“Quiet,” Sarah commanded with a loud whisper. She leaned toward the closed meeting room door, angling an ear so that she could hear any deadened sound.
Sarah ran to the railing of the observatory’s overlook and glanced toward the main entrance. “Those spider things are trying to break in and the kids are downstairs,” she shouted as she began running down the stairway. She stopped abruptly halfway down the spiral steps when the front door glass broke, shattering fragments across the lobby floor.
Several dull gray metallic objects with eight spiderlike spindly legs floated around the outside of the observatory. Sarah jumped with fright as the sound of one of them landed on the dome and moved around the top of the structure with a tinny pitter-patter. She looked around the ceiling of the curved vault for any possible entry points. Everything appeared to be watertight.
“Hilarious,” Max said, embarrassed. He pulled up his loose fitting work pants and turned around to buckle the belt. The bones of his elbows moved inside the long sleeves of the matching beige shirt like a classroom skeleton draped with a cloth for protection. He turned back around. “What the hell, Professor.”
The car’s slowing momentum and shift in direction jolted Sarah awake from her short catnap. She opened her eyes and sat up; they were following the professor’s van onto an exit ramp. Just ahead, a CITGO gas station and a McDonald’s restaurant shared the same building. Driving through the stop sign and into the gas station’s lot, they passed an eighteen-wheeler that appeared to have been pulling out of the station and on the road when the driver decided to abandon his rig. The cab door was open, and the diesel motor was still running, gray smoke puffed out of the exhaust stack. Jack drove past it and pulled up to a pump that did not have a car beside it and sat there. The professor did the same.