Hundreds of people stood in the plaza staring at the bright red blaze in the sky. The scientists and politicians had told them all to prepare for the end. The life-ending asteroid was arriving. Contrary to what many people thought would happen, it was eerily calm. So quiet, in fact, that if someone had let out a particularly airy sigh, they would have been heard throughout the plaza.
As the asteroid grew closer, some began to lift their hands up in prayer, hoping for that last-minute salvation the religious always spoke about. Others began to spill tears upon their cheeks, lamenting their now lost futures. Tianna didn’t understand this. Life was life; everyone knew it had to end at some point, right?
Still closer, the asteroid flew. Tianna could see flecks of fire jumping from its hidden core. She could see the fire growing ever hotter, with its red exterior slowly changing into a cool blue. Tianna did not fear it, after all, she had welcomed death for a long time, and it seemed to shy away from her. Finally, it appeared that it would embrace her acceptance of it.
She closed her eyes and waited for the fire to overtake her. She waited, and she waited, and she waited more. A loud thump sound resonated throughout the plaza, along with the sound of crushed metal and shattering glass. Tianna quickly opened her eyes. The life-ending asteroid had disappeared. In its place was a woman splayed across a crushed car, as if she had just jumped from the top of a skyscraper. Tianna was no fool, though. While everyone else rushed to this woman’s aid, Tianna hung back. No one should be falling from the sky, much less landing on a car and surviving.
Tianna watched as two tall, gangly men gently grabbed the woman’s arms and carefully lifted her to her feet. They repeatedly asked her if she was okay; she did not respond. She barely even acknowledged them. Instead, the woman behaved like royalty in a court of peasants until she locked her icy-blue eyes with Tianna’s. She began to strut over to Tianna as pieces of the woman’s reddish-brown skin fell to the ground.
This was the first time that Tianna had felt real fear in years. She couldn’t explain why the woman sparked such a visceral reaction in her. She reacted nonetheless. Tianna backed away quickly. She backed away and moved so fast that it seemed she might have been running backward.
The woman’s gait, though slow, helped to decrease the distance between them.
“Help!” Tianna screamed. The people in the plaza seemed oblivious to her pleas. “Help!” Tianna yelled once more, to a crowd that seemed unwilling to help her. Tianna tripped on some unknown debris and found herself at the mercy of the strange woman who fell from the sky. The woman kneeled down in front of her, carefully ruffling the bright yellow gown that draped her thin frame. Before she said anything, two hooded figured came and tackled the woman and yelled for Tianna to run.
Tianna, still shocked at what was happening, sat on the concrete, with her scraped and bloody hands resting beneath her.
“He said get out of here!” one of the figures yelled.
The woman who fell from the sky wrestled with them, struggling for only a short amount of time before Tianna’s helpers began to hover in the air. Tianna could not help herself. She wanted to run. Tianna wanted to get away from whoever this person was. And she felt terrible that these people were going to get hurt because of her.
The people who had saved Tianna were screaming. Softly at first. But their screams grew louder. Their hoodies floated off of their bodies and dropped to the ground. The pants and shirts that clothed them were seemingly shredded to microscopic bits, and they hovered there, naked before the woman who fell from the sky. Tianna could see their limbs begin to swell, their toes bursting from the unknown pressure that was engulfing them. All of this was happening, and the woman who fell from the sky simply stared at them. Blood began to drip from their ears; their fingers became mangled, and the blood-curdling screams continued…until they didn’t. Their bodies fell to the ground with a sound that reminded Tianna of water being splashed in a pool on a hot summer day.
Finally, Tianna turned heel and ran. She screamed at everyone in her path to run with her, and yet, they did not move. The woman who fell from the sky let out a visceral scream. It sounded like the screams of a million people burning, and it also sounded eerily familiar to Tianna.
Tianna stopped in her tracks and turned back towards the woman who fell from the sky. She then stared at the sky. Thousands of tiny white lights twinkled in air. Then she took a look at the woman who fell from the sky. The familiarity began to set in. Her reddish-brown skin, freckled in some places, resembled Tianna’s own. The way the piercing purple hair fell into the woman’s face was remarkably similar to Tianna’s own jet black hair, full of curls and volume.
Memories began to flood into Tianna’s mind. She remembered raising this woman. She remembered developing a plan of some sort aboard a ship in the deep dark recesses of space. She remembered being chosen as a scout. Tianna no longer had any reason to fear this woman. Tiala, or the woman who fell from the sky, was there to collect her. Tianna had finished her mission. She’d planted the signal long before Tiala arrived. It was what made most of these people so nonresponsive to Tianna’s calls for help. They were ready for harvesting.
Tianna recalled the guttural screams from the depths of her throat and sent them forth, letting Tiala know her memories had returned. Tiala’s icy blue eyes widened, and she followed suit and screamed into the sky. Their beacon was planted, and home awaited.