NaNoWriMo is 13 days away! And today I'm posting a glimpse of things to come, a prologue I wrote when I first took a pass at this story and probably the only part of the story that I plan to keep.
Without further ado...
HOWARD CARTER SAVES THE EARTH!
The Engels Family Farm, Rural Missouri, Early tomorrow morning
Bob Engels had been a farmer his entire life. He had never known anything except the smell of tractor exhaust and the pleasant sight of acres and acres of the green and growing.
Green and glowing, however, was a bit out of his wheelhouse.
It began as a normal morning of mumbled pleasantries around the breakfast table as he and his family tried to chase away the phantoms of sleep with coffee and flapjacks.
The doorbell rang and they glanced at one another and then over at the front door. No one who knew them ever came to the front door; friends and family entered and exited through the kitchen as was right and proper. They lived too far out in the boonies for salesmen or missionaries to bother -- the world left his family to fend for themselves in the venues of vacuum cleaners and eternal salvation.
Then the tractor walked past the kitchen window.
Lumbered, he supposed was a better word for it, sort of a slow, ponderous march across the back garden. It took Bob a minute or two to get past ‘Oh, that’s odd’ and all the way to ‘Tractors aren’t supposed to do that.’ The family rose as one to watch the big green tractor step almost daintily over the back fence and strike out across the fields in big loping strides.
The doorbell rang again.
“Walter, get the door,” Bob mumbled to his eldest son. “Mabel, fetch me my shotgun.”
“What good’s a shotgun going to do against…” His wife gestured out the window. “Against that?”
Bob didn’t know. He only knew that was what his daddy would do and somehow he felt like it was the right thing to do when your farm equipment was trying to make a break for it. His hands ached for the smooth surface of the walnut stock.
He heard voices from the hall and turned to find Walter leading another boy into the kitchen. The kid was Walter’s age, but dressed in a suit and tie that looked like he’d been sleeping in a ditch for a week.
“Who is this?”
“I’m Howard Carter, sir.” The boy stuck out his hand. The fingernails were dirty with axle grease and Bob Engels got the feeling he was about to find out why his tractor was running away. His hands itched for that shotgun. Or a switch. Teach the little hooligan a lesson about turning a man’s property into a robot...
The first flying saucer shattered the front window as it roared over the house. Everyone ducked. Except Howard Carter. The strange boy stared up at the shaking ceiling with the look of someone facing an algebra test that they’d stayed up all night studying for: resigned but ready.
“What was…” The second flying saucer drownedt the rest of Bob’s question. He looked up to find the boy watching him.
“I’m sorry about your tractors -- I’ll try to get them back to you in one piece, I promise.” The boy led the way out into the garage with the Engels family falling in behind him like soldiers behind a general.
Outside the sky was alight with a sickly green glow and one of the neighbor’s big combine harvesters was tapping its foot, waiting impatiently for the boy as more flying saucers lit the sky overhead.
“When the government gets here, tell them I went on ahead,” Howard Carter shouted over the whine of the spaceships. Bob Engels nodded dumbly. What could he say to this odd boy and his robot army?
“What is this?” Walter shouted. “Why are you here?”
The boy stared at him and then glanced up at the sky.
“I’m here to save the world.”
The harvester bent down and plucked the kid off the driveway and raised him to sit on its mighty green shoulder. The Engels family waved as the robot and its boy turned and lumbered off across the fields in the direction of the woods.
Bob stood watching for awhile and then turned to his family. He caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye of the battered old farm truck watching him from the shadows of the garage.
“Well? What are you waiting for? You might as well get after him!”
The truck flashed its headlights and sprinted off down the driveway and across the culvert while overhead, the saucers began to circle and land.
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