For the Future Generations
[Book 1 of the "For a Generation" series]
Alamogordo, New Mexico
The sun set over Alamogordo, New Mexico and night fell in the desert. Thick black clouds shifted over the horizon, contrasting the orange sky above, and casting shadows on the barren landscape.
In one mound of sand and rock sat an underground house with a tan roof protruding from the top of the hill. The residents had built a door in the side of the roof. This remained locked during daylight hours. Inside this house, the Channing family had just finished their evening meal. The women in the family cleaned the last of the dishes, the father worked in his office, and a ten-year-old boy grew restless. The boy had a head of strawberry curls, a round face, and deep blue eyes.
He scampered down the hall and pounded on his father’s office chamber door. His father, Kelvin Channing, a college professor, would be grading the day’s homework or preparing assignments for the next school day.
“It’s Declan,” he called.
“Yes, Declan?” Kelvin answered through the door. “What do you want?”
“Laken, Chaslyn, and I want to go outside.” Declan said. “Is it safe?”
“It’s 8:00,” Kelvin said. “I don’t see why not. Remember to wear your coat.”
Declan glanced at the clock on his touch screen music device. He and his two sisters had to stay indoors until after dark because his sisters, being conjoined twins, were frowned upon in the eyes of the culture.
In Declan’s day, “handicapped” individuals were those who could not contribute financially. They required government assistance and were considered a burden to society. These handicaps could be something as simple as inseparable conjoined twins, or as severe as major cerebral palsy or quadriplegia. Benevolent medical professionals would simply deny them healthcare, while the majority would euthanize them, with or without a caretaker’s permission. At their doctor’s warning seven years before, Kelvin and Ayla Channing had relocated with their three-year-old triplets—Declan, Laken, and Chaslyn—from Kansas City, Missouri to a desert in New Mexico, hoping it would be safer. Several families who were close friends with the Channings had also come to ease the adjustment. They had scheduled their days so the triplets would be able to spend time with their friends at night.
Removing his coat from a hook near the front door, Declan slipped into it. His sisters came into the living room after they had finished cleaning the kitchen. They too were becoming restless, and the Alamogordo evening beckoned them.
“Did Dad give us permission?” Chaslyn asked.
Declan nodded and assisted Laken and Chaslyn into a special joining coat tailored for them, since they joined at one of their forearms. They piled into an elevator that led to the roof. The elevator opened, and Declan unlocked the door. They stepped out onto the sand and raced down the side of the hill to their “fort”, a crude structure constructed of logs stacked so they overlapped each other. As the evening progressed, the children’s friends arrived and joined in the imagination games.
Over their playing and laughter, Declan could hear a transporter door slam shut and then footsteps approaching. As they grew louder and came closer, Declan became increasingly concerned. All of their friends were with them, and others rarely visited the deserted area.
“Wait here,” he cautioned his sisters. “I’m going to see where that noise is coming from. Guys, keep your guard over them for just a minute.”
Fearing the worst, he left them in the fort and stole away to track the source of the footsteps. He scampered a few feet down the path behind their house. He saw a silhouette several feet in front of him, standing in the glow of a transporter’s headlights. As it came closer, he perceived a middle-aged man holding a flat nylon case.
“Who are you?” Declan demanded. “Don’t come any closer.”
“Declan, I can’t tell you much,” the man replied hurriedly, as if in a rush. “You need to trust me. My name is Mr. Wilcox; I’m a time traveler.”
Mr. Wilcox handed Declan the case. He unzipped it and found an electronic notepad. Opening a side compartment, he pulled out an automatically recharging payment card or ARPC for short. Declan searched his face for an explanation, both of the contents and of the fact this stranger knew his name.
“Keep this book a secret.” Wilcox instructed. “When the time comes, you’ll know who it’s for.”
“What about the ARPC?” He questioned. “Dad opened an account for my sisters and me, but only because he has a job; they’re linked to his. This card’s number isn’t the one on mine.”
“It will be in about thirteen years.” Mr. Wilcox said, “Remember, I’m a time traveler.”
Declan powered up the book so he could read the content, only to find it blank. He flipped it over in his hands and toyed with it, trying to discern why it would not grant him access. He pressed the bottom of the device. It squawked and a negating red light flashed.
“What happened?” He asked the man.
“I set the privacy so only the future recipient can open it. Underneath the electronic device is a fingerprint reader. It’s programmed for only my fingerprints and the person who will receive it.” Mr. Wilcox explained. “There’s an unlocked note at the beginning that I addressed to you.”
With these words, Mr. Wilcox vanished into the night and Declan focused his attention on the unlocked message.
“Declan Channing,” it instructed, “return to the place where you met me at 7 in the morning on May 1st, 2130, when you are twenty-seven. Bring this book with you. On June 30th of 2130, leave the ARPC I gave you—and your FBI badge—at the Indianapolis, Indiana branch of the bank where your account is.”
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Genre - Christian YA Fiction
Rating – PG