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Trinity, Part Three
A Four Visitors Story
Start at the beginning of the Four Visitors series
Tina and Nick walked into the light. In a few steps, the light was all around them.
"This isn't right." Tina stopped and turned back in the direction of the little roadside Catholic Church where they'd taken shelter. She wasn't looking at the church doors. She was looking down at the pavement.
Nick stopped. "What?"
"No shadows. This isn't how light acts. This is coming from every direction at once." Tina knelt down and held her hand close to the ground, waving it back and forth, testing the effect.
"It's like the air is glowing," she reported. "Unbelievable."
"Yeah, really. Let's just find Lindsey and get back indoors." Nick wasn't interested in the physics of whatever was going on. Besides, he figured you could expect some weirdness when you were in the middle of a close encounter of¡K. What kind of encounter was this?
"Fourth," Tina said as she jogged a couple of steps to catch up with Nick.
Nick stopped. "What?"
"Fourth kind. There's a movie coming out in the fall. It's about alien abduction. That's the encounter of the fourth kind. I mean we haven't been abducted, but Lindsey kinda¡K"
"No!" Nick cut off Tina's explanation. "How did you know I was thinking that?"
"You asked. Wait. You did ask, didn't you?"
Nick shook his head.
"Well, we were dating for a long time. I guess we just finally got to the stage where we were finishing each other's thoughts?" Tina didn't sound very convinced.
"Okay, what number am I thinking of right now?"
"Don't be a dick." Tina started forward again, and Nick picked up the pace to keep up with her.
They as they crossed the church parking lot, they noticed other effects of the eerie light around them.
Plants glowed like they were lit from within. Blades of grass along the curb shone like the fiber optic Christmas decorations that Tina's dad would spend a weekend every November stringing all over the lawn and porch.
Wildflowers were colored starbursts, fireworks hanging on green glowsticks.
Nick began to call out Lindsey's name when they reached the road. He turned to the right, away from their car and started walking. Tina let Nick take the lead and didn't question his choice of direction.
The light around them intensified as they moved. Nick moved his hand to shield his eyes, but put it back down when he realized it wasn't needed. He could see just fine. There was no strain on his eyes. He stopped and turned to face Tina. He could make her out just fine. But everything else was just plain white light.
"Nick! Tina!" It was Lindsey's voice.
"Did you„o" Nick started.
"Yeah. Heard it. That way." Tina moved toward what they guessed was the edge of the road. She was still holding a tire iron she'd grabbed from the trunk of Kev's car. She started using it like a cane, probing the ground as she crossed onto the shoulder.
"Be careful. It drops off." Nick followed as Tina stumbled and caught herself.
Tina sat down and started to scoot forward slowly.
"It's okay. I'm here."
"Lindsey?" Tina tried to look around.
Nick turned back toward the road. "Where are you, Lindsey?'
"I'm with you."
Nick and Tina realized it at the same time.
They weren't hearing Lindsey. Not with their ears.
Nick and Tina and Lindsey saw only white light. They knew only each other. But they knew everything.
The full contents of three minds as one. Their individual reactions were shadows, conflicting emotions pulling in different directions. Nick's mix of fear and fascination, the inability to turn away from something horrifying. Tina's analytical skepticism colored by faith, the confidence they would get through whatever this was. Lindsey's fascination and her guilt, her growing belief that there must be some purpose to what they were experiencing.
Their thoughts swirled together, and their memories as well. Secrets, fears, and desires laid bare while the mists of light swirled around them.
They were floating.
Our minds. Tina initiated the thought and they all embraced it. The floating sensation was their minds outside their bodies.
But when they began to fall, the sensation was suddenly quite physical.
The connection between them cut as they hit the ground hard.
Nick's football instincts kicked in. He hit the ground and rolled. It was dark. He looked up into the open sky to see lights shrinking away to be lost among the stars.
He could make out Tina a few feet away, holding her side and starting to get to her feet.
"No! Stay down!" He reached for her to pull her back to the ground, but she heard him and flattened herself in the dirt.
The beam of a spotlight swept over them.
Lindsey was lying a little way past Tina, and Tina crawled over to her.
Nick moved closer through the tall grass.
"Is she hurt?"
Tina cradled Lindsey, gently tipping her head back.
"Wind knocked out of her. I don't think anything's broken."
Lindsey made a few gulping breaths and was finally able to speak. "No. Nothing¡K broken."
"We need to keep it quiet. We've got company." Nick pointed back behind him. There were lights across the field, and they could make out trucks and a helicopter.
"Oh, shit." Tina looked around. "How did all this get here?"
"Where are we?" Lindsey asked. She was taking out her phone. She cupped her hand over it as she turned it on. "Hey, I've got a signal. Does that mean it's over, finally?"
"Maybe," Tina said. "You got GPS on that thing?"
"Yeah, let's see¡K the church should be right¡K" Lindsey stopped and scrolled the touchscreen.
"What?" Tina asked.
"God¡K We're¡K somewhere else."
"Where?" Nick moved closer to try to see the screen.
"Working on in." Lindsey zoomed out until the familiar map of the New England coast took shape.
"Wareham, Massachusetts," Lindsey announced.
"That's almost to the Cape. That's like three hours away. What time is it?" Tina got her own phone out and answered her own question. "It's just after eleven. Thirty. We left the prom around ten. Half an hour to drive out, half an hour mucking around in the parking lot and the church before Kev and Mandy showed up with that priest. Guys, this isn't possible. We're a three hour drive from where we were."
"Not explicable," Nick said. "That's what my brother always calls this weird shit. Not impossible, just impossible to explain."
"Without additional knowledge," Tina added.
"Finishing my thoughts again." Nick said it, and fell silent.
They all remembered at once. First the experience of their minds joined in the light. Then all the secrets came flooding back.
Tina suddenly turned to embrace Lindsey, and all three of them were crying.
Tina was still holding Lindsey when Nick turned his attention back to the field.
The lights of the military camp or whatever it was shone from beyond the tall grass where they had landed or been dropped. Beyond that was an open area crisscrossed by ditches. A cranberry bog.
"I'm sorry," he said to Tina and Lindsey. "We have to get moving. Anyone got a way out of here?"
"I have a brother at Mass Maritime Academy," Tina offered. "I think it's around here somewhere."
"Okay, that's a start. Let's get somewhere where there's a landmark he could recognize."
"What about them?" Lindsey gestured toward the lights.
"We're inside their perimeter. Gotta be or they would've found us by now. They're gonna want to keep people out, not in. Just need to slip away quietly."
Tina looked up from texting. "Okay. I'm gonna owe him big time, but Jack's on his way out here with our ride home. No questions asked. Yay for brothers, right?"
Nick rolled his eyes and kept his mouth shut.
They crawled through the grass, and into a little patch of woods and emerged into another cranberry bogs.
Tina looked back at the woods. "Run for it?"
They ran, crossing on the bog embankments. Halfway there the roar of a helicopter came from the other side of the woods. Lindsey started to turn and tripped.
"I got her! Stay down!" Tina turned and ran back as Nick dropped and rolled into the bog.
Lindsey was starting to get up and Tina tackled her down just as the lights of the chopper came over the trees. Tina held onto Lindsey in the mud as the helicopter passed overhead and flew off toward the east.
They made it to a road on the other side of the bog and started walking down it. They made it about a mile when a police car came around a curve fast, and hit his lights.
It was open fields on both sides of the road. No place to run.
The officer pulled around, parked his car, and approached them at a trot.
"Late to be out for a walk, folks? Everything okay?" He shone his flashlight from one to the next to the next, lingering on the muddy tux and prom dresses.
"We're waiting for a ride," Lindsey offered.
The cop, a young guy with the requisite buzz cut, looked them over again.
"Wait here, please." The words were a request. The tone was an order.
"Weird night," he muttered to himself as he walked back toward his cruiser. Just then another set of lights pulled up behind the police car.
"Evening, officer." The young man in the cadet's uniform approached a smooth confidence. "That's my kid sister there with her friends. Got ditched out in the woods by some idiots they were partying with. Her mom'll sure be grateful if she can get back home soon."
"Always getting his buddies out of trouble," Tina whispered.
For a few seconds the conversation between Tina's brother and the officer dropped to a whisper. Then the cop was giving his "don't let me see you making trouble around these parts again" lecture, and Nick knew it was over. He wondered if Jack had slipped the guy a fifty or just sweet talked him.
A few minutes later, they were in Jack's car heading west on I-195 back to Rhode Island. Tina reminded Jack of the no questions asked deal and Jack reminded Tina that she owed him one.
"Oh, I owe you plenty for this. I know it."
With Jack in the car, they didn't have much chance to talk on the ride home, and by the time they did get together the next morning, the whole town was buzzing about the rash of UFO sightings the night before.
A week later, the army would admit that they had been conducting a helicopter exercise that had gone off course due to a faulty GPS unit.
Tina, Nick, and Lindsey thought that there was probably a better explanation, and they were pretty sure that Father Salvi knew at least part of it.
But of course, Father Salvi had vanished before they'd even made it back to Danforth.
Story and image by Rick Silva, Copyright 2010