Science Fiction

Secret Lives

John Meiners, Jr.

The next morning Pamela, Bob, and Stefan wake and sit at the table drinking coffee, having breakfast. Pamela and Bob tell Stefan about the dangers facing them all and the status of their investigation. He is shocked when told Neville Dugat is a Draakar. He thought they all had perished in the woods the day he and Bob swam away to escape the wolves.

Of course Pamela never knew any Draakar were ever among their group of aliens that escaped from their dying planet to start new lives on earth. Now realizing their new friend Jesse is part Osteoan and a Draakar, means Osteoans have been among them since they arrived in this world. One, two, or perhaps all three of the children attacked by wolves and thought lost that day, must have survived. Pamela tells of the kidnappings, the tranquillizer darts, and the suspected reasons behind the other violent attacks of the last few months.

Stefan has spent his life in Texas, and knows nothing of the town of Community except its general location in Louisiana. Twenty-five years ago Bob drove through Community, when Stefan visited him in New Orleans, just to show him where the Avantans lived. Bob and Stefan always lived as humans and never changed into Draakars especially in later years. Their desire to keep their identity secret was always a priority. Pamela invites Stefan to share any information that he might have, but Bob knows Stefan is a marine biology professor living as human. He is doubtful Stefan can help their investigation. 'What information about the attacks could he have?' he thinks so he and Pamela are surprised when Stefan gets up from the table and tells them, "I want to show you something."

Bob asks Pamela, "More coffee?"


Bob pours two cups of coffee and sits back down.

Stefan enters with a book, sits, turns to a marked page and says, "I want to read you something."

'We were on a routine patrol in the Mekong Delta and came under fire. We thought we controlled the area, but machine guns opened up on us from both sides. Sgt. Powers immediately gave the order to turn and head back. The engine roared and in the midst of the sharp turn, the engine blew. Our swift boat became a sitting duck; our only movement dictated by the current. We took cover and returned fire at the jungle wall on each bank but were unable to see where the machine gun fire was coming from. Should the engine begin to burn, the crew would be forced to jump. Smoke billowed up as rounds rang out and ricocheted in the air around us. We looked at one another and realized we didn't have much longer. Sgt. Powers stood, ran, and dove overboard. We tried to look but quickly had to duck the incoming machine gun fire. I had the best viewpoint and saw something in the water, but it wasn't Sgt. Powers. I looked again just seconds later and saw a creature I'd never seen before glide from the water up the bank. I heard screams along with gunfire of pistols and AK47's. The gunfire lessoned as the screams grew. Suddenly we heard one last scream, then silence. We looked at one another then the silence was broken when a machine gun burst whizzed past our swift boat targeting the machine gun nest on the other side. As fast as it started, the targeted machine gun fell silent. We sat in silence on the now quiet river, rocking slowly with the current. Someone took possession of the machine gun and silenced the other side... sent them running, and that someone had to be Sgt. Powers. I told them, 'I'm going in.' As shots were heard in the distance, I grabbed my M16 as did the others, and all to a man followed me. I kept a low profile and crawled up the bank as they arrived and covered me. I first encountered a dead Viet Cong; his body torn apart as if by a wild animal. His head was barely attached. Then one after the other... so many dead, I lost count. Some shot...others so mangled... It was just so quiet. The men all followed behind me and suddenly through the clearing, we saw a figure sitting at an M60. We slowly surrounded the motionless figure. It was Sgt. Powers sitting in the very same position as when he'd fired on the other side. I called to him, "Sgt. Powers?" but there was no response. He'd died of his wounds, but not before he sent the enemy running. We all prayed that day. He'd saved our lives.

Pamela asks, "My God,... Is it possible we've found another Draakar?"

Bob isn't happy and asks, "How long have you had this? Why didn't you share this information with me?"

Stefan says, "I haven't had it that long, and I had no idea you were investigating anything."

Pamela is becoming very aware of their father/son relationship even though they're so close in age.

Bob asks, "Where'd you get this book?"

"A student of mine who knows I'm interested in sea creatures gave it to me in my last summer session about five months ago."

Bob says, "Oh, okay."

"I was going to tell you about it when I saw you. Who could it be? All of us were too young."

Bob checks the book. It was published four years ago but copyrighted in 1967.

Stefan tells him, "See, copyright 1967."

"You were wondering about it then."

"Of course, I mean it sounds like Sgt. Powers was a Draakar."

Bob asks, "You remember the other three Osteoans?"

"I do but not that well. I do know we were all about the same age, except for you of course."

"We weren't all the same age. I was oldest. You and the girl were five, but one of the boys was ten. He was small... looked younger."

Stefan looks surprised. All his life, he and Bob spoke little of the three believed lost that day. It was a subject rarely discussed.

Pamela does the math and says, "If he was 10 in 1959, he would have been 17 or 18... able to serve in Viet Nam."

Bob nods, and says, "That's right."

Stefan tells Bob, "Aren't you glad I chose now to tell you? You know with the investigation and all."

Pamela says, "I have to admit it was perfect timing."

"Who am I to argue with the Professor?

They laugh, and Bob asks, "Now, where do we go from here? I wonder if this author, Nathaniel Drinkwater, is still around, and if we can find him, talk to him?"

Stefan says, "I can try to find him. His book says he lives in Charleston. Clarice and I have visited Charleston many times. I'll look him up." All of his life, Stefan's only connection with the past and his previous identity was Bob. He suddenly feels a homecoming of sorts, meeting Pamela Lawton.

Pamela's phone rings. It's Samantha, and she begins to give a rundown of what happened yesterday. Pamela tells her, "Wait let me put you on speaker phone."

They all sit wide eyed, especially Stefan, as he hears Samantha explaining the Finding, the Chase, and then the fight between Draakars. Samantha happily tells Pamela she made a successful change into a deer. There is much concern over Jesse's injuries, but Samantha tells them, they are lacerations needing only a few stitches, and he is fine and resting. Monroe and Officer Jones are exhausted, but Neville Dugat appears to have received the most severe injuries. In the fight, he was gored by one or more of the Finding, Monroe, Officer Jones, or Jesse and has multiple lacerations. Samantha lets Pamela and Bob know all this occurred yesterday late in the day and continued into the night, but they captured Dugat, and there was no reason to call to worry them. He's now under guard in an undisclosed location. Samantha tells them to have fun and don't worry about a thing. Pamela decides to tell them about the story of Sgt. Powers when they get back home.

Stefan is amazed at what he heard. His life in San Antonio, while good, lacks excitement in comparison.

Pamela asks Bob, "Do you think Dugat will talk?"

Bob shrugs his shoulder and says, "Don't know. He appears to be in charge or was... If he was, it's good. We'll have to find his accomplices or his buyers if he was selling something. Probably serum or drugs which would turn people into who knows what."

"What would be the purpose?" Pamela asks.

"Mercenaries for some third world countries? Think of it. A serum which would enable men to turn into Draakars or some other creature. It's the only thing I've been able to come up with. If Dugat has a higher up, he's a dead man if it's discovered he's been captured."

Pamela agrees, "Yes."

"What about the author of "Swift Boat"? asks Stefan. "Is that still important?"

"I'd like to know for my own personal benefit," says Bob. "Also there are relationship issues. Jesse is a Draakar, but he never knew. Either his mother or father was one of those three children, and if that's not the case, more than one ship must have escaped our planet before it was destroyed."

Pamela adds, "And Neville Dugat... If we can find information about his mother or father, it may help lead to someone who might be helpful in our investigation. So yes. Knowing who Sgt. Powers was, is still important."

Stefan is eager to help and with retirement on the horizon, that idea now has more appeal. He loves the teaching profession and has been reluctant to leave. 'What will I do? What comes next?' he thinks. What an exciting adventure to be a part of the investigation team though. One huge problem would be hiding his activities from Clarice. He's thought of telling Clarice about his past but always discarded the idea. They have been married 34 years. It would be too much. Would she scream and run away, be angry, or call a psychiatrist?

Bob knows Stefan very well and knows he's a thinker. Stefan can be very focused and at times off in his own world. Stefan doesn't look worried now, only deep in thought but not yet ready to share those thoughts. Bob remembers the time of their escape so many years ago. While they were swimming, they'd been surrounded by strange fish, at least strange to them. He'd felt more threatened and alarmed than Stefan who was more curious than fearful. Suddenly Stefan said, 'They're breathing air like us.' The fish weren't fish at all, but porpoises. In other words, Stefan's thoughts take him away from the present. He can appear distant and in another world but not from rudeness. He's just a 'thinker.' "Stefan, a penny for your thoughts."

Stefan says, "Oh, it's... nothing," which means he just returned from 'something.'

Bob says, "How about a quarter for your thoughts?"

Pamela understands and realizes Bob and Stefan have done this before.

Stefan tells Bob, "Okay, I thought about retiring for the last few years, and if you were willing or wanted my help, well, I would... like to."

Pamela tells him, "We would welcome your help."

Unbeknownst to the three, Clarice has arrived unannounced and unheard, wanting to surprise Bob and his new wife. Stefan called her last night. She quietly enters out of sight and hears Stefan.

"It's Clarice, she doesn't know about me. We've been married 34 years, and it's been a secret all these years."

Pamela says, "I see." as Clarice enters having heard Stefan's last statement.

"Clarice asks, "What are you talking about Stefan? You have a secret you've kept from me? What is it?"

Stefan assumes the posture of a cement statue in Jackson Square... Moments pass which seem an eternity. Clarice is waiting for an answer, and Stefan is searching for something to say. Bob and Pamela look at one another.

Bob quietly whispers to Pamela, "I told you he wasn't a good actor."

Clarice worried and upset asks, "What is it, Stefan?"

Bob jumps in and tells Stefan, "I'll tell Clarice. It's okay.

Clarice, this is my wife, Pamela."

Clarice says, "It's so nice to meet you."

"And wonderful to meet you," Pamela replies. She wants to stay out of it, and Stefan is 'out of it.'

Bob tells Clarice. "There's nothing wrong; nothing to worry about. I recruited Stefan to work with me and the department on cases of a secret nature from time to time, and he wasn't allowed to talk about it."... Bob makes an attempt to involve Stefan. "25 years ago, Stefan?"

"Yes," Stefan replies.

"What is it, Stefan?" Clarice asks worried.

It's obvious Clarice doesn't believe Bob's story. The funny part is the truth is so 'beyond believable.' Pamela thinks Bob has always protected Stefan all his life and tried to again, but Clarice knows them both very well and saw through Bob's effort. Even if this crisis was averted, when and if Clarice should find out, a lie has now been added and made matters worse. A secret is one thing... living with a lie would destroy trust. Pamela believes it is time for the truth, but she certainly doesn't feel it is her decision.

Clarice is waiting for an answer and growing more and more impatient.

Stefan says, "You won't believe me."

"Tell me please; whatever it is."

Stefan takes a deep breath. "You've heard of Area 51?"

"Of course... I hope you're not going to tell me you're an alien from another planet. I don't even like Sci-Fi, and... I'm not stupid."

Stefan tries to respond, but Clarice doesn't wait. She storms out of the room about to cry saying in a rather loud angry voice, "I'll be in my room when you decide to tell me."

Pamela and Bob are at a loss. Stefan looks stunned...

Bob says, "I'm sorry Stefan, I wasn't fast enough on my feet."

"It's okay, Bob."

Pamela says, "It may be for the best to tell her. Clarice loves you, not where you come from. Listen, it is going to be a shock, and she may need time. My husband, Frederick, was not an alien. We had a good marriage and we loved one another, but I didn't want to have any secrets from him."

Stefan asks, "You told him? What did he say?"

"After the shock wore off when he could speak, he said, 'I love you.'"

"I should go talk to her," Stefan says.

"Bob tells Pamela. Listen. You are the only one who has experience with this."

Pamela asks Stefan, "Would you like me to speak with her?"

"No, It's for me to do. I'm the one who kept it from her." Stefan, looking terrified, goes slowly up the stairs.

Pamela feels so bad. She was elated to finally meet and see Stefan...to realize that her best friend's son was alive all these years. It was truly a dream come true, and now that dream has brought about a nightmare which could possibly destroy a marriage. She is upset and cries. Bob comforts her as best he can. They sit in silence. It isn't long until Stefan hurries down the stairs, not in a forlorn hopeless manner, but a hurried walk with a face screaming in silence, 'Help me. Help me.'

Stefan quickly says, "Clarice has in her mind, I may have inherited a disease that would kill me. She thinks I have it, and I'm keeping it from her. She thinks I'm going to die."

Pamela says, "I'll be back, soon." Pamela goes up the stairs. Bob and Stefan listen to knocks on the door. Then the door opens and closes.

Bob reassures Stefan. "She's in. Don't worry... I could use a drink."

Stefan agrees and nervously makes a drink glancing toward the upstairs for any sign of Pamela returning. He hands Bob his drink. Stefan forgot to make himself one.

Bob says, "Thanks,... Don't you want one? I think you could use one."

Stefan glances up the stairs again then notices he doesn't have a drink so makes one for himself. Stefan stands by Bob, too nervous to sit. After a few minutes, Bob hears ice clinking in the glass, but realizes it's Stefan's glass. His hands are just shaking so hard.

Bob tells him, "Clarice loves you, Stefan... Don't worry... It's going to be fine."

Suddenly they hear a scream. Bob jumps, and Stefan drops his drink, the glass shattering on the floor. Stefan runs to the bottom of the stairs and yells upstairs alarmed, "You need me? Is everything alright?"

Pamela calls down, "Everything is fine. We're both fine."

Stefan walks back looking at Bob, his face in silence seeking help. Stefan asks, "What do you think happened?"

Stefan, "Please sit down; take it easy. I don't know what happened, but I do know Pamela has you and Clarice's best interest at heart. Have faith."

"Okay... Okay," Stefan sits. Stefan and Bob sit in silence, both of them trying to hear what is going on upstairs.

Finally Pamela comes down alone and tells Stefan, "She wants to see you."

Stefan runs up the stairs while Pamela sits by Bob.

Bob asks, "You okay?"

Pamela nods, and says, "It's going to take some time, but I think they will be fine."

"What was the scream about?"

"I changed."

"I thought you might have. You changed when you told Frederick too, didn't you?"

"I did. There's just something about suddenly seeing a deer materialize in front of you that gets your attention."

Pamela and Bob smile at one another. He takes her hand as they sit back and relax.

The End

February 04, 2021 00:21

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Zavier Watt
23:53 Feb 10, 2021

Hi John, this was a really interesting story and world that you built. I think one of the biggest pieces of feedback i can give would be to show, not tell. Don’t tell us about as much of the backstory as having dialogue and action drive the main points. It’s tough to build a whole science fiction world in a short time and you did that very well but it took me some time to follow the main story line. This piece to me sounds like the sequel to a first comic that would put the whole war in context. Definitely a lot of gems in heart like charact...


John Meiners, Jr
11:19 Mar 11, 2021

Thank you so much for your kind words. I have been focusing more on the show don’t tell of late. I’m a playwright and try to not have too much dialogue in these stories and at times go too far with that. Thus far I have written 15 working on 16th about Community. Want to put them all together when I finish story. They be chapters in a book. Just started writing these last Mar or Apr 2020 when theatre went dark due to Covid. Five of the short stories were of ten minute plays I wrote and changed. 15 about Community are short stories ...


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