Steve, and Michael … welcome to “Sci-Fi in the Cage.” This is a no-holds-barred competition, so I’m certain you’ll deliver a pair of short stories that are truly out of this world. You’ll be allowed a maximum of 2,ooo words and will have 24 hrs. to complete this challenge. The deadline is 12 pm EDT tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 30th. Good luck to both of you.
Mankind has been forever fascinated with the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights. Scientists explain the phenomenon as a “light show” in the earth’s atmosphere, created when highly charged electrons from the solar wind interact with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen, 20 to 200 miles above the earth’s surface.
The aurora, generally occurring near the Arctic Circle, sometimes moves farther south during increased frequency of sunspots. On the evening of December 5th, 2013, enthusiastic observers occupying mid-coast Maine had the distinct pleasure of enjoying such an event.
As a handful of hearty individuals braved both single digit hours and temperatures along the rugged shore, the mezmerizing light in the sky began to change. Inexplicably, the once multi-colored display changed to brilliant blue, rapidly decreasing in scope until it formed a concentrated vortex.
Onlookers familiar with coastal Maine were of the opinion that the dense shaft of light seemed to be focused on Monhegan, a small, rocky island ten miles from the nearest mainland, and barely a square mile in area.
They were correct in their assumption.
As the captain of a small ferry that frequented the island approached Monhegan at dawn, he rubbed his eyes in disbelief. There were no buildings. There were no boats in the harbor. Not a trace of vegetation, wildlife, nor a single individual that comprised the 65 full-time inhabitants was visible. All that remained was a rugged outcropping of stone.
Scientists, it seems, had gotten it wrong.
There you go, gentlemen. Take this scenario and blow us away with your sci-finery. There can only be one winner, so shoot for the stars.
Again, best of luck to both combatants. This much-anticipated pair of stories will post Sunday, Oct. 30th, by 1 PM EDT, and will be shown without author attribution to make the voting as unbiased as possible. Readers will be able to vote until 6 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd.
Let this ~Sci-Fi Cage Match~ begin.
All the best, AB