoken, she is extremely worried, and for some reason, uncomfortable with our fellow agents. I am not sure why.”
Dave swallowed his disappointment, and asked, “What can I do? Will Shadow stay with Barbara? He will protect them with his life, we both know that!”
Bard outlined his plan. Dave was to return quickly, taking the car with him - too many knew that car, other transportation would be provided here. At the earliest opportunity, Dave was to single out and speak to Bird, and Bird alone, explaining Bard’s delay and the relocation of the Earth agent and her family. Everyone, absolutely everyone else, Bard emphasized, was to believe that Barbara and Al were at his grandparent’s farm.
“Leave quickly, my friend,” Bard advised, “get as far from here as you can.”
“Do I get to say goodbye?” Dave asked. Bard looked about to refuse, but then nodded once, his urgency for Dave to be away, clear on his face.
“I’ll make it quick!” Dave promised as he bolted into the house. Giving Barbara a quick kiss, he introduced himself to her parents, and gave Shadow a pat. “Bard’s sending me off on an errand, Barbara, I’m not sure how long it will take ... Have fun everyone, I’ll catch up as soon as I can,” Dave had to yell the last couple words, as he was already out the door.
Barbara tried to put a brave face on it, but her mother started packing more quickly, while asking, “How much money will we need? Do we have time to head to the bank?”
“No mom,” Barbara answered, “I do believe it’s all being taken care of. And here is my good friend, Bard, now – he’s making all the arrangements for us. I’m not sure how much he will tell us now, though, he seems intent on keeping it a surprise.”
Bard bowed formally to Joe and Amy, “It’s very nice to meet you both. You have a wonderful daughter and grandson, I am sure you are proud of them.”
Bard then suggested that they all pile into the old school bus sitting in the field, as soon as they were ready. Barbara’s father, Joe, couldn't stop himself from laughing out loud, as he commented incredulously, “Why that old thing hasn’t run in years, we aren’t gonna be going anywhere in that!”
Bard laughed too, a warm, infectious laugh, “Well I do admit to having done a little tinkering – I think you will find that it will do the trick. I’ll even drive!”
The packing was finished, as least as well as it could be, since Amy had no idea what she was packing for. She called to Joe, and asked him to carry the suitcases out. Barbara was transferring her own and Al’s stuff into the bus, with Shadow and Silver already on-board.
Al and his grandparents found a seat on the old bus, and moments later, heard the old engine roar to life. Grandpa Joe remembered being surprised, despite Bard’s assurances, but nothing else of the trip. Later he and Al joked that they must have been pretty tired to have fallen asleep so quickly, because the next they knew the bus was stopping outside a lake-front house. There were other homes not far away, but none on top of each other. What town or state they were in was not at all evident.
Barbara’s mother didn’t remember the ride either, not even the engine of the bus starting, but said nothing. One look at her daughter, kept Amy, once again, from any comment. She couldn’t wait to find out what this was really about, and that would be at the very first opportunity that presented itself.
“Can we go check it out?” Al asked, “This place looks great!”
“Go ahead, Al,” Barbara responded, “just stay close by, and take Shadow or Silver with you, okay? Wouldn’t be wanting you to get lost as soon as we arrive.”
Al laughed and sped around to the back of the house, Shadow and Silver right behind him, moments later they were heading down to the edge of the lake. Grandpa Joe helped bring in the suitcases, then announced that he was going outside to keep an eye on Al. Joe wanted to check the place out too, besides he wasn’t so dense as to not realize something was going on, but figured he leave it to Amy. His wife could get just about anything out of Barbara, once she knew a secret or mystery existed.
Alone with her daughter and Bard, Amy asked, “Okay, so what’s really going on here? I don’t want to hear any more stories, this isn’t just a surprise vacation!”
To be continued...
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