International Space Station
The ISS seems to have gained some popularity in fiction, maybe it’s the isolation, our that the station is a floating laboratory, but perhaps it’s simply because it adds some credibility to the story. In the end, it’s merely a location, the characters and events are the important things.
Both are introduced in here.
Thalia Charles – the American flight engineer on Expedition 18.
There are two other personal, but either they aren’t relevant at this time, or to the story at all, because names aren’t named, merely job descriptions. A commander and an engineer.
It’s stated what Thalia’s role is, to document the occlusion as it passes across the surface of Earth.
But when she first looked out on the planet from her unusual vantage point, what she saw made her shudder. The great black blot that was the shadow of the moon looked like a dead spot on the earth. A dark and threatening flaw in the otherwise healthy blue orb that was home.
Depending on how long it takes to upload the images back to base, I wonder if anyone on Earth will see it quite the way she does?
The great island metropolis ground to a halt, the stillness of the city at that hour felt by all. It was a blackout vibe, anxious yet communal. The occultation imposed a sort of equality upon the city and its denizens, a five-minute suspension of social stratification. Everyone the same under the sunor the lack thereof.
“Suspension of social stratification” – what an amazing phrase. I had to re-read that phrase, ponder on it a while. Can’t say I’ll be using it in everyday conversation, but it won’t be for lack of trying! That’s a conversation stopper if ever I saw one, at least in my circle of friends. We aren’t stupid, but we wouldn’t be classified as superior intellects either 😀 Probably best described as “of average I.Q.”
To be honest, for me, that phrase has kind of eclipsed (rubbish pun intended) the whole of this chapter. Another character is introduced, Gossett Bennett, one of fourteen medical examiners, working at the New York headquarters of the chief medical examiner, but even writing this down feels unimportant. Like something I ought to mention, even though I’m not entirely interested at this time.
JFK International Airport
The grieving families are given a moment here.
To them, the eclipse was the opposite of remarkable. It seemed merely appropriate that the sky and their God would see fit to mark their despair.
A small paragraph, but I think it’s written well, to me at least.
Then we quickly move back to the medical team, specifically Nora.
She sees something out of the corner of her eye, a shadow, of what she knows not.
Ever see that? I have, just recently too. Turned out to be a mouse, but I don’t think that’s the case for Nora.
And after a brief visit with Nora, we head back to Lorenza, the baggage handler from before. The person who first approached Regis flight 753.
Lorenza Ruiz, the airport baggage-conveyer operator who had been the first to drive out to the dead airplane, found herself haunted by the experience. Standing in the aircraft’s shadow that previous night, Lo couldn’t get it out of her mind. She hadn’t slept at all, tossing and turning, finally rising to pace.
Poor Lo, it seems she’s become a little obsessed. Or is it the buzzing inside her head that draws her to the plane, calling her. What is this buzzing? How does it work? Does it single out people, only choosing the ones susceptible, like hypnosis or suggestion? Why does she seem to be the only one currently affected, why not the four survivors?
It’s a moot point in any case for her, it seems Lorenza has met her doom. I won’t spoil the details for anyone out there who wants to read the book, but the scene did bring to mind a film called “The Uncanny” (a 1977 British anthology horror film).
So now I leave poor Lo, her fate decided.
But, there’s still that buzzing to ponder on.
Knickerbocker Loans and Curios, East 118th Street, Spanish Harlem
Setrakian seems to have been busy with his morning. Although no details are given, it’s clear the old man has acquired quite a stash of vampire killing tools. For someone with such progressive arthritis, I’m amazed he’s managed to move them from his basement without seriously injuring himself.
Now all he has to do is contact our doctor-hero, and then convince the scientist about a mythological threat to humanity. Should be an interesting conversation.