ENCOUNTER

by Paul Muller

The road was silent, save for the hum of the engine and the cries of seagulls above. Ahead lay a vast expanse of heath and moorland, a rugged purple blanket of heather covering a blasted landscape of moss and bare granite. The early morning mist hung in the air like silk, a fine sheen of water droplets on the windscreen as the car negotiated the narrow twists and turns ahead.

The last sign of civilisation had been an isolated farmhouse, some five miles behind him. He had noticed the dull yellow light from a barn as a farmer milked his cattle at dawn.

The radio crackled, its receiver tentatively grappling with the weakest of signals. He wondered how many people travelled this route, straight through the darkest, most isolated areas of the moor.

He peered into the distance. On the horizon, he could just make out the shadowy outline of the Pyramid.

Forty metres high, it towered over the surrounding countryside like a totem. Strictly speaking, it was tetrahedron in shape, each face displaying a flat grey disk, the Active Electronically Scanned Array, radar systems constantly scanning a three thousand mile radius of airspace for approaching threats.

He estimated he could be there within the next half-hour, but in such an empty landscape, distances could appear deceiving.

Over the radio he began to hear the faint hum of electronic interference, its transistor picking up fragments of data from the approaching station.

” 762226787NW7.663 CODE DELTA RECEIVED OVER NORTH ATLANTIC TRANSMIT CO-ORDINATES 762226787NW7.663 APPROACH VELOCITY 442.6 KNOTS EVASIVE…”

To the East, a billowing storm cloud flickered with a greenish light.

The dashboard instruments went haywire. Warning lights flickered on and off in frenzied, meaningless morse code.

He felt the gearstick move under his palm, heard the whine of the engine as the clutch pedal depressed into the footwell of its own accord.

The car slowed, then ground to a halt on the grass verge.

The radio was broadcasting a clear, high pitched tone.

The storm clouds were heading towards him, fleetingly illuminated with an electric emerald glow.

In the distance, a shimmering curtain of light fell from the sky. It crept over the heather and gorse like a fine comb, he could see the outlines of power lines and trees starkly illustrated against a brilliant backdrop as the light rolled overhead.

Like an aurora  it glittered with a thousand flickering colours and shades.

Towards the car. Towards the Pyramid.

In a panic, he reached for the door handle, only to recoil as it replied with a strong electric shock.

The air was thick with the scent of burnished copper.

The tone coming over the radio increased in pitch, from a high whistle to a deafening screech.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw the drapes of light cover the radar station. The vast concrete structure seemed to wobble in a haze of heat, before suddenly collapsing in on itself and crumbling into dust. The light wave continued on its path.

He curled up into a ball, shielding his eyes and face from the deathly glow. The hairs on his arm stood upright, crackling with static charge.

He felt his body become weightless, felt himself rising out of his seat towards the sky.

The light was upon him.

…………………………….

…………………………….

END OF TRANSMISSION

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