Draft 4/11/2018

1 From Scratch

Every television in school was in the cafeteria of Council Grove high school. The students were split into groups, scarecely a word was spoken. Principal Thompson had canceled classes for the morning so they could watch jthe historic events being televised.

It was an important day for the world, but to the students of this small, rural Kansas high school, it was more.

They heard the commentators speculate on the occupants: John and Zeke Taylor, they'd been told, and the King of this faraway planet. He had a strange name, but the craft they'd come to earth would have been right out of a sci-fi movie.

Zeke Taylor. It was hard to believe what was being said. But they'd heard his voice. The whole world had. It sounded like the nerdy kid they knew. He wasn't the nerdy kid now. His voice had been confident and, at times, determined, sometimes almost sarcastic.

The shuttle came to rest in the gravel lot. In a few minutes, a large side hatch opened upward and...

It was, indeed, Zeke Taylor and his grandfather, John, walking down the short ramp to the waiting Secretary-General. Dressed not much differently than the principal himself was.

What little quiet chatter stopped, a sign of the significance of what they were watching. Every eye was on the images in front of them. He'd never heard the entire two hundred students so quiet.

Zeke Taylor had been barely visible during his time there. His grades were a little above average. His teachers knew he was capable of more, but then, so were many. His grandfather had regularly volunteered for activities, as had his wife Anna. Both were well liked and had been active in the community, before Zeke's disappearance, and then, Anna's unexpected death.

Zeke's friends were gathered near one of the monitors. Melissa, a quiet girl who would be going to an Ivy League school, or any college she chose, watched intently.

The teacher's didn't gossip, much, but she had had a crush on Zeke. All they had in common was their pleasant and even temperament. Had she seen something in Zeke everyone else had missed? Or was he just the best match for her in a small country town like Council Grove?

Zeke would be surprised, Mr. Thompson realized, if he could see her now. Her reaction to his disappearance was to slowly change her appearance. She wore a little more makeup, but less than most of the other girls her age, and was a little more conscious of how she dressed.

No one had noticed. Even he hadn't realized it until now.

Zeke's disappearance--how quickly that mystery had vanished with this new, spectacular return. Zeke must have matured a lot in this last, mysterious, year. Too bad his grandmother hadn't gotten to see who he'd become. The school was proud to have him. Heck, he was proud Zeke had come from his school.

Lunch was being prepared. It seemed to smell especially good today.

On the screens, he watched a third person join the group at the bottom of the ramp. His dress was subltly different than any style he could place, but he had no idea what to expect of someone from another world.

Their landing and trek up the street seemed unexpectedly casual for such a momentious occasion. The...king...leaned forward to talk with a young boy. After a moment, a smile lit all the nearby faces at a joke they couldn't hear.

Soon, they disappeared inside the United Nations and the screen switched to commentators analyzing what they'd just seen. The chatter in the room rose to normal levels.

He looked again at Melissa. There were tears in her eyes. Girls could be mean, even in a small towns like Council Grove, but everyone had been especially kind to Melissa after Zeke had disappeared, as it turns out, literally off the face of the earth.