The meteor pictures filled one wall of the basement in Raphael Sorensen’s house. Hundreds of images, all labeled with tiny post-it notes detailing the date, time and distance of the meteor. Hunched over his desk Mr. Sorenson was tapping away at his keyboard. A cup of coffee sat abandoned beside his mousepad.
He was checking the latest projections, the meteor was still on a collision course for the moon. Sitting back he ran a hand through his thinning gray and black hair. His hand rested on the back of his neck for a moment as he watched the trajectory simulation repeating on the screen.
He grabbed the coffee mug and took a deep drink then grimaced and shoved the mug aside. Cold. He hated cold coffee. How long had he been down here? He glanced at the clock. Four hours.
Tugging his phone from beneath a stack of files he dialed the lab. He pushed the speaker phone button and stood, opening the curtains on the backyard. The phone rang, and rang as he stared at the magnolia tree. Its petals littered the ground like pale pink snow.
“Hello, Dr. Sorenson.”
“Jennifer, I need you to put Christian on the phone.”
The line was quiet.
“He didn’t come in today.”
“What do you mean didn’t come in?”
“He isn’t answering his phone.”
Raphael’s brows lowered. Christian was never without his phone and he never ignored calls.
“I’ll be right over.”
“Dr. Sorenson. Will and Nicholas just left to check his house, there’s really nothing you can do.”
“Jennifer, there is information that needs to be entered whether Christian is there or not. He and I are the only ones with the proper access codes.”
The line was quiet again.
“All right Dr. Sorenson. I’ll see you in 30 minutes and don’t forget, it’s your wife’s 60th birthday tomorrow.”
The line went dead. Raphael stared at the phone. 30 minutes? Wife? What was she on about? Jennifer was the most organized and conscientious graduate student he’d ever trained. He spun to look at his backyard. He couldn’t see anything but the distinct sensation that he was being watched crawled up his spine.
30 minutes. 60 years old.
30 seconds to contact. 60 seconds to breach.
He snapped the drapes shut and dialed another number, grabbing a usb stick from the computer as he did. The phone held to his ear he ran for the stairs.
“Mike. They’ve come for us.”
He heard the sliding glass doors in his basement shatter. Grabbing his Colt .45 from the umbrella stand he slipped out the front door and down the walk to his beat up pick-up. Hopping into the driver’s seat he started the engine and backed out of the drive. He saw men emerging from his front door and floored the gas as they opened fire.
He cursed, skipping gears as he tore up Holland toward 376, the fastest way out of Pittsburgh. Rolling down the window he chucked his cell.
I wrote this short story off a prompt in The Write-Brain Workbook to fill in the following:
Pick an age between 48 and 98:
Name of a city or a town:
Type of residence or house:
Last name starting with S:
First name starting with R:
Favorite place to go:
Start with: The Meteor…