Something was wrong! Air was still. The house too quiet. Brady the neighbor’s obnoxious collie wasn’t barking outside.
Tim Madison rolled to the side of the bed and flicked on the table light. His desk, cluttered with astronomy magazines, math homework, and his eighth grade history book; the model airplane with the broken landing gear hanging by fishing line above his bed, his laptop computer, all looked normal. It was the walls. Ordinarily light-blue, they were red. He looked to the floor. The blue carpet had become black. Bright brown numbers on his digital clock beamed 6:15 A.M.
Weird, he thought.
He slipped from the sheets, stepped toward the door, and turned the handle slowly. Bedroom light threw his shadow across the hallway’s previously tan, now lime-green carpet. Formally white hallway walls were yellow.
“Greetings,” a low voice said.
Tim spun around. Fear soared up his spine. He tried to scream but a lungful of choked air came out. A creature a few feet taller than him, with a human body, beetle-like head, and claws instead of hands, stood wearing an all black jumpsuit.
“I will take you to our training facility where the Thispan Council arranged accommodations,” the creature said.
Tim’s heart banged against his chest. He backed against the wall and looked from side to side thinking which way to run. To his parent’s room? The bathroom? His muscles tensed. Should he bolt back into his own bedroom and slam the door shut?
“What?” he gasped. “Who are you?”
“I am Kiz,” the creature said. “The council sent me here because they have knowledge of dangerous events that will occur on your planet. I will teach you skills that most assures your success at preventing these events. This is your assignment.”
Tim gulped, pushing panic down. “I… I don’t understand.”
“You are the Earth’s galactic warrior. I will explain more once we are onboard the Skyru.”
“Our traveling device.”
“I can’t leave!” Tim thought of excuses. “What about school? I… I have a math quiz today and a history test on Thursday!”
“Your universe will only age for one minute while you are away. However, we cannot remain in this state of near timelessness for an extended period. We must reach the end of your universe before the hole connecting our two dimensions closes.”
Tim’s mind whirled. So much farfetched information was coming at him at once he felt dizzy.
“This is impossible!” he stated.
“As you will learn,” Kiz replied. “Nothing is impossible.”
Kiz turned and stepped down the hallway. The impulsive for Tim to follow him was enormous, as if being pulled by an invisible string. He felt compelled to go. And he did; down the stairs, through the yellow foyer, to the blue front door. Kiz turned the handle. Hinges creaked.
“We are experiencing problems with the colorization adapter on the time-stopper,” Kiz said. “The Council believes its function was second in importance to the urgency of your assignment.”
Tim barely heard him; most of his attention was absorbed by the site of the bizarre landscape. The early-morning neighborhood was frozen in time and everything tinted with the wrong colors. Everywhere he looked was something different and astonishing. Brady was blue and stood silent for once in his life with his nose glued to the ground. A few feet away, a green sparrow hovered motionless in midair. Grass on the front lawn was red. Neighbors’ houses were pink and blue instead of their usual browns and grays. Leaves on the spruce tree across the street were orange and its trunk was yellow.
“Unbelievable!” Tim gasped.
Kiz headed down the driveway and onto the sidewalk. Tim followed, completely awestruck at his surroundings. They passed an orange squirrel suspended in mid-scamper and another reared back on its hind legs. Brown bees poised above silver daisies. Mountains of green clouds dotted a milky-white sky. Wild-colored cars sat motionless amid the morning congestion around the construction in the right lane of Watson Street.
Sound like a cracking of the sky. A silver triangle about the size of a parking space and looking as thin as a pane of glass appeared overhead. Three thrusters one at each corner kept the ship hovering as a beam in the center shone down on him.
“What’s that?” Tim asked.
“The Skyru. Battle training begins now.”
Brilliant light flashed from the triangle’s underbelly and just like that, Tim found himself standing inside a wide, brightly lit, metal corridor that appeared to go on endlessly.
Kiz stepped forward. “Other galactic warriors are waiting for us in the main hall.”
“Others?” Tim’sbelly swooned with uncertainty. He held out his hands and backed away slowly. “I… I don’t think I’m ready for this! I mean, a few minutes ago I was asleep in my bed, and now… I mean… I don’t even know what’s happening?”
“To tell you more at this time will jeopardize your assignment and everything the Council has worked toward. You must learn your battle skills in the appropriate order for your training to be most effective. The fate of your world, perhaps all worlds, rests on you.”