Author : Drew Dunlap

My phone would vibrate approximately every fifteen to twenty minutes.

“Hey bro, there’s a celestial event going on,” said a friend. “Can you see it from your place?” asked another. “Heaven’s Veil is tonight!!!!!!!” buzzed a text. You get the picture.

Even my mother called. She asked me the normal round of questions, and scolded me for not calling her. Usual stuff. But then she started into the news report from last night that mentioned the stars aligning. I rolled my eyes, but didn’t let it carry through my voice. I feigned interest and, after promising to meet her for breakfast in two days, hung up the phone.

Dotty walked into the room, sat on the floor and stared up at me.

“Not you, too,” I pleaded.

“No, she doesn’t care about the alignment, but I think it’s kind of cool.” The voice came from the doorway behind Dotty. Karen swung Dotty’s leash casually as she leaned against the frame. “Besides, she could do for a walk, and so could you.”

I raised my hands in surrender.

“Fine, fine. Dotty wins. I have been beaten into submission. I will go out with all the amateur astronomers, ancient astrologers and asinine alien academes. But I refuse to gawk at a bunch of dots in the sky.”

I smiled mischievously, but Karen knew I was mostly serious. As a child I read a lot of Poe, which led me to a lot of Lovecraft. H.P. struck a chord with me, one that reverberated through my entire philosophical and religious existence.

The more we ventured among the stars, the more we inhabited other planets and moons, the farther our reach extended – the more obvious it became to me how terribly insignificant we are. Space stations and taxi shuttles did not make the human race any more profound. We were nothing but a virus to the natural universe.

I sound like a real pisser, but really I am not. I have a good job, a lovely wife, great friends and a sweet dog. I enjoy every morning that I wake up and I smile at night as I close my eyes for sleep. Being a cynic does not mean I have to be an asshole.

I smile and pat Dotty’s head before putting on her collar.

“Just don’t believe the zealots predicting the end of the world today, sweety.”

We made our way up the winding trail behind our house. This path was not only quiet, far away from the hover-tunnels and mass transit shuttles, but at the top of the rise we should be able to avoid most of the lights from below. I knew Karen wanted to see the planetary alignment. The things you do for love.

“It really is very pretty,” she finally said as we reached the top. Despite my previous bravado, I looked up. I had to admit she was right.

“It has a kind of greenish glow to the whole thing,” I observed. “I didn’t really expect …”

The words froze in my mouth as I noted a swirling pattern to the glow around the planets and the moon. The ground shook briefly as I noticed the patterns draw closer to the Earth. I tried to speak again, but all of the air had left my lungs. Dotty squealed and exploded at my feet, a red lump on a leash. I refused to look at Karen for I could not bear my last memory to be like that of Dotty.

My theory about mankind’s insignificance came to fruition. At least I felt no pain.

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