Suspense Science Fiction Drama

Flush-cheeked, gravid Rebecca Bradford extended her right arm behind her, swatting at the air, reaching for something to support her bulging body while cradling her sacred vessel with her left. With a relay of faith, she shut her eyes and fell back onto the plush sofa. Her husband, Tom, shouted, “TIMBER!” Just before she landed. The impact caused a tuft of air to poof him off the cushions a meter while Rebecca sank onto the sofa like a submerged submarine. She grimaced and rolled her eyes at his time-insensitive joke. Tom then swooped down and grabbed her swollen feet, intending to massage the snide remark out of memory.

“Bite your tongue, Thomas Anthony Bradford. You’re going to be outnumbered soon,” Rebecca said, caressing her disproportionately large crotch-dropping bump.

Tom surfed to the six o’clock news like high tide, jumping on his imaginary surfboard and pulling a Rebecca move: arm out, wave to the air. Poosh.

Too Tall Shaminski from Fox 9 was interviewing the swarm of residents congregating at the top of Knoxberry Hill in downtown Houston, causing the road map to flare up like arteries coursing through the city’s veins. Later that evening, a total solar eclipse was to occur. The event’s rarity was due to the synchronization of the planets, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event dubbed the Celestial Fusion.

“Everyone’s acting like it’s Y2K or the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse of the 90s. I bet Nostradamus is laughing in his grave,” Tom said, hitting an imaginary barrel and watching the reflection from the mirror behind him bounce off his ego into a wink.

“Do you see the guy behind the golden oak, Tommy? That creepy guy with the soulless, sunken, dead eyes? He’s everywhere. Zombie dude. Like earlier this morning, I saw him at the Magnolia. He looked at me like he wanted something, so I gave him my change. But I felt his eyes follow me.” Rebecca lifted her right cheek out of the crack in the cushion. “Then, when I saw him at the gas station, it made my ass twitch. He mumbled about gravity, the angels, and crazy prophetic talk. And he smelled like Gram’s herb garden.”

Rebecca wiggled a little more forward, like a parched fish.

“What guy?” Tom gave her a helpful boost out of the sinkhole, knowing she was craving something crazy.

Rebecca ignored him. It would have been a misuse of precious breath, which she lacked these days. She felt like she was running on only argon.

She needed a savory craving and made her way to the kitchen. The lights around the sink twitched like a Morse Code signal. She thought that was odd and flipped the switch, making them flutter faster and trip up her vision. When she reached into the fridge to grab the pickle jar, a blast of hot air struck her face, startling her and causing her to drop the jar of pickles.

A wrenching sensation seared through Rebecca’s lower back, buckling her knees and making her writhe in agony.

Tom barrel-rolled over the top of the couch like a stunt plane and fled to the kitchen. Rebecca hunched over on her hands and knees in a puddle of bitter liquid. Shards of glass and a pungent smell of vinegar permeated the room.

When she looked up at Tom, his heart sank in fright. Her piercing, wild green eyes shot through his soul, and she let out a deep growl, propelling him back against the wall.

“No, no, no.” Tom leaped to her side and pulled her out of the acidic puddle. A warm liquid continued pouring down her shaking legs as she wrapped herself around him.

“It’s time,” she said in between rapid breaths. “Grab my bag.”

“No, no, no, not now, not today. She can’t come today. It’s too early,” Tom said. Her intense eyes and furrowed brow returned, searing a hole through his forehead. “NOW!” She howled at a higher pitch, sending him scrambling to retrieve her bags.

The moans growled closer together like a primordial cave woman. Tom sped backward down the driveway, threw the Ranger into drive, and disappeared into a dust storm on the gravel road.

Static sizzled as the radio broadcast interrupted the tunes.

“And welcome back to your traffic update, folks! We’re on the scene, reporting from the heart of the eclipse madness! An extraordinary event is assembling in the sky, but it’s a different story on the roads below.”

A fervent honking of horns crescendoed in the background.

Tom began swatting at the radio, trying to find the off button.

“Traffic. We’ve got reports from all over the city and surrounding suburbs. Major highways, side streets, you name it—all choked up with eager star trekkers frantically attempting to experience this total phenomenon.”

Shuffling and frustrated sighs from bystanders overtook the muffled weather reporter.

“Folks, we feel your pain if you’re stuck in this cosmic congestion. Remember, patience is key! This event only happens once in a lifetime for everyone. In the world. So buckle up and enjoy the ride. All you fellow eclipse enthusiasts, keep those eyes on the sky!”

Faint cheers roared in the background.

“We’ll update you on the traffic situation as best we can. This is truly a unique experience to remember! Back to you, Rockn’ Rick.”

After a few smacks, the radio switched off, and the broadcast ended. Another unbridled whimper seethed through Rebecca’s clenched teeth, digging her claws into Tom’s forearm and leaving dappled red claw marks.

“Breathe. In. Out.” Tom said. Out of instinct, he winced, not knowing the right thing to say, knowing the odds were high of her smacking him. He sped into a sharp turn, sending the Ranger curtailing. Rebecca arched her back and stuck her hand in between her throbbing thighs.

“Her head. She’s coming. I feel her head.”

Tom slammed the pedal down. “Noooooo!” Rebecca’s breath quickened as the pain intensified, her eyes bulging. Tom’s heart raced as he navigated the winding road ahead, swerving in and out of the intense traffic like an alpine skier.

Instantaneously, they came to a screeching halt. There was no more sway to give. Cars stretched for miles into the horizon like warm taffy. Everyone gathered in masses outside their vehicles, telescopes poised, cameras ready. The air was palpable.

Rebecca’s grip on Tom’s hand tightened as she let out a guttural scream, echoing through the chaos. Tom’s hands trembled as he reached for his phone, dialing 911 with urgency.

The sky began to transform. Blue transformed into velvety indigo. Wisps of clouds scattered as if aware of the impending spectacle. Birds chirped their final melodies, taking refuge in the shadows cast by the approaching eclipse.

“Tom. It’s him. Tom.” Rebecca spoke breathlessly with a dead gaze, staring out the front windshield at the man who kept manifesting before her throughout the day. His gaunt, soulless eyes stared through them. He held a sign sketched in gold as he meandered his way to their vehicle. Neither could understand what it said.

“Lock the doors.” Tom lunged over at Rebecca and locked her door.

“911. How can I connect to your call? Tom’s hand dropped the phone, and it fell to the ground by his feet. The muffled voice vibrated against his leather shoe, as audible as the sign the ghastly figure was holding, closing in. With his jaw unhinged, he murmured in indistinguishable language and slammed the paper on the windshield.

The radio surged to life, emitting ear-piercing static, making them clutch their ears in discomfort. The man’s bony fingers tapped on the glass of Rebecca’s window and clawed their way down, creating a screeching sound. Fingernails on a chalkboard. He then opened the locked door miraculously, causing Rebecca to let out a horrified scream.

Tom fumbled for the keys, struggling to start the car and escape the nightmare unfolding before them. The figure’s eyes glowed with an otherworldly light as the radio blared a message in a language that sounded like gears grinding.

As the moment of totality drew near, the once-radiant orb of golden light dimmed to a mere sliver, its brilliance waning behind the looming moon. The moon staked its place in the heavens, a dark silhouette against the sun’s burning corona. The air grew cold. An overwhelming scent of vinegar infiltrated their car.

As the eclipse reached its peak, Rebecca writhed in agony, her screams echoing through the brief period of night. Shadows danced upon the hills, twisting and contorting in macabre shapes as if eager to claim their prize.

Rebecca’s stomach mimicked the shadows contorting into bulges as she reached between her legs at the stabbing pain. The baby’s head emerged, her beady black eyes staring at her. Rebecca arched her back in pain and terror, wailed one last grunt, and pulled the child from inside her. Rebecca passed out and tumbled out of the car at the ragged feet of the proclaimed prophet. His creaking bones stooped and cascaded like a xylophone, and he grabbed the weightless suckling, seizing it in a tight embrace while still attached to its mother’s sacred lifeline.

The child entered the world not with a cry but with a chilling silence that suffocated the air.

In a low growl, the prophetic man spoke, “This moment is mine. I manifested this.” Cackling, he declared, “The dark overlords have summoned me to designate this child, born under the blackened sky, as the chosen vessel for the darkness that hungers for release.”

Rebecca shuddered as she watched, swollen tears streaming down her face, unsure of what fate awaited her newborn.

"Her name, Eclipsia." The prophet’s eyes gleamed with an otherworldly light as he placed an ashed mark on the child’s forehead, sealing its destiny with a curse that would forever bind it to the shadows.

The child bore the mark of the eclipse, an omen of darkness that clung to its soul like a shroud.

With desperation, Tom crawled through the Ranger, reaching out for Rebecca.

Amid the chaos, an inexplicable shift occurred. The fundamental structure of reality buckled under the burden of the extraordinary celestial spectacle. Gravity, the unwavering force that binds us to Earth, faltered and vanished, causing the world to plunge into a state of weightlessness.

The laws of physics appeared to unravel with a disorienting jolt, propelling objects, buildings, and even people from Earth’s surface into the vast emptiness of space.

Screams of terror intermingled with gasps of disbelief as the world spiraled into a state of inverted gravity, hurtling toward the uncharted depths of the cosmos.

Tom, in the car, skyrocketed towards space. His face pummeled against the window.

Rebecca, still unconscious, levitated above the prophet, connected to the lifeline that was sustaining her child’s life. Bones fastened to the earth, sucking the nutrients from the soil. Tom fought to steer the car back towards solid ground, but the pull of gravity seemed to have vanished. The prophet’s eyes widened in awe as he witnessed the power of the lifeline connecting Rebecca and her child, a bond more potent than any force in the universe.

Another waft of vinegar infiltrated the surroundings.

Rebecca extended her arm behind her, swatting at the air, searching for something to support her body while cradling her sacred vessel. With a leap of faith, she fell back.

Tom yelled, “TIMBER! The impact jolted him while Rebecca sank.

Tom then swooped down and grabbed her feet.

“Pickles!” Rebecca screamed. Tom chuckled. “You barely hit the couch, and you were out. I’ll get you some pickles.”

Rebecca looked at Tom with one eye shut and her brow and lip curled, a blond tangle of hair scratching her nose.

“You missed the hoopla,” Tom said, laughing. “Traffic was nuts downtown.”

Rebecca, wide-eyed, wiped drool from the crevice in her lips, looked down, and grabbed her bulging stomach for reassurance.

“There were some crazy people out tonight; everyone was acting like it was Y2K.” Tom said. Rebecca let out a sigh. “I can’t believe I missed it.” Tom shrugged. “Well, at least you’re safe and sound here with me.”

April 12, 2024 22:08

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Alexis Araneta
01:46 Apr 16, 2024

Absolutely brilliant ! Who knows where imagination can take you. The use of imagery is so immersive; I love it. Great job !


E.L. Lallak
22:18 Apr 16, 2024

Sweet Stella, you're a peach. Thank you. I have catching up to do on reading this week. Can't wait to read yours. Always intrigued.


Alexis Araneta
22:34 Apr 16, 2024

You are a peach, E.L. ! Thank you so much. ☺️


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Mary Bendickson
18:19 Apr 15, 2024

Imagination plays havoc! Thanks for liking my Too-cute Eclipse.


E.L. Lallak
22:19 Apr 16, 2024

Love your writing Mary:) Thanks! It's fun finding different admirable voices.


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Unknown User
04:10 Apr 16, 2024

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E.L. Lallak
22:15 Apr 16, 2024

DUSTIN!! Thanks, bud. That was really nice to hear. I was flying into Houston when I started reading your last post, The Survivor Story. The Wi-Fi kept glitching, grr, so I am going to reread it now, but I made it to the Viagralis or whatever you called it commercial and busted laughing out loud, turning two rows of seats in my direction and a backhanded smack from my embarrassed daughter. Take that as a compliment;) ha! I feel like we have a similar writing style. I love me some descriptions and all the fun words.


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