Author : Andrew Hawnt

I didn’t look back.

The explosion tore through the upper floors of the building first, raining white hot debris onto the street below. It was late enough for the streets to be empty, so no harm was done beyond a few damaged cars and scorched pavement. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed. Nothing really important.

I ran outside without looking up. If I had tried to dodge anything that was falling from the chaos above, I would no doubt have put myself at risk of being hit by something else. Best just to run as fast as I could and hope for the best.

The police and fire brigade would already be on their way. A building so heavily guarded by secrets and covert technology would no doubt have a fail-safe trigger for getting the emergency services out to it. They would be here soon, but they wouldn’t find anything.

There would be nothing for them to find.

As I got to the corner of the street I finally turned and risked a look upwards at the madness that had consumed the top half of the building. I had to. I would never get another chance to see something like this, something so pure.

The structure was in flames now, and orange tendrils of fire worked their way throughout the whole place, plumes of thick smoke twisting from them into the night sky, obscuring the devastated upper floors. Debris continued to fall like molten tears from its ruined concrete face. Windows exploded. Columns of flame leapt from the new spaces in roaring protest.

Where there had once been a government-designed hangar hidden within that seemingly inconspicuous office block, now there was a massive blossom of flame and smoke and dust, opened up and forced out at terrible speeds by the power of what had been held captive inside.

I watched the ship emerge from the blinding furnace, the heat oppressive against my face even at that distance, but it didn’t matter. The craft ascended on a column of shocking blue light, which almost looked tangible in its glory. The building had begun to crumble under the repeated shockwaves pummelling it into nothing, sending massive chunks of masonry and steel girders into the street before me. Still I could not look away. Danger be damned.

The ship’s engines kicked in, and the sleek vehicle sped over me in an arc of glowing thrusters and strange metals. There was a glimpse of the crew as it passed, freed from their cages, just as their craft had been, by my own hands. They had no idea who I was. They never will, either. I wish there could have been some contact, but I wouldn’t have changed the way things had happened.

The ship was gone in seconds. Sirens grew in the distance as flames destroyed evidence.

I ran. Home was calling me, just as their home had called to them for so long.

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