Katrina Buckhold, the young heroine in my BackTracker Series will never forget the 2003 Perseid meteor shower.
[Excerpt from FIREWALLS Book 3]
Katrina stepped away, interest lighting her face. “We’re going to sit on the beach and watch the shooting stars?”
“First we’ll sit on the beach. Then we will lay down and the whole sky will be ours. Let’s go. The show is starting now and will only get better.” He took her hand and they walked through the summer night.
“The stars are so bright! There’s so many of them, one behind the other behind the other,” Katrina said. “Impressive! You can almost understand why the ancients were so fascinated with the night sky. I always thought it must have been a rather boring pastime to look at the stars and make up stories about them. Cassiopeia, Orion. Ursa Major. But maybe not so boring.”
“Have you ever seen the stars so bright?” Chad asked, pulling her down into the sand with him.
“Yes. When I was little and my dad was posted up north. In wintertime in the Arctic, if it wasn’t cloudy, you could look out your window any time of the day or night, and the stars would be looking back at you.”
“What else do you remember about the Arctic?”
“I missed it. I was looking at you.”
“There’ll be more.” She nestled against him. “I remember the Arctic being very cold.”
“Were those good times?”
“I don’t think so,” she answered slowly. “Mom didn’t like it up there.” She paused for a brief second. “There’s one!”
“I saw it,” Chad said. “And another!” He lay in the sand and pulled Katrina to him. She was warm against his side, her head cradled on his shoulder. Together they scanned the vastness of space. “It’s a weird feeling lying down looking at the stars. It feels like we’re levitating to the heavens or that the sky is pressing down on us. One way or another, it feels like we and the sky are meeting.”
“I know what you mean. In the warehouse, that day with Holeman and Shrug, it felt like the darkness was pushing so hard against me that I was going to become a part of it. This is a bit like that, only not frightening. How can it be scary to merge with the stars and become one with the universe?”
Small waves lapped softly against the lake shore a few metres beyond their feet. Once in awhile, they heard a loon call through the darkness followed by the quick splash of the water bird. In the distance, coming easily and quickly across the openness of the lake, were the coyotes’ howls. One call at first, then an answer. Then a whole orchestra of wails, ending with a round of short, insistent yips.
“Do you like the sound of coyotes?” Katrina asked, sitting up.
“Um,” Chad answered indecisively. “If they stay on the other side of the lake, it’s okay.”
“They have an eerie, primordial howl, but they’re not very big critters, you know.”
“You’re sure?” Chad said, sitting.
“Positive.” Katrina giggled. “They’re much smaller than wolves.”
The coyotes again ended their vocals with a series of yips, and the night fell silent. The meteors began slashing down through the sky all around them. Most, split second slivers of silver but some held their glow longer and a few were bright enough to cast weak shadows on the sand.
Chad turned on the flashlight, and ran the beam along the water’s edge. “I have a question for you,” he said.
He shone the flashlight into her face. “Will you marry me?”
* * *
FOR A news article on the Perseid meteor shower that happens every August: Perseid meteor shower set to be extra-spectacular this year. 2016 'outburst' may double the usual number of meteors during Aug. 11-12 peak
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