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Fiction series
Chapter 8 recap
Merchants give Wells Corridor an alien theme. Jake and his ex-wife, the ITT engineer, meet at a TinCaps game. A meteorite shower panics fans at Parkview Field.

Summit City Lights - Chapter 9

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Photo and illustration by Lara Neel | The Journal Gazette
SUMMIT CITY LIGHTS

Chapter 9

Jake’s phone rang. It was almost 3 a.m. He was still awake, of course, as always.

He picked up the receiver, thinking it might be Cindy. She had been unnerved by the Parkview Field stampede.

“Hello,” Jake said.

“Have you seen the lights again?” a woman’s voice asked.

Jake sat up in bed, coughed, cleared his throat. He turned off the radio on his nightstand.

“What lights?” Jake asked. “You mean the meteorites?”

“You’re Jake, from the newspaper story,” the voice said. “You saw the ring of blue lights over Smith Field. Have you seen them again yet?”

Jake smiled in the dark.

“So,” he said into the phone, “we finally meet, Marian.”

There was a long pause.

“How do you know me?” she finally asked.

“From the all-night radio show,” Jake replied. “ ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ You’re blind, and you keep hearing static on your special radio. I’ve heard you on that show three times now. I recognize your voice.”

“I dreamed about you after they read the newspaper story on my radio,” Marian said. “I dreamed you were looking for the lights again.”

“It’s sure nice to be the man of a woman’s dreams,” Jake cracked. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no, I haven’t seen the lights except that one time.”

“I’m betting you will,” Marian said.

“Do your dreams come true, Marian?” Jake asked, switching on a lamp. “What do you see in your dreams if you’re blind?”

“I haven’t been blind all my life,” Marian said. “I still see images and colors when I dream.”

“You don’t know what I look like,” Jake said. “How do you know it was me in your dream?”

“I kept hearing your name,” she said. “Sounds are big in my dreams. Men were calling out your name. You were standing in a field yelling about the lights. I couldn’t tell what you looked like – just a man’s figure. But you were hopping around because the field was full of worms, thousands of worms, and they were crawling all over your shoes.”

Jake chuckled. His life had gotten pretty weird pretty fast, so why not throw in a field full of worms, too.

“Were there any lights in your dream, or was it just me and the worms?” Jake asked.

“No, there were no lights,” Marian said. “But the whole sky was silver. Shiny. Metallic.”

Jake pictured in his mind the flash of meteorites that had thrown a scare into the TinCaps’ audience. He tried to steer the conversation in a different direction.

“Have you talked with the Indiana Tech student who saw the lights and called the radio show?” Jake wondered. “Or any of the other people in the newspaper story, the people who saw the lights near Northrop High School?”

“No, I haven’t, because I didn’t dream about them,” Marian said. “Just you and the worms and the silver sky.”

She said she had gone to Smith Field the previous afternoon. She had wanted to stand in the vicinity where Jake had seen the lights, to try to feel the presence of something, anything.

Personnel at the airport were good-natured about her visit; they told her a lot of people had suddenly expressed an interest in Smith Field.

Jake felt sheepish. He had nosed around the airstrip a few times since spotting the lights, and he suspected airport staff had kept an eye on him sitting in the lawn chair in his driveway.

Marian had asked Smith Field workers whether the lights Jake had seen had shown up as blips on their radar. No, she was informed, Smith Field is a general aviation airstrip and not a controlled airspace airport; the control tower and radar system for the region are at Fort Wayne International Airport.

That was the same thing workers had told Jake during one of his visits. What they didn’t tell Jake or Marian was that Fort Wayne International’s radar had been lighting up like a Christmas tree lately.

“I have to go now,” Marian told Jake over the phone.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Jake said. “Do your dreams come true?”

“Many of them have, yes,” she said. “We’ll have to see what happens. Goodbye.”

Jake fell asleep thinking about worms.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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