It started with a flashing red light glaring through his window.  Henry closed the shades, but the bright light bled through even his thick curtains.  Grumbling, he pulled himself painfully with his rickety walker. It should have been replaced years ago, but his insurance adamantly wouldn’t pay for it. He crossed the room painfully and flipped on his police scanner.  The lights must be an ambulance, but both his legs and pride wouldn’t allow him to stare out the window like some sort of peeping tom.

He moved slowly back and lowered himself into his old La-Z-Boy.  He picked up the book he had been staring at and turned back to the page he thought he was on.  He was too proud to admit his rheumy eyes couldn’t see the words anymore and he’d be damned if he got large print books like some old fart.  A man had to have his pride.

The scanner said nothing about an ambulance on his or any nearby streets.  After about 20 minutes calls started coming in about mysterious lights. The police took the calls seriously enough to have a car drive through and take a report.  Henry just grunted, annoyed the light wasn’t anything appointment. He flipped to the next page and squinted to try and fail to read the story he didn’t even really know the name of.  He had always read in the evening and always would, dammit.

Then the red light was joined by a green.  This too ignored his curtains and even seemed to flash through the wall.  He stared at it confused, as the blinking became a strange pattern like morse code or something.  He knew it wasn’t real morse code, he’d learned that in the war. Offhand Henry wondering if he was becoming senile as a yellow light joined the other two.

The patterns called to something deep inside him.  He felt a pull to go to the source, but just grunted and went back to his book.  Oddly in the lights, the words became clear to his eyes, and he realized to his horror he had been reading some sort of smut, vampires had seduced a young lady.  Feeling dirty he tossed the book aside. Despite himself, he found himself watching the dancing lights, which now had added a blue and violet.

Still, he was too proud to go look like some kind of voyeur.  He watched through his walls, drinking in the mesmerizing site.  His leg began to bounce, and he had a nervous energy he couldn’t quite explain.  He cracked his knuckles over and over, an old nervous habit he thought long gone.

Finally, he couldn’t take it and reached a hand out for his walker and without meaning to stood.  He reached out quickly to grab the walker before he fell, but felt no loss of balance or pain. In fact, he felt so pain free he did a little dance, but even that couldn’t pull him from the lights.  

He stepped outside to find a huge crowd of people, all old like him.  The whole retirement village was there. People stared upwards, couples holding hands and many openly weeping.  He looked upwards and found it dazzling. Balls of light danced and swerved about, blinking in and out of life. It was more beautiful than anything he had ever seen, and tears flowed from his eyes without him noticing.

The fire in the sky was more amazing than any fireworks Henry had ever seen.  He stared, awestruck, for an eternity. Finally, the balls fell slowly to the ground before the retirees,  They were far larger than anyone had thought, and in each a black hole appeared, becoming the elderly forward in a trance.  The yellow ball called to Henry and he shambled forward to it. He was dimly aware of friends beside him as he stepped into the blackness that consumed his very soul.

The truth and life flashed inside the orb, and Henry knew his greatest adventure was about to begin.

This story was based on a story prompt at:

Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

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