THE IMPOSSIBLE MAN extract
Lewis walked across the patio of stones, each with their own individual crunch. He had a tin foil jacket made with what remained of a half used box and a cup of tea held with both hands, another thing that was quintessentially British according to Shannon. He stared up at the night sky wondering how far away he was from the planet he once called home. He could hear Shannon making her away across to him but he didn’t avert his gaze.
“You’re along way away from home aren’t you?” Shannon asked softly and slowly, desperately trying to believe what she saw today.
“I really am” he replied with sadness in his voice. For a moment, they both stared at the stars and admired the beauty of the night sky for what it truly was. Shannon almost felt like she believed. Even if it was only for a split second, she believed in alien life, she believed in alien worlds and most importantly, she believed in him. Lewis broke the silence.
“I know I’m not from round these parts” Lewis said changing the mood abruptly “but I ain’t never seen stars like that before” he said with a puzzled tone pointing at something in the sky.
“That’s cause you’re from a different world or whatever” she laughed almost sarcastically. James, appearing almost out of nowhere, was quick to butt in. “He’s right though” he said in a serious manner, rather confused himself. “That’s new”.
“Can somebody tell me what the hell is going on?!” Commander Milligan demanded, storming into a busy room where all hell had broke loose. He could see the astronomers working in the observatory trying to talk to one another, all of them getting frustrated because they just couldn’t work it out. The deafening sound of the alarm wasn’t exactly helping and had already driven them all insane. Milligan lent over one of the astronomer’s shoulder and asked “Is anybody gonna answer my question?”
The astronomer, who was staring at his computer screen with confusion upon his face, didn’t know what to say.
“I… I… I dunno sir. The readings are off the scale and far from anything I’ve ever seen before!” He said in a state of shock, stuttering yet talking fast.
“What do you mean ‘off the scale’?” He imitated in his old and grumpy typically British accent.
“Out of nowhere, there’s a new constellation in the sky and it’s somehow moving towards Earth sir”
“Are they dangerous?” Milligan asked, quickly interrupting.
“It’s impossible to say sir. We don’t even know what they are let alone if they’re dangerous or not!” he replied in a high pitched, weedy voice that trembled with desperation; desperation for an explanation. There was a brief silence as Milligan stood up and took a large swallow.
“How long till they reach Earth?” Asked Milligan in a tone that failed to hide his fear.
The astronomer looked up at Milligan and paused for a second. “12 hours” he suggested knowing full well that this could be his last few hours on the planet.
James, Shannon and Lewis were all looking at the sky now. All of them confused and all of them cold but none of them could take their eyes off the sky. Ten or so stars just sitting there in a perfectly arranged circle. There was nothing different about their appearance, they were all pinheads of light looking down on the Earth however, one thing’s for sure, and that’s that they definitely weren’t there before.
“Please tell me that’s not more of those creature things coming to avenge their friend and eat us” Shannon said jokingly yet realising it was a possibility.
“I really don’t know” Lewis replied fairly quietly while he remained in deep thought.
“You know I have a telescope we could use” James mentioned, eager to find out what was going on.
“Or we could just watch the news?” Shannon suggested, taking her eyes off the circle for the first time in about five minutes. Both James and Lewis were quick to follow and looked at Shannon with agreement on their nearly expressionless faces. The atmosphere still felt a bit awkward with Lewis around so she said nothing and walked in collecting the boys’ empty mugs on the way. James cut across a motionless Lewis who was looking like he needed to be told what to do but he followed their lead and made his way indoors.