In a moment, things can change. Something clicks into place, like the groove of a puzzle piece. And then what? Everything you have come to know and love alters. Shifts before your eyes into something else entirely.
It was raining.
Drops fell on the windshield of my beat up Honda. The wipers valiantly tried to clear them away, but really all they did was obscure my vision further. Guitar strummed from my speakers. It filled the car with soft crackly music. I squinted to see the road ahead.
“Shit.” I said into the busy silence. I really needed a new car. Dark trees passed me by in the silver afternoon, the street slick with rain. It reflected the stormy sky above, flat grey with dark charcoal gradients of clouds pouring down on the world.
That’s when I saw it.
It was barely there. A flicker in the thick forest along the street. Dark and black and smooth. Like the seamless shot of a bullet firing into no-man’s-land. I jolted, my skin prickling with shock and curiosity.
My car slowed to a stop. I stared at the evergreen stretch of blackness. My eyes strained wildly. I reached over to silence my radio, the movement stiff and alert. Rain fell. It filled up the quiet of my car.
“Get it together, Jane.” My voice wavered in my rain-soaked distress. My eyes were playing tricks on me.
I didn’t see the flash again, the shape, whatever it had been. It was as though it had disappeared back to the abyss from which it had come. I looked one last time as I inserted my key into the ignition, peering through the rainy haze. Nothing. My heart beat in my throat.
Something was strange.
The experience stayed with me the whole rest of the day. Plaguing me through calculus homework and a mediocre dinner of leftover pot roast. That shape. That stillness. The rain on the roof of my car. That rain with the same methodical beat, like that of a hollow drum.
As I lay in bed that night, staring at the shape of the tree branches that shadowed along my ceiling in the moonlight, I kept thinking about it. Replaying that moment. What was I missing?
That was the night before the Change began.