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#6 The ...
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#6 The Encounter—Philip and Krissi scoff at the reports of UFO sightings, until they encounter what seems to be a real-life extraterrestrial! But there's more to this "alien" than meets the eye. Soon they are caught in a dangerous struggle and only their newfound faith in Jesus will pull them together.
The girl sighed and lifted her perfectly manicured nails to brush her perfect dark hair out of her perfect green eyes. "If you keep interrupting my concentration," she complained, "nothing will happen."
"Sorry," he said.
"Xandrak only writes through me if I relax and keep my mind clear."
Philip chuckled and returned to his books. If there was ever a person who would be able to keep her mind clear, it was Krissi. As far as he knew she hadn't had a deep thought in years. But getting her to relax was another thing. Let's face it-opening yourself up to the influence of aliens and allowing them to write messages through you would tend to make anyone a little nervous.
But that's what Krissi was doing, and she was getting good at it. Very good. The process was called automatic handwriting, and during the past week its effects had grown stronger than ever. Often the writing would repeat the same phrases over and over again. Phrases that always emphasized Krissi was a specially chosen Light Worker, that she would help usher in the New Age of spiritual enlightenment, and that if she listened carefully to the Ascended Masters, she could help cleanse the planet and rescue it from its self-destruction.
Of course, neither Philip nor Krissi was sure what all of this stuff meant, but what they did understand sounded pretty cool.
Krissi also had been warned, over and over, to stay away from people with "dark emotions"-especially narrow-minded Christians like Rebecca Williams, Becka's boyfriend, Ryan, and now Julie Mitchell. It made no difference that they all used to be friends. Their old-fashioned way of thinking, their "clinging to outdated religion," could pose a real threat.
At least, that's what the messages kept saying.
They said one other thing, too-and this was the phrase that had Krissi the most excited. They told her she would be "making contact with an intergalactic race." Soon.
That's why Krissi was so busy trying to connect with Xandrak, her alien guide. And that's why Philip was poring through every book on UFOs that he could find in the public library. If there was even the slightest chance of actually meeting inhabitants from another world, he wanted to be prepared.
At first Philip didn't buy into all of this UFO nonsense. As an intellectual type, he believed everything had to be proven. Sure, he knew Krissi's automatic writing was legitimate-they'd tested it a dozen times. Not only was the handwriting entirely different from her own, but whatever or whoever was moving her hand knew things Krissi couldn't possibly know.
Still, to believe it was actually somebody from another planet, to believe that an extraterrestrial was actually writing through his girlfriend, well, that was a bit much for Philip. But as the information in her writing continued to line up with his research, Philip was finding it harder and harder to deny what Krissi was telling him.
"Check it out," he said, referring to the book in front of him. "It says here that one out of ten adults in the United States has seen a UFO."
"No kidding?" she asked.
He nodded. "And not just crackpots. It says here that the pharaohs of Egypt saw them, as well as Christopher Columbus, Andrew Jackson, NASA astronauts."
Krissi nodded and repositioned the pencil on her writing pad so it would flow more smoothly. Still, nothing happened.
Philip continued. "Ninety-five percent of the sightings can be explained, but there's still 5 percent that no one has an answer for. Oh, and listen to this: 'Currently there are over one thousand documented cases of personal contact with alien creatures.'"
"You mean where people actually meet them?"
"Uh-huh. It also says there are UFO channelers and automatic handwriters around the world."
Krissi's excitement drooped. "So there's more people than just me doing this type of writing?"
"Yeah, tons. In fact, it says-"
"Philip," she interrupted. "Look at my hand. It's starting!"
They both looked down at the paper as her hand began to write letters. It was the same handwriting they'd seen before.
"This is so cool," she chirped. "I'm not having to zone out or daydream or anything. Now it's just happening as I sit here talking."
Philip cocked his head to watch the letters form. "I guess that means it's getting stronger."
"He," Krissi corrected. "He's getting stronger."
Philip shrugged. He still wasn't entirely convinced.
They continued watching, but instead of the New Age ramblings that Krissi's hand usually wrote, this message was short and to the point:
GREETINGS IN THE NAME OF THE INTERGALACTIC ALLIANCE. THE TIME FOR OUR RENDEZVOUS HAS ARRIVED. PREPARE FOR ENCOUNTER AT OLD LOGGING ROAD OFF HIGHWAY 72, NORTH OF SETH CREEK. 8:00 P.M. PEACE.
The pencil came to a stop. Philip's and Krissi's hearts pounded as they stared at the message. Neither fully believed what they saw. Finally, Philip looked at his watch. "It's 7:07...."
Krissi nodded, swallowing back a wave of both fear and excitement. "If we're going to meet him we better hurry."
* * *
"Sweetheart, I'm just a little concerned, that's all."
"Everything's fine, Mom."
"But you're spending all your evenings there. And Becka and I, we hardly ever see you anymore."
Scott could feel his mother closing in. If he didn't hurry and ease her fears, she could stop him from going over to Hubert's at all. He reached across the dinner table for the casserole dish and piled up an extra portion of Hamburger Whatever onto his plate. Eating was a good way to stall while he thought of the best approach. Come to think of it, eating was good for just about anything these days. At fifteen, Scott Williams was growing faster than a weed, and food was one thing he could never get enough of.
Food and playing Crypts and Wizards.
The game had been going on for about two weeks now. Darryl, his best friend, had invited him over to his cousin Hubert's house. As a part-time computer whiz and full-time weirded-out genius, Hubert had modified an incredible fantasy role-playing game. Each night, he would lock himself away in an upstairs bedroom and run the master computer while Scott and a half dozen other players plugged in their own computers downstairs and tried to track down the treasure Hubert had hidden in a special crypt-a crypt that only he had the map for.
The game was incredible. Not only did it give Scott a chance to really use his mind, but he could put that incredible imagination of his to work as well. Each of the players played a character with special strengths, personalities, and magical powers. Some were elves, others werewolves, warriors, warlocks, wizards, zombies, and the list went on. You could be anything you wanted. And nothing matched the excitement of battling as a supernatural character who had special weapons, spells, and magical powers.
Of course, Scott knew some of this stuff could be pretty dark at times, and it did make him just a little bit nervous. But, hey, it was only a game. Just make-believe. All in his imagination.
The character he had created for himself-a mystical holy man by the name of Ttocs (Scott spelled backward)-had many of the same personality traits he did: a strong sense of justice, a belief in the supernatural, and a love for people. As the game continued over the hours, the days, and on into the weeks, Scott had grown more and more attached to the little guy. Together the two fought off the ghouls and monsters that Hubert-and other players' characters-threw at them. All this while carefully planning their route to get to the treasure.
"Scotty, are you sure it's really that healthy?" Becka asked from across the table.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Scott didn't exactly snap at his older sister, but he wasn't smiling, either. What business was it of hers? Sure, the two of them were extra close. There was something about growing up in the Brazilian rain forest and only having each other as playmates that created a bit of a bond. Then there was losing Dad in the airplane crash less than a year ago. And, of course, all that occult stuff they'd gone through since they moved to the States. Still, that didn't give her the right to meddle.
Becka shrugged. "It just seems like spending all your time doing something like that isn't so smart."
Scott tried to hide his irritation. "Relax. I'm just honing my computer skills. Besides, I'm getting a chance to exercise my imagination and-" he threw her a pointed look-"make a few friends along the way."
Becka glanced down.
He'd hit his mark. It was a little mean, but he'd had to find some way of telling her to back off. He knew Becka had a hard time making friends; on the self-image scale of 1 to 10 she was about a -3. He also knew that Philip and Krissi, two of the few friends she did have, had just cut her off.
Becka grew silent. He knew she'd caught his drift. Now there was only Mom to worry about.
"Well-" his mother wiped her mouth and rose from her chair to get dessert-"I'm not saying no. Yet."
"But," she continued, "I want you to give the matter some serious thought."
Scott nodded, grateful the inquisition had come to an end. He snuck a peek at his watch. 7:45. He had to hurry. The game would be resuming in fifteen minutes, and he couldn't miss a second of it.
* * *
The Jeep Wrangler raced down Highway 72 with the CD blasting an old Doors tune. It wasn't Philip's favorite music, but since his car was in the shop and the Wrangler was borrowed from Dad, he had to listen to whatever tunes Dad had. The moon was full and shrouded with only a thin layer of fog coming in from the coast. There was plenty of light to see the logging road ... if they only knew where it was.
He glanced at the dashboard clock. 8:10. They were already late-thanks to Krissi's insistence that they stop by her house so she could change. Let's face it, the last thing in the world you want to do when meeting aliens from another planet is to be seen wearing a sweatshirt that's three months out of fashion. Not when you have a new silk vest and capris to wear. Philip sighed and pressed down on the accelerator.
He loved Krissi. Everybody knew it. They didn't understand it, but they knew it. It seemed so odd that Philip, with his super-intellect, would show the slightest interest in Krissi, with her superairheadedness. Maybe it had something to do with her impulsive way of life. Philip had to think everything through five times before he even considered doing it; Krissi just up and did. When this approach didn't make him crazy, Philip loved the excitement and freedom it brought.
But his feelings went far deeper than that.
Maybe it had to do with growing up next door to her and being best friends all their lives. Or maybe it had to do with Philip's mom taking his two sisters and deserting him and his dad without a word. Krissi had been the only one there for him. Feeling for him. Aching with him. Holding him for hours one afternoon when he couldn't stop crying.
Whatever the reason for their love, if the phrase "opposites attract" had ever applied to a couple, it applied to them. Krissi was Philip's breath of freedom and fresh air; he was her rock and reality check.
"We must have passed it," Krissi shouted over the music. "Turn around."
Philip threw her a look. "Did you see anything?"
She shook her head. "No, but we passed it. I know we did."
"Don't ask me how I know, I just-I just know it. I feel it, OK?"
Philip gave her another look.
"We haven't got much time," she insisted. "Please, trust me on this."
He glanced at the clock. 8:11. They were going to be late anyway, and if Krissi was so sure ...
He slowed the Wrangler, pulled to the side, and threw the vehicle into a sharp U-turn. The gravel sprayed as he gunned the engine and slid back onto the road going the opposite direction. Once again he looked at Krissi. She was concentrating, staring out her window.
There were no other cars in sight. Philip clicked on the high beams and picked up speed. Ever since their little supernatural encounter at the Hawthorne mansion, Krissi's automatic handwriting wasn't the only thing that had grown stronger. Her intuition, her ability to sense things she didn't know, had increased. She could perceive things others didn't.
Philip smiled. Of course, some of this was just her natural spontaneity, like the time she'd felt "impressed" to take the day off and go to the beach instead of taking a geometry midterm. Or the time she felt "directed" to order silver-plated hunting knives on the shopping channel. He shook his head slightly. She'd never hunted in her life and didn't know anyone who did. But that was all some time ago. Lately ... Philip glanced at her. Lately Krissi's insights tended to be right on the money.
"There!" she shouted. "Right there!"
Philip looked just in time to see a secluded opening whisk by. He hit the brakes, threw the Jeep into reverse, and quickly backed up. Sure enough, there it was. With all the underbrush, it had been practically invisible. But now you could clearly see it was the remains of an old logging road.
"It looks pretty overgrown in there," Krissi said.
Philip grinned at her and reached down. "That's why we've got four-wheel drive, kiddo." He pulled a smaller gearshift forward, turned the Jeep toward the opening, and they began bouncing and jostling up the remains of the old dirt road.
Bushes scraped the sides of the vehicle and an occasional tree branch slapped at the windshield. Philip took it slow in case there were also rocks or ruts hiding, waiting to rip out his oil pan.
"What do you think we'll see?" he asked. "Flying saucers? Little green men?"
Krissi craned her neck to look up into the sky. "I'm not sure." The fog had grown thicker, allowing only the most determined stars to burn through. She turned and looked out her window at the passing brush and trees. "Xandrak wouldn't tell us to show up here if it wasn't something ... hold it! What was that?"
"Stop the car!"
Philip hit the brakes. He reached over to turn off the CD. Now there was just the quiet idling of the motor.
Krissi looked over her shoulder through the window of the backseat. "It looked like ..." She hesitated.
Philip chuckled. "Krissi, there aren't any cows around here. The nearest ranch is twenty miles away."
"It was a cow, I'm sure of it. It had four legs, horns, everything." She reached for the door and opened it.
Excerpted from The Encounter by Bill Myers Copyright © 1995 by Bill Myers. Excerpted by permission.
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