The sound of thunder roared in Miranda’s ears, waking her instantly. She assumed it was a thunderstorm brewing in the distance but a quick look outside disclosed not a cloud in the sky. What she did see, however, made her blood run cold. The stars were falling.
One right after the other, stars hurtled through the sky and landed with a crash on the ground around her. Some left fire in their wake. All left some form of destruction.
As Miranda tried to get her bearings, a thud landed on the roof, setting it ablaze. It began to collapse around her.
Running to her children’s room, she found the two of them huddled in the closet screaming her name. She gathered one on each hip and threw herself down the stairs just as the roof collapsed overhead.
Miranda moved with lightning speed. She put the children down only long enough to grab the key to storm shelter and open the back door. Then she picked them up and began running once more. They reached the shelter in record time.
Once the kids were safe inside, tucked into warm blankets on a cot, Miranda risked a peek outside. It was then that she realized her mistake. Entire stars could not be falling. It they were, earthquakes, tsunamis and every make and model of disaster would be taking place. It was more like the stars were sloughing off small portions of themselves.
“Stay where you are,” Miranda told her children as she made her way out to get a closer look at one of the rocks fizzling out in front of her. It glowed like a crystal, emitting a strange pink light.
“Miranda, help!” The shout came from her neighbor, old Mr. Brooks. “One of the rocks struck Elizabeth,” he explained.
Miranda ran out to help him carry his wife to the shelter. She was unconscious. Her normally gray hair had turned completely white. A tiny crescent shape burn on her forehead indicated where the rock had struck her.
“Put her on the cot,” Miranda advised as she ran to get the first aid kit. Then she checked Elizabeth’s pulse. It was rapid but steady. Her breathing was a bit labored but within normal standards.
Miranda cleaned the wound, applied antiseptic and bandaged it. Then she added another blanket around the old woman’s body.
“Stay with her. I think she’ll be fine. She’s just in shock. I think we all are.”
“What is going on?” Ben Brooks looked at the young brunette with hope that she knew the answer. However, he could tell from the terror in her brown eyes, she didn’t have a clue.
“Your house is on fire,” he added lamely. “Ours is too. I suspect many people lost their homes tonight,” he mumbled.
“I think that’s a fair guess,” Miranda said. “I’m going back out there to see if I can get one of those rocks. We need to take a closer look at it.”
“You’re going to bring one of those things in here?” Ben looked shocked and scared half to death.
“I need to know what we are dealing with, Ben,” Miranda cooed. She tried to soothe the old man as best she could but she did not wait for his approval to move back outside.
The star dust was slowing down. Less and less of it filtered through the atmosphere and made land as Miranda watched. Her breath slowed and her fear subsided somewhat.
Reaching inside the shelter door, she grabbed a shovel and picked up the small rock she’d been observing before the Brooks appeared at her doorstep.
The rock had cooled a little but it was still too hot to handle. Miranda moved it closer so that she could see it clearly.
Oddly, it was somewhat star shaped. There were distinctive points, although many more than the traditional five or six usually depicted in drawings and paintings. Miranda counted 24 points on the rock in front of her.
As she observed it, the rock’s glow mesmerized her. It wasn’t frightening in any way. In fact, it was soothing in nature. It pulsated, emitting a tiny buzzing sound as it moved.
As Miranda watched, the rock began to split. She assumed the cool night air on the hot object had caused it to do that. However, it turned out that was not the case. The rock was opening.
Miranda thought to herself, ‘I should put this down, get inside the shelter and lock the door.’ Her body, however, did not follow her mind’s directions. Instead, she continued to watch as the rock opened. From it sprung a tiny pink glowing creature. It was humanoid from what she could gather.
The creature flew close to her head as if to attack. Instinctively, Miranda drew back. She dropped the shovel and scrambled back into the cellar, closing the door behind her.
“Miranda, she’s waking up,” Ben Brooks called, referring to his wife Elizabeth. Miranda stopped thinking about the creature and moved to help her friend.
Elizabeth smiled as she opened her eyes. “You don’t have to be afraid,” she muttered softly. “They mean us no harm.”
“Who means us no harm?” Ben looked at his wife with confusion in his steely blue eyes.
“The creatures, of course,” Elizabeth answered. “Miranda knows what I mean.”
“What does she mean?” Ben stared at Miranda, his mouth wide open.
“The rocks aren’t rocks exactly,” Miranda whispered. “They are tiny ships.”
“Ships? Have the two of you lost your minds?” Ben looked at the women growing even more afraid.
“They had to choice but to leave the stars,” Elizabeth moaned. “Something dangerous is coming. They came to warn us.”
“Warn us?” Ben roared in anger. “They destroyed our homes. They are the danger,” the old man screamed. The noise Miranda’s children cry in terror.
“Ben, please,” Miranda cautioned. “They are frightened enough as it is. Let me calm them and then let’s hear your wife out.”
Miranda soothed little Susie and Bobby and then tucked them into bed for the third time. Then she turned her eyes back to Elizabeth. “Go on,” she encouraged.
“There is a huge asteroid on the way,” Elizabeth stated. “One of the creatures touched me so that I could understand and interpret their intentions. They came to help us prepare.”
“If there is an asteroid on the way, there is little we can do to prepare,” Miranda noted. “Even I know that.”
“It doesn’t have to mean we all die,” Elizabeth reasoned. “Look, they risked themselves to warn us. The least we can do it listen to what they have to say.”
“I’m not sure our leaders are going to listen to tiny pink creatures,” Miranda moaned in return. “Especially creatures that arrived while setting fires to everything in sight.”
“They will listen if they receive the sight like me,” Elizabeth emphasized. “That is the intent, but we have to help them.”
“Help them how?” Miranda stared at her friend.
“Open the cellar door. Let them in. They will explain through me.” Elizabeth reached out her hand to take Miranda’s. “It is that or certain death.
Without another word, Miranda climbed the stairs, unbolted the door and opened it. A dozen of the tiny creatures immediately swarmed inside, making a beeline for Elizabeth.
The old woman grinned and nodded after a few moments. “They said to pardon them for this but the wording is properly succinct.”
“What wording,” Miranda questioned, tilting her dark curls to one side of her head.
“They said: Take me to your leader,” Elizabeth smiled.