Now the water was knee-deep, warm as blood. Tiny creatures swam in it, brushing their calves, tickling their toes.

She looked into his eyes one last time, saw fear there, apprehension, and kissed his forehead. “Don’t worry,” she said. “It’ll all be over soon.”

“I know,” he said, and two salt drops left tracks down his freckled cheeks. He’d never had freckles before they came to Earth.

“Close your eyes,” she said, and he did. She closed her own and, taking a deep breath, chanted the last part of the summoning spell.

Warm water tickled her womanhood. The tide was coming in fast. In her mind’s eye she could see the Moon, hideously swollen, its surface blasted smooth and white by the alien weapons, so long ago.

A rush of air over their bodies signaled the arrival of the orbiter she’d summoned. A faint hum would be the hatchway opening, and that whining sound would be the lifter, powering up. She felt him take a deep breath, in her arms.

The water fell away. They whirled up into the sky.

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