Into You (Part 17)
'I'm no science geek, but even I know that comets fall to – '
'Meteorites,' he corrects me, around another bite of food. 'Comets are orbital anomalies that pass through our solar system. Meteorites are, or can be, the debris sloughed from comets. In particular, the Perseids are thought to come from the comet Swift-Tuttle, but that's gonna take us down a whole other parsec…' He puts down his fork and picks up his ear of corn.
'Okay. Not comets. But I know meteorites fall to Earth all the time.' I tilt my head, allowing my blonde hair to dangle over one shoulder. I have one eyebrow up and I'm smirking at him, daring him to refute that.
'You did pay attention in class! Good. My point is that there are too many meteorites in the night sky… this early in the season. We don't… The Earth won't cross the path of Swift-Tuttle for at least another month.'
'What's the problem, Gerald?' I press him, because he's not making sense. 'Are you afraid of the largest meteorite ever plunging to Earth and ripping a big hole in it?' I suspect the hyperbole will prompt him to spill what's troubling him.
'I don't think what we're seeing in the night sky is the Perseids… or for that matter, any kind of meteor shower activity.' He puts down the corn, wipes his mouth, and points up into the heavens, his finger almost accusing the universe. 'See that? All of that?'
I look up and notice there are more meteors streaking across the night sky than I've ever seen. I nod. I can't refute it. All those bright streaks are clawing down the chalkboard of the night sky, scratched into our vision by invisible hands.
'What then…?' I have a hard time articulating more, yet a tiny sense of foreboding creeps into my mind. This is a portent. In days gone by, meteors were considered portents of either good or bad, depending on the culture.
'I think what we're seeing is alien spacecraft… a sort of seeding process. They're arriving in wave upon wave. And we're clueless. Nobody's noticed, no one's mentioned it. Not one government agency has raised an alarm to – '
'Gerald, stop.' I reach for his hand and clasp it gently, drawing it down. He ceases his rambling, and looks at me. 'You really believe that?'
'Yes. Don't you – '
' – feel it?' We say it together. 'Yes. I do. I feel it on a subliminal level, but I have a suspicion this ‘feeling' is going to blossom into a ‘knowing' in short order.' I tug his hand and he slides forward in his chair, looking deeper into my eyes. When I was young and learning about love, I was told that lovers who gazed intently at one another had a physical response of dilated pupils. I wonder if my pupils are as dilated as Gerald's. 'It's like… how did you guess my favorite reading genres?'
'It's the ‘knowing' starting to insinuate itself into my consciousness.' He raises the hand I've been holding. It has a faint shimmer to it in the lamplight. 'I have to tell you something. Earlier today, when I thought I'd run into a spider web… I don't think that was it.' He looks apologetic, as if he'd intentionally deceived me. I know differently.
'It wasn't, though, was it?' He shakes his head and is about to apologize, but I stop him. 'Don't. You didn't know… then. You do now, though. It was one of the…' I fumble for the word. I should know it. The name is as old as time, and it flits like a moth right on the edge of my memories.
'Sha'Lah-umGa'Dro.' He says it, and I know for a certainty he has spoken the correct name of the entities that have come from across the expanse of our galaxy to fall to our Earth. 'It was one of the ‘blobs.' I think I accidentally swallowed it. It must have assimilated within me over the course of the morning, because I came back to what passes for consciousness hours ago. Ever since then, Lynne, I've been yearning for you. I even stood out on the porch here, looking at your house, hoping to catch a glimpse of you.' He dips his head, embarrassed.
'Did you know Arlo came to my house?' He looks up, and his face goes through several changes. Distress, recognition, acceptance, and peace. 'The blob I stepped on… took to the lab… My Sha'Lah-umGa'Dro had hidden in Arlo. It steered him back to me. It left him and now resides inside me. I… feel it. It…'
'Reveals things to you…?' I'm not sure if his tone is quizzical or amazed. 'Mine, too.' He swipes his left hand over the back of his right hand. 'I don't feel it so much as I feel it… Not on the outside… More on the inside… You?'
'This is still new to me, Gerald. So new. I'm sure I'll be able to answer that more effectively in a while.' A thought occurs to me. 'These beings… They've come from the far reaches of space?'
'Yes,' replies Gerald. 'I know it, deep down I know this.'
'And they've come here, to Earth, and started merging with us…?' I want to ensure he's following my train of thought.
'Yes. You know it. I know it. Yes.'
'And their presence within us draws us to each other…?'
'Yes.' He's very definite and deliberate with his answer.
'Then you and I must surely be star-crossed lovers.'