Emily looked around the room and was suddenly struck by the similarity in the color of the decor to the lights. “Have you seen the gift? You sound as if you’re familiar with it.”
Harry and Mary Jean exchanged a look.
“We’ve seen it,” Mary Jean said.
“How long have you known about it?” Emily wondered. “I see some of the same colors here. That’s not a coincidence, is it?”
Harry shook his head. “We’ve known of the gift for a long time.”
“Longer than Julian has been missing?”
“Much longer,” Mary Jean confirmed.
“I made the gift,” she added.
It took a moment for Emily to process the idea. “Then you’re working with the visitors?” She still couldn’t bring herself to say the word alien.
“No,” Harry said. “There’s a simpler explanation if you’ll only see it. Pretend it’s a story for the paper, Emily. What makes the most sense?”
“If you’re not working for the visitors…” she trailed off. Emily gasped. “Oh, my. You are the visitors? No. I can’t believe it.” Her eyes grew wide and she turned to look at the door. Should she leave after all? She was practically being held captive by two people who were obviously insane! Or perhaps she was the one who was crazy. Either way, panic surged through her body and she thought her only option was to get out. Her eyes met Leigh’s, and her sister looked equally scared.
“I know you’re afraid, but please don’t be,” Mary Jean said. “We will explain everything.”
“How?” Emily stopped as soon as the light appeared in the middle of the room.
It was about the size of an orange, but was made of pure white light. It started to spin as it developed streamers of blue, red, orange and green. The streamers danced in an invisible wind that felt cool on Emily’s face. She looked at Mary Jean, who appeared to be totally enrapt in her creation. Any expression of delight that Emily had ever seen was understated compared to this level of joy. Harry seemed proud as he watched his wife create the spectacular light show.
Emily saw that Leigh was no longer fearful but in a happy wonderment.
“This is incredible,” Leigh said. “You’re so lucky, Emily, to have seen this.”
“I know,” Emily found herself saying as the ball of light grew to the size of a beach ball and emitted the most beautiful smells. The first few were of the ocean and roses. Then they combined to create a luscious feeling of a garden in springtime, familiar yet otherworldly. It must be a representation of the other planet. Music started to flow from the streamers as well. They were experiencing everything of a foreign place through their senses.
“Julian liked it, too,” Mary Jean said. “This is where he went when his plane disappeared. He never crashed. He met us, in our true forms. And we shared our gift and our plans with him.”