He was working in the field when he saw the flash in the sky above. It was a clear day, with scant clouds chasing each other across the horizon. Visibility was near perfect. So he picked up that blue glint easily.
“What the hell?” brow crumpling, he shielded his eyes with his hand as he strained to get a better look.
It had been years since he’d come back to the farm, longer since he’d worked a full day in the fields. His face was caked with sweat and his fingers were thick with grit, but surely he wasn’t weary enough to be seeing things.
Flicking his gaze back to the farmhouse a good 200 meters behind him, he figured there was only one thing to do.
It wasn’t to go for help or the pair of binoculars he’d spent a half-month’s pay on. Instead he turned back to the blue glow.
Then he saw it. The explosion. A massive blast of light shot out in a wave.
Though his mind had no idea what he was looking at, his body knew what to do. All those years in the army had paid off. He fell to the ground, slamming his hands over his head, pushing his face as far into the dry hay as he could.
There was a single second of tight-chested fear before the shock wave hit. It pushed against the hay, flattening it and flattening him in a powerful pulse. The sound of it boomed in his ears, then left nothing but a constant buzz.
Moments later the light came. A wash of it. Moving slowly, less like light and more like water. He felt it as it trickled over his skin. Though his body still shook from the shock and force of the explosion, the sensation was unmistakable.
It made him look up. Mouth opening, breath nothing more than a quick and percussive pant, after a second of instability he made his legs work and he stood.
The field around him was flattened. Nothing burnt, nothing destroyed, but the hay that had been up around his knees moments before was now no higher than a book. A thin one at that.
Swallowing, forcing himself to slow his wild heart, he tried to look for the impact crater.
He couldn’t find it. All he could see was a blue glow, bright, but small. It was off on the edge of the field.
It was also hovering.
Cheeks slackening, muscles in his jaw twitching, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
He’d witnessed a lot in the army, but never anything like this.
Natural curiosity taking over, he headed towards it. He’d always gone tracking in the mountains with his father. And every time he’d learned a new lesson in controlling his fear.
“Come on, Jackson, you have to find out what that was,” he said. But he couldn’t hear a word of it.
Cupping a hand to his ear, he tried to hear himself speak again. All he picked up was a dull, monotone drone.
Temporary hearing loss. He’d experienced it once before when a Tarkan mine had gone off less than four meters to his side.
But that war was long over. Wasn’t it?
It all depended on what had just exploded at the bottom of the field....
Quickening his pace, he felt his chest punch forward as he strengthened his core and steadied his gait. He cast his gaze around for a weapon, but he knew there was little chance of finding one. All his tools were back where he had fallen, and he didn’t want to waste any more time.
It wasn’t until he reached the dip at the edge of the field that he finally saw it.
More importantly, it was when he saw her. The woman.
He almost fell over, knees buckling as the shock of recognition shot through him.
He’d expected to see some kind of device or at least a blast crater. What he saw instead was something he could have never imagined possible.
A woman floating on a bed of blue light. No, not floating, she was stuck. Her body was suspended a meter off the ground, her face turned to the sky. Arms spread, she was wearing a long robe-like dress that fluttered in the wind, chasing around her legs, hands, and cheeks in the breeze that always whipped through the field.
He swallowed, throat dryer than he’d ever felt, neck tight with a tension that threatened to snap his head off.
She’d fallen from the sky. Yet she wasn’t some mass of blood and bone; with every breath that pushed at her chest it was obvious she was alive.
Despite the shock, he forced himself to take a step forward.
He’d never seen anything like this. A woman stuck off the ground. A woman who had fallen from the clouds.
None of it was possible. Technology like this did not exist.
Yet he had enough reason to realize he wasn’t dreaming. His mind was clear; this was no hallucination.
After another bare moment of hesitation, he reached out his hand.
With a single touch to her shoulder, he woke her.
The rest of Ki Book One is currently available from most ebook retailers.