I love Midsummer. In my part of Sweden, the summer solstice is a Big Deal. This day and night is filled with lore and mystique, and the veil between our world and the unknown is thinner than ever.
My imagination loves this time a year. Growing up, I always imagined fairies dancing in the meadows, and I could almost hear Näcken play in any water nearby.
What? You haven't heard of Näcken? He sits on a rock in any flowing water, playing his violin to lure fair maidens to wade over to him. Then, he kills them and steals their souls.
Young me would keep an eye on the sky as well.
At Midsummer, anything might happen, and maybe this would be the night when the aliens finally arrived. I was clearly in the wrong place, on the wrong planet, with the wrong species. Horrible mixup, that. Surely, my real family would arrive from the stars at any time and bring me home!
Adult me still waits for the aliens and wonders what they will be like. By now I'm biased enough by Hollywood to think the good guys might not be the first ones to reach us, but I still hope.
The heroine of my upcoming sci-fi romance Operation Earth (TBR Aug 11) certainly doesn't expect any aliens to arrive. In her world, rain is the only thing that might ever fall from the sky. Boy is she in for a surprise. Check this out:
Rachael's mind couldn't shut the approaching noise out anymore. Something was falling through the air, something heavy, coming fast. The sound caught the attention of the people by their cars as well. She saw someone raise a hand to point, and she followed the man's gaze to the sky.
"What's an EMP?" Melissa asked, and Rachael barely heard her own voice answer, "Electromagnetic Pulse. It destroys anything electronic. A really old car might work, like 1970s vintage and before, but nothing modern."
Anything electronic, such as an airplane, such as the one falling from the sky over their heads.
The woman over by the cars screamed, and the man who had yelled and thrown his phone put his hands on her shoulders in a gesture of comfort.
Strange how people come together in a time of crisis.
"Why doesn't he try to glide?" Ryan's question made sense, but if her theory was right, the poor pilots had no rudder control whatsoever. The plane fell like a stone and hit the ground a few blocks away with an impact that made windows rattle.
Melissa asked, "Should we... go over? See if we can help?"
He shook his head.
"There's no helping them. We should be happy if it doesn't explode and burn the city to the ground."
Melissa tucked her hand into her husband's.
At a time like this, it would be nice to be two. I guess Mom was right. It is the end of the world. Oh boy, she's probably terrified, I hope she's okay.
There was no time to mentally digest the plane crash and its implications. A new sound made itself heard; a deep, low humming.
"What's that?" Melissa whimpered.
Where's my cat? Focus on the big picture. Bonbon can take care of herself, probably better than you. Whoever did this isn't through yet.
Ryan’s voice pulled her back to the present.
"It's the whole friggin' house!"
She turned around to see him hold a palm against a wall. Down the street the little group of people backed away from their cars. Rachael swallowed.
"Maybe... Maybe you shouldn't touch it."
Before she could even finish the sentence, a female voice emanated from the structures around them, from the very ground under their feet. It echoed crystal clear, and in a moment of near hysteria, Rachael wondered if the same thing happened all over the world.
"Rejoice, people of Theta Y. My name is June, and I'm happy to declare the time has come to reunite."
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