Author : Jenna Bilbrey
A breeze rustled through the corn field, drying the sweat from the day’s planting. The sky twinkled brighter than the Fourth of July.
A shooting star rocketed past. I wished for my girl to come back from the city. Another, brighter light flashed. Two in one night was a good omen. She’d be home soon.
Then a thrid. A fourth.
My father was missing the meteor shower. The stars were his only love after my mother passed. On clear evenings he gazed upwards, whispering to the heavens, late into the night.
But not tonight. Not after the court date, learning we would lose the farm. Tomorrow he would bury himself in the cornstalks and whisper. But not tonight.
The shower rained down–fiery rocks on their final astral journey. A blast lit the field, and I threw a hand to my eyes. When all went black, I dropped the hand. A flare hovered above the horizon. The salvo kicked back in the opposite direction.
Meteors falling away from Earth. Impossible.
Another burst lit the night. Lights twinkled and flared. More explosions. No noise.
Something large rocketed towards the earth, growing bigger and brighter each second. A whisper–was Father here after all?–turned to thunder as the flaming meteorite shot towards the farmhouse.
It hit before I could stand. An explosion, deafening and bright, devoured the night. This one didn’t fade. This one burned. Flames roared, consuming the farmhouse and my father sleeping inside.
Fire trucks wouldn’t come. Not this far out. The flames burned my eyes. Tears evaporated in the heat.
The fire raged until the sun blocked out the hateful stars. I approached the dying fire, my former life, to lay my eyes on the horrid rock. A rock thrown by a negligent god.
Metal gleamed from the rubble. This wasn’t a rock. This was a fallen satellite, a man-made device.
Etchings of some unknown language lined the disc, glowing white. There was no heat. A chill ran through my blood as goosebumps rose from my arms.
Sirens intensified in the distance, but I didn’t dare turn from the machine. It called out to me. Touch me. I laid a hand on the shining hull. An electric shock bolted through me. I launched from the rubble.
When I opened my eyes, a lone paramedic hovered over. He told me that I had passed out. That I was lucky to be alive.
“Awful house fire, that one,” the man said, looking at the ashes. “Haven’t seen one this bad since the Henderson’s barn went up in ‘92.”
I stared at charred wood and smoking embers. Only the refrigerator was left. Nothing else.
“There was metal,” I choked. “A big metal disc hit the house.”
“Son, you better take it easy,” the man said. “You must’ve breathed an awful lot of smoke getting out.”
He turned to me. “Were you the only one?”
He sighed. “I’ll get my son to meet you at the hospital. He’ll help you make the arrangements.”
“It was right there,” I whispered.
“Come on, son. There’s not much we can do here.” The scene blurred as he looked into my eyes. “You got a long couple of days ahead.”