Chelsea had been sitting on the hood of her car in the parking lot at Northrop High School. She was tired, and her feet were sore; she wasn’t in marching band shape yet.
On the nights after practice that she didn’t visit her father, Chelsea usually went out for a pizza with a few of her band mates. Sometimes they’d go to somebody’s house and watch a DVD. Tonight they had gone to Zesto for ice cream.
Chelsea was the last person left in the Northrop parking lot. She leaned back on the car hood and gazed into the sky. She wanted to imagine what her father felt like, all alone, staring into one starry night after another.
Chelsea resembled her mother. Both were short and thin, with brown doe eyes and black hair. But while her mother was cautious and analytical, Chelsea was impulsive and restless, like her father.
Her parents seldom saw each other after the divorce. Jake had had a few first dates, but he usually ended up blathering on about his ex-wife, so second dates were rare. (For her part, Chelsea had done her best to chase off at least a couple of her mother’s suitors.) Most of Jake’s male friends were married; if he saw one, it was typically over lunch. Even then, he tended to brood.
Jake had told Chelsea all this, but she hadn’t told her mother. Neither had Chelsea told tell her mother that her ex-husband had said he’d seen a UFO.
Did he really see something in the sky that night ? Chelsea wondered, surveying the sky herself.
Chelsea gasped. South of the school parking lot, over a meadow that stretched almost to Ludwig Road, a hazy ring of blue lights hung in the air.
She blinked twice, and they were still there, maybe a few hundred feet above the ground.
The lights began tilting and turning, like a midway ride at a summer fair. Chelsea was at least 200 yards away from them, but she could see they formed an oval several feet in diameter, perhaps bigger. It was hard to be analytical like her mom – her heart was racing. Then the lights dropped from sight.
Chelsea jumped off the car hood, dived into the front seat, turned the ignition and sped off for her father’s house. She drove south on Coldwater Road and then west on Ludwig, pressing her face near the windshield as she passed the meadow where the lights had floated. She was excited and scared at the same time.
Jake listened to Chelsea’s description. It was the same one he had given earlier in the evening to the newspaper reporter.
The lights had been too far away to see from his neighborhood, and there were too many houses and trees obstructing his view, anyway.
“If only the fighter jets had still been around,” Jake lamented. “They say the Warthogs are really nimble at low altitudes.”
“I couldn’t have been the only person to have seen the lights,” Chelsea said. “Anybody driving south on Coldwater would have, and maybe people driving north, too. It might not have been rush hour, but it wasn’t the middle of the night, either.”
Her father suggested Chelsea call the newspaper reporter he had talked with, but she begged off. It was bad enough that her father might be in a story about flying saucers. What would her mother think if both of them were? What would Chelsea’s friends think?
Her father was quoted in the story – under the headline “Summit City lights: Mysterious flying object spotted on north side” – in The Journal Gazette’s print and online editions. Other people were, too. Both the newspaper and the police department had received several phone calls from motorists and neighborhood residents who said they saw blue lights in the sky along Coldwater Road south of Northrop High School.
The Homeland Security director confirmed in the story that authorities had been investigating a similar, earlier sighting in the area. And the mayor said he wanted answers.