It was the year 1997. Daniel was playing in the fields behind his house with his best friend and neighbor Emma. They were both 9 years old and had been born on the same day. Their houses were out in the Texas suburbs. Actually, a little farther out than that, where there was actually room between houses. Daniel's family was having a get together for his birthday and Emma was there too, since she was also celebrating his birthday along with her own. After they had finished with the traditional singing, blowing out of candles, and eating cake, it was time for presents. Emma received a few as well. Daniel's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Reinham had just handed him a box. He could tell by the style of box under the wrapper that it was nothing that came in a box from the store. Which meant, it was probably clothes. Daniel didn't like receiving clothes as gifts because it was just a utilitarian object. It was something you had to have, much like toilet paper. He would have rather received some kind of high-tech gadget. As he opened the box and saw the fabric inside, he pretended to be happy and pulled out a jacked. His mom said, "Daniel, it is going to be getting cold soon and your old jacket is falling apart." He replied "Thanks mom. Its just what I needed." He placed it back down on the picnic table and proceeded to open more presents with much of the same. On the other hand, Emma opened a present and received a new jacket as well. Only she was very excited about it and gave Mrs. Reinham a hug. She tried it on immediately and spun around in it as if trying to see herself in a mirror that wasn't there.
Splash! Emma had unexpectedly been hit by a water balloon out of nowhere. It took her a moment to realize what had happened and recover from the shock created by the cold temperature of the water. She screamed while she shivered from the cold. She looked around for the culprit and noticed everybody else seemed to be looking around as well. Then all eyes seemed fixed on Daniel who was almost hidden behind a tree. Emma looked down and noticed a cooler with pre-made water balloons. She picked one up and started to chase after Daniel with full intent for revenge. He started to retreat towards the woods behind their house. Emma followed with balloon in hand. Much unintelligible screaming was heard as they raced off. Daniel had hidden behind
a tree with another water balloon in hand. Emma was walking carefully through the woods, as she didn't know if he was still armed or just hiding. She heard the crack of a stick and started heading that way. As she approached the tree where Daniel was hiding, he jumped out and lobbed the balloon at her, soaking her again. As he laughed, she retaliated and soaked him. They both laughed for a few more moments and finally just started to walk down the path. Daniel said, "Do you want to go back?" She replied, "In a bit, lets just walk a while until we dry off."They approached a dry riverbed that was famous in the area of town because it has fossilized dinosaur tracks in it. It has also been the subject of much debate since it also has human footprints too. As they walk across the rocky remains, Emma
casually says, "My parents say this is proof that humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs. They say this stuff only hardens once and so whatever prints are in here must have happened at the same time." Daniel replies defensively, "Well, my dad is a scientist and he thinks that is rubbish. He says the dinosaurs lived millions of years before humans and that these tracks are either some other animal or were added at a later time." He places his foot down inside the fossilized footprint. His foot is much smaller than the footprint. Of course he is only 9 years old, and small for his age. “Look, these footprints don't even have toes,” said Daniel. Emma shakes her head and says "Well, the water would have eroded the details away by now." After a short pause, she stands in the dinosaur print and says, "I wonder what kind of dinosaur left this print." Daniel replies, "I think I heard somebody say it was a triceratops."
Daniel looks up and says, "Do you hear that?"Emma replies, "Hear what?" Daniel looks around for a minute. His eyes are squinted and his head tilted. "Somebody is calling my name, but it is not coming from my house. I think it is coming from this way. Do you hear it?" Another pause goes by and Emma replies, "No.. I hear somebody calling my name - And it is coming from this way!" Both kids start to trek off to see what it is. An argument ensues "No. I'm sure it is my name! -- No! Emma doesn't sound anything like Daniel. It can't be your name." They kept walking and listening. No matter how far they walked, the sound never seemed to change direction or get louder. At some point they come to a clearing and stopped. They looked forward and then looked towards each other again to see if the other saw the same thing. Daniel breaks the ice and says, "Do you see that?" Emma says, "What is it?" Daniel looks surprised and quickly interjects "Can't you see that?" Emma looks at him, "Of course I can see it. I
was asking what it is!" They each saw a circular moving light on the grass, pulsating. It was the size of a small swimming pool and had a pattern almost like waves in the water after chunking a rock into a pond. The two kids walked around looking all around for the source of the light. There were no trees above and nothing that could support any kind of light fixture. The kids walked around the perimeter and finally Daniel walked right into the circle. His heart raced, as he wasn't sure what was going to happen.
He stood there and looked around. Nothing happened. After a moment he said, "Something doesn't seem right here." Emma rolled her eyes and said "Yeah, there is a big blue light out in the middle of nowhere for no reason." Daniel suddenly realizes what is wrong. "No look! There is no shadow from my body and no blue light shining on me. That means the light is coming from underground." Emma looks up and says "Why don't you get your dad, he'll know what it is." "Yeah," Said Daniel, "Lets go get him."
As they were walking back over the old riverbed, they heard shouting. “Daniel! Can you hear me? Are you back there?” It sounded like his uncle. The kids started running and met up with his uncle, who was out of breath. He gasped for air and said “Quickly.. It’s your dad. Something is wrong. Hurry!” The kids picked up the pace a little bit. Then his uncle yelled, “No.. You have to run.” So they took off running. A few minutes later, out of breath, they arrived back at the remains of the birthday party. There was an ambulance there and Mrs. Reinham was crying. His aunt came up and gave Daniel a hug and said, “I’m sorry Daniel. The paramedics were too late. I’m sorry.” Daniel knew something bad had happened, but at this point he wasn’t sure what. Finally he blurted out, “What is going on?” His aunt knelt down and started talking to him as if he was 6 years old. “Well, they think your daddy had a heart attack. They tried CPR, but it was too late.”
© Copyright 2016 David Murray. All rights reserved.
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