Precipitation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An odd snowfall on a hot July day is the start of something strange.

Submitted: August 02, 2016

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Submitted: August 02, 2016

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Precipitation.

I look towards the window, look away and then look back again. I can't quite believe what I am seeing. I walk across the room, right up to the glass, and I stare through the pane. It's still there! I am not seeing things, imagining things; it is not a trick of the light.

It is a hot July day and it is snowing!

But this is no ordinary snow. For a start it is orange; a bright, almost fluorescent shade. And they don't look like flakes of snow, these things that are falling from the sky. They resemble seeds more than crystals. In fact, they look just like miniature orange Tic Tacs.

They can't have been falling for much time. I'm sure I would have noticed them sooner if they had been dropping past my window for long. Already there is quite a covering of them outside. And they are laying on the ground as far as I can see, so it is not a localised fall of some kind of blossom.

I can now see some of my neighbours standing by their own windows, staring out at this peculiar precipitation. It is kind of reassuring. At least I can assume that I've not gone crazy or am suffering from some sort of hallucination.

I stand there watching it for quite some time before I think to try the television. Maybe there will be some mention of it on the news, or at least on the weather forecast. Perhaps I'll be able to find an answer to the mystery of its sudden appearance.

The reception is not too good. The picture is a bit speckly and the sound is a bit crackly, but there it is – the orange snow! New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Brisbane, Toronto, Johannesburg! Not local then, or even national. Whatever it is that is falling from the sky is doing so all over the world, all at the same time.

How is this even possible? Can something be affecting the entire globe at once?

Whatever these orange things are, they float. Oceans, lakes, and rivers have all lost their blueness as millions and millions or these......things float on their surfaces. Traffic is halted as roads disappear. Grass, sand, mud, marsh; every type of surface you could think of seems to be getting coated.

There is a warning saying to stay put; stay wherever you are. Do not go outside and if you are outside seek immediate shelter. Stay inside your car. Stay in school, at work, in the shopping mall. Just stay under cover until more information is known.

There is a good covering on the ground outside now, four or five inches at least. It is about two and a half hours since I first noticed it through my window. There has been very little learnt about it, whatever it is. Or if anything has been discovered it is not being shared with the general public. The facts that are being made available scroll repeatedly across the screen:

1. The precipitation started simultaneously all around the world.

2. It floats upon the water and seems impervious to temperature extremes, both hot and cold.

3. The orange pellets give off a slight heat, enough to be felt but insufficient to burn or cause damage to any surfaces.

4. Pellets that are touched disintegrate, giving off some type of as yet unidentified gas.

5. All windows and doors should be kept firmly closed and the pellets should be regarded as hazardous until further information proves this not to be the case.

So nothing very new there apart from the mysterious gas. The orange pellets are still falling from the sky but not so heavily now. I can get glimpses of the sky and there are no odd looking clouds that I can see.

I must have spent hours staring out of the window. It is only now that I realise quite how hungry and thirsty I have become. I can't help feeling slightly guilty as I make myself a sandwich and a coffee. There must be thousands, millions of people, trapped in places where they don't have access to either food or drink. I realise just how lucky I was to be at home. If it had started just an hour later I would have been trapped in a car on my way to work.

It isn't really getting dark. There is too bright a glow being given off by the pellets, but unusually it is coming from the ground upwards. I pull the curtains closed and try to sleep but after an hour or so of laying there I climb out of bed and open the curtains again.

There is no point in me trying to sleep. I let myself fall back onto my quilt, my head on my pillow, and stare at the orange patterns reflected on my ceiling. It is a strange sensation, both warming and scary at the same time.

I must have fallen asleep as the next time I look at the clock I see that it is morning. I can tell from the window that nothing much has changed. The orange pellets are still there, laying in just as deep a carpet, but at least there have been no further obvious accumulations.

I turn on the television and they are showing pictures of Earth relayed from various satellites and space stations. In every single image, from every single angle, the planet appears as a fluorescent orange ball. There seem to be no breaks in the cover at all.

As for facts, there seem to be no more. There is a lot of speculation; a lot of countries blaming other countries, a lot of rumours about the Apocalypse, alien invasions, disease, a breakdown in the ozone layer..... All these people claim to be right themselves, ridiculing alternative suggestions. Why can't they all agree that they just don't have a clue to what is really going on?

I try to get on with some of my usual daily tasks. There always seems to be plenty of things that need cleaning, putting away. I can't concentrate on anything though and find myself constantly being drawn back to the window to stare and to wonder just what it is all about.

Then something starts to happen that is even stranger than the precipitation. Something that defies explanation even more. Something that, again, I am sure would be considered scientifically impossible.

The orange pellets start to rise, going higher and higher until they disappear. It is just as though it is raining 'up'. They are not all rising together but there is a steadiness to this rising, as though some sort of gentle magnet is being wafted around way up high in the atmosphere.

I look at the clock and it is exactly twenty-four hours since I first noticed the pellets falling.

I quickly turn the television back on. Again it is happening all over the world simultaneously. It looks way more strange to see the pellets rising, like watching a film being played backwards.

The warnings to stay indoors are still in place but I find myself being drawn towards the door. It is almost as though I have to watch this phenomenon take place from outside. I am not the only one either. It seems as though everyone in the street is standing there, open-mouthed, watching the pellets ascending into the sky.

I pick one pellet and try to keep track of it. I focus on it, watch it rise higher and higher until it becomes too small to see. I half expect to see alien space ships hovering high up but there is nothing. Everything apart from the pellets appears to be normal.

Somehow I wasn't surprised to find the last of the pellets fading from view exactly two days from when they first appeared. Samples, of course, had been collected but the pellets had just disintegrated. All that remained were pictures and some tiny samples of as yet unidentified gas.

Will we ever get a true explanation of what exactly happened? I doubt it. Already the world is awash with conflicting explanations. I am inclined to believe that it was some kind of alien investigation or observation although I can't explain how there was no recording by satellite or something of any of them leaving the Earth's atmosphere.

I don't believe we will ever know for sure who or what was responsible for those two days of orange snow.

 


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