One November Night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man walking his dog one night lays down in a wash and watches as our moon is destroyed by a huge asteroid.

Submitted: June 05, 2012

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Submitted: June 05, 2012



One November Night by Rolf Luetcke


As I raised my head from the pillow I saw it was only1:25 a.m.  I don’t know what had awakened me, but I was awake.  It didn’t help that my thoughts turned to my writers block and I started to toss and turn.

George woke up too and came over and nuzzled my arm under the covers.  I petted him and after a few minutes he started whining.

I still couldn’t sleep so I got up to use the bathroom.  George followed and I could tell he was ready to go.  Of course he was always ready to go.  By now we were both awake.  I started getting dressed.

It was early November and the nights were cold so I dressed warm.  George had thick fur so he needed nothing but to have me open the door.

I let Michelle sleep.  She had not woken up when I got up.

The moon was nearly full so it was easy to see.  The desert was not hard to walk in at night.  Vegetation was sparse but there were cacti and I did have to watch out.  In summer there were rattlesnakes but they were hibernating now and it was safe to walk at night without a flashlight.

George took off for the trail leading to the wash, his favorite place to look for rabbits.  I followed.

Winter nights in the desert were fun to be out.  There were animals and they added to the excitement of being in the dark.  I could see Georges shape ahead.He was checking every bush and having a ball.

The wash was a quarter mile back behind my house. It was wide and sandy, lined with mesquite trees and animals were abundant.  No cacti here.  I was able to look around as I walked.  Even with the bright moon I could see lots of stars in the clear sky.  There was Mars, and Jupiter was also visible.

George was engrossed in all the smells and I found a smooth area and lay down in the wash to watch for a few meteorites.

George came and checked in occasionally and licked my face a couple of times.

Ah, a “shooting star”, a slow bright one.

I looked over at the moon and enjoyed the craters I could make out.

There were more meteorites!  That was kind of unusual.  I didn’t remember this being one of the regular meteor shower nights.  There, more!  They seemed to be coming from one direction.

I was glancing at the moon again when I saw a movement.  It was odd, it was in a dark part of the sky and I noticed it because it blocked out a bright star.

“What the heck was that?” I thought as I saw a huge shadow take a bite out of the side of the moon.

I stared, and then it happened!

My heart nearly stopped beating and I held my breath.The moon exploded!

“Oh, shit, Oh shit, Oh ---“was all I could say as I watched a cataclysm so great it was completely beyond words.

“No!  No!  No!” I kept shouting and George was now at my side and acting really worried.

There was no sound at all but my mind made me wince and cringe!  I didn’t know whether to run, look for a place to hide or just bend over and kiss my butt goodbye.

“This is it!” I said to the night.

My mind kicked in as I saw the debris cloud from the moon spread out!

This could really be it and I jumped up and started for home.  I wanted to see my wife and I wanted to know what had happened.

I heard the emergency siren in town start wailing and the one at the factory outside of town.

The lights were on at the house when I got there and I yelled for Michelle to come out fast.

“Where did you go?” she said sleepily as she came to the door.

I grabbed her arm and yanked her out into the parking lot and I saw her startle awake at my brusqueness.

I turned her and made her look up.  She gasped loudly!  “Wha.--  “

“Something hit the moon and destroyed it!  I think this could be the end” I said and I could tell there was fear in my voice.

The debris was still spreading out and I couldn’t see any portion of what had been our moon left.

“Got to turn on the news, I said!  They will tell us what is going on.” I said and let go of Michelle.  She was just frozen in place, staring at the sky.

I didn’t know what we on Earth would do when the debris started raining down.  The world would be destroyed. How would we survive?

“----  been observing the event as it spreads.  It appears that the asteroid barely missed the Earth and was not an object we were aware was there”, the reported was saying.

The photos were live and showed the spread of the debris.

Michelle came back in and was shivering.  I put the wool blanket from the bed around her as she sat on the sofa next to me, a dazed expression on her face as the enormity had hit home.

“Are we all going to die?” she said in a soft voice.

“Wait!  I think they are just getting to that!” I said as the reporters face came back on.

“Reports are coming in from sources at the White House and they are saying not to panic.  They are studying every aspect of the situation and assure us we are not in imminent danger.”

“It is uncertain the extent of debris which will hit Earth but experts are predicting there won’t be catastrophic falls.”

They switched to a man with disheveled hair, who was introduced as Professor Druewright from the observatory on Kitt Peak.

“The fact that the asteroid was such a near miss to Earth may have saved us.  If the asteroid had hit Earth, all life would now be wiped out.  The angle the moon was hit and the forces involved cannot be understood yet.  It is the biggest collision in our solar system in all our history.”

“It appears at this time, we will survive.  We don’t know yet what will rain down on Earth and I do recommend you stay tuned to radio or TV for any new details.”

Michelle and I hugged and just held each other.

Then the announcer came back on and said they were recommending that people go to shelters in case we did have debris.

There was no shelter I knew of in our rural area and when we stopped hugging I was ready to see what the sky looked like and it was spectacular.  For what had happened to the moon, it should have absolutely scared the hell out of me but I was standing there in awe.

Michelle came to the door and called me inside.

“By all accounts, debris should hit Earths atmosphere in about an hour and people should find shelter, just in case large pieces do hit Earth.”

We lived in a rammed earth house and it had three foot thick walls and we both sat between the book shelves up against the walls in case we were hit.  We hoped it would shelter us.  The roof was not as strong and debris was coming from above but we just had to take our chances.

There were two large glass doors across the room and we left the TV on as we sat.

We could see the show out the glass doors and was it ever spectacular.  The sky lit up like a billion sparklers and it went on through the rest of the night. The colors of the debris burning in the atmosphere were amazing.  I had never seen anything like it and the footage on the news was astounding.Even the films of the Northern Lights had nothing on this.  The streaks could be seen during the daylight too and for the first few days people had stayed indoors or in shelters just in case.

There had been some larger pieces and where they hit, people had died. Much had fallen into the oceans and some tidal waves had been spotted.New York had a major piece and about a block of buildings had been destroyed.Paris and Sydney had both been hit.  There were dozens of towns with big falls but our area had been spared.  A dam in China had been hit and it caused severe flooding below.  In Iceland a big piece had come down outside of inhabited areas but it had caused the molten earth beneath the area well up and a new volcano was building. We had two holes in our roof but they had missed us.  All in all, it was the biggest miracle it hadn’t been worse.  There were hundreds of other things that had been hit and altered but it had been a minor disaster on Earth seeing what it had done to the moon.

Several weeks had passed and people had somehow gone back to normal.  The news was still covering much of the events, every aspect.

Some said it was a sign from God and people needed to take heed and straighten out their lives.The churches had grown in leaps and bounds.  Most people had been changed by the event.

Scientists were having a field day and they had looked at every aspect of the event.  From estimating the size of the object to the combined forces involved, measured in mans standards of how many atom bombs it equaled.  Now I wondered who wasted time in coming up with those figures!  Mostly, they had gained an understanding of events in our solar system they had only guessed at.  The collisions that must have taken place on Saturn were discussed endlessly but we now knew how its rings had formed.

The asteroid had been estimated to have been the size of the continent of Australia.They had really wondered why it had not been spotted but then ones with the direction it had been on would not have been easily spotted.  Many had orbits that showed up on photos taken by the big telescopes but they had orbits where they would be at an angle.  This one had come directly at us and would only have appeared as a spot that didn’t leave a tail or move.

If that giant asteroid had come from a slightly different angle, Earth could have been completely destroyed, or at the very least, had all life wiped out.  We had been truly fortunate and it had been a wake up call for man.  We now rearranged our priorities and set out to completely map our own solar system and set up the beginnings of a defense system in the event something like this would happen again as it certainly must.

George and I were again out on a nightly walk but it would be forever different.  No longer would we have the phases of the moon to write about, harvest by or write songs about!

The men who had set foot on the moon were forever in the history books as the only beings to ever stand on the moon.

I again looked up at the sky in the amber glow that was now our nightly companion.  Earths ring was still forming!  Every night it was slightly different as its components jostled and spread.

They said that eventually it would settle into an even layer of debris that was fairly consistent in the size of its particles.  Now, it was still a fantastic fireworks display as larger pieces collided and were pulverized.

I lay in the same wash, same spot, George coming to check on me and lick my face.

I watched the display and my mind wandered with the possibilities this universe, this life, had to offer and I smiled, just as George made his latest visit and his wet tongue darted into my mouth.  I started spitting and wiping and when he sat down and wagged his tail, obviously pleased he’d scored a direct hit, I laughed and I laughed loud at George, at me, and at the heavens, which smiled down at us with a new face.




Copyright Rolf Luetcke


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