Read Essence: The E.S.T. Org. Online
Authors: William Fernandez
“Good morning, Nicky.” His dad said on another sunny Saturday morning.
“Morning Mom, morning Dad,” Nicky said just waking up from the living room couch, his hair sticking straight up.
“So how was the couch?” asked Mom.
“It was okay I guess. And I’m sorry about the wall.”
“Don’t sweat it. Just think of our new hole as a cheap skylight, only … on the wall.” Dad was trying to make Nicky laugh and forget about last night.
But Nicky was still shaken and his dad could see it. He put his arm around him.
“I don’t know what’s after you Monkey, but I think whatever it is, you can stop them. You have some pretty amazing abilities now. Just remember how powerful you are and have always been. Maybe you don’t believe it now son, but some day you will.”
Nicky looked up and smiled at his father.
His dad tried to change the subject. “I know you have a special connection with animals. Why don’t we go to the animal sanctuary? Maybe you can communicate with some of the animals there.”
“Sure, sounds good to me,” Nicky replied.
After eating breakfast, a salmon omelet of course, Nicky and his dad jumped into the car and headed north. This drive was very different from the picturesque mountain roads their vacation provided. It was on a flat highway hugged by concrete barriers; the monotony was only broken up by the sporadic graffiti and aggressive drivers. They arrived at the sanctuary about forty minutes later, parking in the gravel lot next to the main building.
The Johnson Animal Sanctuary was a beautiful facility with hundreds of acres. Hundreds of animals are rehabilitated to be released into the wild. For some of the animals who can no longer take care of themselves, it became a permanent home.
The entrance was an unspectacular chain link fence with an old faded sign that said, “Entrance.” Behind the fence was a wondrous facility that got by on donations and a deep love for the animals.
Nicky was immediately drawn to an old grizzly bear in a large enclosure. The onlookers were amazed as the bear hobbled right up to the fence where Nicky stood. Nicky sat, and remarkably without saying a word, communicated with the bear just feet away. The bear told him all about his life and how a trap had permanently injured him and brought him to the sanctuary. It wasn’t really a conversation like two people would normally have; it was telepathic and without words. Still the ideas and images came across to Nicky. He felt a deep connection with the bear. A tear trickled down Nicky’s face. He felt badly for this beautiful bear; this bear who once roamed freely. But Nicky found some solace knowing this amazing place would always take care of him.
As the crowd grew, a volunteer appeared and was shocked by what he saw. It looked like the two of them were sitting and having a silent conversation. “Is that your son?” asked the volunteer.
“Oh, yeah, he really loves animals. He’s like the bear whisperer.”
“Well, I’ve never seen Blue behave this way.”
“Nicky just kind of has a way with animals. It almost seems like they talk to him,” Nicky’s dad laughed nervously.
“Amazing! Do you mind if he meets Mr. Johnson?” asked the volunteer.
“Really? Oh wow!” Dad exclaimed. “Nicky?”
“Would you like to meet the owner of the sanctuary?” Dad asked.
The volunteer got on his radio and in two minutes a short, bulky, jovial guy showed up. He was balding and wearing what all the other employees wore, jeans and a long sleeved button down khaki shirt with the sanctuary logo.
“Mr. Johnson, this is Gill and his son Nicky,” the volunteer introduced them.
“Nice to meet you!” Mr. Johnson went on to say, “They tell me Blue really likes you. I’ve never seen Blue get that close to the fence, and he’s been here almost five years.”
“Well, it’s pretty amazing what Nicky can do with animals,” Dad said.
“Can I give you two a personal tour?” Mr. Johnson asked.
Nicky just smiled.
“Absolutely!” Dad exclaimed.
They saw many different types of animals from raccoons to snakes and even a mountain lion. The animals didn’t react quite the same way as Blue did. But then Mr. Johnson took them to see Old Chuck.
“Here is our bald eagle rehab area.” As Mr. Johnson explained how they care for the eagles, Old Chuck flew and landed right next to Nicky. And again, Nicky sat down and was able to communicate telepathically. Mr. Johnson was stunned by what he saw. The eagle looked like he was nodding in agreement as Nicky and Old Chuck had what seemed like a conversation. This went on for about ten minutes.
“Just amazing,” Mr. Johnson said.
“I know. He has a special connection with some animals,” Dad explained.
“Do you think Nicky would like to volunteer?” Mr. Johnson asked.
“I’m sure he’d like that,” but in the back of Nicky’s father’s mind, all he could think of was whomever or whatever was after his son.
At the end of the tour, Nicky’s dad thanked Mr. Johnson.
“Come back anytime, and remember Nicky, we’d love to have you when you’re ready.”
“Thanks Mr. Johnson, I’m sure I’ll be back.”
As they got to the car, Nicky told his dad, “That was awesome! When can we come back?”
“Soon, Nicky,” his dad said with concern in his voice. “I’m just afraid of anyone finding out about your new abilities. We have to keep this a secret, you know?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right, Dad. It was amazing. You know they told me all about what they went through. The bear had cubs and lived in a beautiful forest before he was injured. And the eagle loved to hunt fish just like me. He remembered a loud boom and pain in his wing. I tried to explain what a gun was to him.”
“That’s pretty amazing Nicky. We’ll tell Mom all about it when we get home. And remember …”
“I know,” Nicky interrupted, “Keep it to ourselves.”
“Morning, Monkey!” Nicky’s room was now boarded up. Mondays were not Nicky’s favorite day.
“School time … oh yeah … oh yeah,” his dad tried to sing a catchy tune.
And like every Monday, Nicky replied groggily, “Thanks. I know, Dad.”
On the way to school Nicky saw the light again, but this time he thought to himself, “
Come on! I’m ready! Bring it on!”
During lunch, Nicky, Sue, and Becky got caught up on what they did over the weekend.
“Well, we went to Johnson Animal Sanctuary, and I got a private tour from Mr. Johnson.”
“Really?” Sue said surprised. “How?”
“Oh. Well, I’m sure my dad paid extra for that.” Somehow Nicky had become a master at lying, definitely another one of his gifts. They gossiped for a while, then went back to class for an uneventful day.
Although Nicky’s mom was a teacher at the school, she could no longer take Nicky home with her. Nicky’s dad was forced to pick him up every day. They changed the rules last year after some parents complained to the principal. Teachers used to be able to keep their own kids in their classrooms for forty-five minutes afterschool and avoid paying aftercare. And as always, the scared principal caved to those parents. So, his dad had to leave work at 2:00 p.m. every day and give up his lunch break to pick up Nicky.
“They don’t seem to care when teachers are forced to pay for their kid’s school supplies!
” Nicky’s dad angrily thought to himself. He strained every day to smile at the parents who forced the rule change.
Outwardly Nicky’s dad said, “Oh, hi Angie. Hey, hi there Sal.
But inwardly he thought,
idiot; hey there moron.”
Nicky’s dad even forced a halfway believable smile that day.
After the bell, Nicky walked up to the car and his dad greeted him. “Hey Monkey, how was your day?”
“Pretty good,” he answered after getting into the car.
A few minutes later, on the routine drive home, a tire blew. As his dad changed the tire, quietly whispering expletives to himself, Nicky saw the light again. Almost simultaneously in the rear view mirror, he noticed a dark van approaching at a high rate of speed. It slammed on its brakes and stopped right next to them. It all happened so fast. Five men, a Taser and then … darkness.
Nicky woke up strapped to a metal bed. It was a cold, white room. One wall looked like a mirror. Even the floor and ceiling were a glossy white. There was nothing else in the room but the metal bed and a few recessed lights in the ceiling.
Nicky didn’t know what to think. Maybe he was happy; he could finally meet who was following him all this time. “
Where am I?”
he thought. “I want out!” he yelled.
At that moment he easily broke free from the leather straps that were restraining him.
“Please, Nicholas.” One of the mirrors opened like a door. A man walked in to the room. “Please calm down. You are in no danger here.”
“I don’t care, I want to go home now!” Nicky demanded.
“Yes, soon. We just need to observe you.” The stranger in dark blue coveralls said with his hands up, visibly nervous as if he knew about Nicky’s new abilities.
“What? Why?!” yelled Nicky.
“Well, you have been through a delicate procedure.”
“Procedure? What do you mean procedure?”
“It is complicated,” said the man. He was wearing a white lab coat.
“I want to see my family.”
“You will. As soon as we are done with our assessments, you may go.”
“Where is my father?” Nicky demanded.
“He is fine; he is back at home. I am sorry, but we assumed you would not come voluntarily and with these … well, new abilities you now possess. It may have been dangerous for all involved.” The man then asked gently, “Please, come with me Nicholas.”
Nicky was angry and scared, but now he felt more confident he could handle any situation. And he wanted answers.
As they walked down a long white hallway, Nicky noticed something strange. All of the men they passed looked incredibly similar. All of them had greasy black hair, pale skin, and intense blue eyes. All were about six feet tall. It was as if they were all cousins from the same strange family. Those who weren’t in lab coats wore identical, dark blue coveralls.
At the end of the corridor was a white door with a sign that read, “Director.” Through the door sat a long white table. It was a glossy, white table with eight white, shiny chairs sitting neatly in front. Even the walls and floor looked like white lacquer.
Another pale, black haired, blue eyed man in a white lab coat was sitting behind the desk. Only facial features dissimilar to the others was his broad face and nose. “Please come in, Nicholas. I am Mr. Macken. I am sorry we had to acquire you in such a manner, but what has merged with you could be very powerful and dangerous indeed.”
“Merged! What do you mean merged?” Nicky paused then shouted angrily before Mr. Macken could speak. “You know what, I don’t care. I just want to go home now!”
“Oh yes, absolutely, but tell me Nicholas, do you want to hurt your parents?”
“No. Of course not!”
“Well, you see the merging could cause you to lose control and conceivably, even kill you parents. The way your anger is manifesting right now is not how you typically behave. You want to hurt me do you not? That same rage could be visited upon them.”
“I would never hurt my parents and what is this merging you keep talking about?” Nicky asked.
“You would not hurt them consciously Nicholas, but we have seen it before. You must be taught how to control what is inside you now. You see Nicholas we have chosen you to merge with specific animals. We are a classified government agency. We are equipped with advanced scientific teams that have developed the ability to merge animals with humans. You are one of the lucky few who now possess incredible abilities beyond that of any human.”
“Wait, so you’re turning me into an animal?”
“No Nicholas, you have simply been enhanced with certain characteristics of select animals we have chosen. So you see, we had no choice but to bring you here to our training facility so you may be trained to eventually serve your country.”
“So you forced me to ‘merge’ with animals and then want to force me to work for you?”
“Nicholas, your country has chosen you and you must answer the call. Now please be aware your parents are back home and secure. They have been informed of the particulars and are proud you have been chosen to serve.”
“Why have I been asked to serve?”
“I am sorry Nicholas. I am afraid the circumstances cannot be revealed at the moment. We are in great danger.”
“Fine. But tell me, when can I see my parents?” Nicky asked.
Nicky began to calm down.
“Very soon, just a few more days and you may return to your home. Now, let us get to work.”
As Nicky walked with Mr. Macken and two more pale men, he wondered if his family was okay.
They entered a large dome. It reminded Nicky of a football stadium, but it was all steel grey. Nicky looked up in awe. “
Man this place is huge
,” he thought.
“This is our Creation Room. We can create matter. Not exactly real, but an approximation.” With one word from Mr. Macken, “Forest,” the dome was transformed.
“Now Nicky, do you see that tree? Could you jump up there, on that branch?”
“All the way up there … no.”
It was about twelve feet high.
“Go ahead, just try.”
“Sure,” Nicky replied. Thinking to himself, “
What is this idiot on?
” Nicky leapt. Not knowing what he was now capable of, he jumped over the branch by about eight feet and came crashing down.
“Wonderful Nicholas!” Mr. Macken exclaimed, without showing any concern if Nicky was injured or not.
Luckily, Nicky just brushed himself off. He stood amazed for a few seconds at what he had just done, and that he was okay after such a fall.
“How did I do that? Is the gravity lower in here or something?” Nicky asked.
“The merge has altered your physiology.”
“What do you mean?” Nicky was confused.
“Well, let us just say it has impacted your body in special ways.”
“Cool. What else can I do?”
“That is why we are here Nicholas. Now, do you see that deer in the distance?” Mr. Macken said pointing to a wooded area.
“Could you bring him here as quickly as possible?”
“But he’s so far away, and how am I going to pick him up!”
“Just attempt it.” Mr. Macken told him sternly.
Nicky sprinted through the forest. The deer did not even have time to react. Nicky was back in seconds holding the 300 pound male deer with impressive six point antlers in his arms. “Holy crap, this is Superman strong!”
“Excellent, Nicholas.” The deer disappeared from Nicky’s arms.
“Now Nicholas, please focus. Close your eyes and point towards any sound you hear.” Nicky closed his eyes and pointed directly in front of himself, then to his right and finally towards his back.
“Good. Now open your eyes. What do you see behind you?” Mr. Macken pointed towards the sound.
“Well, I see a humming bird.”
“Good. That’s about a mile away. That’s what you heard. Well, that should be all for today.”
“Great, I’m as hungry as a bear.” Nicky’s stomach was growling. “Can I eat yet?”
“Of course, oh I almost forgot. One quick question before we finish up for the day. If I said tash-ay-ay, nah-kee, kah-yay, tin-yay asht-lay, what does that mean?” Mr. Macken asked.
“Well you said one, two, three, four, five. But I don’t know how I understood you,” Nicky said puzzled.
“You will, in time Nicholas. Now, let us get you some food. What would you like to eat?”
“Fish of course.”
“I can arrange that.”