They had no way of knowing. The fallout, it came without warning; it was calm, the winds warm and the sands of the beach rolling against a light breeze. This was the way it was meant to be, each and every day. Calm, but warm. Calm, but mindlessly boring. Perhaps the true issue was the fact few, in a perfect environment, thought to ask themselves ‘what if?’
It was an oversight, and a costly one.
When the ship came, crashing through the atmosphere with a shrill scream of fire and death, the calm became stillness. In the single exhale of a moment in time, something changed. People sunbathing on the beach turned to watch, their eyes impossibly wide as the stone-and-metal ship broke and fragmented in the sky above. Thousands of small pieces of wreckage hurtled through the sky, each a brilliant comet with a burning tail of light and fire.
The stillness ended when the ship hit the water.
In that one moment, someone would, one day, stop and ask themselves a few questions. Why had they just sat there, when it was obvious the ship and sea would meet in a violent embrace? Why had they never thought ‘what if?’ Why had they never prepared? And, more importantly, how had they overlooked the possibility that there was more to the world than they had first thought?
Why hadn’t they, at the least, prepared for a worst-case scenario?
When the ship and sea met, the ocean waters swelled with rage. They surged upwards, as if trying to make a wall of water. Then it collapsed, and the water came. Those who had not yet managed to shake their stupor screamed, their bodies trampled by the violet churn of the water. Those who had started moving realized, in that moment, danger was real.
Hysteria broke out as the calm was severed. The beach was drowned, innocent lives taken to the sea. As the rest managed to escape the tides of the ocean, fleeing through the streets of a civilization both ancient and new, they knew only one thing for certain: this flaw, this vast breach of knowing, this oversight, would never be overlooked again.