The sky was inky black, no light from the stars to light their way. Omega, the kids, Petey and John-John were traveling by Braille, feeling their way along. Once in a while a lightning strike would light the night enough to see a few shallow steps. But the lightning was getting closer, the blows were more powerful by the moment and those rattled the mountain. They were nearing the top of peak, and there were boulders, drop offs, and whacked-out trees, oddly-shaped by the unrelenting winds. The trees were smaller and bent over toward the West. The electricity in the air smelt of burning wires and left a strong taste on the tongue. It felt like the storm was fixin' to kill them.
BAM! The next hit was close to their feet, and the hair on their arms felt singed.
Then there was another.
Everything was burned Their eyebrows that were half gone. The small plants that could survive at the arctic levels were no good with heat and electricity. They were fried. The ground beneath them vibrated.
The massive black cloud was gathering power and mass, eating the slivers of light alive. The lightning strikes were closer together, the immense thunder rattles left them shaking. A last massive blast knocked Larry over and burned the toes off of his tennies. The resulting thunder clapper threatened to topple boulders.
Omega stood up, honestly, he looked more like he was eight, maybe ten feet tall, rather than the easy- going 5 foot ten. The cloud billowed around him and kicked up the winds, already fierce. He held his hands up and caught the next strike, leaned as far back as he could hurled the lightning bolt back into the cloud. Petey and John-John stood behind him. "Hee-bee, jee-bees." Petey said. "I got 'em bad."
Cheryl is having none-of-it. "That stuff is crap," she yells. "It's not getting at my friends and my guy. Nothing is gonna happen to them." She shrieks, "Go where the sun never shines."
Omega grabs the huge lightning bolts, one after the next, after the next. He's so fast the kids can barely follow the action. He sends the bolts back at the cloud, faster and faster, until he grabs the last massive one, streaking across the night sky faster and faster, lighting up three states, and he hurls it back into the dark.
Omega stands square in the face of danger, and in a voice so big and so brave that the ground quivers. He proclaims this, "Burn What Must Be Burned, Preserve That Which Must Be Preserved."
A huge cracking sounded like Heaven snapped shut, or maybe Hell did. The clouds roiled and writhed. Then the sound of the wind screamed into an eardrum-exploding crescendo. An immense mushroom cloud formed at the top of the mountain, and stuck as close as a secret smile, while a giant glowing corona formed around the clouds, looking like a cosmic explosion that could not be contained.
Then silence, And a dispersal and a weakening of the clouds. The kids stood up and watched the stars appear, one by one, and the clouds disappear. A lovely sweet peace covered the top of the mountain; and the sound of the meadowlark welcomed the first tendrils of dawn.
Two men, both Native Americans, slumped against the boulders, although they looked different from the ragtag men the kids had seen earlier in the evening. "You guys, the same guys?" John-John asked.
"Yeah," they said, rousing themselves. The older man was younger, with the long silky hair of a healthy, young brave and said, "Our dads got caught up in shape-shifter stuff a generation ago. It got ahold of us too."
"We just just got caught up in smoething evil, and were trapped," the younger man said. He was a stunningly beautiful young man.
"Once you understand the inner workings of evil," Julie explained. "You never want to stay there. You ache to leave."
"We'll get you home. Seems like we're always getting somebody home who has been lost for awhile." Omega said. They begin to limp down the mountain.
"But why did they take out after me?" Larry is still scared, realizing what power was out to get him.
"For I am tender and plump, and good with ketsup?" Larry had read that someplace.
Omega nodded, rubbing the palms of his hands, checking for burns. "Because you were the genuinely good guy, you haven't had enough time in your young life to do anything really bad. You don't even do naughty things."
"My dad would kill me," Larry said.
"My dad won't. But after he gets through talking to you. . . Those were looking for innocent blood of the human heart. It's the thing that is of utmost worth in our wild world. The thing worth dying for."