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I wish I’d been with the people I loved on the day the world changed. Then again, if someone had said, “Hey Tess, reality as you know it is about to be turned upside-down. You should probably witness this moment with someone you care about. Anybody fit that bill?” I would’ve barked out a bitter laugh and told them I’d rather be alone. Which, as it turns out, I was.
The meteor shower was all over the news. CNN covered it nonstop in the hours before it was visible, bringing on astronomers and astrophysicists to explain why it was such a big deal for a meteor shower of this size to be happening in the middle of January. Apparently, our scientists were supposed to be able to predict this kind of thing. The fact that one had snuck up on our collective set of observatories and satellites was—to quote one NASA representative—“extraordinary.”
I didn’t care if it was unprecedented. I didn’t care if people around the world were calling it a sign or a portent of the Second Coming or whatever. I just knew it was beautiful, and I wanted to see one more beautiful thing before I died.
The trick was explaining that to the floor nurse.
“Miss McBray, please go back to your room.” Nurse Davies crossed her beefy arms over her chest and planted her white-sneakered feet to the floor. “We’ve been over this before. You’re in no condition to leave.”
“How do you know?” I growled. “Nobody here can even tell me what my condition is.”
I shifted the weight of my duffle bag on my shoulder and leaned to the left, craning my neck to gauge the distance between Davies and the elevators. Only a few dozen yards. Sure, she towered over me. Sure, in the month I’d been in the hospital my body had wasted away to little more than a skin-wrapped skeleton. But I might be able to make a run for it.
Davies shook her head. “Do you think you’re going to find the answers out there?”
“Maybe. I don’t really care.”
She glared at me, and I knew exactly what she was thinking. It was the same thing she’d spat at me every time I’d fought against the IV, or questioned the contents of the murky soup they forced me to eat, or requested—and then repeatedly demanded—to have my comic book collection brought into the hospital. And just when I began to worry she’d disappoint me by refusing to lean on her catchphrase, she said it.
“Stop being so melodramatic.”
About the Author
watching Netflix with her husband, reading, playing video games, and filling up her phone's flash memory with pictures of her cats. She loves music and plays the bass guitar. Caryn is an active member of the League of Utah Writers and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.