33: Alaska

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She eagerly crosses off number 7 on her bucket list. She can't stop grinning in the hour it takes to get to the airport. 

Adrian explains that it would take 45 hours to get to Alaska by car, so they will fly. Even though she doesn't particularly like heights, she is okay with it. 

Five hours later, Autumn sits on the plane, savoring the last chapter of the last book she brought with her. She closes it and sits silently for about ten minutes, reflecting. Then she gets out her journal, where she keeps her unfinished manuscripts. 

She keeps coming back to the same one. It’s one she wants to finish, but she doesn't want to have to write every detail in between. She knows how it's going to end, but getting there is a challenge. 

It's called Midnight of the 31st. It is a mystery novel where the main character's best friend gets abducted, and eventually the body turns up. The premise of the story is trying to figure out who the murderer is and why they chose to abduct this girl of all people. She attempts to add major plot twists, but in her opinion, they're pretty predictable. 

She challenges herself to write one hundred words, and once she gets started, she can't stop. She gets to the scene where the murderer is being questioned, and her pencil flies across the page, making it wear down quickly. 

She finishes the story within half an hour. 

The plane touches down in Anchorage, AK in broad daylight, though it's ten o'clock at night. She'd forgotten that Alaska's sunlight is different from Delaware's. 

She tucks her writing notebook back in her bag and steps off the plane, holding Adrian's hand. They lodge in a cabin, where the window looks out into the gulf. The view is overwhelmingly peaceful. Autumn attempts to capture it with her camera, but a camera is not capable of portraying such a scene. 

They fall asleep at midnight, the sun finally weak enough to stay behind the curtains. 

Around 1AM, the phone rings. 

Autumn squints in the darkness. Who could be calling at this hour?

"Hello?" Adrian's croaky voice answers the phone from the next room, probably just to make it stop ringing. Autumn closes her eyes again and listens. 

"Really?...Cool! Thanks for telling me....Yeah...No...Okay, bye."

Adrian sets the phone back down, Autumn suddenly interested in the call.

Her door creaks open and Adrian slides in.

She opens her eyes. "Who was that?"

"Let me show you,"

She reluctantly gets on her feet and lets Adrian lead her outside. 

He gestures to the sky.

At first, she sees nothing. 

But then, a glint of green. 

Then another. 

Slowly, green glints appear in the sky until each one just stays, wavering in the sky. 

Flecks of red sometimes appear, waving with the streak of green light. 

"Northern Lights wake-up call," he answers her question redundantly. 

Autumn can hardly breathe as she stares at the dancing lights. She sighs, her breath fogging up in the air. 

Adrian lets them stand in silence, just watching, before he speaks again. 

"Did you know... green means that there is oxygen at less than 150 miles in altitude, mixing with the high, cold winds of Alaska, to make light? And you see the red? That's a little bit of oxygen above 150 miles in altitude. They are always there at night, only sometimes it's hard to see them with the daylight being so long during the summer, which is why during the winter you can almost always see it, and it's always different..." he says. Autumn tunes him out with the music in her head that the lights could be dancing to. 

"It's beautiful," she breathes, cutting off Adrian's scientific speech. 

"And should be so rare, but it isn't," he adds. 

Both were right.

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