We were standing on the side of the highway, all of us. Can’t remember why any of us had ended up there. We were greyed out. I do remember there were four or five others near me and more coming in a trail from farther off over the hill.
As we gathered, traffic had begun to slow down. Drivers were rubbernecking to get a good look at us, to see what we were doing. But we didn’t know what we were doing anymore than they did.
Coming out of my daze, I remember looking up at the sky. It was blue, with only a faint haze on its edges. It was afternoon. You know the floaters you see in your eyes in a situation like this? I had them, but then they got stronger. Something happened.
I saw it. Like a long silvery-sky-colored body, it moved slightly. A dragon, Chinese style. Not those bloody European ones with the scaly wings and whatnot. A real Celestial dragon.
I yelled out, not even knowing what I was doing.
“Confirmed dragon sighting!” I pointed up at it.
The others slowly came to, rousing, raising their heads, fixing their eyes to the sky. And they started to see it too.
“Confirmed!” some of the others started yelling out.
“Can confirm, dragon sighted.”
Some strange protocol had taken hold of us. When I felt somehow intuitively the group had reached critical mass, I made the strange announcement aloud:
“Confirmed group dragon sighting.” Adding, “Can someone do a timecall?”
A voice sounded: “Time: 3:45pm, Wednesday, July 15, 2019. Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
And at that, I realized consciously where I was and what I was doing. Saw that I stood with a scraggly group of strangers on the side of the highway, while traffic slowed to a long drawn out snarl, and drivers craned their necks up to see what we were all looking at.
Still the dragon hovered, shimmering if not moving, threatening to blink out of existence at any moment if we looked away. I think we all sensed it, that the moment our collective will broke, the miracle would vanish. The stillness of our held breath is what kept it floating on a sea of tranquility above us.
The moment lasted almost forever, though in actuality it was over in seconds as angry drivers farther back who couldn’t see the miracle began to honk and shout. Anger rippled up and down the column of cars.
But we, the spotters, held onto that hot radiant center of shared experience, a psychic shield against all non-believers whose only sin was being out of range.
Until the tide broke, and even some spotters caught the behavior of the crowd as if a viral infection, and suddenly the vision of the dragon went dark and cloudy. Seeming smoke covering rage of a shrouded volcano nearly willing to erupt. It’s face, or at least its leading end, began to appear horrible, grotesque. It’s body subtly distorted, reflecting the shape of the line of honking and angry cars streaming below. Those outside the immediate range of the event saw only suddenly gathering storm clouds, and feared an evil rain.
And just like that, it was gone. A fine mist of warm vapor tumbled from the sky, which blinked back to clear, and suddenly traffic lifted. People moved on.
The spotters stood looking at each other in silence after. There were no words to say.