posted on 20-Sep-2001 3:07:42 PM
Title: Heart of the Phoenix

Rating: PG13/Eventual NC-17 (A/U)

Disclaimer: I own nothing Liz and Max, life just isn't fair!

Summary: A *very* loose adaptation of the movie Starman (No it's not going to play exactly the way the movie did). If someone has already done this, please let me know so I don't waste my time LOL. Liz Evans has been in a perpetual state of numbness since the death of her very human husband Max Evans in a terrible car crash. But something turns her life upside down, and she will never be the same.

Those of you who have seen the movie know the basic plot. Those of you that haven't, well you'll just have to wait and see! This will most likely be shorter than Senseless?I think, but then I didn't think Senseless was going to wind up as long as it did either LOL.

****One other note, I want to dedicate this to my friend Becca, who's been like a lifeline over the past 7 months. Thanks for all the laughs, for listening, and for being such a wonderful friend to me!****


Prologue


The large silver satellite made yet another trip around Earth as it blasted its message out toward the cosmos, amplified by specialized equipment.

A commentator-like male's voice droned on, repeating phrases over and over in a recorded loop. Images were transmitted at the speed of light. Rain forests, the oceans, fields, skyscrapers, automobiles, mountains, airplanes.

*static* Greetings from the planet Earth. We welcome you in peace to our world. Our world is one of great technological advances, as well as a world of compassion and peace?

Saludos de la tierra del planeta. Le damos la bienvenida en paz a nuestro mundo. Nuestro mundo es uno de grandes avances tecnológicos, asícomo un mundo de la compasión y de la paz?

Salutations de la terre de planète. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue dans la paix à notre monde. Notre monde est un de grands progrès technologiques, aussi bien qu'un monde de compassion et de paix?

Umprimentos da terra do planeta. Nós damos-lhe boas-vindas na paz a nosso mundo. Nosso mundo é um de avanços technological grandes, um mundo do compassion e da paz?

Grüße von der Planetenmasse. Wir begrüßen Sie im Frieden zu unserer Welt. Von unsere Welt ist einer von großen technologischen Fortschritten, sowie eine Welt Mitleid und Frieden?

Saluti dalla terra del pianeta. Li accogliamo favorevolmente nella pace al nostro mondo. Il nostro mondo è uno dei progressi tecnologici grandi, cosìcome un mondo della pietà e della pace?


Thousands and thousands of miles away, a large orb-like craft hurtled toward the solar system at breakneck speed.

************

Liz Evans stood with her family and friends and yet had never felt so utterly alone. The sky was gray but her heart was grayer. The priest droned on with precisely rehearsed words designed to soothe the hurt, give grief meaning, but she wasn't even listening. She stood motionless, staring at the garishly green astro-turf that covered the grim reality of what would happen here when the mourners departed. The sickly smell of the altar-pieces that had been set up alongside the mahogany casket was making her stomach lurch.

Morbidly she thought to herself that she would never again be able to enjoy the picture and scent of flora in her presence. Eyes bored into her sympathetically and she hated it. She hated the sympathy that seemed to permeate the air around her. She wanted to run away, she wanted to crawl inside the casket with her beloved. She wanted to die. She wanted the comfort of nothingness.

She wanted Max or she wanted nothing. He had been her life, her purpose, her everything. Without him she was nothing. Her high school sweetheart, her love her best friend. Not enough time. They didn't have enough time. Ten years was not *enough*. Twenty-six was too young to die. Their lives had just begun. And now hers was over.

The priest made the sign of the cross, and people started to file by the casket, laying roses on it. Still she did not move. She couldn't set her body in motion. The priest came over and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder, and more than anything she wanted to slap it away, to slap all these people away. She wanted to be alone in her grief.

Angrily she wondered who had thought of the tradition of people coming back to houses to commiserate over the deceased. She thought it to be a torturous ritual that some sadist had gleefully invented to further torture the bereaved. She didn't even want to think of all the people milling around in the house, *their* sanctuary, the place that still smelled of him, still vibrated with his gentle presence. She didn't want to think about them looking at his photographs, sitting in his chair, eating in his place at the kitchen table. She swallowed a surge of anger.

Her sister in-law touched her arm tearfully. Liz gave her a small tight smile, and a hug. She didn't begrudge Isabel her grief, but she couldn't let herself feel what she knew would come later when she was alone.

For two days she had stood in the funeral home in a perpetual state of shock, greeting and comforting people mechanically. Dimly, she wondered what Max's parents must be thinking. Were they thinking she was heartless? She hadn't cried, not once, since the policeman had come to her door that night to tell her that her life had been ripped away from her. She hadn't eaten or slept since that night. Yes, she supposed she was heartless, because her heart was sitting in that coffin with her beloved.

Most of the mourners had dispersed to their cars, ready to join the caravan back to her house.

Maria, her best friend, was standing alongside her, worriedly.

"Chica, are you ok?" she asked, her voice trembling.

Liz nodded, without turning to her. She caught her looking at her husband Michael, Max's best friend, concerned.

"I know you don't want me to say anything," she said, "and that's ok. But I'm here, you know that right?"

Liz turned and looked at her, nodding, rubbing her arm.

Maria smiled sadly at her.

"Michael and I are going to go back to the house before everyone gets there. We'll set everything up, ok?" she said.

Liz nodded gratefully. "Thanks Maria," she said dully. Her friend gave her a quick hug, knowing not to let it linger. She knew how Liz was feeling.

Maria pulled away and gave her a small smile and took Michael's hand, and he looked at her, and then his eyes moved down to the ground. Together they turned and started across the lawn toward their car. Liz felt a pang of unfair and insane jealousy looking at the two of them walking hand in hand. They had the rest of their lives together. She had nothing.

She saw Diane Evans, Max's mother being led away sobbing by her husband Philip, leaning alternately on Isabel and her husband. Strange though they had lost a son, she felt no kinship with their sorrow. She had lost the love of her life, and that left her bereft and completely alone. Her own sorrow was a different animal.

Her mother approached her and took her hand.

"It's time to go honey," she said softly.

"No," Liz said softly. "I can't go yet."

Diane looked at her painfully.

"Liz, you can't stay, they're going to?" she trailed off.

"I want to be here," she said fiercely, her head snapping toward her mother fiercely.

"Honey, I don't think that's such a good idea," she said.

"Well, what would be a good idea is you and Dad going to the car to wait for me. I have to say goodbye alone," she said shortly.

Her mother looked at her stunned, then decided it best not to argue with her daughter in the state she was in.

"Ok," she said. "We'll be at the car whenever you're ready," she said.

Liz nodded, her eyes going back to the coffin.

The priest said some drivel of comforting words that went in one of her ears and out the other and then she was alone. Alone with the box that contained the most precious thing in her life.

In her mind, she saw his gentle, sexy amber eyes in her mind so clearly. She saw the love that shone from them whenever he looked at her. It was his eyes that had first mesmerized her in high school at sixteen, when he was the new boy in school.

He had walked into her biology class and he caught her gaze as he came down the aisle, and she was gone in an instant. It had been the same for him. He had told her how he thought his heart has stopped when he saw her sitting there, her chin propped on her hand, just looking at him in wonder, the same way he looked at her, he knew.

He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, she thought. His angular cheekbones, his amazing eyes with preposterously long lashes that wouldn't have been pulled off by any other but somehow fit perfectly on him. The silky dark hair that fell over his forehead, his long graceful neck, powerful shoulders, muscled arms, strong yet gentle hands. His lean frame awakened feelings in her body that she had never felt before, even with the harmless crushes she had fostered for other boys in junior high. For the first time, she had felt her body respond as a woman, not as a girl.

He had taken the seat next to her at the lab table and smiled gently at her and she had blushed, her hand playing with her long hair nervously as she returned a shy grin.

Bonus. He was smart and into science as she was. They were lab partners, and Liz found it exhilarating not to have to explain what she was doing with the microscopes in lab. He knew a lot about biology, but he had another secret passion, which she discovered later. Two months after he started his first day at West Roswell, exams were upon them, and he had asked her to come and study with him at his house.

They studied in his room, plowing through the material quickly, and then they were left with nothing to do. And they talked. And Liz couldn't remember ever feeling as if the person she was talking to knew what she was going to say before she said it. She felt this affinity with him, as if they had known each other in another life or something. She blurted that out without thinking, feeling her face grow red as she realized what she had said. But he had smiled at her, and somehow she wasn't embarrassed anymore.

He looked at her uncertainly, sitting next to her on his bed, looking as if he wanted to say something, but afraid she would laugh at him.

"Can I show you something?" he had asked her, almost self-consciously.

"Sure," she said slowly, smiling at him, sensing that whatever it was had to be important to him.

He got up off the bed, walking over to the closet, pulling down a large book from the top shelf before coming back to sit next to her, nervously picking at the edge of the book.

She smiled at him again, patiently waiting for him to show her whatever it was that was so important to him.

He looked down at the book, lightly running his fingers over it.

"I've never shown this to anyone," he said shyly. "Not my parents, or my sister?no one," he said glancing at her before again looking down at the book.

"I never felt comfortable enough. But it's weird, for some reason, I want to share it with you. I feel like you'll know how special this is to me," he said softly, slowly handing it to her.

She took it and laid the large binder in her lap, smiling at him encouragingly, feeling honored that he wanted to share something that important with her.

She slowly opened it, revealing the first page, a black and white photo of a little blond girl, playing in a sandbox in a park. Her eyes roamed the photo, astounded at how he had managed to catch the pure joy on the little girl's face as she patted her pile of sand. He had snapped it from above, and caught her face right as she looked into the camera, and endearing smile brightening her face.

"This is amazing Max," she said, as she looked over at him. His hands lay nervously clasped together on his legs. She smiled at him and he blushed.

"The expression on her face, it's?like pure joy," she said.

"Yeah, I took that in the park near our old house in Colorado. Her name's Emily. She's the daughter of the people who lived next to us," he said. "I took her over to the park so she could play for awhile, and I couldn't resist taking that. It was just too perfect," he said smiling.

"It is perfect," Liz said, running her fingers over the little girl's face.

She turned the page, and the next photo was even more amazing than the first. He had captured his mother, unaware of his presence, gazing out over their deck toward the mountains, a wistful dreamy expression on her face. She looked as if she was there on the deck, yet her mind was somewhere completely different. The wind had caused her hair to lightly brush her face, and the photo was no natural, so real.

Every photo in the book managed to catch some expression of joy, sadness, nostalgia, anger, fear, peace. Liz was amazed that someone so young had such an eye for his subjects. As she flipped through the book, Max became more animated, pointing out little things in the pictures that had caught his eye.

She turned the last page, and her hand stilled, her eyes widening.

It was her. She thought back, trying to remember when he could have taken this. Last week. She had never even known he was there.

She sat in the quad at one of the concrete picnic tables next to Maria, her friend engrossed in an animated conversation with her new friend Isabel, Max's sister. Liz had not been paying attention to it, instead sitting on the bench facing away from the table, holding a small flower she had plucked from the bed outside the door of the school. She wore a white and blue flowered print dress that fell to her knees with a short cardigan in the palest blue. Her ankles were crossed demurely under the seat of the bench. She had worn her hair down that day, and it fell in shiny waves down her back, the sun glinting off of it. Her head was lowered, as she twirled the flower, with a secret smile on her face.

She had been thinking of him as she twirled the flower, she knew. She had been thinking of him constantly since he had walked into Biology for the first time.

Liz blushed as she looked at the photo, glancing at him, and then looking away.

"You don't like it?" he asked, troubled.

"No?no it's not that," she said, biting her lip self-consciously.

"Then what is it?" he asked.

"I don't know," she said shyly. "I just don't like the way I look in photos."

"I think you looked amazing," he said. "That's why I took the photo."

She looked at him unsure. She knew how she was feeling around him. Was it possible that he was feeling the same way?

A nervous smile flickered on his lips, and he leaned toward her, hesitating as his face came close to hers.

"Oh my God, he's going to kiss me!" she thought, as she felt his smooth lips touch hers lightly.

She shut her eyes, feeling the pounding of her heart in her chest at their first contact. His hand rested gently on her shoulder for a long moment, then slid down her arm to her waist, pulling her closer.

And from that moment, she was a goner.


And now she stood alone. The wind passed through her hair, assaulting the dry heat that had been resident around her eyes for the past three days.

A drunk driver named Dirk Dunleen had taken everything away from her. Max had gone to Albequerque, for a conference on photographic techniques he had been invited to speak at.

As usual, he ran late talking to those interested in his ideas and techniques, staying long after the conference was over. He was so passionate about it, Liz thought. She understood it. He had a gift that he had to share with the world.

He had left Albequerque at 10 p.m., with a four-hour drive back to Roswell ahead of him. Three hours later he was thrown through the windshield as Dunleen's car hit Max's truck head on.

Two hours after that, long after Liz had started to worry about Max, she heard the knock at the door, knowing something was wrong. And they had told her, and she sank to the floor in shock.

Now she was grappling with the fact that she would never see his gentle smile, his eyes heated in desire as they made love. She would never feel the safety of his arms wrapping around her, the security of just being next to each other, not needing to say a word. She would never again her him say "I love you", never smile at his bumbling attempts at jokes, never stand in the background, watching him fascinated as he worked in the dark room.

The grounds-keepers walked up, eager to finish their job here before lunch time. They glanced at her as she stood there, and then pulled the boards and the astro-turf away, revealing the harsh vision of the mounds of dirt that would soon be covering her husband. She walked up to the casket, lightly kissing her fingers and touching them to the casket before stepping back and letting the men do their job.

The casket was lowered into the ground, and as she heard the sick thump of the wood hitting the dirt at the bottom, she again walked forward, lightly dropping the small flower she had bee clutching all morning. It looked much the same as the one that she had been holding in that very first picture he had taken of her.

"Goodbye my love," she said softly. "I'll be seeing you soon."

She turned away from the site as the men started to fill in the hole, putting a barrier of earth between the world and the man who held her heart, now slumbering in death.

***********

The ride back home was unmercifully too short. Liz's mind balked at all the cars parked up and down the street, people milling in and out of the house, and on the lawn.

She sighed, trying to find the strength to have to deal with all of these people before she could finally be alone.

She got out of the car, flanked by her parents, who meant well, but couldn't reach her in the place that she was.

Walking up the lawn, people approached her hugging her. Friends and colleagues of Max's, distant family members, acquaintances. A lot of acquaintances. Max's work was very well known throughout the photography community, and he was respected in his craft, amazing for one so young.
She plastered the obligatory half-smile on her face, thanking them for coming, telling them to get something to eat. All of the customary things you say at gatherings like this. Max would have been proud of her.

She walked into the door, and took in the crowded house. As she walked through, she heard snippets of conversation in whispers.

"Such a shame. A waste of talent?"

"This will bring the price of his work through the roof?"

"What will Liz do? Will she take charge of the estate?"

"When do you think it would be a good time to talk to her?"

"Don't be morbid! I don't want to know if he was decapitated!"

"I heard he was run over after he was ejected from the car?"

"God his work was beautiful?"

"Did you know him very well?"

"I only met him once. He never did bother much with the publicity end of things?"


Liz quickened her pace to the bathroom, feeling her breathing quicken in panic. She moved in the doorway, shutting the door firmly behind her, leaning against it, trying to control the rage that bubbled up in her.

They didn't know him. They didn't know anything about him. They didn't know his gentle soul, his kind heart, his passion. They knew nothing, yet they stood in her house, eating their way through it, gawking at the photos on the walls, talking about him as if he were an object, not a human being.

She willed her breathing to slow, trying to regain her composure. An hour, two at most, and they'd be gone. She repeated this to herself and stepped back out into the house.

********

Eight hours later, long after sundown, the last of the mess had been cleaned up, and everyone had left. Her parents had wanted to stay. So did Isabel and Max's parents, but she told them to go home gently. How could she explain to them that she didn't want or need them here? That she wanted to be alone with her grief, finally.

She walked through the house shutting off the lights, pulling her hair out of the knot she had put it in at the back of her neck. She moved upstairs and down the hall to their bedroom. Without turning on the lights, she kicked off her shoes while walking to the closet. She couldn't bear to open it. She unbuttoned the black silk blouse and unhooked the long black skirt, letting them slide to the floor before removing her stockings.

She moved to Max's side of the bed, and turned down the covers, crawling under them in her bra and panties. She lay her head on his pillow, her eyes staring at the ceiling, and then turned her head, smelling his scent on the pillow, a mixture of cologne and a musky man smell that was all his. She put her hand under the pillow and pushed it closer to her face, breathing deeply, her breath exhaling in a shuddering flurry. That one reminder triggered everything to rush at her in a wave, and she felt the tears well in her eyes, and the sobs burst from her mouth with ferocious intensity. She pushed the pillow to her face to muffle the high keening wail that exploded from her lips.





Edited by - majesty on 09/21/2001 21:50:54
posted on 20-Sep-2001 3:08:48 PM

PART 1



EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER

The orb flashed past Venus in a monumental display of speed. From inside emanated sounds that echoed into the surrounding space.

"The United Nations welcomes you, representing all the countries of the planet Earth. Greetings!"


NORAD - Cheyenne Mountain, CO 17:00 hours

Airman First Class Gould sat in front of the radar, intently marking down various blips that ran across his screen. Today had been quiet, too quiet, and it was giving
him the heebie-jeebies.

He glanced over at his commanding officer Sergeant Major Dennis, deep in conversation on the phone. He couldn't shake the feeling that something big was going to happen. But all seemed calm on the home front, and he was off in an hour.

He inwardly chided himself for feeding into his superstitious feelings. Still, there was something to be said for them. He had felt the same feelings when his sister
had been diagnosed with cancer.

An audible blip interrupted his thoughts. He looked at the radar screen and just stared for a moment, unable to believe what he was seeing.

"Sir," he called, "I think you'd better come take a look at this."

Dennis looked toward the screen and ended his call, coming to lean over Gould's shoulder.

"Is that-"

"Yes, sir," Gould said. "It appears to be heading toward Earth. At its current speed, it should reach the atmosphere in about 15 minutes."


"Analysis," Dennis barked, and Gould quickly typed commands into his keyboard.

"Composition unknown," Gould answered.

Dennis straightened up.

"Move to Security Option One," Dennis called loudly, and the room sprung to action.

"I want reconnaissance craft and jet interceptors on standby," he said.

"Yes Sir!" a voice called out.

"What's the size of this meteor?" Dennis asked.

Gould made some calculations.

"It looks to be about 50 feet in diameter," Gould answered.

"We can't have this thing hitting the ground whole. It will tear up a town if it hits a populated area. Send the craft up," Dennis said, and the calls commenced.

"It hasn't slowed Sir," Gould replied.

"Damnit I didn't need this tonight," Dennis muttered under his breath, walking out of the room.

*****************

Four Stealth Bombers and five F-22's were deployed into the night skies to monitor the unidentified object that entered the Earth's atmosphere at approximately
17:28 hours.

Ten minutes later, the F-22's had the object in their missile sites.

"Awaiting order to fire," the airman said over the speaker.

"Fire when ready," the Commander ordered.

*****************

Only The Lonely
I'm raising up my voice
To the walls and to the sky
It seeks no explanation
It waits for no reply
Really it is nothing
Just a cry to the wilds

I'm delirious with chaos
I'm wonder struck with awe
But in my soul I'm dreaming only
Of your velvet shore
When I'm walking there my face
Untangles like a child's

And only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me

I've been talking all night long
There's nothing more to say
So I'm searching every mirror
For a trace of yesterday
But the air it holds no traces
Where the eagles were flying

I'm haunted by the skyline
The concrete and the rain
The window speaks of winter
So I'll set my heart again
And somewhere in the dusk,
A curlew is crying
And only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me

There's a copper moon that's buried
Where solitude expands
And distant planets moving
They're weighing on my hands
They're darkening my pages

And there's daylight in my fingers
But it's snowing in my bones
Been sucking on the echo
Of a thousand telephones
And when we meet again
We will be strangers

And only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me
Only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me


Liz sat heavily on the floor, a glass of wine in her hands. Today was the day, a year to the day, that she had lost Max. She stared unblinking at the screen in front of
her, flashing images of the two of them. A scene from their backyard.

"Liz, would you quit it with the video camera?" he said good-naturedly.

"Oh come on, how can I resist such a gorgeous face?" she teased.

He smirked at her.


Liz smiled sadly to herself. Max was absolutely beautiful, but he didn't know it.

"Come on!" she cried. "You're always behind the lens, and everyone else has to do this, now it's your turn."

He walked toward the camera, and out of it's range, and two seconds later, walked back in, dragging her behind him, laughing.

Taking her in his arms, he looked teasingly at the camera.

"Now come on, I think people would much rather see my beautiful wife," he said.

She smacked him playfully.

"Stop Max," she said, embarrassed, looking at the ground.

"Stop what? Describing what I see?" he said, lifting her chin with his fingers. "You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and even now I still can't believe
you are all mine."

Liz smiled up at him.

"I love you," he whispered, his hand cupping her neck, pulling her closer, tasting her lips, completely forgetting about the camera.

His hand slipped around her waist gently, and their kiss deepened.

Suddenly, Liz broke the kiss.

"Max," she said exasperated, pointing to the camera.

"So what?" he shrugged. "Years from now when we are old and gray, we can watch it and will say 'Remember when we made a soft-porn movie in the backyard?
Ah, to be young'" he laughed.

She smacked him again laughing.

*Cut*

The camera jounced along through a dark room toward a lit doorway.

"I gotta get this on tape. She won't sing when she knows I have the camera," Max whispers as the gentle sound of Liz's singing floated through the air.

He reached the doorway, and the camera focused on Liz at the sink, drying dishes.

Spring sweet rhythm dance in my head
Slip into my lover's hands
Kiss me oh won't you kiss me now
And sleep I would inside your mouth

Don't be us too shy
Knowing it's no big surprise
That I will wait for you
I will wait for no one but you

Look please lover lay down
Spend this time with me
Together share this smile
Lover lay down

Walk with me, walk with you
Hold my hand your hands
So much we have dreamed
And you were so much younger
Hard to explain that we are stronger

A million reasons life to deny
Let's toss them away
See you and me we
Lay down look see
She and he
By my lover's side
Together share this smile
Each other's tears to cry
Together share this smile
Lover lay down

Oh please
Look please lover lay down
Oh please lover lay down
And you weep
Lover lay down
Cause it's over
Lover lay down?

Liz turned around and screamed in exasperation.

"MAX!" she yelled, completely humiliated.

She came after him with the wet dishtowel, and he quickly laid it down on the counter, making a run for it.

"I can't believe you did that!" she shouted, as footsteps pounded on the staircase.

"I'm going to get you for that!" she yelled.

"I was counting on it," Max called.

The camera lay still filming the refrigerator door as laughter rang through the house.

*Cut*

The wavered as Max set it on the table. He sat down on the couch.

"Ok, so this is your anniversary present, well part of it anyway. It's been eight years since we met, and four years we've been married, and they've been the most
wonderful eight years of my life," he smiled into the camera.

"Ok, I admit I cursed the day when my parents told us that we were moving to Roswell. I hated the idea of it. I hated leaving everything I'd ever known. But the
first day of class, when I walked into that Biology class, and your face was the first one I saw, and?well, you just took my breath away. And I think it was fate. I
love you Liz Evans, my wife, my love, my friend. Happy Anniversary," he smiled.


Liz swiped a shaky hand across her tear-filled eyes.

"Don't do this to yourself Liz, just go to bed," she said, hitting the stop button on the remote.

She rose up, taking the wineglass into the kitchen, and going to the guest room adjacent to the living room. The therapist Michael and Maria insisted she see had
suggested it, since she hadn't been able to sleep. Didn't change a damned thing, she still had trouble sleeping.

She felt woozy with the wine she had consumed, and pulled her jeans off, plopping onto the bed. A few moment's later, she was asleep.

*************

Airspace - Hondo NM

The missile hit the orb, causing it to plow off course, never changing speed, toward Roswell. A mile away, the orb collided with the desert floor, setting a great wave
of sand afoot and an explosion set all dry brush alight in a fiery spectacle.

Out of the fire, a contained orb of light rose above the inferno.

*flash*

It moved away from the wreckage, moving toward the structures in it's line of vision.

*flash*

It changed its course toward large structures spaced far apart. There it might be less likely to be discovered.

*flash*

It took in long black strips, with black strips leading to the structures.

*flash*

A big white structure caught it's attention. It moved toward it.

*flash*

It moved alongside clear panes. It could see inside. Large square objects on the floor. A curious long plush object, a square flat object in front of it.

*flash*

It moved to the next pane, seeing an inert form on a large rectangle. It could hear its mournful respiration in the dark.

*flash*

It moved toward the back of the structure, looking for entrance, and found it in an opened pane.

Light filled the room, as it made its way into the structure.

*flash*

It moved to the square object spying a small rectangular device. Unseen hands hit the buttons, and Max again appeared on the screen. The buttons were hit again,
and the television snapped off.

*flash*

It moved to the square object on the floor, and a large book was lifted from the box, resting on the table.

*flash*

The pages turned, a photo of Max is on the first page, sitting on a bench with Liz. The page flips again. A large recent photo of Max is pasted carefully on the page.

*flash*

A holographic three-dimensional image of Max appears above the photo, circling completely.

*flash*

The page turns, and there is a photo of Max as a young child, with a lock of his hair taped to the page. The light focuses on the hair, and is suddenly *inside* the hair, studying it's composition and make-up, insinuating itself down to the molecular level.

************
A bright light floods the room, and Liz's eyes flutter open. Nervously she sits up, trying to peer out into the living room. Something is out there.

Hands shaking, she opens the nightstand drawer, where she had been keeping a gun since one of Max's *fans* had decided to make a pilgrimage to his house.

She felt around frantically. It wasn't there.

"Dammit!" she hissed, getting up carefully off the bed.

Silently she made her way to the doorway. She peeked into the living room, terrified.

The light source seemed to be coming from the floor in back of the couch, out of her view.

Slowly, she stepped into the living room, afraid to see what it was, but afraid to stay where she was.

Step by step, she moved toward the side of the couch and whatever lay behind it.

The refracted light glittered against her eyes, as she came upon it's source, and she gasped. It was a baby on the floor, facing away from her. She gasped.

As she took another step, the figure turned toward her, and it was like no baby she had ever seen. Within a matter of seconds it was transforming before her eyes.
It's face stretched, it's legs and arms grew longer, and suddenly it was a young boy. The being sat up, and turned from her again, and she could see his back grow
wider, his shoulders broadening. He stood up, and he was the height of a normal man.

Liz's eyes widened in terror and she backed against the hutch, her hands touching the drawer, and she remembered where she had hidden the gun. With trembling
hands she opened the drawer, and her fingers fell on the cold steel of the firearm. She grasped it and pulled it out.

The figure stood facing away from her, looking around, and she held the gun up with badly shaking hands.

The figure turned his head, and she could barely make out the profile in the dim light of the room.

Her breaths were coming in gasps of terror as he slowly turned. Her finger tightened on the trigger.

And the face that was revealed to her, stopped her breath completely.

Amber eyes looked at her inquisitively from beneath tousled dark hair that fell across his forehead.

"Max?" Liz said weakly, the gun falling from her hands to the floor.

The man who looked like her husband shakily walked toward her, naked and trying to find his footing.

"It can't be," Liz said, backing away. This couldn't be happening. It had to be some sort of strange dream. It was the wine, she thought frantically. It had to be the
wine.

The figure continued to stumble toward her, and Liz felt the wall hit her back.

The man stopped, as his foot hit the gun, and he bent over and picked it up by the handle, holding it with two fingers, coming toward her again.

Liz's breathing grew more distressed as he came to stand before her with the gun.

"Please, please, leave me alone. This can't be real," she cried.

And he spoke with Max's voice.

"Saludos de la tierra del planeta. Le damos la bienvenida en paz a nuestro mundo. Nuestro mundo es uno de grandes avances tecnológicos, asícomo un mundo de
la compasión y de la paz..."

"Salutations de la terre de planète. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue dans la paix à notre monde. Notre monde est un de grands progrès technologiques, aussi bien
qu'un monde de compassion et de paix..."

"Greetings from the planet Earth. We welcome you in peace to our world. Our world is one of great technological advances, as well as a world of compassion and
peace..."

He flipped the gun into firing position, and Liz lost consciousness, sliding down the wall.


Edited by - majesty on 09/21/2001 21:36:12
posted on 20-Sep-2001 3:10:19 PM
PART TWO

With a wave of the hand, the television again switched on. A light blinked on the front of the VCR, and a picture appeared on the screen and sound poured from the speakers.

The angle of the camera wavered slightly as Liz focused the camera on Max.

Max sat quietly looking at negatives through a magnifying glass at his drafting table.

"Ready for a break?" Liz teased from behind the camera.

Max looked up surprised. He smirked at the camera.

"What are you up to?" he asked suspiciously.

"Nothing, just recording you for posterity," she giggled.

"Posterity?" he asked jokingly.

"Uh huh," she said.

Max made a face at the camera, pursing his lips, his eyes widening.


His doppleganger mimicked his expression.

"Max, don't ruin this!" Liz laughed. The camera moved closer to him as she walked closer. "Didn't your mother ever tell you that your face will freeze like that?"

He smiled at her behind the camera.


Again the being mocked the smile, his grin too wide, mirth not reaching his eyes, instead studious, noting every nuance of the expression.

"Um?does that mean your face should have frozen the way it was last night? Not that I would mind," he joked, pulling her toward him as she set the camera down on the table.

His face grew suddenly serious.

"I like to see you all flushed and beautiful. I love that I can make you look like that. I love that I am the only one that has ever seen you like that, and that I will be the only one that ever will," he said breathily, rubbing his hands across her hips as she moved to stand between his legs.

She smiled down at him.


The being cocked his head curiously. He sensed something between the two humans on the screen, but his mind did not know how to define it. He could not understand all of what they were saying, though he had a basic grasp of the human language.

He looked over at the prone human propped motionless against the wall.

Such strange creatures, he thought.

He looked down at the appendages he held before his eyes. He flexed the digits tentatively, and looked to the floor, seeing the small silver orbs that lay on the floor.

Important, he thought to himself, as he walked over and bent down to retrieve them.

His ears were sensitive, and the auditory stimulation confused him momentarily. He walked back to stare at the screen again.

"Max," Liz protested, giggling.

"What?" he said, pulling her even closer, "I'm only telling the truth," he said softly.

Liz ran her fingers through his hair, gazing down at him.

"I love you," she said softly.

"I love *you*," he answered as she bent and met his lips.

A short moment later, she realized she had left the camera running. She walked toward the camera, and the screen went black.
.

The being looked over at the unconscious woman again and pursed his lips. What was the purposed of the two touching their lips?

Suddenly a deafening roar rose above the house as a huge machine flew over the house.

The being ducked behind the couch fearfully. A moment later the machine passed further away.

He moved to stand in front of the window, carefully laying all but one of the silver orbs on the desk.

He held one in his hands and closed his eyes, concentrating.

Momentarily, his hand started to glow and he opened it, and the glowing orb rose out of his hand.

Eyes still closed, he telepathically relayed his SOS.

"Inhabitants hostile. Mission aborted. Rendezvous at agreed upon time in Quadrant 3. End transmission?"

Another loud machine roared over the dwelling causing him to duck in alarm. His race's machines did not make deafening noises like these primitive ones did.

He could not remain here much longer, of that he was sure. He was sure to be discovered if he lingered. He looked over to the creature stirring against the wall. Curious, he walked toward it. We would have to take her along with him. He would need her help to find the meeting point as well as to remain undetected. He was not familiar enough with human customs to remain inconspicuous.

He came to a stop before her, stepping one foot over her splayed legs. She moaned softly, and her head moved.

Slowly her eyes opened and she put her hand to her head. He stood in silence above her, studying her intently.

Her eyes drifted upward, and she realized that the vision in front of her had not gone away. It was not a hallucination, or a bad dream.

Her eyes widened and she struggled to her feet, pressing her back up against the wall, letting out a stifled scream.

*******

This had to be a bad dream, she kept telling herself. Yes, only a bad dream.

But in her heart she knew it wasn't. The image of her dead husband was standing before her, only she knew damned well it wasn't Max.

The person standing before her was not her husband, but someone, or something else.

"Please," she said. "Please don't hurt me," she whispered fearfully.

The man continued looking at her quizzically, but did not answer her.

From the open window came the distant sound of barking dogs. Distracted, he moved toward the window. Liz's eyes followed him, confused.

She did not linger long, however, in her confusion. Realizing her small window of opportunity, she edged toward the door of her bedroom, her eyes never leaving him. He seemed unaware of her now, his attention fully focused on the new sounds.

Quietly, she stepped into the bedroom, running to the other side of the bed, where she had gotten into the habit of leaving her clothes she wore during the day. She quickly grabbed her jeans and boots, grabbing her bag and keys off of the bureau. Again she cautiously left the room, keeping her eyes on the naked man standing in the front window. She swallowed hard, looking at his well-muscled back and rear. She noted the way his jet hair curled at the nape of his long, graceful neck.

That is *not* Max, she reminded herself sharply, backing into the kitchen. She hurried to the door that led to the garage, opening it noiselessly. The garage door itself was still open, she saw with relief as she slipped into the murk. She quickly pulled on her jeans and boots. As she looked across the street beyond the trees, she stopped. She saw a red glow burning faintly in the distance. What the hell was going on? She thought to herself.

She quietly moved around the Jeep to the driver's side door and was about to open it, when she heard a noise in the front yard.

God, was it their dog, Lucky?

Max had found Lucky with a small boy outside a grocery store.

Liz had put up a fight when he had brought him home. She didn't want animals. Max had argued that the little boy couldn't bring the dog home. His parents had told him not to come home with the puppy.

Max had held Bailey up in front of Liz, and the young dog looked at her with baleful eyes.

"Nuh, uh," Liz had said, shaking her head resolutely. Her heart had been broken with the death of her family dog years back, and she had vowed never to have another pet.

"Those sad eyes are not going to work on me pal, sorry," she had said. She looked at Max.

"Tomorrow he goes to the shelter," she had said.

"Fine," Max had said grumpily.

"Hey," he had whispered to the dog, thinking she hadn't heard, "you'd better get to work convincing her."

Liz had smirked as she walked away.

"Not gonna happen Max," Liz thought to herself.

Max had painstakingly set up a box in the kitchen, lined with a blanket for the dog.

"I don't know why you're bothering," Liz had said. "He's not staying."

"Well he should have at least one night in a comfortable bed before they lock him up in a little cell," he grumbled, looking at her accusingly.

"You're not going to make me feel bad Max," she had said exasperated.

"All right, all right!" he said, pulling her into an embrace.

"I'm sorry," he said softly into her hair. "I just thought you would like him."

"It's not that I don't like him Max. I just can't get attached to anything right now. I am feeling too vulnerable," she said.

"Ok, I understand," he said gently. "But sooner or later Liz, you are going to have to open your heart to someone or something other than me. What happened isn't your fault," he said.

"Don't try to tell me it isn't my fault Max," she flashed in a rare display of anger. "You have no idea what it's like for me. No idea at all."

A glimmer of hurt passed across his eyes.

"I'm sorry Max. I didn't mean that," she said, touching his cheek. He kept his eyes to the floor, moving away from her.

"It's ok," he said. "I'll bring the dog to the shelter tomorrow."

He had left her standing in the kitchen alone.

"Dammit," she thought to herself. She and Max rarely fought, and she hated it when they did. What was wrong with her? She knew that the situation had caused Max as much pain as she was in. Why had she snapped at him like that?

That night, they had eaten dinner in uncomfortable silence. As soon as they finished, Max again retreated to his office to work on his photos, taking the dog with him.

Liz had tried to keep herself occupied with reading she needed to keep up with for work, as she was giving a speech on molecular manipulation the following week. Though she retained some of the reading, her heart wasn't in it.

Much later, she sighed and closed the latest scientific journal she was trying to get through. She decided it was probably best to just go to bed. She was half-hoping that Max would already be in bed, but as she passed his office, she saw that the light was still on from the sliver of light coming from underneath the door. She lightly put her hand on the door for a moment, debating whether to go in, and decided against it.

She went to the bedroom, dejectedly undressing and sliding between the sheets, turning off the light.

It seemed like hours had passed before Max finally came to bed, quietly moving around the room, not turning the light on. She felt his on the mattress as he settled in on the other side of the bed, turned away from her.

A lone tear slid down her cheek as she felt his hurt. She listened to his quiet breathing. Quite awhile later, his breathing deepened and evened in sleep. She lay looking at the window, wondering what she had done to deserve Max's love. She had been so horrible lately. She knew it. And yet, he did not snap at her. He did not get angry with her. But his hurt silence was more unbearable than if he had shouted at her.

Liz heard a low whimpering coming down that hall. The puppy. She lay there listening to its cries for a few minutes, before finally getting up and padding to the kitchen.

A night-light cast a dim glow in the kitchen, and she leaned over the box to see the pup gazing up at her with such sad eyes that she felt her heart constrict.

"Your eyes look just like Max's did tonight," she whispered.

The pup let out another whimper.

"Shh, you'll wake Max up," she scolded gently, lifting the dog from the box.

For the first time, Liz really looked at the dog. He seemed to be a mix of labrador and Great Dane, or some other very large dog. His paws were huge, even for a puppy.

"You're going to be a big fella, aren't you?" she asked him quietly.

The dog looked at her with his world-weary eyes, and gave her a sound lick on the cheek. In that moment, her heart melted.

She smiled at the puppy.

"You're a heartbreaker aren't you?" she asked, holding him up in front of her.

"You can stay with us tonight," she said finally. "But only tonight."

She carried the puppy quietly down the hall to the bedroom, gently sitting on the bed and putting the dog in the middle of the bed, before lying down. The dog immediately curled into her stomach, again licking her face. She smiled at the dog.

Max turned over in his sleep, facing her. She reached over and touched his cheek softly. He stirred and his eyes opened slowly. His eyes moved to the puppy between them, and then back to her eyes questioningly.

"Yes, we're keeping him," she said, leaning over to touch her lips gently to his.

"Liz?" he had said.

Liz shook her head. "You were right Max. And I'm sorry for what I said earlier, it's just?"

"I know," he said simply, his hand moving to her neck, stroking it softly under the long silky hair that had fallen over it.

She felt her eyes tear over, and she stroked his hair gently.

"Have I told you how much I love you?" she asked.

"Not tonight," he said, smiling softly.

"I love you Max Evans," she said, with conviction.

"I love you too," he replied.

The puppy squirmed between them, causing their attention to be drawn to it.

"So what do we name him?" Max asked.

Liz was silent for a moment.

"Lucky," she finally said, "because he was lucky that you found him."

"And because he's lucky to be a part of your life now Liz. He *will* be the luckiest dog around," Max said laughing softly.

"How is it you always know just what I need Max, even before I know it myself?" she asked him.

He looked at her from under his lashes.

"Because, we're connected. We'll always be connected. You felt it too, when we met, didn't you? It was as if we were meant to meet. As if?we're two halves, only whole when we're together," he said.

She nodded.

"Nothing will ever take that away from us Liz, I promise. Nothing will ever make me stop loving you," he said fiercely.

They were up long into the night petting Lucky, who revelled in the attention.


She had believed Max. She had believed what he had said, and then he was ripped away from her forever.

Every day Lucky reminded her of the life they had together. He had become her constant companion for the first six months after Max's death. And then a little girl moved in to the house next door with her mother. A little girl named Jenny who was painfully shy, who lost her father in a senseless construction accident. And Lucky seemed to know where he was needed. He took to staying with Jenny during the day, and in fact would stay at the house until Jenny fell asleep, then coming home to spend his time with Liz. Jenny's mother Mary apologized profusely for her daughter's monopolization of her dog, but Liz didn't mind. Lucky loved to play, and Jenny was good for him. And he still came home every night to lie next to Liz on the bed, in the spot that Max used to occupy. It was late for Lucky to be out tonight, and Liz wondered if something had happened with Jenny.

She cautiously peered out of the garage, looking for any sign of the dog, but there was none.

"Lucky?" she whispered quietly. Silence greeted her. He would just have to stay next door overnight, she thought. It was more important now for her to get as much distance between herself and the man in her living room as possible.

She quietly backed into the darkness of the garage. It was too quiet now.

She turned and simultaneously bumped into her dead husband's duplicate. She screamed shrilly.









Edited by - majesty on 09/21/2001 21:40:39
posted on 20-Sep-2001 3:14:07 PM
FROM PART TWO

She cautiously peered out of the garage, looking for any sign of the dog, but there was none.

"Lucky?" she whispered quietly. Silence greeted her. He would just have to stay next door overnight, she thought. It was more important now for her to get as much distance between herself and the man in her living room as possible.

She quietly backed into the darkness of the garage. It was too quiet now.

She turned and simultaneously bumped into her dead husband's duplicate. She screamed shrilly.


PART THREE

He continued to stare at her for a second and then put one hand on her arm and a finger on her lip.

Furious flashes radiated through his consciousness filled with static, confusing him. All were of the human standing before him.

Smiles, laughs, and tears. Silky hair, velvet skin and chocolate eyes. Gentle touches, warm embraces, quieting tiny hands.

Confusing?all of it. He stepped back.

"You must?help," he said, hesitantly, as if unsure of the words, looking at her imploringly. "Must leave."

The girl in front of him stared at him momentarily, and stepped closer.

"Max?" she whispered, looking into his eyes.

He looked back at her, unmoved, and the moment was gone. She turned her eyes away painfully.

"We take that," he said, pointing to the jeep, moving to the door and opening it.

"No," she said to him, keeping her eyes averted. "You can't go like that."

He looked down at the body he now occupied, confused, and then looked at her again, still grasping the gun he had picked up off the floor in the living room.

She pulled at her shirt with tiny fingers.

"Inside," she said, walking toward the door that led into the house.

He followed her, thinking she was trying to escape, but she went into a room and pulled down a box, rummaging through it. He watched curiously, gun in hand.

He had no understanding of the fleeting visions that had flitted through his mind moments before. He mind felt strange, cluttered. His chest felt strangely tight. Though this body was different than the corporeal form he took on his own planet, there were many similarities to the basic shapes of the human form, and those of his race. But he did not understand the reactions this body was having.

The woman dropped the box to the floor and pulled out something similar to what draped her own body. She held the strange items out to him, and he looked at her blankly.

She paused. Suddenly comprehension dawned across her face. She looked at the gun still in his hand and held her hand out.

The being took a step back. He did not trust the creature in front of him, and held it at her again. She stiffened. Yes, this object, whatever it was, intimidated her. Best to keep it close at hand.

"He..here, watch," she said, her voice shaking. She took one of the items she held out to him a moment ago, and threaded her arms through it, and pushed her head through a small hole. Then she extricated herself from it and held it out to him again.

Tentatively he took the garment, his eyes never leaving her, and he repeated what she had shown him before. Next she held out something smaller and very soft. He tried to thread his arms through this with difficulty.

"No, no?" she said, pointing at his legs. She mimicked what he was supposed to do with them by lifting her legs. He pulled the soft item around his legs, and she handed him a final garment, heavier and longer. She again pointed to his legs and he managed to pull this blue garment over them, and stood looking at her expectantly.

She put her hands to a silver strand on her own garment and pulled up, then pushing a small round metal object through a hole in the garment. He followed her instructions.

Then she laid two objects in front of him for his feet. He stuck his feet into them, and she tentatively leaned down and did something to the strings on them, as he continued to point the metal weapon at her distrustfully.

She stood up, looking at him with a mixture of fear and recognition.

He motioned the gun at her and she moved out of the room toward the kitchen and the door to the garage.

Liz stepped into the darkened garage, still not wanting to believe what was happening.

From behind her, the dark silhouette of the stranger cast a deeper shadow in front of her caused by the light streaming from the kitchen. The door shut quietly, throwing the area into darkness.

Liz turned quickly, seeing this man's familiar eyes glittering in the darkness. Her breath quickened, and suddenly she felt cold wetness against her nose. Her gaze snapped down, not knowing what to expect, and Lucky's warm breath snuffled quietly as he sniffed her hand and looked at the man behind her curiously. The large dog whined softly, in confusion.

The Max-a-like swung the gun toward the dog instinctively, and Liz stepped in front of the dog protectively.

"Shh, Lucky, it's all right boy," she said, patting his head comfortingly.

"What is that?" the stranger asked.

"It's a dog," Liz said, after stopping herself from asking why he didn't remember. She was now continuously reminding herself that this was not her Max.

"Explain dog," he said threateningly.

"This is my dog?my pet," she struggled trying to find the words to explain. "An animal that lives in there with me. Please, don't hurt him," Liz pleaded, pulling the dog close to her side, who had by now caught the scent of Max, and was confused.

Liz felt the wag of his tail against her leg, and he whined in again. This man smelled like his master, but something was different. Liz grabbed his collar instinctively.

"He is?good," Liz said.

"Good?" he repeated, and seemed satisfied.

"We must go now," he said.

"Fine," Liz answered. "Lucky is coming too. I don't want to leave him here."

She saw the stranger shake his head.

"If he doesn't come along, then I won't go with you," she said, suddenly sure that wherever she might be going, she didn't want to go without a familiar presence with her, and Lucky was it.

There was a moment of silence as he pondered this, and seemed to realize she meant business.

"We go," he said finally.

Liz walked around to the driver's side of the Jeep, one just like Max's that she had bought because it reminded her of him. She got rid of her convertible right after she bought the Jeep, and driving it comforted her, made her in some small way retain the memory of Max. Maria thought it was morbid, but Liz didn't care. When she got into it and drove it, she almost always remembered the long drives they used to take with the top off. She loved those times.

She let Lucky jump into the back and then hopped in the seat, shutting the door, staring straight ahead. She felt him get into the seat next to her, and heard the decisive thump of the door shutting.

Putting the keys in the ignition, she turned it once. The starter cranked and then died. She cursed and tried again. The starter cranked repeatedly and finally she let it release, banging the wheel the wheel with her other hand, cursing. She laid her head against the wheel in frustration. She was sure if the Jeep didn't start, sooner or later he would get impatient, and she had no idea of what he was capable of. She felt her breathing grow heavy with fear and frustration.

Suddenly she felt a warm touch of fingers on hers and she jerked her hand away from the keys reflexively.

She watched incredulously as a long shapely finger touched the keys, and the engine immediately sprang to life.

Almost involuntarily, her eyes went to his face, not quite believing what she had just seen.

He watched her look at him with a mix of disbelief and fear, a touch of revulsion and he felt a pang of?what? What exactly was it he was experiencing? He could not describe it in words of his people, for there was no word for feelings such as this. His people were not bogged down with these sensations that clouded thinking and action. He found it completely disconcerting. When he touched her hand he had the vaguest sense of familiarity, though he could not figure out why. Perhaps a side effect of taking on this form. Never had he incorporated himself into a being quite like this. Never had the sensations of another being invaded his consciousness before. It scared him a little.

The woman put the car into drive and slowly pulled out of the garage, as the creature in the seat behind him huffed hot air onto his neck. Yes, completely and utterly disturbing, this planet.

Liz turned onto the street and sped the vehicle up quickly down the road, as a flash of lights from Federal vehicles sped by them. Maneuvering the curves of the road agilely, she felt near panic rising in her throat. She was taking some crazy road trip with a psycho version of her husband, and she had no idea what was going to become of her.

Seeing a stop sign ahead, something snapped in her and she slammed on the brakes, throwing her passenger forward, and he banged his head against the dash.

She tried to calm her breathing, her knuckles white against the steering wheel. He rubbed his forehead, squinting painfully.

She turned to him quickly, angrily.

"Ok, I am in the damned Jeep, you have me where you want me!" she shouted. "But I have no idea where the hell I am supposed to be going! Tell me where I am supposed to take you, because I want to get as far away from you as possible as soon as possible!"

Her chest rose and fell angrily, and the mere sight of that stilled the man's hand on his forehead.

He slowly reached into his pocket, and Liz prepared herself for the worst.

He withdrew a closed palm, and her eyes widened.

He held his hand out in front of her and opened his fingers, exposing a small metal orb.

Closing his eyes, the orb began to glow and Liz panicked.

"What the hell is that?" she yelled. "What are you doing?"

Lucky barked from the backseat, and put his head on her shoulder protectively, eyeing the orb that suddenly was glowing almost blindingly bright.

Her shouts did not faze him, as he concentrated on his effort.

A moment later, the small orb rose from his hand, and Liz shielded her eyes as it moved toward the windshield, spreading its glow out and becoming part of it.

A map of the United States appeared glowing green across the windshield.

He pointed toward the upper left corner of the map.

"What Washington?" Liz asked shortly.

He nodded.

"Where in Washington?" she asked. "What's there?Seattle, Spokane, Olympia, the Cascade Mountains?"

He nodded vigorously.

"The mountains?" she asked. "Near Mount St. Helen?"

He pointed to the Cascades on the windshield.

"We go," he said, waving the gun at her.

Liz turned her eyes back to the road, turning her car toward the nearest western route, Rt 380.

*****************

The further she drove away from Roswell, the greater her fear grew. What would happen to her? Maria would be worried sick she knew, once she realized she was gone.

She had thought long and hard through the long hours driving into the night, and she realized that this thing, this being next to her had to be an alien. There was no question about it. His transformation into Max was definitely not of this earth. How ironic that whatever it was landed in Roswell. Who would believe it? The people who lived there surely wouldn't, and considering the way the government cars were rushing into the area as they left, they probably cleaned and covered the whole thing up by dawn.

Traffic had been light on the interstate. She had driven a long time without even seeing a car.

She felt his gaze on her again, and it unsettled her. She tried to keep her eyes on the road as much as she could because looking to her right and seeing her husband's face still freaked her out.

But periodically, she felt his eyes on her, studying her. She remained silent, not wanting to antagonize him, not knowing what he would do to her, and so she drove in silence.

Lucky had settled down in the backseat after realizing they were not on a jaunt to the market, but on a real road trip. He was in doggy heaven, completely ignorant of the fact that his mistress was probably driving herself closer to her own demise.

After all, this creature most certainly wasn't going to let her go once he got to where he needed to go. But maybe there would be opportunities to get help along the way. She needed to have that hope, or she would go mad. Lucky was no help. After a perfunctory sniff at the man sitting in the passenger seat, he seemed satisfied and promptly collapsed onto the back seat, quickly falling asleep. Liz silently cursed him. Some watchdog you are, she grumbled to herself.

Yet again, she felt his eyes on her, and suddenly she snapped. She couldn't take it any more.

Her head snapped toward him, glaring at him.

"What?" she said angrily. "What are you staring at?"

He looked at her for a long moment in silence, and then picked up her wallet out of her bag, opening it, thumbing through the photos. Annoyed, she turned her eyes back to the road.

"What called you?" he asked curiously.

"What?" she said, glancing at him.

"You," he said, pointing to her in the photo.

"Do you mean my name?" she asked.

"Yes?name," he answered.

"Liz Evans," she said, "my name is Liz Evans."

She watched him as he looked at she and Max in their wedding photo. For a split second she could have sworn she saw Max in his expression, and just as quickly, it was gone.

"God, you look just like him," she muttered, turning back to the road.

"Him?" he asked.

"Max," she said, looking at him. "You look just like Max. He was my husband."

"Max," he said, letting the word roll off his tongue.

Suddenly the radio station was changing by itself. Liz was startled, and she looked over to see her passenger with a satisfied expression on his face.

Her eyes widened as he concentrated on the radio, and the stations changed by themselves.

Ok, ok, just when I start to think this guy is going to be ok, he freaks me out again, she thought, panicked.

Her breathing quickened. Ahead she saw a pickup truck coming toward them, and she decided this was her chance.

She swerved across the middle of the road suddenly, hoping to God that the pickup saw it in time before hitting the car.

She saw that the driver had thrown the brakes on, and she fumbled with the door frantically.

The truck swung it's bed across the road, skidding sideways, and slid toward the jeep, coming to a stop about 50 feet away, just as Liz got the door opened. She scrambled out of the car, waving her hands frantically.

The driver jumped out of the truck holding a metal jack.

"What the fuck?" he screamed. "Are you crazy lady?"

"Help me!" she screamed.

Her passenger got out of the car, grabbing her by the arm as she struggled.

"Please I need help," she pleaded, as she struggled to get away from him. "He's going to kill me!"

The driver looked toward the man holding her captive, and he was smiling at him.

"Greetings," he said pleasantly to the driver. This confused the driver for a moment, until he saw the pleading look on the young woman's face. He was betting this guy was one of those wife-beaters.

"Hey man, let her go," the driver said, and the man looked at him blankly.

"I said, let her go," the burly man repeated forcefully. The man continued to smile at him, as he held the woman seemingly effortlessly by her arm.

"You asked for it," the driver said, and raised the jack bar over his head, intending to bring it down on the guys' shoulder. He swung, and incredibly, the man caught the end of the bar with his other hand and held it there.

The driver struggled to get the bar loose from his hands, and he watched the man staring at him as he attempted to do so, a warm heat emanated from the metal he was holding, and then it immediately got hotter. A second later, the bar was glowing with a red hot temperature, and the driver screamed in pain and the bar was wrenched out of his hand by some unseen force and careened through the air back toward the pickup.

The driver backed away quickly, never taking his eyes off the stranger. He then turned and ran back to his truck, jumping in and taking off at top speed.

The stranger pushed Liz back toward the driver's side door, pulling the gun out of his back pocket.

His quickened agility was stupefying. His coordination had improved drastically in the hours since they had left the house.

He pushed her into the seat, and shut the door, working his magic on the lock so she couldn't try to escape again.

He got in the other door and flopped into the seat.

"We must go," he said.

Liz bit back tears as she put the Jeep into drive and continued down the road. Lucky poked his head out from the back seat, and gave her face a tender lick.

She made a turn onto another road heading west, and bit her lip as they again drove in silence.

The stranger lay the gun in his lap and leaned back into the seat, again concentrating on changing the radio stations with his mind.

"Don't do that!" Liz said, pushing the buttons on the radio, showing him how to work it. "Use the buttons. I am freaked out enough as it is."

"Define freaked out," he said, looking at her.

Liz half-laughed in disbelief.

"Define freaked out?" she asked, and noticed they were coming upon a traffic light, and as she approached, she saw it turn yellow. In her frustration, she put her foot to the floor and the jeep lurched and quickly gained speed, racing under the light as it turned red.

Suddenly, she slammed her foot on the brake and turned to him.

"You want to know what freaked out is? Freaked out is seeing some *thing* turn into my dead husband in my own living room! Freaked out is looking at a map that's glowing on my windshield! Freaked out is being taken out of my home with no idea where I am going or what is going to happen to me! And I can't take this any more, so do what you have to do to me, but I don't want to see you use your crazy powers anymore. Go on, dump me out of the car or kill me! I dare you! It's better than being this scared! It's better than having to look at my husband's face knowing it isn't him! Just do it! Get it over with!" she shouted.

She watched as he picked the gun up from his lap with lightening speed and held it to her head. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard, preparing for the worst as she felt the cold metal of the muzzle against her temple.

And then she heard dull clinks and opened her eyes to see the barrel open and the bullets dropping to the floor of the jeep.

He took the gun and opened the glove compartment laying it in there before shutting it.

"I mean you no harm, Liz Evans," he said quietly, looking at her earnestly.

"I need help. I must be at the mountains before the setting of four suns."

"Where are you from?" she asked.

She watched as his index finger pointed upward. She nodded.

"Why are you here?" she asked.

"I am an intermediary. I was sent to meet with the people of earth, to learn from you. To learn of your ways."

"I guess you got some lesson, didn't you?" she asked.

He just looked at her.

"Do you understand English well?" she asked.

"I know some. I am learning much from that," he said, pointing to the radio.

She nodded.

"Use the buttons from now on," she said.

He grinned at her, and again, she was struck at how much he looked like her Max when he smiled at her.

"Why do you have to look like him?" Liz said, shakily.

"I look like Max?so I am not *freaking you out*," he said gently.

Liz turned her eyes back to the road. Somehow, now she knew he wasn't going to hurt her, but she had to take her first opportunity to get away from him.

She had no idea what would happen to her if the government caught up with them, or what they would do to her.

************

Alex Whitman grabbed his beer and sandwich off the counter before going into the living room and settling in to work on his astronomy web site. Finally, some time to himself, he thought.

He had just started to work on the code for the Andromeda page, when the phone rang.

"Dammit!" he said, completely annoyed before picking up the phone.

"What?!?" he said irritated into the mouthpiece.

His eyes widened.

"Oh Sir, sorry Sir, I didn't know it was you," he said apologetically.

"What can I do for you?" he asked.

He was silent for a moment, and then smirked.

"Are they sure it wasn't a meteor Sir? Those boys sometimes jump the gun?"

Alex listened to the explanation on the other end, his eyes growing wider.

"You're kidding me?" he said, and got a further explanation.

"Roswell New Mexico? Isn't that irony for you?" he said.

He got further instructions from the General.

"I'm on my way Sir. I'll be there as soon as I can!" he said, and hung up the phone.

He jumped out of the chair, more excited than he had felt in a long time, and grabbed his keys and jacket, before shutting off the lights. This was sounding like the real thing, and he was going to be a part of history.






Edited by - majesty on 09/21/2001 14:58:30