It had been 12 years since the night the sky fell down. Or at least, that’s what Reyna thought was happening at the time. She was only a little girl. She didn’t understand.
In actuality, it was supposed to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the century. And at first it was.
Reyna could only remember bits and pieces, but the memories that remained were strong. She remembered watching the big fiery balls of light, trailed by stardust, streaming through the night sky. Her mother and father were both there with her. The three of them sat huddled together on a blanket in the park. They were surrounded by people; families, couples, astronomy enthusiasts – anyone and everyone who was ready to be dazzled by the event. She couldn’t think of a more perfect memory. It was truly magical.
The next things she remembered were pain, fear, and her father holding her tightly, running for dear life. There were people all around them, running. Dust and smoke filled the air. The ground shook with fury as the darkness that surrounded them was interrupted by bright lights from the explosions on the horizon, and the fiery glow of flames that had overtaken the park.
It was the last time she would ever see her mother. It was the last time her world would ever be as it was.
“Reyna?” She heard the gentle voice of her floor-leader, Suki Mae. “Reyna, your father is here to see you.”
She blinked her eyes opened and her gaze darted toward the doorway. Sure enough, there he was, covered with dust and dirt, his clothing torn, and hair disheveled as always. It had only been a few weeks since she’d last seen him, but he seemed older somehow, like he’d suddenly aged 10 years.
“Dad,” she smiled, blinking back tears. “You’re back.”
Reyna and her father still resided in the same town she had grown up in; both before and after the sky fell. They lived together in a hotel with a small community of people. It was one of a handful of buildings that still remained standing.
But they were lucky. Their town was one of few in the area with buildings that were structurally sound. They’re little community was blessed with a grocery store, a church, some office buildings, and the little hotel where they lived. There were still houses, but most of them had been compromised. The foundations were weak, the windows were broken, the walls had holes.
The neighboring towns in every direction were all completely destroyed, with nothing left to show but a few falling down buildings and the rare survivor or two. Beyond that, they didn’t know much about what was happening in the rest of the world.
Over the years, they had made many efforts to connect with the world outside of their town. They often sent out search parties in hopes of finding more survivors, and anything or anyone who could give them information.
Reyna’s father was on one of the leading search party teams. He and his crew always searched the farthest and the widest, extending their reach each time they left town, usually for weeks, sometimes months at a time.
It had been 12 years since the event, and Reyna had grown into a young woman. But no matter how old she got, she always hated to watch her father leave, knowing that each time he left, there was a chance he wouldn’t come back.
“I came as soon as I heard the news,” he said. “How are you?” He sat down on the bed beside her as she slowly sat up.
Reyna coughed gently. “Getting better.” She reached for him and breathed in his familiar smell as he pulled her in close.
“Well what happened, Rey?”