The Day the Earth Went Dark Episode 22: Crash Landing

The final sprint to the designated landing site left Drake and Charley drenched in sweat. The long stretch of road to Moon Crest Island, which stood in the middle of Midnight Lake, felt empty without tourists heading either direction. Above, hurtling towards the Earth, was a ship unlike any Drake had seen in his lifetime. The sleek black ship almost reminded him of an almond. The details remained hard to see as the ship crashed into one of the lower hillsides of Moon Crest Island. Even in daylight, Drake watched the explosions in space like fireworks. 

“At least we missed the shock wave from the crash,” Charley said. “I wouldn’t have been able to stay on the bike.”

Drake nodded. The biohazard suits remained functional, and though Drake hadn’t wanted to wear it on the long ride to Moon Crest Island, he didn’t see any other option. Once across the halfway point of the bridge, Drake noticed green plant life on the Island ahead. But how is Moon Crest Island safe from the virus, or whatever it is? 

The ship didn’t seem to burn so much as the trees and green wild grass around it caught fire and sent up billowing black smoke. The tension remained tight against Drake’s heart as they stepped off their bikes and neared the wreck. 

“It doesn’t look that bad,” Charley said.

“No, it doesn’t.” 

Drake could pick out a flashing gold and red bar of light towards the rear of the ship. It had been fifteen or twenty minutes since the ship crash landed and their arrival. Drake expected someone to be climbing out by the time they arrived. Yet there were no obvious doors, sounds of life, or visible movement anywhere inside the ship. Charley grabbed Drake’s arm and held him back. The fire surrounded the ship. Drake didn’t realize until that moment that he’d started towards the ship.

Drake looked back to Charley, tears blurred his vision until he blinked them away. The smell of a burning grass and bark filled the air. Charley shook her head, but the fog on the clear visor blocked what laid behind. Drake pulled closer to Charley and tried to fight his shakes of sorrow from taking over. 

A new and violent burst of wind sent rocks and sticks pelting into Drake’s legs. Both he and Charley cursed before they fell to the ground. The smoke smell lingered, but a more powerful chemical scent dominated. 

“Mom,” Xal said, “dad, why are you guys in the biohazard suits?”

Drake looked up, but couldn’t see through the dirt caked visor. Soon, he felt his hood being pulled off. Before he could fight whoever it was, he saw Xal’s face, uncovered, breathing the air. Drake lunged towards his son, not trying to hide his tears anymore, and wrapped him in a tight embrace. 

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