What If?

The following is the beginning of a story, a writers prompt.
What would you do?


What If?

The news reports remind you that this weekend will be a spectacular meteor shower. If you are not in the city where there is less light pollution, you should see several an hour.

With homeschooling in vogue, you load up the camper with the three kids, two dogs, and head out to the country where you know that you will be able to see the sky.

Imaginations run wild with what you might see. Finding a secluded spot, unloading the small flat bottom boat, you get everything ready for the night ahead.

Pulling a few fish out of the lake, the loons in the distance remind you of why this place is so special.


With the dogs settled down outside the camper, you load the family in the boat. The sounds of the water against the aluminum hull remind you of some of your fondest memories fishing and camping at that very spot. The chatter of what you all might see resonates off the lake as you try to calm their excitement so you can share with them the magic of this lake.


The conversations turn to whispers. You imagine that you hear the loons over the questions about what star that is and which planet might that be.


Adrift in the lake, you can hear the frogs from the shoreline.


A finger reaches up, pointing to the first of many streaks of light. Much like the fireworks of your youth, the excitement mounts. Whispers turn to excited declarations of Wow and Look at that.


The pace of the show picks up as a small fish jumps into the boat, flopping around. Your son tries in to grab it as the sound of it bouncing against the hull distracts you from a glow coming up over the tree line.


Trying to grab the fish, you can now see it. A shadow of the fish is cast against the boat, and then you notice there is a shadow of your son.


At once, you all look up to see a sizable glowing saucer just above the tree line, right over you. There is no sound other than more fish seem to be fooled by the light as they too breach the surface.


The disc moves away, slowly lighting the area around you. The small boat is well in the middle of the lake. You have drifted past an outcropping of trees separating you from your camper. You search the horizon looking for anything familiar.


Barking dogs echo off the trees as the light fades behind you. Taking the oars, your shaking hands try to make them work as your family huddles under the blanket. Your son finally gets the fish and tosses it over. The splash causes you to jump.

Making it past the outcropping, you see the lantern you left glowing like a beacon. There is something else. Figures are standing by your camper. The dogs have ceased barking.


Slowly you row the boat cautiously toward the lantern.

Nobody is talking as you look at your family, who seems petrified.


Another shooting star streaks across the heavens, lighting up the area as it explodes overhead. The light reflects off something that seems to be in the vast field where you played Frisbee with your family hours earlier.


Something in their hands glows as you feel the boat lurch forward. Slowly at first, gradually, you hear the water against the hull as you pick up speed.


The figures appear to be human, but what they are wearing does not look like anything you have seen before.


Your children cannot swim. Your anxiety is well past anything you have experienced before.


What do you do?

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