Chapter 4 "Coming Up For Air"

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“I am my own sanctuary and I can be reborn as many times as I choose throughout my life.”


        - Lady Gaga

Huron River Valley

        Meg felt tingly all over. It was a strange but far from unpleasant sensation. Her now amazingly sharp vision could see the stars twinkling in the sky above the surface of the river. Never in her entire life had she felt so aware and alive.

        This is totally impossible, she thought, calmly kicking for the surface. I died, that has to be it—I went over the bridge on the snow and ended up in the lake. Then I died and now I’m like one of the characters on that island in that old show Dad loves so damn much.

        Yet she felt no fear or apprehension.

        Meg’s head broke the surface of the water and cold air licked her face. She knew the wind was cold but other than appreciating it, the actual temperature had no effect on her. She knew from the chucks of ice in the water and the blanket of thick wet snow covering the landscape she should have been freezing to death.

        She had to fight the urge to strip naked and play in the river.

        This is what it felt like when Tammy found her mom’s stash and we stayed up all night smoking and watching bad movies, except times a hundred, she thought giggling softly. What the hell is wrong with me?

        Her thoughts were interrupted by a low humming sound. It reminded her of the compressor in the old freezer in the basement. Meg turned her head and searched the surface of the river, the shores, and the air above. She saw it in the air, on the horizon upriver, and moving fast toward her.

        “Holy shit balls!” Meg yelped in shock when her vision zoomed in like a telescope. “This is so fucking cool!”

        There was a person up there. She was unable to determine their sex due to the robes and full body armor they were wearing while riding what looking like a giant boomerang. Even though the flying crescent was several hundred yards away Meg was able to make out the intricate details of the contraption. It was as if she was flying right next to the odd contraption.

        Okay, this is messed up. Where the hell am I? If I’m dead is this Heaven, is it Hell, or is it some middle place? If I’m not dead then where is the lake? Where are the bridge and the city?

        As the flying person drew closer the last bit of the Jeep disappeared below the water line far down the river. A small piece of Meg’s heart broke when the last of the ancient vehicle disappeared beneath the icy current of the river. It’d been passed down through all of the kids in the family having been the first new vehicle her parent had bought after being married. She was sure there wasn’t a part she hadn’t either repaired or replaced in the years it’d been hers.

        There wasn’t much time for Meg to decide her course of action. The speed of the flying crescent was impressive and Meg forced herself to quit staring and consider the situation at hand.

        Okay, do I try to signal or let them fly by?

        That was when she really saw the night sky above her. Meg was a smart young woman, not a genius of Einstein or Tesla levels, but she’d tested in the top one percent of student in the nation and had been the Valedictorian of her high school graduating class. She knew what the sky above her should look like.

        This was wrong.

        Not totally wrong, not like she wasn’t in the right hemisphere or on a different plant, but still wrong. The stars were extremely bright and clear for once. Centuries of pollution had lead to the globe being enveloped in a light obscuring haze and even though pollution levels were finally dropping across the world, the nights were still fuzzy. This sky looked to be free of pollution.

        Then there was the moon.

        When she’d been six, Meg’s grandfather bought her a telescope for her birthday. She’d loved the instrument and had spent hours gazing at the sky. The surface of the moon facing Earth was something she was intimately acquainted with. Without consciously doing it Meg zoomed her vision in on the rocky surface of Luna.

        “Oh my God,” she gasped.

        The flying crescent zipped past her and Meg turned her vision from the impossible scene on the moon and focused it on the person above her. The crescent slowed to a hover and circled the place where the Jeep disappeared below the water. That was when her ears pulled the same amplifying trick her eyes had.

        “Damn it!” the person circling above and in front of her growled.

        The sound of the voice was distinctly feminine. The woman was definitely speaking English, which relived Meg, but her accent was strange, like nothing Meg had ever heard before outside of a bad Hong Kong movie. Still it was English and that meant she was still on Earth.

        “Um, hello?” Meg said from her place, neck deep in the freezing rushing water. She felt dumb saying it but nearly choked with laughter when the startled woman above her nearly fell from her circling perch. “Yeah, you,” Meg continued, “can you tell me where the fuck I am?”

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