The Prompt for this story comes from, by Julie Duffy. The challenge was to write a story where the main character encounters a sign– or message– that causes them to change course.

This story surprised me. I began writing– as I often do– without knowing the ending. I like how it turned out. It has an “epic-ness” to it that could lend itself to expansion in the future. I love my unnamed main character; she feels very real to me, and I hope she does to you, too.

Scott said to meet him at the bowling alley. I want to be a good girlfriend, but I grumble as I shut my car door and make my way to the big building with the neon sign flashing a big white pin and red bowling ball bright enough to blind me and set my forehead to throbbing.

Come over to my place, I’d texted earlier. I think I might be getting a migraine.

But still he insisted. The jerk. Did he forget it’s my birthday? Or does he have some surprise waiting for me?

Goll, I hate surprises. Almost as much as I hate bowling. But Scott doesn’t know that, and I have only myself to blame for that fact, since I’ve never told him.

It’s sweet of him, really. I shouldn’t be so irritated with him when I don’t even know what he has planned yet. My gaze shifts to the sky, as it often does these days– especially at night, when the stars appear. 

The glorious stars. Take me away from here, I wish upon the brightest one.

A couple of guys walk through the double doors ahead of me, and loud music blares out of the building and into the night– into my sensitive ears. It stabs at my brain. I wince and grunt, and back away– into the woman walking up behind me. My heel presses onto her toes, and I jump up and whirl around, a hasty apology escaping my mouth.

“Do you want to change your life?” The woman asks, looking down from at least a foot higher than me. Her brown hair is pulled back tight on her head, and the sign’s neon red reflects off her dark eyes. Somehow, my headache is gone– or perhaps I’m just distracted enough that I don’t notice it. Her words pull me in, and I slowly nod, still staring. 

“Read this,” she says, placing a business card into my hand. My fingers close reflexively around it, and then she’s turned and stalked away before I can formulate a coherent response. She gets into a car and it peels away before she’s even closed the door. For a moment, I think I see a flash of light inside the car, but then it’s gone and I shake myself. Weird. 

I turn around to go in and join my boyfriend, but then I feel the card slipping from my hand. I’d nearly forgotten. It flutters to the ground, but I stoop down and pick it up quickly, my eyes darting about as if the card contains top secret information.

Judging by the way that woman was behaving, maybe it does.

I step away from the doors and use the light from the sign to finally read the words printed upon the card:

We see you.

You are ours.

We await your sign. 

Where others might react with confusion, my own mind fills with clarity– a flood of realization– memories repressed, emerging to the surface. My whole soul sings.

They see me. They know me. They were there all along, waiting. Waiting for me to be ready.

Ready to change.

Ready to say “enough!”

Ready to move on.

I am a prisoner on this planet no longer. My sentence is served. Oh, blessed deliverance!

I raise my arms to the sky, palms up, rotating first one wrist, then the other, in the traditional greeting of my people. A single beam light– not the dreadful artificial stuff they have on this planet, but true, pure light– shoots down from above and envelopes me for only an instant before my body begins to tingle, my feet leave the ground, and I ascend into the space from whence I came.

When next I look down upon the earth, it is as a transformed being. 

They didn’t deserve me, down there. Scott certainly didn’t– I see that now. But if my newfound light can make a difference in someone else’s life, then I will shine my brightest to do my part to bring them back home.

From dust we are, and to dust we shall return…

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