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Series 1 Episode 4

First day of high school. Isaac had never been more nervous for anything. Junior high didn’t feel quite as daunting when he started there, perhaps because Isaac was less self-conscious when he was younger; his biggest priority was getting the toys he wanted.

Now he was a teenager. Fifteen years old, and very self-aware. Junior high was not always easy, but at least it had become familiar. Now Isaac had to adapt to a bunch of new surroundings, and worst of all, new people.

“Isaac!” he heard a familiar voice call as he entered through the gates of Riverhampton High. It was the friendly tones of Arlen, who jogged over alongside Ava. Thank god for some familiarity.

“You look terrified,” Ava smiled. She wasn’t wrong – Isaac had barely eaten because he was so sick with nerves.

In the corner of his eye, Isaac spotted something he wasn’t used to seeing quite so openly at school. A boy and a girl, undoubtedly a couple of years older than him, snogging each other’s faces off.

Often, Isaac found cute kisses to be heart-warming, but this was borderline grotesque. The sort of snogging that involved a round of tonsil tennis and only needed to happen behind closed doors.

“Where’s the dignity?” Ava rolled her eyes, obviously picking up on it too. It wasn’t exactly subtle or out-of-view.

Isaac couldn’t take it off his mind. He could never picture himself kissing someone like that so publicly, especially when it was two popular kids who seemed to care more about status than love. To each their own, Isaac guessed.

All he knew was that he would be waiting for the right person to share his first kiss with.


Isaac wasn’t quite sure how to process his feelings, and it was quite the cocktail. Confusion, worry, but it was mostly elation and he couldn’t conceal it. Harry was Isaac’s first kiss, and although the situation wasn’t quite as perfect as he dreamed, everything else was pretty darn flawless.

Sitting coyly next to him, Harry seemed to feel just as content. It felt so right, even if Isaac had a few questions to ask before he jumped to conclusions.

“Like,” Harry said, confirming his happiness.

“I liked it too,” Isaac smiled back, “How did you know what that was?”

“Miranda. Gary,” Harry answered. Suddenly, it all made sense. They had watched most of Miranda on Netflix now, and obviously Harry had learnt by watching Miranda’s love story with Gary unfold. It wasn’t far off the love story Isaac always wanted, either. Two people who were made for each other.

“Do you understand why people kiss?” Isaac questioned. He wasn’t sure Harry had any concept of love just yet.

“Like,” Harry replied naïvely.

“Love,” Isaac corrected, “Love is when you really like someone. Miranda loved Gary, and only Gary. Nobody else,” Isaac explained as clearly and concisely as he could, though words weren’t his strong point.

“Love,” Harry processed, “Love Isaac.” The accompanying smile was somehow both confident and shy at the same time. He knew what he was saying, and he meant it. Harry might not have known how to describe his feelings, but they were definitely genuine.

“I…,” Isaac went to reply, just as his phone buzzed, interrupting the moment unforgivingly. Annoyingly, Isaac knew it wasn’t something he could put off, either.

“They’re instating a curfew of seven o’clock after the recent forest fires, which they think were deliberate,” Isaac paraphrased Arlen’s series of excitable yet anxious Facebook messages, “That’s not even a good excuse,” he reacted.

“Fire,” Harry repeated what Isaac guessed was the only word he understood. Isaac really wished he had a better way to communicate, it was still the only real barrier between them, even if Harry had learnt so much in such a short period of time.

“We need to get home,” Isaac broke it down, before showing his trusty blue wristwatch, “by seven,” and he held seven fingers up.

Harry nodded. Success. Now they just had to wait for the all-clear.

The glare of the suited woman made Ava feel extremely uncomfortable. Though the office they were in felt pretty cosy and relaxed with the calming aroma of coffee gracefully filling Ava’s nose, the woman in front of her gave off an ice-cold vibe.

Though Ava was keeping a calm and collected exterior, Newton seemed to be struggling. He was visibly shaking and so far out of his comfort zone.

“What do you want to know?” Ava assertively wondered.

“Why don’t we start with why you were in the forest?” the lady smiled passive-aggressively.

“Our friend lives on the edge of the forest,” Ava sneered back. She could give it back just as easily.

“That would be Isaac Avery, who lives with his adopted mother Elenore,” the lady worryingly mentioned, “And his brother, who we have absolutely no record of.”

“Harry is Isaac’s brother?” Newton whispered in Ava’s ear, shocked.

“Something not ringing true, Miss Reilly?” the lady noted.

“Who the hell are you? Why are you stalking us? You can’t hold us here,” Ava argued. Now she wasn’t just defending herself, she was defending Isaac. Despite everything, he was still her best friend.

“All you have to do is start talking, Miss Reilly,” the woman bargained, “You’re not in trouble. All we need is the truth.”

“Just tell her,” Newton whispered. He was desperate to get out.

Fortunately, Ava was happy to sit pretty a little longer. She wasn’t selling her friends out, Harry included.

“I told you all I know,” Ava remained firm. Stubbornness was her key asset.

The lady sighed, “Take them in.” She clicked her fingers in the direction of the door and two muscly, scary-looking guards entered.

Newton looked horrified, but Ava felt safe. Whoever these people were, they needed her co-operation, so as long as Ava had more to give, her safety was guaranteed.

The all-clear had been given by Arlen and the school day had finished; Isaac was ready to go home.

The entire day had been a gigantic learning curve, just to tell him that nowhere was safe. However, he knew he could always find a way to protect Harry. Nobody else made him feel as warm and cosy inside as Harry did, and that was a feeling he would defend for as long as he could.

What felt so incredible about Harry was how he carried no judgements with him. Harry had no concept of how autism affected people, and to know Harry cared for him so much regardless was the most awesome feeling.

Isaac led the way to the main exit where he noticed Arlen waiting eagerly for them both. It was a comforting sight after the entire ordeal they had just experienced.

“Everything okay?” Arlen questioned.

“We can’t keep doing this. They’re not going to go away,” Isaac realised. He was exhausted, emotionally and physically. This could realistically go on for a long time.

“What can we do? If we don’t keep Harry hidden, they’ll take him. Experiment on him, or something,” Arlen guessed. Ultimately, none of them knew what they’d get from Harry, but it surely wasn’t going to be good.

“We need Ava,” Isaac concluded. She had the most logical brain out of everyone – surely she could think of something to unstick them.

“Can’t you call her?” Arlen queried.

“What happened to your phone? Didn’t you get it back?” Isaac queried. He avoided phone calls at all costs – his social anxiety went through the roof.

“School closed early, no time for detention, he’s kept it over the weekend,” Arlen groaned.

“Call on mine,” Isaac chucked his phone to Arlen, who caught it expertly. Arlen was used to making phone calls on Isaac’s behalf, so he called Ava’s number without further question.

“No answer,” he reported back, before tapping further on Isaac’s phone. His facial expression dropped to one of shock and concern, “You’d never believe where her phone is.”

Isaac took the phone back to see his Snapchat maps open. Terrifyingly, Ava’s Bitmoji was situated in the middle of Riverhampton Security Precinct.

“How can we get to her?” Isaac immediately asked.

“We can’t bring Harry,” Arlen immediately said, to which Isaac agreed. It was far too dangerous.

“Bad,” Harry uttered, showing his rough understanding of the situation.

“My mom,” Isaac realised, “She said she knows where it is. Her boss works with their staff, some sort of mutual agreement.”

Involving his mum any further was a last resort for Isaac, but he needed to help Ava, no doubt about it.

Feeling disgusted, Newton was pretty sure the cell he and Ava had been thrown in was worse than the typical jail cell he’d seen on television. It wasn’t like either of them had committed a crime, yet they were being treated worse than murderers.

The paint on the walls had mostly been scratched off; there was a tiny window which served as the only light source, and even then, it was behind bars; and the toilet was metal, and absolutely freezing.

At least they hadn’t been split up. Ava was still there with him, and she seemed to have a plan of some sort.

“Why aren’t you telling them everything?” Newton wondered, probing for some answers, “Is there stuff you’re not telling me?”

“No,” Ava quickly responded. She sounded frustrated, and with good reason too considering their situation, “It’s complicated, and they’re obviously listening to us.”

“Is that such a bad thing?” Newton pleased, “I want to go home. I’m hungry, tired and I need a shower. You don’t want to see me hangry.”

“Don’t you get it? It’s not all about you, it’s about a boy who’s caught up in something he doesn’t understand. He’s the victim,” Ava explained.

“You’ve changed your tune. Earlier he was the biggest problem in your life,” Newton was struggling to keep up.

“Being kidnapped kinda changes your perspective,” Ava reasoned. She had a point – they weren’t exactly in a normal, rational scenario. He gave up the argument, letting a few moments of awkward silence pass.

“My mom is going to be wondering where I am,” Newton sighed, changing the topic. He was reflecting on what he would likely have been doing at home on a regular day. It was almost four o’clock, so he would almost certainly be on his first video game of the evening. Oh, how he wished he could be playing Fortnite with Charlie, Jayden and anybody else they’d find online.

“They will find us. Someone will,” Ava reasoned. She sounded pretty sure of herself, much to Newton’s bafflement.

“You mean Isaac? How is he going to get in here?” Newton doubted. He only knew Isaac from being the shy kid at school, they hadn’t ever really spoken.

“Just you wait,” Ava nodded, convincing herself just as much as Newton. He wasn’t sure anybody would be coming to get them, but he had to keep positive. It was the only thing going for him.

Isaac’s mum worked in a building just down the road from the security precinct, and boy, it was taking Isaac a lot of restraint not to storm in immediately to break Ava out. He had to be calculated, because whoever was in charge of this operation was certainly no amateur.

The strongest memories Isaac had of the doctor’s office came from his sick days during primary school. His mum couldn’t afford to miss work, so she took him along to sit with plenty of toys, books, games and plenty of imagination to keep himself occupied for a day of work. They made up some of his favourite childhood memories.

“Hey Isaac, are you looking for your mom? She’s free at the moment,” Mrs. Richards explained. She was in her eighties and had been manning the reception desk of the surgery as long as Isaac could remember.

“Thank you, Mrs. Richards,” Isaac smiled politely. He approached the door labelled “Elenore Avery N.P.” and knocked twice.

“Come in,” Elenore greeted. Isaac poked his head around the door, “Oh hey sweetie, what do you want?”

“What makes you think I want something?” Isaac felt caught out. It wasn’t like she was wrong, but it made him feel guilty.

“You only ever visit me if you want something,” Elenore smiled with her tongue placed firmly in her cheek. His mum’s sarcasm was a rare breed – he actually understood it.

“Okay, we need a massive favour,” Isaac said as he took the patient’s chair next to her desk, while Harry and Arlen hovered by his side.

“Why do I get the feeling this is more than borrowing ten dollars?” Elenore sighed.

“Ava’s gone missing, we think she’s inside the security precinct,” Isaac explained.

“Wait, I know exactly where you’re going with this and it’s a huge no,” Elenore immediately decided.

“Mom, you can get in, we have to help her,” Isaac begged.

“I have no connection to that place, it’s Dr Asahd who deals with them, not me, “Elenore reasoned.

“And you’re the nurse practitioner at her office,” Arlen interjected, “Her second-in-command, if you like.”

Isaac watched as Elenore looked to be deep in thought. She was actually, begrudgingly, considering the plan. Isaac desperately needed her to be on board, for Ava’s sake.

Packed with nerves, Elenore was amazed that she had let Isaac talk her into this. Sure, Dr Asahd had a good business relationship with the precinct, but Elenore had also heard the rumours and mysteries. Nobody had ever been inside the compound to see it themselves. Some whispers, if anybody googled hard enough, have even suggested they are keeping aliens in there. Not that she believed that for a second.

Elenore bottled those fears up and buried them deep down. She had a job to do; a very important one too. Ava was at risk. Elenore had seen Ava grow up into a fine young woman, and she couldn’t help feeling responsible for her predicament. Perhaps if she had spoken to the police sooner, Harry would have been safely returned to wherever he came from and this entire mess would have been averted.

The front gate of the precinct was extremely tall – just as tall as the building inside. The tall mounds of barbed wire looked terrifying, as if they were looking down on Elenore. Her heart was pumping faster than ever as she pressed the button on the keypad next to the gate entrance. She was rehearsing what she needed to say over and over in her head.

“State your name and intention,” a voice spoke through the attached speaker. It was a cold voice, with absolutely no emotion seeping through.

“Elenore Avery, nurse practitioner for Dr Asahd,” Elenore spoke as confidently as she could.

A moment of silence passed.

The gate buzzed. The door opened a few centimetres. Elenore entered with caution and proceeded to the building itself, just a few metres in front.

As she walked, Elenore sent Isaac a text: “I’m in.” She didn’t want to look too suspicious, so she promised Isaac that updates would be kept to the minimum and that he should focus on his homework to get it over and done with. He, Arlen and especially Harry were safer at home.

“Welcome Ms. Avery,” a guard greeted at the main door, “I wasn’t sure if anyone had been called yet, but I’m pleased you’re here. Where is Dr Asahd?”

“Busy on a callout, she asked me to cover, I assume that’s not a problem,” Elenore kept up the professional, polite chit-chat.

“Not at all,” the guard smiled as he escorted her inside the building. It was dimly lit inside, just like a warehouse, and equally vast in size too. Staircases and standalone rooms filled the vast, rectangular space, with not a window in sight. The place had a strong buzz of efficiency, with numerous guards walking back and forth as if they had places to be.

She passed a series of rooms as the guard escorted her through the compound. Every door she passed was shut, giving her no further indication about what was going on inside this place.

The trail continued for a couple more minutes, down an ominous staircase. They were headed into what terrifyingly looked like a series of jail cells.

Elenore felt increasingly uneasy. She needed to find Ava and get out as soon as possible.

Losing her gauge on time, Ava had no idea how long she and Newton had been locked up for by now. She was still certain that Isaac and Arlen would be onto her, even if she wanted to kill them for leaving her in the dark.

“I need to pee,” Newton groaned, staring at the freezing cold metal object vaguely resembling a toilet.

“I’ll turn away,” Ava sighed. The entire situation was far from ideal. They didn’t even give them separate private toilets. That said, she was definitely pleased she still had Newton by her side.

The lock rattled. The door swung open. Immediately, Ava felt terrified, and totally unsure of what was coming next. Much to Ava’s shock, a guard chauffeured Elenore into the room.

“Time for your medical,” the guard announced, leaving Elenore to it.

“Come on,” Elenore immediately said as soon as the coast was clear, “Both of you. We need to go now before anyone gets suspicious.”

This was music to Ava’s ears. She knew Isaac would have noticed her absence.

“I need to pee,” Newton restated impatiently.

“Do you want to get out or not?” Ava reminded him of the situation at hand. Newton sighed, knowing she was right. His bladder could definitely wait.

Checking the coast was clear, Elenore led the way out of the cell. Her plan seemed to involve them sneaking their way out – a risky idea. Ava felt terrified. So much could go wrong.

“Hey, there’s a fire exit here,” Newton wandered the opposite way, pressing the metal bar to open it.

“No!” Ava called out, knowing it would be bugged. It was too late, though. The door didn’t open, and an alarm had been set off. It rang loudly and intrusively, and the dim lights turned red.

“Back in,” Ava ordered, taking control of the situation.

“In there? No way,” Newton resisted.

“They’re all coming down here now, that is our only hiding place,” Ava reasoned.

“She’s right,” Elenore agreed. Ava led the way into the cell as Newton dithered. He was confused and cornered. Ava nodded – she needed to prove she was sure of what she was doing.

Newton finally rushed inside and Ava pulled the door to, carefully not letting it shut and lock entirely. Sure enough, guards filtered down to inspect the fire exit, passing the cell without question.

“Now,” Ava ordered, knowing this was their chance to escape with as few guards by the front door as possible. She slowly opened the door and slid out silently. Safe in the knowledge Elenore and Newton were following, Ava crept behind the soldiers as quickly and quietly as possible. They were out of the guards’ view, but not for long. Ava continued up the staircase and safely up to the empty main level.

“This way,” Elenore sped ahead. She had seen the way to go, so Ava trusted her. As they rapidly walked, Ava kept an eye out for any guards who might see them.

They passed an open door leading into one of the side rooms. Ava couldn’t help looking in as she passed. She noticed it was a surprisingly well-lit room, with white walls and flooring. It looked like a hospital room, with a bed in the middle, and what looked like a patient on top. Ava couldn’t help being nosey.

“Ava,” Newton hissed, still impatient to escape. Ava was too intrigued to not investigate further, though. She continued into the room, looking at the patient on the bed. It didn’t take long for Ava to notice how they were distinctly not human. Their skin was a gentle shade of blue, though the body was still very much humanoid. She saw only three fingers on each hand, with nothing to cover its naked body beyond some basic white underwear. Moving closer, she saw its face. It looked very similar to a human’s, though without a single spot or blemish tainting their flawless skin. It had long, dark hair flowing down towards its waist. Wires were plugged into its body, ruining the otherwise peaceful sight.

It looked so real.

“What is that?” Newton queried, as he and Elenore followed her inside, staring in shock.

Ava wasn’t sure what to think. Her logical brain told her it was a costume, but she knew it can’t have been. It had to be real.

“It’s an alien,” Ava identified.

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