Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Rachelle pulled her car up to the stop sign, and sat there for a while. Looking up from the steering wheel at the spectacle in front of her, she could only let out a deep sigh.
The kids played in the park, while the parents watched on, occasionally stopping to check something on their phones and not pay attention. Their actions to Rachelle felt strange, robotic. Nobody cares. They’re just acting like nothing I’ve said matters.
Rachelle Walsh was a poet who would spend most of her evenings staring blankly at the keyboard in her candle lit bedroom. It was a month since her first premonition, and today, today was the day. She could feel it in her bones.
She nervously drove on, eventually making her way to her old high school. Knowing exactly where to slip in unnoticed, Rachelle got into the school from the back door next to the dumpster. She slinked down the empty hallways, past the glass case which still held her prized science fair project from 1996, labeled “Andromeda”. It was a series of dandelions with a plastic bumblebee in the middle, which was supposed to represent an andromeda star. She had spent an entire week working on it, and it was easily the most accomplished she had ever felt during her childhood. The glass case door was still unlocked, thankfully. Rachelle reached in, grabbed her cherished project, and made her way into the office across the hall.
Rachelle locked the door. Standing there, her breaths came out in strong waves, which had been building up inside of her for the last two days. She was choked up, and could hardly even cry, although she wanted to. It felt like a sharp pain in her chest, like an iceberg protruding from inside her ribcage. Rachelle set Andromeda on the desk in front of her, and sat down at the desk chair. In front of her was a large sound board, with the old mic she had used for morning announcements. She knew how everything worked like the back of her hand.
Rachelle scooted the desk chair in, and cleared her throat. She sat there, for what felt like hours, but it was really only a handful of minutes.
Finally, she reached her hand up and pressed the square red button on the base beneath the microphone.
A high pitched screeching sound flared throughout the whole school, causing all the teachers, students, and other faculty to immediately stop what they were doing. A lot of the kids put their hands up to their ears to drown out the piercing sound.
Mr. Jenneson, the World History teacher, stood in front of his chalkboard, and stared at the P.A. speaker in the far corner of the room. Rachelle’s voice kicked in at that moment, and could be heard all throughout the school:
“Hello, students and faculty of Clinton Valley High School. I know most of you don’t know who I am, but my name is Rachelle Walsh, and I used to attend this school.”
Rachelle turned and looked at her science fair project. It was beautiful. She felt a sense of inner peace and joy, she hadn’t felt in ages. Then she cleared her throat again.
“I’ve done my best to warn everyone, that something bad is about to happen. A force we don’t understand is making its way to our homes today, and we won’t ever be the same when it has finished.”
The kids in the school all stared at the P.A. speakers, along with most of the teachers, at least the ones that weren’t all running toward the P.A. office or trying to get a hold of the police.
“I just wanted to say though, I understand and I’m not upset with any of you. I wouldn’t believe me either.”
There was a pounding at the P.A. office door as people tried to break in, yelling at Rachelle to stop what she was doing.
“So I guess the whole point of me doing this, is…” she paused, considering her next choice of words.
“No matter what happens, just know I did this for all of you. And I hope the best for every single one of us. I only had the best intentions.”
Rachelle didn’t even notice, but she was sweating profusely, her body temperature having skyrocketed. Her vision was blurry, fading away in slow motion; then everything sped up as the walls around her shattered. All her memories, her awareness of everything around her melted away as the city around her evaporated into a cloud of dust.
As the dust settled in the vastness of space, for a very brief instant, the Earth’s particles seemed to form the shape of an andromeda star.