Reagan King glared at the bright, flashing numbers of her alarm clock. The incessant buzzing noise finally got to her. She groaned, rolled over, and swiped at the clock, knocking it off her nightstand. The buzzing stopped. Another long day had begun.
Reagan slid out of bed and trudged down the hall towards the bathroom. She fumbled with the doorknob, only to realize that the door was locked. Her twin brother Ramsey had beat her to it. She slumped to the floor and waited for im to finish.
Ten minutes later, Ramsey emerged from the bathroom.
"Took you long enough," Reagan grumbled as she swept by him and slammed the door. Ramsey shrugged and headed down the stairs. He entered the kitchen, and plopped down n one of the chairs.
"Morning dear," his mom chimed, pouring him a tall glass of orange juice. Ramsey hated orange juice. He didn't now what it was, but something about the bright, pulpy liquid made his stomach turn.
"Mom, do I really have to drink that?" he questioned, scrutinizing the glass of juice "It's so disgusting."
"It's not disgusting Ramsey, it's good for you. Lord knows you eat enough junk food in a day, you need to have some healthy food in your diet," she replied. Ramsey raised his eyebrows skeptically.
The kitchen door swung open, and Reagan clambered in.
"Mom, have you seen my shoes?" she asked, ducking her head under the table in search of the missing shoes.
"Check by the garage door. They were covered in mud when you came in last night, and I didn't want you tracking dirt through the house," she responded.
"Covered with mud? I didn't even wear those shoes last night," Reagan stated, glancing around the room."Wait a minute, where's Keegan?"
"Ramsey I told you to wake her up!" Mrs. King exclaimed, jumping up from the table and heading towards the door.
"Keegan wore my shoes!" Reagan fumed. "I'm gonna kill her!" She shot out of the room after her mother.
"Girls," Ramsey shrugged to himself, as he focused his attention on the bowl of cereal set out before him. At seventeen, Ramsey was the only male living in the King household. The kid's father had mysteriously disappeared four years earlier. Mr. King adored his children, and loved his wife, so nobody could understand why he would just leave the family without warning. The entire town of Sadeysville assumed that Mr. King, was dead, possibly urdered; and yet there was no body. It was a mystery that continued to baffle the people.
Sadeysville was a small, quiet town, located in out West. Considered cow country by many, it's inhabitants were actually incredibly wealthy men and women who had made their money off mining and the stock market. The town seemed an odd fit for these suave business people, as it didn't really have much to offer. Aside from it's sprawling land which accounted for enormous plantation style homes, Sadeysville was a good fifty miles away from the nearest city, which presented a problem for those in search of excitement.
Mrs. King and her daughters rushed back into the kitchen.
"I can't believe you got my shoes that dirty Keegan. You didn't even ask me if you could borrow them!" Reagan exclaimed, throwing her arms up in exasperation.
"Sorry," Keegan muttered, grabbing the carton of orange juice and pouring herself a glass.
"You guys are going to be late for school," Mrs. King said sternly. Ramsey rose from the table, grabbed his book bag, and headed out the door.
"I'll be in the car," he called, slamming the door behind him. Keegan and Reagan gathered up their backpacks, and hurried after him.
The King's silver Eclipse convertible rolled into the Sadeysville High School parking lot. Although the car would most likely be envied at any other high school in the country, it was seen as common and even mundane by many of the students. The Kings hopped out of the car as a bright red Thunderbird pulled in next to them. It was Reagan's boyfriend Christian, and his younger sister Lana, who was Keegan's best friend. The five exchanged smiles and greeted one another, and then walked into the large brick school.
Six hours later, Keegan sat in her global studies class, discussing the prospect of intergalactic war.
"It would never happen," Josh, the class intellectual, stated flatly "It's just not possible. We're the only species existing in the universe, there'd no one for us to battle with."
"You don't know that Josh," a girl named Cindy retorted. The debate continued, with every student putting in their two cents. Keegan stared out the window. It was a beautiful spring day. The last thing on her mind was intergalactic war. Global studies was her last class of the day, and she hated being cooped up, especially when the weather outside was so spectacular. She sighed, a leaned back in her chair. Twenty minutes later, the final bell rang. Keegan jumped out of the chair and rushed out to meet her friends. She met up with Reagan and Ramsey, and the kids headed home.
At the dinner table that night, after the conversation had turned to mush, Keegan decided to bring up the debate that had taken place in her global studies class. Her siblings and mom listened closely, but didn't really have much to add.
"I don't think that would happen Keegan," Ramsey declared "There's just not enough evidence to prove that it would. We've been studying the solar system and our universe for so long, there's nothing out there."
"But what if there's a whole other universe out there, one we don't even know about yet?" Keegan questioned. Ramsey shrugged, and glanced at Reagan.
"Don't look at me! The biggest thing on my mind right now is deciding what color prom dress to get," Reagan responded impassively. Mrs. King looked at her children and sighed. They were all so different. They weren't bad kids, they just didn't see eye to eye on anything other then the fact that they all despised her meatloaf. Ramsey was an all-star lacrosse player, who spent his time studying and out chasing girls. Reagan on the other hand, was a reserved cheerleader. She wasn't exceedingly outgoing, which is why it was so odd that she had decided to be a cheerleader in the first place. She enjoyed reading, and hanging out with her boyfriend. Keegan was the youngest, and most outgoing of the three. At fifteen, she was a rough-and-tumble kind of girl, who was often spouting off about one thing or another. Although the King children were very different from one another, they seemed to get along quite well.
Ramsey stood up and began clearing the table. Keegan joined him, and the kids soon left for their bedrooms. Mrs. King told them to do their homework and not stay up too late, and then fled to the East side of the enormous manor, where her bedroom was located. All was calm in the King household on that warm spring night.
Reagan's alarm clock sounded. She sat straight up in bed. Something wasn't right. The sun should have risen an hour before her alarm went off, and yet it appeared to be pitch black outside. Struggling to comprehend what was going on, Reagan stumbled out of bed and headed towards Keegan's room.
Reagan came to a complete halt when she entered her sister's room. Keegan, the brave one, the adventurous one, the conqueror, had her covers pulled up to her chin, and was trembling in the darkness.
"Keegan, what's the matter?" Reagan cried. "What's going on?"
Keegan shuddered and nodded towards the window. Her bright green eyes were entrenched with tears. Reagan took a deep breath, and slowly proceeded towards the large picture window. What she saw made her stomach plummet and her eyes bulge.
A faint blue haze rested over the land. The sun seemed to exude a purple brilliance, which was both electrifying and demure at the same time. It felt like night time, and yet it was not. Staring up at the sky, Reagan noticed a large lack pattern outlined by striking orange flames.
Reagan stepped back, aghast, and collapsed on the floor beside Keegan's bed. The girls sat there in silence, completely astounded by what was going on. The bedroom door flew open.
Shrieking in fear, Reagan jumped on the bed beside Keegan. In walked Ramsey, a dumbfounded look upon his face.
"What is going on out there?" Ramsey inquired, shaking his head at the window. The tears began to flow freely down Keegan's face.
"Keegan, it's OK, don't cry," Ramsey whispered, approaching his sisters. "I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation for all of this. Let's go find Mom."
The girls stood up and followed Ramsey out of the room towards the East wing of the mansion. Passing through the large foyer, which served as the midpoint of the East wing and the West wing, Ramsey stopped at the door which led to his mother's quarters. He reached for the doorknob, but to his dismay, it would not open. He cursed under his breath, and threw his weight up against the door.
"I don't get it," he muttered. "This door doesn't even have a lock on it, why won't it open?"
"Maybe we can try to pry the door open with something," suggested Reagan.
"Yea, right! Mom'll kill us if we break it. We're the ones who are gonna have to pay for it," Ramsey responded.
"Fine, whatever, I'll pay for it!" Reagan exclaimed. "Just help me open it! Keegan, see if there's anything we can use to get it open."
"Will this work?" Keegan asked. In her hands was an iron poker from the fireplace.
"Works for me!" Ramsey declared. He grabbed the bar from his sister and wedged it between the door frame and the door itself. He forced his entire body weight on the iron rod, and the door popped open. Ramsey tumbled forwards, falling into the dark hall. Keegan and Reagan rushed in after him. They stopped and peered into the darkness.
"You guys...I don't think this is our hall," Keegan stated. The twins nodded in agreement. Mrs. King had decorated their house in a very beautiful and calming. The hall leading towards the East wing had been fashioned after a home in 18th century England, with magnificent portraits on the walls, and flowered upholstery on much of the furniture. As they looked around however, there was no way this could be their mother's hall. The walls seemed to have turned a dreary gray shade, and only a few candles shed light into the area. The plush carpet had been replaced by rotting floorboards.
"We have to find her," Keegan stated firmly. Her confidence seemed to have returned, and she thrust herself into the deep abyss of the gloomy hall. The twins followed. They searched every room in the East wing, and though they were disturbed by the random changes in the overall atmosphere of the house, they had yet to find their mother. The kids headed outside.
"It's a spider web," Reagan whispered.
"What?" Ramsey asked.
"Look up," she replied. And so they did. Reagan was right. The dark lines encompassing the sky appeared to be in the shape of an extremely large and intricate spider web.
"Those flames," Keegan inquired "Where are they coming from?"
The teens continued to stare up in the supposed morning sky, trying to determine what was going on. Somebody yelled.
The Kings spun around in fear, searching in vain for where they yelp had originated. All of a sudden, they heard an engine roar, and a bright red Thunderbird flew towards them.
"Christian!" Reagan shouted, running towards the car.
"Reagan, come back!" Ramsey yelled, running after her. The Thunderbird stopped abruptly beside them, and Christian and Lana jumped out of the car.
"Are you guys alright?" Christian asked, hugging Reagan.
"We're fine," she replied, "But we can't find my mom anywhere!"
"We couldn't find our parents either," Lana responded in a desolate tone. Her eyes filled with tears.
"It'll be OK Lana, we're gonna find them," said Ramsey reassuringly. "We just need to collect our thoughts. Why don't we all go down to the stable and sit down, and talk about all of this?" The others nodded in agreement, and they took off for the barn.
Right as they reached the entrance to the stables, a brilliant light flashed through the sky, and something exploded.
"My car!" Christian cried. The bright red Thunderbird was engulfed in flames. Horrified, Ramsey pushed everyone into the barn, and slammed the door behind him.
"How are we going to get out of here?" Christian exclaimed. "This is crazy, I want to know what's going on!"
"I'm sure there is a perfectly rational explanation for this," Ramsey chimed.
"Would you stop saying that?" Christian yelled in anger. "Nothing about this is rational, or logical, or anything like that. This entire thing is bogus!"
"Guys stop fighting!" Reagan cried. "It's not going to get us anywhere!"
"The horses," Keegan exclaimed, "We could take the horses."
"That's probably our best bet right now. Let's saddle up and ride into town. It's only five miles, we can make it," Reagan added. Lana nodded, and began tacking up the nearest horse. After they had all saddled up, they left the barn. The rode the terrified horses at breakneck speed, avoiding the random bolts of violent light that shot down from the sky every so often.
The town was deserted. A few buildings were nothing but smoldering ashes. A stray dog ran through the streets, but there was no sign of any human life. They slowed the horses to a walk, and began to search the town for other people. In the distance, a figure darted across the main street.
"HEY!" Keegan yelled, kicking her horse into a canter. She swung around a corner, and spotted Josh, the brainiac from her global studies class.
"Josh wait!" she cried. "It's me, Keegan! Please stop!" Josh came to a stop.
"Keegan, come on, everyone's at school," he called. Keegan yelled back to the others, and they all proceeded towards the large high school. It was one of the few buildings left standing.
Inside the cafeteria, several hundred students were huddled about, talking in hushed voices. The global studies teacher, Mr. Smith, stood on one of the tables with a microphone in hand.
"I have an announcement to make," he stated. The students all sat down and stopped talking. "The President has declared us to be in a state of emergency, as have the leaders of all other countries. It appears as though we are not alone in the universe. An invasion of a species from another world has taken place. They appear to be a type of arachnid, which explains the spider web-maze that is running through the sky. As for where your parents are, I'm not sure."
He paused and took a deep breath.
"I haven't been able to locate my parents either. I think it would be best if everyone stay here until further notice however. Running around outside searching for them isn't going to do much good at this point. The kitchen is open for anyone who wants anything, so please just try to make yourselves as comfortable as possible." He clicked off the microphone, and resigned from his perch on the table.
The Kings, along with Christian, Lana, and Josh, moved to a corner of the cafeteria. Exhausted from their ride into the town, and worn out from the chaos around them, the six collapsed into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Reagan's alarm clock sounded again. She rolled over in bed, arching her back. Her body ached, and yet she couldn't remember why. She silenced the alarm clock, and glanced out the window. It was another beautiful spring day.
She headed towards the bathroom. Hopping the shower, she felt the hot water penetrate the back of her right shoulder. She cried out in pain, and rubbed it, allowing for the pain to subside. It continued to ache dully. She angled the mirror as to get a glimpse of what was making her shoulder hurt. Staring in the mirror, she let out a shriek of horror. On her shoulder was a small, yet precise tattoo. It wasn't just any tattoo though. An intricate spider web adorned her shoulder.
The memories of the previous day flooded back to her. She ran down the hall, calling for Ramsey and Keegan. They were no where to be found. Panicking, she paced the hall, searching in every room on the floor. Frustrated, she flew down the staircase and headed towards the kitchen.
Ramsey sat at the table, moaning over a tall glass of orange juice. Mrs. King was lecturing him on the benefits of healthy eating. Reagan slumped into a chair, thoroughly puzzled. An overwhelming sense of deja vu came over her.
"Sorry about your shoes, Reagan," Keegan said, slipping into the kitchen. "I'll clean the mud off them, I promise."
Reagan shook her head in bewilderment. What was going on? The shoe incident had happened a couple days earlier, and as far as Reagan knew the shoes had already been cleaned. In fact she had worn them to school just two days earlier.
"Are you OK Reagan, honey?" her mother asked. "Have some orange juice." Reagan nodded numbly, and glanced at Ramsey who was gathering up his backpack and heading out the door. Keegan grabbed her books and ran after him.
"You'd better hurry dear, you're going to be late," her mother chimed. "Do me a favor and give this to your father, will you?" She handed her daughter the sports section of the newspaper. Reagan stared at her mother in shock.
"My....my father?" she whispered.
"Well yes dear, come on now, hurry up! He's in his office," Mrs. King responded.
Reagan left the kitchen, and approached her father's office. The same office she had refused to enter for the past four years, ever since he had disappeared. She slowly pushed open the door.
Her father looked up at her and smiled in greeting from his leather office swivel chair. He held out his hand to receive the paper. Imprinted on his palm was an intricate spider web.
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