Star Gazing

The Northern Lights were visible from Ireland last week, and at the Writers’ Centre Workshop on Saturday we were asked to write something which contained one of the following phrases: Lights in the distance; Observatory; Aurora Borealis; False dawn; Equinox; Storm-chaser; Photograph.

Or of course we could use all seven…

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She could see lights in the distance.

Professor Aurora Borealis, a lady with Italian ancestry and a silly first name, sat up eagerly and peered more closely into her telescope. Yes, there were definitely lights in the sky, and not just stars, because otherwise this would be a really short story.

All her life she had dreamed of seeing UFOs. She had suffered may false dawns. Crop circles had turned out to have been caused by a drunken farmer trying to drive his tractor home from the pub. A little green man had been simply a fan in an Ireland soccer jersey, green in the face after witnessing his team’s performance against Germany last Friday night. A saucer-like shape she had once taken a photograph of had turned out to be a dustbin-lid caught in a sudden localised tornado, according to her ex-boyfriend, a storm-chaser who had drowned after chasing a hurricane over a cliff into the sea, which in fairness he should have seen coming since that’s where all hurricanes end up.

The lights were getting nearer now. She jumped onto her horse Equinox (named after the horse-god Equus) and took off in pursuit. She had to go by horse because she had lost her Driver’s Licence, since driving while staring up at the sky had caused her to have 22 accidents in four years. On one occasion she had driven into the wall of Greenwich Observatory, causing its telescope to slip so that it now pointed into the bathroom of a house 118 miles away in Bath, leading to an opportunity for jokes about moon and Uranus which have no place in a serious scientific article such as this one.

Anyway, she spurred Equinox on as the lights got lower and lower, and arrived onto the runway at Stansted Airport at exactly the same time as an incoming flight from Toronto.

 

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