The Lights in the Sky
We saw the lights our first evening out from New York. They grew in splendor until, for three of us, the voyage ended. For the others, they may still move sometimes in the sky. They have never been explained, not even by Pretloe, who found some reason for every other fantastic thing that happened.
Standing by the rail after dinner that first night, I watched them. The sea was a little rough, but most of our passengers were veterans. Nobody had retired except one old lady. We stood along the rail or walked about the deck, speaking to each other occasionally with that shyness peculiar to people who meet for the first time on board a ship—especially a small ship—the first day out. The man beside me was Pretloe, but I didn’t know that then.
“Curious,” he said. “They don’t look like an ordinary display.” I noted his soft, precise voice, and his traveler’s accent—that slightly foreign but indistinguishable trick of speech which marks a linguist. I said:
“I’ve never seen the aurora borealis. I don’t know why I haven’t.”
The story continues next time …