This is Part 4 of my AtoZ Challenge story, featuring letters H-M. See Part 3, Part 2, and Part 1. Thanks to everybody that's been reading!
Kyler wriggled ever so slightly. He had to find a way out of the bed without waking up Mom or Ronnie. Especially Mom. After her announcement that they were going on a little trip tomorrow, Kyler knew beyond a doubt that something bad was happening. Now if he could only find the proof. Fortunately, he was on the edge of the bed, not in the middle, where it would have been impossible to get free. His mother seemed to be in a deep sleep. Kyler studied her eyes in the dim nightlight, slightly freaked out by the possessed-like motions behind closed lids. He sucked in a deep breath. Here goes.
Kyler rolled over from his back to his side, facing the edge. His mother's arm dropped from its perch on his chest and hit the mattress. He continued rolling until his feet hit the floor. He was a half-crouched statue, breath frozen away inside his lungs. Ronnie coughed, and his bark sounded like a shotgun blast to Kyler. His heart pounded loudly, thumping in his ears.
After what seemed like forever, Kyler exhaled and began making his way out of the room. On tip-toes he moved as silent as a ghost. He crept slowly until he made it to the stairs, then he bounded up them taking two or three at a time. Like a dog on a blood trail, Kyler ran straight to his mom's bathroom. He rummaged through the dirty clothes, searching for the outfit he'd seen his mom in earlier. Oddly, it wasn't there. This only solidified Kyler's suspicions.
He spent the next several minutes looking through the house for the clothes. He checked the trash cans, the laundry room, even the deep freeze. Nothing. Where else could they be? He was about to give up when one last idea came to mind. Kyler opened the side door that led out onto the back patio. Above, the moon had a strange orange glow to it, like a harvest moon only not as large. The sky itself was a different color than usual, metallic looking, like an oil sheen on pavement. Kyler puzzled over this for a moment and then shrugged it off. Priorities.
The vehicle was unlocked. He popped the trunk, certain that he would find what he was looking for inside.
"What are you doing, baby?"
Kyler spun around, blood rushing to his face. The vibrant night colors dropped an eerie glow on his mom's face. "I, uh." What could he say? He couldn't lie, not to her, but he didn't have to worry about it. Words weren't forming.
"Kyler, honey, is something wrong?" There was sincerity in her voice. Love. Worry.
All at once the oddness of the situation was too much for him and he began bawling. "I don't know what's happening," he said between intermittent sobs, "but I know something is. Schools are closed. President Hombs let you off. The clothes you wore home are different. They're... Something ain't right." He paused, looking up at the moon. "Even the sky is wrong."
A look of shock passed over his mother, followed immediately by a profound look of sadness. The only time Kyler ever remembered seeing her so sad was after Daddy left, when she told them the news. "Shhh," she said, squeezing him. "It's okay, sweetheart. Mommy's just had a lot on her mind lately."
Kyler pulled away. He took her face in his hands and stared at her eyes. She wasn't telling him everything. He saw it in her eyes. Kyler frowned. "Mom, please, tell me. I'm not a little kid anymore. I'm thirteen. I'm not... Ronnie. Just tell me what's going on. Please."
Her eyes filled with tears. Beneath the orange moon, they looked like melted iron. "I'm sorry," she began. "I should have told you sooner, but I didn't know how. Two days ago...." She trailed off, staring out across the yard. "A few days ago President Hombs made an announcement...."