2012: The Rising (an excerpt):

 “Come, this way.” Vareeda pulled Mac down an alley.

“Where are we going? I don’t know if we should be going through here.”

“Do not worry, Mac. You are so concerned with worldly matters.”

On the other side of the alley, Mac was surprised to see a small park. They sat on a bench.

“Are you cold?” he asked Vareeda.

She shook her head. “How about you?”

Mac didn’t want to admit he was, so he shook his head also. He looked down at his hands.

“See there, Mac. The Big Dipper.”

Mac followed Vareeda’s finger. He vaguely remembered learning about the constellations, but could never find them.

“The sky is so clear; we should be able to pick out all of the constellations.”

“You find them and show me, Vareeda. I don’t know them.”

“Did you not learn them in school? I thought it was standard to teach about the planets and the stars.”

“It is.” Mac laughed. “I just didn’t learn it.”

“But it is important. The heavens have an incredible influence on the Earth.” Vareeda looked into the skies and Mac watched her face and her excitement as she found and pointed out each constellation.

“How do you know so much about all this?” Mac asked. “You don’t seem the type who would be into space and whatever else is out there. I’ve seen some of those programs on television because my girlfriend watches them, and you are far too glamorous to be in with that crowd.”

“Do you believe there are other worlds out there?”

“You mean do I believe in aliens? Nope.”

“So you think Earth is the only planet with life?”

“At the risk of pissing you off because you clearly believe something different, yes, I think Earth is the only planet with life.”

“We should go back in so you do not catch cold.” Vareeda stood and held out her hand.
Mac hesitated before putting his hand in hers.

“You have much to learn, Mac. Have you heard about December 21 of this year?”

“You’re just kidding, right?” Mac stopped. “You buy into that crap too?”

“Crap? Why do you call it crap?”

Mac pulled away from Vareeda. “I am so stupid. I’m not racist or anything, but you look like those guys at The Inferno who were passing out the pamphlets about the end of the world or whatever. And jeez, I swear I saw them in a cab in Portland. Now Emma is sucked right into this garbage and going to a weekend full of meetings about whatever mumbo jumbo you’re espousing. Well, Vareeda, I don’t believe anything is going to happen, I don’t believe in aliens, and even though I haven’t been to church in over twenty years, I do believe in God.”

“Will you at least listen to what I have to say? You are smart enough to know you cannot make rational decisions without all the information.”

“I don’t know.” Mac walked as fast as he could.

“Mac, stop,” Vareeda called after him. “It does not have to end.”
Copyright Joanne Hirase.