Author: Stephen McGowan

Pearls descended from the sky late on a Tuesday afternoon in May. Massive glistening orbs slid through clouds to hang like baubles above cities, towns, and villages everywhere. The sky was full, heavy, and inconceivably bright.

The weather rebelled. Wind blew in harmless hurricanes against their shimmering shells. Lightning flowed over them, around them. Adding electric blue streaks to stark white. Rain washed down them in thick rivulets that flooded the people below. Sun seared their skins, reflecting beams of high intensity to cause wildfires. Ice formed around them, only making them more beautiful.

The people watched and waited. For days, the people waited. Helicopters and planes, balloons, and more were sent to look at these…things. The Pearls did nothing. Said nothing. Waves of radio signal and digital data unanswered.

Curiosity made way to fear. The people tried to hide but there were so many Pearls. Some dug deep underground to escape them, closed themselves off from the world and the skies, and the Pearls.

Some fought. Sending bombs and missiles and artillery to shoot human death. It pattered on the Pearls like raindrops. They used new, more powerful weapons. Lasers and rail guns left burning trails in the air and were absorbed. They used nuclear weapons that lit up the night sky with luminescence reflected back tenfold until there was no more darkness. The Pearls hung like silent snowdrops in the winter that followed.

The underground people learned not to look up, to not worry about the past, and to move forward forever. Those who had seen the Pearls died and became the plants that the underground people ate. At first, the children wanted to see the skies, but this didn’t last. In time they learned.

Radiation scoured the surface. Life changed. Flourished free from the people. Soon the cities, towns, and villages were gone. The planet healed.

When the underground people finally emerged from their holes, hundreds of orbits of the sun later. The pears were still there. Now the people were not afraid. Now they were ready to accept the Pearls in the sky for all time if needs be. They were here for a reason. That reason was beyond the people’s ken and that was fine. Some things are and would always be. They told the Pearls as much. Shouting into the sky their tolerance.

The Pearls answered.