The meteor shower was spectacular. It was also unexpected. All over the Earth, at least in most places, people were treated to a magnificent fireworks display. Many of these “falling stars” seemed to streak brightly across the heavens clear down to the Earth. For stargazers around the world, it was a show that lasted for several days. Scientists appeared on television news broadcasts to explain to the masses that this was a rare, unexpected event, but there was little need for concern, because the size of the meteors was quite small, most the size of dust particles. Only a small percentage ever reached the ground. They were baffled as to the origin of the shower and unable to give an explanation of it. Many people who belonged to various religious factions were saying it signaled the end of the world.
Within a week, there were scientists all over the world who had been able to find parts of these “shooting stars” intact. Many were reporting that they had found living bacteria that had survived their journey from space. They were also saying that many of these specimens were unknown to them. Some of the scientists began to experience breathing problems. Many were hospitalized and treated for pneumonia. They did not respond to antibiotic therapy and were dead within a matter of days.
Soon hospitals all over the planet were full. Makeshift tent clinics were set up. Laboratories were working frantically to create a drug that could stop the pandemic. Cities and towns everywhere were decimated very quickly. Many people were trying desperately to keep away from populated areas. However, most would find this difficult because almost no one was self sufficient in today’s world.
Samuel Johnson lived about 2 miles out of Logan. It was a small town and that suited him just fine. Retired now, he had lived his entire life in the city. When his wife of 40 years had passed away, he had moved to Logan. He lived in a simple one room cabin. He had a radio for local news, world news, and music. He read a lot. He thought a lot. He used to read the Bible a lot when he was younger, but now he studied the sky, the clouds, watched the storms come and go, watched rain or snow fall, or animals that often appeared from the nearby timber. He looked at the stars at night. He watched the sun rise and set. If you paid attention, you could find the creator in creation. Sam enjoyed writing poetry and had published many of his poems, but like most poets, his work was unknown. Much of his poetry was nature related. He had watched from his cabin porch as the stars were falling a few months ago. It was a sight to see. The best light show ever. He thought it passing strange though.
He was not much surprised when people started getting sick.
Logan was never known for its size. Not many people lived there. Lately, when Sam went to town, there seemed a lot less. There was a post office, a tavern, and a small grocery store there. When he bought groceries last week, Trent, the store owner, had been coughing a little… Now, Sam was coughing up green phlegm, sometimes with blood in it. He felt like an old blind hog in a stump patch. Just walking from his front porch into his cabin made him short of breath.
Sam sat on his front porch, looking out over the tops of the trees as the first stars began to appear. He had enjoyed and savored the peace this little place had allowed him. The stars didn’t live forever, nor did the trees near his cabin. Neither would he.
He stood up from his chair. He felt weak and dizzy. He walked into his cabin and sat on the bed. He removed his shoes, laid down on the bed, and pulled the covers up. In his last moments of consciousness before falling asleep, Sam recalled a verse from a poem he had written long ago:
Stardust in our dreams,
Stardust in our waking hour,
Stars that shine while sleeping,
And dust awakened to love’s power.