The moon cracked like a nutshell. From inside its white and crumbling halves, a yellow dot appeared. For three days, reporters and gawkers and protestors and doomsayers and fear hoarders encamped outside the doors of world's most powerful telescopes and astronomical research institutes.
"The End of the World?" read the headlines at BBC.com. "UN Science Council: Prepare for Nuclear Winter."
"Scientists Fear Moon Asteroids," said CNN.com.
"When, Not If, Will the Tides Go Away?"
"'No Research can Save Us,' Says Top US Officials."
"Did NASA's Moon Harvest Program Cause the Disaster?" asked FOXNews.com.
"Take a Look Inside Bieber's New Fallout Shelter!" TMZ.com.
In Two Egg, Florida, Steady Johnson watched the moon shards with the telescope on top of his RV. On the first night, Johnson had his eye on the telescope. The crack appeared. He instinctively lifted his head and blew on the viewing piece, expecting an eyelash to blow invisibly into the north Florida night. But when he looked again, the crack had spread and deepened. He held motionless and watched the moon, his right eye stiffening with a lack of moisture.
"Selly!" he yelled without moving. "Get the sacred fires!"
Celendra Johnson jumped out of side door of the RV with her mouth agape and her eyes fixed on the moon.
"It's on the news," she said. "Daddy, they're--"
"Go! Get them now!"
Celendra disappeared into the pine forest.
The moon trembled. Even through his simple telescope, Johnson could see the chasm shaking and spreading. A few late-night bugs buzzed around the field, and the wind rustled the tall pines encircling the field. As silent as an egg shell cracking a county away, the moon split into two enormous halves, and the dark expanse bloomed with moon dust.
Celendra appeared from the woods with a pair of lights in her closed hands. An electric blue light glowed through the cracks of her right hand, and a soft, yellow light peaked through the fingers of her right hand.
"Combine them! Combine the fires!" Johnson yelled. "It's happening now!"
Johnson's young daughter opened her hands. The two flames floated and burned an inch above her palms. She brought her hands together slowly. The sacred fires sparked and kicked away from each other.
"They don't want to combine!"
"Of course they don't! But you must!" Johnson steered his wheelchair to the lift and began descending the side of the RV. "You have to do it, Selly! It all depends on you!"
She spread her arms apart. Thinking about a mosquito, she smash her hands together. A bright red light burst from her palms, and she immediately directed the light towards the yellow kernel inside the shattered moon.
"Yes, my dear! Only you can summon the cob! Only you can save the earth!