The rain that passed over the empty streets the next morning was finally beginning to slacken, so far as Katherine Ramiro could tell, in her cosy nightgown that she had not yet taken off by sunrise.
She supposed the city mayhem had quietened down around 3:00 A.M; she hadn’t fallen asleep by then, and her husband Carlos hadn’t gotten home yet. No phone call. Not a text. She assumed he booked into a hotel with no signal, or perhaps even got stuck somewhere amongst the tension of yesterday evening’s events. She just couldn’t tell, and that’s what worried her. She started calling him around 11:00 P.M. but there was no answer. All that remained was Carlos’ voicemail.
(I’m busy finding out who ate my last Chewits taffy. Please leave a message after the ding!)
Katherine slugged out of her bed and went down to the living kitchen to make tea. Yawning, stretching, trudging, she passed through the carpeted hallway. But she paused halfway through. First she looked at the picture on the wall; it was Alex in Disneyland, wearing her little blue slicker with a red Mickey-Mouse balloon – smiling. She supposed that was the only time she smiled like that – eight years ago. Then she looked at the cursive writing at the bottom:
You have your mother’s eyes,
Then she made her way to the living kitchen. Through her window she could see the cyan vortex – but only this time it looked more like a black splodge in the sky, as if someone dabbed their brush a little too harshly over the canvas.
The sun pierced through the clouds and spread the purple light across the city. But this time it was . . . different. For a start the sky was glowing with a peculiar shade of dark pink and the clouds resembled half-eaten cotton candy.
There were all sorts of strange things there that struck her with wonderment: black helicopters that gathered around The Spire; people staring at the splodge from their bedroom windows; but she also noticed something else: there were no birds. There was no singing or chirping like there used to be. Sounds of katydids and larks vanished by the time the sun rolled out, and traffic kept still.
A purple sky, Katherine thought. Interesting . . .
The sound of the kettle whistled as she stared at the clock. It was 7:00 A.M.
She made tea.
Inside was a mix between a living room and a kitchen: there was a leather couch by the ceiling-to-floor windows, a coffee table next to it, some cabinets, a velvet carpet that covered the entire bottom floor, great violet drapes that hung like hems, and a fifty-two-inch plasma screen television. That smell . . . that pink aroma she could best describe as freshness and Febreze. That’s what often kept her hopeful in the early hours of the day.
After that she grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, buzzing through each channel in rapid succession.
She eventually stopped at the news channel. She sat down on the couch and put her cup of tea on the coffee table.
There was a female reporter (short brown hair with a blue business suit) standing by the shoreline, and what surrounded her was a group of middle-aged men and women photographing the black hole in the sky. There was noise, that much was true, and the reporter found it difficult to speak clearly.
It was a cold, windy day, exactly like the night before.
The reporter plugged her left ear with her forefinger and said, ”I am standing here in Violetwall, Boulevard Beach, in front of what people best described as a 'black hole' in the sky. Right now people are having mixed reactions from hope to awe to even fear and panic. In a recent report the government described this as an ‘anomaly’ and that they are working hard at many test labs around the country to determine what this might be. Yesterday night’s reports came in that a loud humming noise surrounded the city and threw the people into a state of shock. It is currently unknown what the source of the sound is but scientists predict that the black hole, which looked very different yesterday night until three o’clock in the morning, has something to do with it.
Katherine sipped her tea, listening as further helicopters passed by.
"Scientists say that this may be nothing more than a tear in the stratosphere. They even say there is no possibility of this being a black hole. However, with claims of extraterrestrials from NASA’s Instagram last Saturday, it’s hard to say whether or not this is a potential invasion or an environmentally-related cause.
"Kathy Banks, CTN News."
There was a familiar voice coming from behind her. “A potential invasion? Really?”
She turned round. Standing with her head in the fridge, grabbing the Diet Coke from this morning, was Alex.
“You better get ready for school,” Katherine said. “Doesn’t look like it’s closing after all.” She sipped her tea again and turned back to watch TV.
“Where’s Dad? Did he come home at all?” Alex asked, pulling her head out of the fridge and shutting it. “Did he call?”
“No,” Katherine said. “He didn’t. I don’t know where your father is.”
“Can we call again?”
“No!” Katherine said angrily. “We can’t call again, Alex! I tried ten times last night, and he didn’t pick up once! There must be no signal wherever he is.”
“Should we –”
Katherine shot her an evil glare and crossed her eyebrows, sipping her tea slowly.
Should we call the police? Alex wanted to say.
“Nevermind.” Alex sipped her Coke.
Alex wondered where he could have possibly been.
She also wondered whether or not mothers got angry for no reason, or whether they pretended to be mad to straighten you out.
She walked over to the kitchen cabinets, grabbed a box of Fruit Loops, and poured them into a bowl.
Now she wondered whether or not Fruit Loops all had the same flavour or if each colour was unique. The latter most probably, she thought.
She got ready for school after then.