I wanted to share an excerpt from my next book, which is a prequel to my book “Surrender.” I hope to release my second book (title yet to be determined) later this year.
This except is not necessarily in its final draft, but here it is:
Shawn’s heart was hammering in his chest when he saw the object descend from the sky. He just so happened to be at the right place—at his kitchen window—looking in the same direction of the crash. He watched a bright arc of light pierce the orange sunrise, appearing brighter than the sun itself for a split-second, and even brighter for those unlucky enough to be in its path.
“Whoa!” He was only able to verbalize one expletive as he was at a loss for words. It was the biggest explosion he had ever seen.
His wife, Rebecca—he called her Becky—was preparing some coffee when she felt the house shake. It shook enough to rattle the cups, dishes, cutlery, pots and pans, not to mention some of the nicer stuff she stored in the China cabinet. “What was that?”
“Something big just crashed . . . from the sky. I just saw it happen.”
He was still in disbelief himself. “It happened so fast! But I just saw it, what little I could make out over the roofs of the neighbors’ houses.”
“It felt like an earthquake! Did it look like a plane?”
“I don’t know. It was moving way too fast to tell. It looked like a shiny silver object, and I’m guessing it was maybe a mile or so away.”
They had always stuck to a morning ritual: having deep conversations while sipping away on Folgers before they parted ways and headed to work. And the morning ritual often consisted of discussions at the kitchen table without the TV on—or else how could it qualify as quality time. But under the circumstances, Shawn walked over and turned it on to see if there was anything developing. He even channel surfed a little, but nothing yet. Not even the reporters were on the scene yet, or perhaps were just getting there.
“We should consider ourselves lucky we weren’t any closer to it, whatever it is,” Becky said.
“Let’s go check it out!” Shawn said. “I can drop you off at work today in the Cobra.”
“Okay. It’s a good thing we get up early.”
They poured their fresh brewed coffee into their thermoses, grabbed their jackets and headed for the door. They still had about 20 minutes to kill before they had to head to work, -plenty of time to cruise down the street and investigate, or so they thought. They only covered about half a mile when they saw a plethora of cruisers with their light bars lit like a never-ending Christmas display. It seemed the whole end of their neighborhood was cordoned off.
“Well, I’m sure we’ll hear about it through word of mouth,” Becky said.
“Or on the radio,” Shawn said. “Let me get you to work, babe.”
“Okay, honey. Thanks . . . I guess.”
Shawn caught her drift; trying to find out exactly what crashed seemed far more interesting than heading to work.
He proceeded to whip the car around, doing a 180 while using the end of a neighbors drive to make sure he avoided getting too close to the ditch. By the time they got to the highway they noticed military helicopters headed in the direction of the crash, and so they both knew it had to be something serious, a plane, an asteroid, something big. Shawn channel surfed the FM band and the only information he could get was the report of what was believed to be a downed aircraft of some kind and for everyone to please give the military, police, fire, and EMS personnel a chance to do their jobs by staying away from the crash site, that further details would be forthcoming as soon as they assessed the situation after a search and rescue—or at least an attempt.
Later, by the time they both got back home—the end of their street and all the other streets were not just blocked off with cruisers, but also sawhorse barricades spanning the full width of the streets. Each barricade had the words Road Temporarily Closed on them. There were what seemed like endless barricades situated at every crossroad that intersected the main street along with cruisers at each intersection with their lights going.
When they got into the house they turned on the news. There was a report that a resident, a guy who lived right next door to Shawn and Becky as a matter of fact, used a drone to snoop around the accident site. The unauthorized drone was soon shot down by a military sharpshooter. The only footage that the news station would show was the police sergeant, standing in front of a slew of hard-to-miss yellow caution tape, telling everyone to please let them do their job, everything was under control, to stay calm, and he would give another update as soon as he got more details to share.
Then the focus was back on the anchor who spouted on about how, though not confirmed yet from a reliable source, the object was reported to be a NASA rocket that was supposed to land itself on a launchpad as it was engineered to do as a way to recycle/reuse the fuselage, but malfunctioned. The news then ran a live feed showing protesters who had already gathered along the barricaded perimeter of the crash site. Several people were shouting FAKE NEWS like former President Trump used to claim. Others were holding signs that read NO MORE LIES/TIME TO TELL THE TRUTH! NASA IS A SELLOUT! WHO CAN WE TRUST? IT’S A CONSPIRACY! WE KNOW IT’S A UFO! and a myriad of others. Becky spotted one that said SO DID THEY COME IN PEACE? and had to chuckle—but only a little because it was concerning, a touchy subject that a select few knew about only if they had the right connections. She wondered if the President of the United States had been briefed, and then thought he was probably one of the first who was privy to it.
Shawn even noticed his neighbor, the disgruntled owner of the drone, who he thought probably got everyone riled up to begin with. Shawn imaged he was telling everyone what he had been able to see before they shot down his favorite toy. And who knew what accusations he was blurting out, maybe that it was a top-secret military plane that was being tested and lost control, or even worse, some alien spaceship that invaded our airspace a whole lot more than what his piddly little drone ever did. When he looked over at Becky, her mouth was still hanging open, speechless.
According to the news outlet, there was even a rumor going around that the military transported the downed craft to Area 51, once they got a truck big enough to haul it. If it was even true, Shawn knew, indeed, it would have taken one big flatbed heavy haul rig.
ONE YEAR LATER
Sometimes Becky would find Shawn standing at the kitchen window, looking out over the rooftops of the neighboring houses toward the eastern skyline. He would be pondering what exactly happened to the passengers (or passenger?) aboard that aircraft. There were still many unanswered questions. The police sergeant never did give an updated press briefing, not that day or any day thereafter. Once the government got involved, their goal was to try and make sure the details didn’t get leaked.
Though Shawn and Becky would have loved to have visited Area 51—they were both convinced the earth-shaking crash had been a spaceship—and meet the alien (or aliens), they knew security would never allow it. It was probably their way to try and prevent public terror. And ever since that unforgettable crash, especially for the residents of El Mirage, people trusted the government even less for keeping it a mystery. Many believed, Shawn and Becky included, that they covered too much up. Curiosity was an essential part of human nature, and to not satisfy it was like taking candy from a kid, or a bottle from a baby.
Since they knew they would never be able to get access to Area 51, Shawn and Becky instead decided to visit the crash site where the landowner whose yard now had a massive crater of a hole in it had decided to display it for public viewing. And they had already talked about browsing the souvenir shop to see what items were for sale there. The owner didn’t charge visitors to view the hole in the ground, but did offer some souvenirs in a little shop he had built between the hole and his house.
“We can take the Mustang,” Shawn said. “I needed another excuse to circulate the oil anyway.”
Becky smiled. “Might as well, babe. It’s a nice dry sunny day.”
And so off they went, this time without any obstacles in their way. . . .