Key Phrase: Fat Lady in the Sky
One bright day, the sky froze over the village in a dome and cracked like an egg shell at the curves. Yet it held together, by some miracle.
A child below, who had been flitting pebbles across the pond in his backyard, curious, flung a large rock at the now-crystallized sky and watched it smash through. Like a stone through a glass pane or a windshield. Nearly missing the fat lady gliding across in a hand glider.
She shot, “watch out.”
And the child cackled. “Look, look, there’s a fat lady in the frozen sky everyone.”
His mom rushed out, as did his dad, but not to watch the fat lady gliding low, in a hot pink tracksuit and cat-eye sunglasses, her bronzed hair tied up in two neat buns over her ears. Though that was a startling sight in itself. It was the sky that had them up and running. Frozen, they’d heard all over the local radio … And sure enough, it was. The sun a small, dimmed ball, but for the hole that shone a bright light on their pond, like a torch into a dulled chamber that was their village.
In their haste, the Vashishts left the back door open and the wireless radio sputtered gibberish about the end of days, the world out into the open.
If the rock fell somewhere, and it must have since the laws of nature still existed outside the dome, the boy didn’t hear it. He was too busy doubling over with laughter to notice that he was slowly gasping for air. As were his folks, who stood mystified by the dome, studying its almost-chilling beauty. Still dismissive of the fear slowing gaining ground in the pit of their stomachs, in their caught breaths that they pegged as an aftereffect of such astonishment.
Sooraj wheezed and dropped to his knees, eyes watering, mouth ajar, fingers grabbing the loose, wet dirt, his throat now burning for air. He lay struggling on his back, his vision slowly blurring, the sky bleaching and burning white. But for the blob of hot-pink which seemed to be caught in the vortex gushing towards the opening, spinning around like mad. Till it started to plummet, detached from the wings that got crumpled and crushed before it crashed into the sky with a bang.
His parents fell to their knees around him. Gasping.
As did the people all over the village. Miss Naidu, the school teacher in her garden, tending to her rose bushes, frozen sky be damned. Uncle Goswani, the grocery shop owner chasing away kids running away with fistfuls of sweets from his shop, not having seen or heard about the happening. An entire party of high schoolers picnicking in the woods who had taken the change as an event not to be missed; so little ever happened in their village worth seeing or reporting that they were certain they’d be telling of this day to their grandkids and more. And the priest in the temple, who collapsed around ringing bells, still muttering prayers with the little breath he had. Only god could avert what was obviously his wrath.
Even the sparrows dropped off the branches and cows on the grassy meadow, bleary-eyed and slack-jawed.
It indeed seemed like the end of days to them all.
When the air gushing out returned to their lungs. And they got to their feet, weary and confused, and saw a sight that they’d never expected to witness in their lifetime and that was even more out of the ordinary than before, such had been the day.
The fat lady was lodged in the hole, her backside sticking out like a large pink watermelon.