"Sunset's Plain"

© 2000
J. Mitch Hopper

Black spheres have appeared and are levitating and following people all over the world. They have taken no hostile action yet there is something troubling. They are multiplying at an alarming rate.
Here is just a taste!
They were just dots on the horizon. Either large airplanes very far away or flyspecks on the window. Without anything else to gauge them against, or something to place them in perspective, it was impossible to tell how large they were just by looking at them. When Beth moved from side to side, she could see the faintest shift in their position against the clouds behind. She knew how large they actually were she had seen them once before up close.

"There they are again." Alice pointed beyond the window. "Out there over the football field. See, em?"

Beth stepped up to the full length windows. "Yea." She said, placing her hand on the glass as if she were trying to touch them. "They give me the creeps." She began to scan the sky for any more of them.

Alice's office was a prize. Her two outer walls were nearly all glass. It was a favored place for the yearbook photographers to come for campus shots. As the director of Dixon College's on-line curriculum, the hot place for college futurists, she commanded the office with the best view and best furnishings. A small TV sat on a table against the wall, a chemistry lecture being the video de jour. It was always on always muted.

"I wish they would do something, or go away, or something." Alice said. "This is driving everyone crazy."

Beth took a step back. "I'm glad they don't seem to do anything. But, whatever holds them up is spooky enough. They have to be able to do something besides fly and hover and follow things. There's no sense in that alone. I don't want to know what else they do."

Jeremy burst into the office. "Hey! They're out there over the field. See them? Do you see them?" He was oblivious to the fact that the two women were staring out of the window. He took a place beside them. "They were over the parking lot, following Dean Jourdan in. He didn't notice them until he was out of the car and half way up the walk. The kids were shouting and pointing and he finally looked up. I thought he was going drop all his stuff running into the building like he did"

Alice turned. "How close did they come?"

"Well, they came down really close. Must have only been about six feet or so when he saw them. I couldn't hear him from inside my office, but he mouthed a pretty good shout and broke into a run. They stayed with him all the way up the walk. I couldn't see him when he got close to the door, but they must have followed right up to it. Next thing I know, Janie is yelling from her office window on the other side of the hallway. They must have gone right over the building and out," he pointed, "there."

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