Caller Out of the Shadows

by Tim Lacey

Sean tried to push his way through the protesters. He tried not to look at their faces. They were contorted in vulgar shapes that only hinted at the fact they were even human. Teachers and even a few students joined in the strike against the university. Sean had no idea what the strike was about. Nor did he really care. He did not take out a college loan just to protest. Sean just wanted to learn.

Once he went through the aging doors of learning, he climbed the stairs to the fourth floor. His first class was science. Mr. Abraham, his teacher, started to write down the science equations on the blackboard with his ever-present chalk. The din made by the protesters made listening difficult. Sean stood up and closed the window. From above, the protesters and the people milling about reminded him of maggots in an unempty garbage can.

After class he approached Mr. Abraham. "There has been, at least during this last century the belief in life other than our own. Do you think there is?"

"With the data coming in from our spaceborn astronautical satelites, I think the chances are very good. I have always felt life existed out there in the vastness of space," said Mr. Abraham, in a fatherly voice.

Sean was silent for a moment. He then asked, "What about a connection. I mean, maybe man is not just alone but is the sons and daughters of beings from out there. Beings who are immense. A race of great ones. Even though they are so vast still regard us with affection."

Mr. Abraham fidgeted with his gold wedding ring, as he always did when thinking. "Nothing is impossible. However, it would take a science beyond ours for such a race to reach us, since the the galaxies are moving away from each other at the speed of light." Mr. Abraham directed his eyes, made weary from years of study, calculations and correcting endless term papers at Sean. "Is there something else troubling you?"

Sean was about to speak. He instead told Mr. Abraham he would see him the next day at class. Going down the stairs, Sean found the protesters still marching in circles.

After school, Sean took the long way home. He went through the park. He always found it peaceful. Swelling up inside of him was that feeling again. The feeling he always had as a child. Of a voice. A voice that was sweet, lovely and strong. A voice so immense. It gave him meaning. He didn't understand it. Only that it gave meaning to who he was.

Looking up at the branches of the trees, Sean saw the light of the sun filtering through the leaves, and branches of the trees. The light way it seemed to flicker was a code to Sean. A cosmic code. It was beckoning to him. Emotions swelled inside of Sean. He heard that call. It justified him. For as long as he could remember, Sean had felt distant from others. He never intended to be. It always just was. He raised his arms to the rays of light gleaming through the leaves.

A group of adults were passing by. "Look at that strange guy," said a man in a tweed coat. A overweight woman with long brown hair remarked, "Can't go anywhere without running into a BLANK BLANK freak"

Sean heard their remarks and brought his arms down. He could feel his face going red with embarrassment. The overweight woman; gave him a scowl then spat at him. However, most of the spittle ran down her chin.

Several children who were also nearby started taunting Sean. They followed close behind him chanting, "Who do you see? Who do you see? What does the weirdo see? What does the weirdo see?"

Sean began to run. He had to get away. He made his way through crowds of people. The faces he saw were cruel and unsympathetic. "Come boy. Come to me," said a voice inside of Sean.

Sean was coming to the beginning of his street. He didn't want to go home. It wasn't his home anyways. It never was. His home was with the voice he heard. The voice from the stars. He stopped and thought about what he should do. Sean looked off to the north. There were several abandoned lots there. He would go and wait. "Yes my son. I am waiting for you."

Tears filled Sean's eyes as he ran. He stopped by a trash can. He took the backpack he had on, full of his books and dumped them into the trash. "I won't need you again." At the people who were passing him by he told them, "I don't need you either. I hate you. You're evil." The people passing by just hurried their stride.

Joy was building. Sean was nearing the abandon lots of several stores that had been tore down the year before. All that was left of the buildings were foundations, trash and a couple of gutted cars.

The sun was setting and a couple of stars started to make their daily appearances. Sean was rounding part of a foundation that had part of its brick wall still standing. He stopped. Sean looked up at the sky. "I'm here. Your son is here."

It had become pitch black out. Sean was cold and tired. The partial wall blocked the light from the city. Slowly and carefully Sean ran his hands over the wall as he made his way around it. His foot became caught on an unseen obstruction. He leaned up against the wall as he bent over to untangle his foot. The wall gave way. Sean found himself falling into a dark pit. He heard a snap. A burning pain shot through his body. He couldn't move. Warm fluid filled up in his mouth. He was choking. Sean was dying.

From beneath him, Sean felt a warmth. He still couldn't move. The warmth from underneath him felt good. Sean became aware of movement. He was rising above the city. Up and up he went. The stars were as bright as headlights. A dark shape appeared and blocked them out. Through dying eyes, Sean saw the black shape take the form of a face. Sean found peace.


By Timothy Lacey.