The Stars Have Always Been There For Her…
For lonely UFO hunter Ginevra Kincaid, the stars have always been her friends. She’s always been sure she would one day have a close encounter of the third kind—until one strange night, she arrives at the site of a meteor crash and meets…an alien? He might be, or maybe not…he can’t remember anything about himself, except his name: Ryu. But he’s being pursued by men in black, who claim he’s not who she thinks he is.
After driving under a hundred miles of desert sky, Ginevra Kincaid should have been tired of it, but she wanted more. Even in her agitated state, she loved the pure azure of the lowering night, and how it became a darker and darker blue, until somewhere along the way it deepened into a rich deep violet, and then—
Then the stars came out, one by one.
Her favorite time of day. “Hello, old friends,” she whispered, smiling. “It’s so good to see you so clearly again.”
She loved seeing the stars spread out against the sky, countless bright points curving in a liquid-like swash against the black velvet background. As a rule, she didn’t get much of a chance to see all those stars. Living in the heart of Los Angeles, she was lucky if she managed to identify the moon, let alone the Big Dipper, through the thick persistent smog.
Too bad she had to see the Milky Way again under these circumstances.
“Don’t do it, Kel,” she muttered aloud, gripping the steering wheel. “You’re not right for each other. You should know that!”
A UFO hunter and a nonbeliever? Together? “It’s not going to last,” Gin said, mindful of the cool air streaming past her face and around the windshield of her Jeep.
And that’s what it came down to: Kel wasn’t a believer. Even though Barry was a nice guy, if Kel thought she was going to have a happy-ever-after with him, she was going to be disappointed. Some things were fundamental, and Barry’s belief in UFOs was one of them.
Gin glimpsed a streak of movement across the sky out of the corner of her eye. Before she could turn her head, the shooting star was gone.
The Perseids meteor showers were particularly heavy this summer. This was her favorite time of year, when for nearly two weeks the night skies were vivid with shooting stars. Mid-August evenings often saw her packing a sandwich and a Thermos of iced tea and making her way up to the top of her apartment building to watch the brightest meteors chase each other.
Not so long ago, she’d spent those lazy evenings watching the Perseids with Barry. Now he was trying to persuade Kel to do the same, but that wasn’t her style. Early to bed and early to rise, that was Kel. She rarely saw the stars move across the sky, preferring to get up early to watch the sun rise.
She loved Kel like a sister, but—“How could anyone not believe there’s something out there?” Gin whispered aloud, her words getting lost in the cool air. “There are so many stars. We can’t be alone in the universe. How can she not believe?”
Another streak of light crossed the edge of her vision, gone again before she could even glance that way. Gin was a scientist. She knew what the shooting stars were and where they ended up. That didn’t mean she didn’t wonder where they came from.
Despite her worries, she had to smile when she passed a sign that read “LAS VEGAS 250.” She was making good time. Barry wasn’t much of a gambler but he wanted to please Kel, so he had agreed to get married at the Galahad Hotel, her favorite in Las Vegas. One of the larger hotel/casinos off the Vegas Strip, the Galahad worked hard to challenge larger, better-known rivals with its shows and shopping. The hotel’s theme amused Kel, with a staged sword fight twice a day and an outdoor animatronic performance with a sorcery theme. They were going to be married by a preacher dressed as a wizard, Kel had said.
Crossing the desert in the middle of the night allowed Gin to make the trip most efficiently, getting to the Galahad in plenty of time for the late-morning nuptials. And this way, she got to enjoy the starlit sky.
Another streak shot past the edge of her vision. And then, a faster, brighter one, screaming past that streak of light, much closer—and then,
The ground shook. Gin felt it through the steering wheel, felt the shock reverberate through her. The blast rocked the Jeep, nearly running it off the road. She wrestled for control and when she got it, she slammed on the brakes.
What was that?
Heart pounding, Gin shifted into park and took a deep breath. She looked in the direction the shooting star had gone—it had passed so close she could have sworn she felt her hair move in the breeze.
Wow! She shook her head. That was a close call.
She peered in the direction that the meteor had headed, craning her neck to see if she could glimpse anything. Nope.
The meteor couldn’t have landed more than a few hundred yards away. Nothing glowing, as far as she could tell. She’d have to get closer to find out more.
She hesitated. How often did she have a chance like this? She was making good time. She could spare a few minutes, just to see.
Gin shifted into four-wheel drive and ran her trusty little Jeep off into the rough brush, heading in the direction of the landing spot. It wouldn’t take more than a few minutes off her drive, tops.
Or maybe not. Once she was off the road, the darkness seemed to swallow her surroundings, leaving only the headlights of her Jeep to cut through the dense night. The farther she went, the darker it seemed to be. Even the stars seemed to vanish.
But as she got closer and closer to what she estimated had to be the impact site, she knew this detour wasn’t going to be a few minutes. Even in the gloom, the closer she got, the more she could see that there was something more than she had expected. A soft glow, too dim for her to have seen from the highway. A glow she couldn’t identify or rationalize. Were Area 51 officials experimenting with something? UFOIS had heard rumblings about new prisoners there, but nothing specific.
Her pulse picked up at the possibilities. No. It couldn’t be. But it wouldn’t hurt to check.
Gin got there—at least where she thought the meteor, if it was a meteor, had hit. She parked but sat for a few minutes, looking around, trying to figure out if she could see anything beyond the illumination of her headlights.
Was it glowing?
From what she could tell, the meteor had hit the ground, leaving a pit roughly the size and depth of a Mack truck.
But what if it wasn’t a meteor? What could it be?
No. It couldn’t be.
What if it was what she’d been looking for all this time? An alien landing? Could it be?
Gin got out of her Jeep, leaving the headlights on so she could navigate by them. She grabbed the two things she had learned to keep with her: a flashlight, slender enough and light enough for her to hold between her teeth if need be and powerful enough to let her see twenty feet in front of her, and a Geiger counter. Both things she had learned to keep in her car, courtesy the UFO Information Society.
The impact had driven the object, whatever it was, into the ground, creating a berm so high she couldn’t see into the pit as she approached. To look in, she would have to climb to the crest.
She took a couple of deep breaths. “You’re just doing some basic investigation,” she said aloud. “That’s all.”
Oh, who was she kidding? Holy crap!
Go to Smashwords
to find out more about this e-novella!