We had gathered out at dad's farm house, the remotest location we knew. The night's festivities were over but some were still over at the fire talking between themselves. They won't be long, the Bundy's run out.
"What the .."
Following his gaze to the horizon I, too, saw an odd sight. Rising over the mountains appeared to be the moon, but coloured blue with wisps of white banding it. Bigger too than normal. It looked like it had a moon of its own, brilliant white peeking around from behind the bottom half. Then I saw it; the unmistakable shape of Australia sitting in the southern hemisphere. Shrouded in darkness. The pattern of other continents projected through the wisps to confirm the image: Earth.
The 4 of us at the back steps stood in awe as the vision rose higher and higher into the sky. Slow at first, but accelerating past the zenith and over to the other horizon. We followed it to the front of the house where gasps and the drop in conversation indicated the progress of the sight through the party. Questions started in hushed tones, and as it slowed and settled close to the horizon the theories sprang up, louder and louder until those present were engulfed in debate. Deep down I knew. This was a sign of the end. Not what I'd expected, but ominous none the less.
The vision shimmered. On the horizon a glow like the new dawn appeared, coming up and over the projected earth. Clouds reflected the glow to surround the Earth like a nebula. I looked deeply into the clouds, looking for a mushroom shape. Not there. Yet. The clouds warped with a blossoming wind, expanding to blanket the northern sky. Earth shimmered again, then faded back into the cloud. Little spots of red remained as the only indicator of where it was. They multiplied. No, not an earth shape anymore, a top of a rising mushroom cloud. More appeared, 3 in the heart of the scene. Haze cradling the explosions cleared to reveal reality.
Then the screaming started.
I ran with my 2IC back to see the horizon south. Far in the distance more glows were visible. Down the valley a sweeping fire had erupted. Might be a cause for concern, but if that's all we have to deal with we're going Ok. 2 tomcat missiles flew low overhead on their way south. Conventional weapons? Someone, somewhere is throwing all they have.