Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: Close Encounter
By Andrew Rees
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But wait, what’s this? A beam of light appears as if switched on, reaching from its centre towards the earth, narrow but widening, slowly strobing an area ahead of me. Who could stand the intensity of that light? Like a laser it cuts into the night sky. Should I take cover or run? I crouch behind a wall waiting… waiting… Will it move towards me? Will anyone appear? Will they land? A silent invasion spreading rapidly across the country. Part of me wants to push forward to see more, part wants to dig a hole and hide. Right now the first part wins.
Now the spaceship seems tantalisingly close, star shaped yet somehow masked by its own dazzling light, and still only half visible. It hovers as if unsure what to do next and then slowly, very slowly moves closer to within a mile of the ground. The beam moves around, I can feel it coming closer. Mounting terror - will they find and take me as a captured human specimen. Part two now grows within me, as I find a mound of old brambles and to burrow beneath. Silence broken by a pounding heart.
And then as if satisfied, the beam is switched off, and it moves away. No contact, no appearance, no landing. It’s receding fast, and relief surges through my veins. Close but not too close. A faceless encounter. Didn’t they like what they saw? An opportunity gone forever. The spaceship returns to anonymity, and for us, the incredulity is over.
The powerful versus the powerless, captor versus captive, alien versus alienated. No love, no warmth, just fear, but also deliverance. Where’s God in all this? Further or nearer than we think? And where are we? Did we reach new depths of presence in that moment?
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