The Outer Limits: The Lost

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9780812590678: The Outer Limits: The Lost

Brainwashed teenage zombies? Or just another day in the 'burbs?

Stacy can't understand what's going on with the kids in her neighborhood. They just aren't acting normal. Her best friend Amy has thrown away her collection of Doc Martens and is wearing "sensible" shoes instead. Her boyfriend Justin is acting bizarre, too. Is that really Kenny G he's listening to on the radio? It's like everyone is turning into their parents. Now that is really scary!

Stacy is convinced that someone--or something--is brainwashing all the teenagers in town. Can she discover who and why before it is too late? Or will Stacy be turned into on of...the lost?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1
The whoop-whoop-whoop sounded behind the car, and then the red lights began to flash. Justin Chapman swore and slapped the steering wheel in frustration. Beside him, his girlfriend, Stacy Harvey, wriggled around in her seat to glance out of the back window. In the dark night, the police car was extremely visible--and audible.
In the back seat, Amy Moore, Stacy's best friend, and her steady, Adam Vitte, both squirmed and looked uncomfortable.
"I was only speeding a little," Justin complained, as he reluctantly pulled the car to a halt beside the road leading back to Hainesville. He slapped the button to eject the Marilyn Manson tape they'd been listening to.
"Twenty over the limit," Stacy pointed out.
Justin glared at her. His dark hair hung untidily down his neck and into his eyes. He brushed it back. "Whose side are you on?" he demanded. "Just keep your mouth shut, okay?"
Stacy's face stung as if he'd slapped her. She pushed her own long blond hair back over her shoulder and stared back at him. "Don't treat me like a kid," she warned him. She was fifteen, and he was two years older than her. She'd been drawn to him because he was athletic, darkly handsome, and known to be cool. He'd been drawn to her for her looks; Stacy was under no illusions on that score. In many ways, Justin was a Neanderthal, thinking that girls had exactly one function in life--to do whatever their guys demanded. She put up with it only because she knew that at least a dozen girls would snatch up Justin if he were free.
But that meant tolerating his stupidity too. Such as speeding near the end of the month, when everyone knew the cops had to fill their quota of tickets.
The police car drew in behind them, its lights blazing in through the rear window. Amy and Adam both looked as though they wanted to hide. At least, as far as Stacy could see in the glare. There was a shadow across the lights, and then the dark outline of a policeman at the driver's side of the car. He rapped on the window, and Justin reluctantly slid it down.
"Going a bit fast," the cop remarked, holding out a hand. "Let's have your license, son."
Justin hated to be called son. Lip twitching, he drew out his wallet and extracted his driver's license. "Sorry, officer," he replied, trying to sound contrite. "I guess we stayed out longer than we should have, and I was just trying to get the girls home before curfew."
"Uh-huh," the policeman grunted. He was examining the license with a flashlight. "Not had this very long, have you?"
"Almost a year," Justin answered, a little sharply.
"Any tickets? Before tonight, I mean."
Justin's face fell as he realized that the cop was going to nail him. "No," he lied. Stacy knew he'd already been given one speeding ticket a couple of months back. She wanted to kick him. Didn't the idiot realize that the cops had a computer in their car that could tell them the truth? All he had to do was to check it out. And if he was given any reason, the policeman would do just that.
He bent down to look inside the car, shining his flashlight --most likely deliberately--into their eyes, forcing them to wince and look away. He lingered while examining Stacy, the light moving down her body and across her long legs. Stacy felt annoyed rather than flattered. Then he looked over Amy and Adam before standing up again. Stacy's eyes were blurred from the afterimage of the light.
"Your girlfriend's not wearing her seat belt," he commented. "Dangerous. And another ticket."
Stacy winced. Normally she wore the belt--there was no reason not to be safe--but today she had on her lace blouse, and the belt always disfigured the frills around her chest, so she'd left it off. Justin wouldn't be happy that she'd brought him another ticket. He was going to be in a foul mood after this. She didn't dare look at him.
The policeman bent down and sniffed. "You been drinking, son?" he asked.
That was the one question Stacy had been praying he wouldn't ask. They hadn't been drinking, not really. But Brad Syms had invited them to a keg party, and Justin had definitely had a couple. Stacy had tried one, but didn't like the taste enough to finish it. But Justin was definitely underaged, and the police had been cracking down on teenage drinking.
What could he say? The policeman wasn't stupid; he'd smelled the beer on Justin's breath. Justin sighed. "Just a taste, that's all."
"Well, you should have gotten a skinful, son," the policeman answered. "Because you get busted just the same for a taste as a bellyful. Out of the car."
"I said out of the car," the policeman repeated. "I'm sure you understand English." He slapped the roof. "Now!"
Justin grunted and unfastened his belt. The policeman backed off as he opened the door and climbed out. Justin stood there, looking uncertain and foolish in the glare of the police car's headlights.
"Hands on the roof and spread your legs," the policeman ordered.
"What?" Justin was starting to really lose his temper now. "What for, man?"
"Because I say so," the policeman snapped back. "And my name isn't man. You want to call me anything, you call me sir. Now, spread."
"Come on," Justin complained. "Back down. You've nailed me already. There's no need for this macho crap."
"Do as you're told," the cop said coldly. "You're busted for speeding, seat-belt violation, and drinking. Now it's time to check for drugs."
"What?" Justin glared at him. "I don't do stuff."
"Then I won't find anything, will I? Spread--now!"
Angry and humiliated, Justin did as he was ordered. The cop frisked him quickly and professionally. Then he glanced in the window.
"Now the rest of you," he ordered.
Burning with anger and embarrassment, Stacy climbed out of the car, and stood by the door. Amy and Adam followed suit. The policeman frisked Adam first, making him turn out his pockets on the roof of the car. Then he moved on to Amy, making her turn out her pocketbook, and then running his hand across her. Finally, he moved around to Stacy.
Wordlessly, she dumped the contents of her bag on the roof: makeup, tissues, purse, a couple of notes of phone numbers. Then she placed her hands on the roof, furious. She felt his hand run across her body, lingering slightly where it shouldn't have been.
"Watch where you pause," she snapped, without thinking.
"Don't mouth off at me, kid," he told her. "Unless you want to come to the station and have a strip search. I know you kids hide your stuff in your underwear, so you can claim we're off limits."
Some excuse! But Stacy bit her lip rather than answer back. She was sure he'd take her in if she said anything else.
Justin, however, wasn't quite as smart. "You leave her alone," he growled. "She's my girl." Stacy realized it was more possessiveness than a desire to protect her that prompted his response. But it was the wrong one.
"You want to be booked for obstructing police business?" the cop asked.
"You don't have any business handling my girl," Justin snapped, rearing back, his face red and annoyed.
"Get your hands back on the car roof!" the cop ordered. He unbuttoned his holster and tapped the butt of his gun to make his point.
"Fascist pig," Justin growled, moving to comply.
"That's it," the policeman said. He hurried around the car again, ignoring Stacy, and slammed his arm across Justin's back, thumping him hard against the side of the car. Justin gave a strangled cry of rage and started to turn to fight back. But the policeman grabbed Justin's wrist and heaved it down, pinning his arm painfully behind his back, and shoving him against the side of the car. "You've gone too far," the cop snarled. He placed the flashlight on the roof and removed handcuffs from his belt. He snapped one end over Justin's wrist, and then brought the boy's other hand around to fasten that too.
"You're being booked for interfering with police business," he snapped. "And if you keep on struggling, I'll add resisting arrest too." Justin subsided, his face red with anger --and, probably, pain. "Smart move." The policeman glared at the other three. "And of you kids got a valid license?"
"Uh, I have," Adam admitted.
"Fine. Then you'd better take the car and the girls home." He smirked at them. "And stay under the limit too, because we'll be right behind you." He gave Justin a shove. "You, walk. The rest of you, get moving." He turned to point at Stacy. "You--wear the belt."
Crimson with embarrassment and anger, Stacy strapped herself in, heedless of the damage she was doing to her blouse. Adam awkwardly slid into the driver's seat. It took him four tries to get the car started. Amy slunk into the back seat. In the mirror, Stacy could see Justin being forced into the police car.
"Creep," she muttered, feeling unclean.
"Justin's really going to get it," Adam mumbled.
"Bullies," Amy said. "He didn't have to do that."
"He gets his kicks like that," Stacy commented. "It really makes him feel big to terrorize teenagers. There's always a few creeps like that around. And they're worse if they wear a badge."
"You think we can go?" Adam asked nervously. He put the car into drive, but sat there uncertainly. Stacy glanced back, and saw that the other policeman was getting out of the car and coming over.
"Better wait," she advised.
The second cop was slightly older than the first. He bent down to look in at them. "Sorry about that folks," he apologized. "Jack sometimes gets a little carried away."
"Is that supposed to make us feel better?" Stacy demanded. "He felt me up, arrested my boyfriend, and that's all you can say?"
The man had the grace to blush. "I'm not saying Jack did anything wrong," he answered. "Just that he's a shade too enthusiastic. I'm sorry you feel he was a little harsh, but that's just his way. Now, you drive back carefully, you hear? Go on with you." He stood up and slapped the roof of the car.
Adam didn't need any further urging. He moved the car very slowly back onto the road and drove home at forty miles an hour. He was honked at and passed several times, but there was no way he would go any faster.
They dropped Amy off first, still too insecure and shaken to say anything but a hasty good night. Adam drove over to Stacy's house next and let her out.
"He'll be okay," he managed to say, very unconvincingly.
"Yeah, right." Stacy resisted the urge to slam the door. "Get his car home safely, okay?"
"Definitely. Uh, see you." He drove off at twenty miles an hour this time.
Still burning, Stacy stormed up the path. She opened the front door and went inside. Her father was watching something on TV, and glanced at the clock. "Hi, hon. You're early."
"I've got to call Justin's parents," she said, heading for the kitchen.
"Something wrong?" he asked her, worried.
"Justin was arrested," she was forced to admit. "A cop harassed him, then arrested him. They're going to have to go and bail him out or whatever it is you do." She wasn't going to tell her father what the cop had done to her. She was too ashamed to admit it, and she knew it would only hurt her father.
"I'll call them," he told her. "You go on and get ready for bed." He patted her arm. "Don't worry," he assured her. "It'll be all worked out by morning. Everything will be fine. You just wait and see."
But it wasn't; by the next morning, things had simply become far, far worse...
Copyright © 1997 Outer Productions Inc.

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John Peel
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Peel, John
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