A blue light hung motionless in the sky right next to the half-moon. It was like the night sky had a hole in it, and the blue of mid-day was leaking through. It was a perfect circle, smaller than the moon. A blue circle in the night sky.
I stood back from the window still holding the curtain with one hand, and I reached behind me for my phone with the other. I called Harry and he picked up straight away.
“You should look outside right now,” I said before he had time to say hello.
“It’s, like, 2am,” he said.
“You don’t have a normal sleeping pattern.”
“What do you want Kate?”
I heard mumbles and a window opening.
“What am I looking at?” asked Harry.
“Look at the moon. To the left of the moon.” There was silence. “It’s blue,” I said.
“Shit,” he said.
“What do you think it is?”
There was a pause from Harry.
“Could be a drone,” he said
“Oh, of course, I didn’t think of that.
We’re quiet for a few moments, on the phone watching the light in the sky.
“Don’t drones move around a lot, though?” I asked Harry.
“Yeah they do,” he answered.
“Harry… I’ve been watching it for about ten minutes. It hasn’t moved from that spot, but I think it’s getting bigger.” I pressed my face against the cold glass. My breath fogged the window. “Can you get a picture of it?”
“Yeah I could give it a go. Just hang on one sec, I’ll grab my stuff.”
There was a clang as Harry put the phone down. I could hear the main road travel through the speaker. I used to wake up early mornings to the sound of that road.
“Still reckon it’s a drone, though,” said Harry. I could hear the beep of his camera turning on.
“You used to be far less skeptical.”
“Yeah well it’s 2am, I’m always skeptical at 2am.”
“It’s 1am.” I said.
“1:30,” he said. I took my phone away from my ear. It was 1:28 am.
“… but otherwise, it could just be a drone,” I heard Harry say as I put my phone back to my ear.
“Sorry, what? I missed that first bit.”
“Nothing. I’ve taken a few pictures. Not great, though. Do you still have my 24mm lens?”
“Pretty sure you lent some lenses to Tom. Could you send the photos to me?”
“Of course I did. And yeah I will in the morning.”
“Are you going back to bed?”
“No, I’m too awake now.”
“Kate I think you’re right.”
“This thing is actually growing.”
I realised I had been staring at the corner of my window, and looked back up at the blue light. It was bigger than the moon now. And brighter.
“I think I can get better pictures of it at the water tower.” said Harry.
“I can bring a better lens that Jack bought last week.”
“My new roommate.”
“I can meet you there in about thirty,” I said.
“The water tower?”
“Oh right. Sorry. Still half asleep.”
“You’re not concerned about this at all are you?”
“Like I said, 2am makes me skeptical.”
I didn’t correct him, I knew it would be 2am by the time I reached the tower.
I grabbed a backpack and hurriedly filled it with warm clothes and a blanket. I took my own camera, just in case. Oh, and snacks – I tiptoed into the kitchen to avoid waking the roommates. I moved in last week and I didn’t know if they would be interested in assumed extraterrestrial activity.
Jack had left his lens on the kitchen table. I wrapped my jacket around it and put it in my bag. I would return it in the morning.
It concerned me how little Harry cared about the light. When we met we were had bonded over our childhood obsession with the conspiracy books in our local libraries. We had both agreed we were now adult skeptics. But a part of me wanted to believe.
I walked to the water tower, glancing at the light every so often. People had already noticed the light and were standing out on their lawns. Pajamas still on, phones to ears, phones to the sky. I kept walking.
Harry was already there by the time I arrived. He was setting up his tripod.
“Hey,” I whispered behind him.
“Hey,” he whispered back. I took out my jumper and unwrap Jack’s lens.
“Oh hey, this is a pretty good lens,” Harry said screwing it on his camera as I put the jumper one. “I got this too,” said Harry, pulling out an old checkered blanket. It was the one from his bed.
“I didn’t know how long we’d be here for so I prepared for the worst.”
We sat back against the railing looking up at the blue light. Every now and then Harry would sit up and take a picture. We were silent and there were crickets.
I couldn’t tell if the blue light was increasing in size anymore. My eyes lids drooped, and I began having trouble focusing.
“Kate, Kate.” I woke up to Harry shaking and yelling at me. “Kate!” I had fallen asleep on his shoulder.
“Harry, Jesus, what’s wrong?” But he didn’t need to explain, his fingers pointed to the sky. The blue light had started to do…. something. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was vibrating almost. It was silent, pulsating. The crickets had stopped chirping. The light stopped vibrating. Goosebumps prickled my skin and my heart skipped a beat.
Then it exploded. Silently. It exploded like a firework. Bits of blue light flew across the sky like comets. The sky sparkled for a minute. And then there was nothing.
“Shit,” Harry said. I stayed silent in shock. “I didn’t get a picture.” I turn to him.
“That’s what you’re shocked about?” I ask.
“Yeah, it would have been an amazing shot.” I didn’t know how to react. harry and I just sat watching the light of the sunrise creep into the world. Harry packs up his things.
“Anyway, I have to go, I’ve got work in a few hours. Should probably get some sleep.” I hand back his checkered blanket. He starts to walk to the stairs of the tower when he realises I’m not following. “So you’re staying here?”
“Just in case,” I say.
“Kate I think the shows over.”
“What would you call it?”
“I don’t know,” I say, still staring at the sky.
“Sure,” I say and he leaves.
It was on the news the next day. Other people had managed to capture the moment it exploded. I watched a few online videos. NASA released a statement taking responsibility. They said it was just a routine missile test that got a little bit out of hand. Of course, I was skeptical about that, and blogs and sites were created also doubtful about the statements. But there was nothing out there truly convincing, and it annoyed me for a time. It was something that was always in the back of my mind. It was an itch of information I couldn’t scratch, but I did eventually give up on it.
I gave up on Harry. Well, he gave up on me too. I was skeptical about us. We couldn’t be just friends with a history of being more than. That’s what I convinced myself happened. That’s what I believe happened. But you can’t believe everything when you know the universe is a strange place.