What. The. Fuck.

I’m not a swearin’ woman but those were the first words that entered my mind. It was my favorite time of the evening, where dawn finally meets dusk.

I found myself sittin’ on the front porch like I usually do around 7pm in the summertime. I was drinkin’ an Arnold Palmer, half sweet tea, half lemonade. It was a habit I picked up when I lived in North Carolina two decades earlier.

The noise came first. The low rumble and then the explosion, like a sonic boom but with all the light and smoke along with it. This was not a shuttle launch. I’d lived in this part of Florida long enough and had seen more shuttle launches than I could probably count.

This was something different and my mind began to immediately try to process what was happening and what it meant.

First thought – Oh dear God. There’s been a horrific accident over at Kennedy. I was thinkin’ about that Challenger disaster. I wasn’t here for it but knew plenty of neighbors that witnessed it firsthand. But there was no shuttle launch. The last shuttle launch ever had been last fall.

Second thought – This is an experimental spacecraft that’s gone horribly wrong. It’s vertical so I ‘spose that’s a good thing. But my God, the noise and the flames. This couldn’t be right.

And then the unthinkable. This wasn’t part of a space mission. This wasn’t a launch gone bad. This was a launch of another kind. This was a missile and this meant only one thing.

We were at war.

This post was a fictional submission to the Surprise Writing Prompt found on Write on Edge today.