The Event - a short story by Shea Jozana
6pm BST, British summer time at last! The clocks had not long gone forwards and it was brighter in the evenings. This one in particular felt different. There was something in the air and everyone could sense it, a lucid quality that had intensified throughout the day. Gabriel decided to go for a walk. He always enjoyed the forest and thought that today, since everything seemed more vivid, it was the right thing to do.
Along his route he kept noticing the way in which people were looking at him, and at each other. Generally speaking, passersby only exchange a few types of interaction, if at all, but today eye contact was at an all time high. People weren’t just glancing or sharing subtle smiles. Gabriel was surprised to see repeated looks of endearment, as if to acknowledge the strange quality of the day and express comfort in the fact that it was a shared experience.
It was a fresh spring evening and as he entered the forest slowly following the wood chip path, the gentle sound of birds singing stood out more than usual. It wasn’t louder, the song was somehow enhanced as everything had been that day. They call it the golden hour, the time just before sunset when the daylight is softer and everything is draped in a warm glow. From its low position in the sky, the sun was sending beams of light through the trees creating an incredible display.
Gabriel now approached a clearing. Light flooded into view as he passed the tree line, the sun’s disc just above the continuing forest on the other side. He stopped to take in the beautiful scenery and found himself almost overwhelmed as it lavished his sharpened senses. The grass either side of the path in the clearing was filled with plants and flowers that swayed in the cool breeze. Although this place was familiar to him, everything was more striking than ever before.
At that moment, something happened that brought every atom of Gabriel’s body to attention. The sun pulsated, sending a circular shockwave of colour from its edges out into the heavens. As it expanded, the purple wave grew thicker and distorted, completely dominating the sky. Reminiscent of the northern lights on a gargantuan scale, its rapid growth suggested that it was on course to earth. He was paralysed, stuck between disbelief and absolute awe of what he was witnessing.
When it finally penetrated the atmosphere, multicoloured clouds formed and bellowed towards the ground like an explosion of iridescent fire and smoke. It was getting closer by the second and at the same time the general brightness sharply increased. Gabriel felt a warm buzzing in his chest which quickly spread throughout his entire body. Something told him to close his eyes and not be scared. Every hair on his skin now stood on end and the vibrations were so intense that he dropped to one knee and shakily laid himself on the grass.
A ringing sound became more pronounced and raised in pitch along with everything else, until the combined onslaught prevented him from distinguishing any of his senses. Then, complete silence fell. The kind of silence that evokes peace, and liberation from mental chatter. His body felt saturated by it, as if some blissful liquid had permeated every cell. He wasn’t alone. All around the world, planes, cars and machinery were suspended in animation and people laid where they had stood.
It could have have been minutes, hours or even days that passed. All concept of time had disintegrated in the light and vibration that consumed the earth. What was certain though, was that everything had been transformed. The very matter that forms reality was lighter, radiant and surrounded by visible auras that slowly danced with elegance. Gabriel gradually opened his eyes, feeling dreamy although he hadn’t slept. He noticed immediately that the lines between his senses were blurred, everything seemed connected to everything else. As he got to his feet and surveyed his surroundings, what he saw brought tears to his eyes...