Silence cloaked the moonlit expanse. Shanti held her breath, unwilling to break the spell. Gazing upwards, her eyes got lost in the myriad of stars, shining in various wave lengths.
It was after midnight. Shanti was alone on the neighbourhood baseball field. The baseball field wasn't much more than a patch of dried grass and double-g's several kilometres from the outskirts of town with no street lights. The dim outlines of the spotlights could be seen hulking around her, the great metal trees that they were. It was the only place dark enough for her to be able to do that which she wanted to do.
With a content sigh, she turned on her flashlight. Her eyes squinted in reaction to the sudden light illuminating her small area. With gusto, she began to set up her telescope. Within moments it was arranged to her satisfaction.
Shanti aimed the telescope's site towards where a white, larger than usual star, was undulating in the depths of the cosmos. It was this particular dancing star she wanted to look more at.
She had noticed it more than a month ago. In the beginning, she had thought it was Jupiter, as it was in the star sign that Jupiter was inhabiting. Jupiter was Shanti's favourite planet. It was the planet of luck and blessings, though she rarely received either.
Within the week, however, she realized she was wrong. The Jupiter had enlarged and then split into 2. So, there was a Jupiter, which had stayed in position. The star that had split off from Jupiter had continued to move from Jupiter, and grow in size. The star was no longer inhabiting any star sign now, as it had moved out of the ecliptic, into space where there were no stars.
Its movement was steady. The star continued to enlarge. To get the scope of the changes, Shanti had had to observe it both at its rising on the horizon, and its setting. This meant her sleep patterns were all out of whack.
Shanti had researched the internet, news, and social media for any inkling as to what was going on about this large star. Was it an asteroid? Was it a moon? Was it heading for Earth? It looked that way to her the way it moved and enlarged.
There was nothing on the news, internet, or social media. Not even Nasa seemed aware of its existence.
Shanti turned off her flashlight and put her eye up to the viewing port. As she did this, a ray of light arrowed into the lens end of the telescope, piercing her eye. “Ow!” Shanti exclaimed though it wasn't painful.
A warm sensation flowed throughout her entire body, exiting her feet. A crackling noise speared through the silence. Shanti smelled burnt vegetation.
Stepping back from the telescope she looked towards the ground. The dried grass had turned black. Smoke was wafting from the surface. She bent down, touching the dead vegetation. It turned to dust in her hands.
Standing back up, she glanced towards the sky where that odd star was. It wasn't there. Shanti arched her head, to and fro, searching for the bright, large, unusual star, only to find it had disappeared.
“Where are you?” Shanti yelled in frustration to the cosmos. A tear escaped the corner of her eye. It dropped to the ground, making an audible splash on contact. She gazed at the plot where the droplet of water had landed.
The vegetation that had been dead metamorphised. Green grass, not of an Earthly nature, sprouted, twisting, and covering the ground beneath her feet and spreading outwards in a circle from where she was standing. The grass stopped growing when it had reached 2 metres out from where she was standing.
Lining the side of each blade of grass were little, glowing baubles. It reminded her of the lights you would see on an airports landing field at night. At each and every tip of this 'grass' was a small, peculiar flower. Each flower was a different hue of colour to the ones around it.
Bending down, she placed her nose up to the midnight bloom. There was no smell, per se. But whatever chemical it gave off, sent waves of ecstasy flooding through her system.
Shanti resisted the urge to snap the blossom from the tip. Instead, she laid down in the centre of the circle of 'grass', closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Dreams of foreign places, none of Earthly origin danced through her mind. Long, thin, strange beings with lights up and down their sides, and heads topped by flowers, spoke to her in languages she did not understand. That did not mean she did not understand their messages.
Sunlight tickled the inside of her eyelids. She opened them, still in a state of bliss. Sitting up, she noticed that the 'grass' was no longer connected to the ground. Instead, each blade had detached itself. The flowers were still in bloom, despite the disconnection.
Shanti packed away her telescope. An early morning jogger in the distance had just entered the baseball field.
With haste, she collected every blade of 'grass'. With gentleness, she placed them next to the telescope.
As she exited the field, the jogger gave her an odd once over. They recognised each other. The jogger was one of her many community stalkers, dedicated to making her life a living hell. As the jogger moved to intercept her, a change came over his demeanour. A smile bloomed across his face, he waved and jogged straight past her.
Shanti walked home. Every time one of her odd community stalkers made out to attack her, when they got close, they seemed to change their minds and were instead friendly, and kept to themselves.
Shanti arrived home. As she unpacked the 'grass', she noticed that some of the blossoms had died. Counting them carefully, she noted that a blossom had died for each encounter with one of her stalkers.
She separated the dead blades from the living. The living blades she placed with great care in a velvet pouch, that she hung around her neck. The dead blades, she was loath to get rid of.
During her sleep that night, she dreamt a dream where some of the aliens had died. The dead aliens were taken to a pool of clear, cool, crystal water. Once there, they became revived.
In the morning Shanti took some of her cold, filtered water and filled up a clear jar. She placed a clear quartz crystal in the jar, and took it outside, placing it under a tree, where it could still get sunlight. Then she placed the dead blades in the water, leaving it out overnight.
In the morning when she checked on her blades of 'grass', they had revived. Their colours were as vivid and the lack of smell as intoxicating as the night she had first encountered them. When she lifted them from the water, they did not need any drying. These too, she placed in the velvet pouch.
Shanti continued to wear the pouch, reviving the blades whenever she had an encounter with one of her community stalkers, which was often, every day. There came a time, after having worn the pouch, where she was no longer harassed by the stalkers, and the blades ceased to die.
When the group organising the stalking realized something had gone wrong, they sent in people who were involved in their organisation. They had been watching the effect the blades were having on people and the effects the stalkers had on the blades.
Shanti was walking towards the grocery shops. A large group of military men were approaching her. There were also some plainclothes personnel, who looked like government men. They stopped in front of her circling her. The blades had no effect on them. They did not back off.
The leader reached forward, attempting to snatch the pouch. Shanti stepped backwards, grasping the pouch. Without thinking, she withdrew the blades, clutching them, crushing the flowers into her palm.
“No,” yelled the leader, “We must have them.” Anger suffused his face as he realized the loss of the prize.
Shanti glowed, turning very light green. Lights lined her arms and legs. Blossoms sprouted over her chest and torso.
The men closed in on her.
Shanti began to speak in a language she did not understand. From the look on the mens' faces, they did understand. The leader argued with her in the same language. Shanti understood nothing. It was as if she had taken a back seat in her own body and had become an observer while something else directed her body.
Within minutes, the argument was over. The leader placed himself on his knees before her, bowing his head low to the ground. Shanti plucked a living blossom from her bosom and placed it on the crown of his head. It sank into his skull. The leader turned forest green for a brief moment, before regaining his colour. Flowers sprouted on the back of his hands. Enough for each person in the group of men.
The leader grimaced as he plucked each flower and placed one on top of each of his mens' heads. Each man turned a dark, khaki green, staying that way. Lights grew on the side of each of their faces. Their eyes became glazed.
After the leader had finished planting blossoms in each of his men, he looked towards Shanti. She nodded once, dismissing them from her presence.
The people that had passed by, and observed the group, watched and stared. As the men left, the civilians, who had once been part of their paid stalkers, raced up to the men, sniffing them, and smiling as they became intoxicated on the scentless blooms. Children giggled, old men and women cooed, babies gurgled and adults beamed. People once used for intimidation and control had had their purpose changed to that of bringing happiness to the environment.
Shanti smiled. Something inside her told her that the tide had finally turned, and things would be in her favour in the future, so long as she did not abuse the blessing she had received.