Kate spent the first week in her new home putting away boxes, tending to her son’senrollment in a new high school, and buying furniture. The second and third week wasspent trying to learn the streets of her adopted city, adapt to the inhuman heat of the desert,and to digging in the dry red dirt attempting to get something green to grow in thecourtyard of their new home. By the fourth week, with Ryan in school and Jason hardlyever home, she spent most of her days napping, perhaps a little depressed, a lot lonely, and
oh so ready
to return to her flat on the hill in San Francisco.Kate quickly discovered that she hated the heat, detested the black desert nights, and the blood-red soil of Thunder Mountain frightened her as much as the comet. She couldn’twrite, couldn’t fall asleep at night, and hadn’t the energy of dead cockroach. The laundrywas left unwashed, the dishes undone, and she’d hadn’t had a haircut, a manicure, or a footmassage since leaving the city. But most of all, she hated Jason. And the hate was growingdaily. His voice irritated her, his manners bothered her, but more than anything else, hishabitual contrariness that she’d lived with since she was eighteen jangled her nerves untilshe wanted to scream. She allowed him the fact that he was fifteen years older than she andat forty-eight was having some kind of midlife crisis she was not prepared for. She probably could have forgiven him anything if she were able to sleep at night instead of having to sit in her favorite chair, watching the stars rotate across the heavens with dullregularity accompanied by the creepy orange-red comet
Naps became her salvationand then her damnation.Kathryn Kelly rolled over, a slight snore interrupting her sleep. A thin line of salivadribbled down her chin as she buried her face into a pillow. She tried to breathe andcouldn’t. Her body twitched as it fought for air. Terrified, one eye opened and…There was darkness.
Incense clung to tattered curtains then hovered about the room in a wavering haze. Acrinkled old woman sat bunched in a chair, dressed in flowing robes of purple. Her smiledeepened, eyes nearly lost in a maze of wrinkles. She pointed upward, speaking, "You will travel to the stars."