Still snuggled in close around the fire, the remains of their hot chocolate gone cold, the eight cousins stared pleadingly up at Aunt Abby.
“Please,” said Bruce. “Please tell us more of the story.”
“Are you sure?” Aunt Abby said. “I’m not sure if I like this story.”
“We like it,” Jules said grabbing her arm and giving it a gentle tug. “We do!”
Everyone else echoed her pleas.
“Well, if you’re sure you like it, I guess I could tell you the next part. But, it’s gonna cost you.”
“What’s it gonna cost?” Joshua asked.
“A big bear hug from everyone,” Aunt Abby said.
Eight little cousins jumped to their feet and eight cousins threw their arms around her squealing with delight as they knocked her over into the pile of pillows.
“Okay, okay,” Aunt Abby said, coming up for air. “Enough hugs.”
They settled back in their pillows and blankets with their stuffed animals.
“Once upon a time…
Once upon a time, brave Bruce and his crew aboard the Texas discovered a broken-down ship just floating through space. They boarded the ship but found no people. Joshua scanned the nearby planet and much to his horror found the lost people surrounded by flies.
“Gear up,” shouted Constance reloading her Umbrella Cannon while Jude got his high-powered BB gun and two more Lego guns.
“What about us?” Jules said.
“I want Jules, Rook, Imogene, and Ellie to stay here with Joshua,” Bruce said.
“It is mathematically unlikely that only three of you will be able to take out the Flies,” Imogene said dancing in a circle around Bruce, Constance, and Jude.
“That’s reassuring,” Jude said.
“I want the three people who fight the best down there first,” Bruce said.
“I can fight,” said Jules.
“That’s why you’re staying here,” Bruce said. “I may need you to come rescue us.”
“I have everything ready to take those people in,” Ellie said holding up her med-kit filled with brightly colored gummy vitamins.
“Good. Joshua, you drop us down on their heads and then stay close by to pick up those people.”
Joshua hurried off to the bridge. “Starting descent down through the atmo now.”
“What’s at mo?” Jules asked.
“Yeah? What is it?” Bruce said.
“At mo!” Ellie yelled.
“Atmosphere,” Aunt Abby said. “It’s what surrounds a planet that protects us from space debris. It’s high, high over our heads.”
Jude looked up. “I don’t see it.”
“It’s out past the sky.”
“Wow, that’s really far,” Constance said.
“Yep. You can only reach it in a space ship.”
“Like the Texas?” Imogene asked.
“Like the Texas.”
Texas shook as Joshua drove her, like a leaf on the wind, down to the planet below.
“Ready?” Bruce asked cocking his laser revolver.
“Locked and loaded,” Jude said grinning as he hefted his BB gun up on his shoulder.
Constance matched Jude’s grin and pointed her rifle at the ramp, ready as soon as it opened.
The Texas touched down, the ramp opened with a groan, and Bruce, Constance, and Jude rushed out. The spread out keeping each other covered. Ahead the Flies buzzed and bobbed in the air. The people from the other ship huddled in the middle scared and crying.
“Are we going to rescue them?” Ellie said.
“Listen and see,” Aunt Abby said.
“Of course we are,” Constance said.
“Get them!” Bruce yelled, leading the charge.
Constance came up on his right and Jude on his left. They shot the flies swatting them from the air, one, two, three. The people from the other ship cheered as they rushed forward.
“Get to the ship!” Jude yelled waving the people towards the Texas.
No one moved.
“Come on,” Bruce shouted.
The people were too scared to come. More Flies flew towards them.
Bruce, Constance, and Joshua fired again and again until all the Flies around the people had dropped dead on the ground. They grabbed up mommies and daddies and little kids rushing them towards the Texas. More Flies were coming.
“Hurry, hurry,” Jules said holding out her arms to bring in all the people.
“We don’t have much time, Bruce,” Joshua said over the radio.
“Doing the best we can,” Bruce said.
“I was thinking a picnic would be nice,” Jude said joking.
“Constance, get them inside,” Bruce ordered. “Jude, help me protect them.”
Jude stopped and turned with Bruce beside him. They pointed their guns at the coming swarm of flies. There were so many.
“Constance?” Bruce said over the radio. “You on board?”
“I don’t have time for just about,” Bruce said.
The swarm reached them. Bruce and Jude fought very bravely firing at all the Flies. They fired and fired their many guns. Bruce reloaded while Jude pulled out two Lego guns and shot seven Flies died.
“I’m almost out,” Jude said grabbing his last gun.
“My battery’s running low,” Bruce said.
“We’re all on board,” Constance voice crackled over the radio.
Bruce glanced back at the Texas. It was too far away. A Fly grabbed him and flew off with him. One got Jude.
Constance watched from the Texas now full of frightened people.
“They just got Bruce and Jude,” she said.
“What do we do?” Jules said pressing her hands to her face.
“We rescue them,” Rook said.
“I like how you think, cousin,” Constance said. “Can you track them, Josh?”
“Got ’em,” Josh said over the radio.
“Come on,” Constance said to Ellie, Imogene, Jules, and Rook. “Let’s plan a rescue mission.”
“Dun, dun dun,” Aunt Abby said dramatically.
“No,” Jules said. “I know what that means.”
“What?” said Ellie on the edge of her pillow.”
“It means,” Bruce said. “That Aunt Abby needs another break.”
“But I’m captured,” Jude said.
“Don’t worry,” Constance said, “I’m going to save you!”
“Me too!” said Ellie.
“Do you need a hug?” Bruce asked.
“No, I need a hot chocolate refill.”
“Let’s hurry then!” Joshua said.
“Hurry, hurry,” Rook chanted.
“Stop that chanting,” yelled Grandpa.
“Grandpa’s funny,” Imogene said.
…to be continued…