A bright pillar of light had erupted from the very top of Joe’s building. It continued up into the sky as a beam, and then halted abruptly at least a mile up.
Joe was not the only one to witness this. He heard a few others close by utter such things as “my God” and “What the hell is that”.
And then as he and others continued to observe, the object in the sky that was stopping the beam had begun to manifest physically.
A city. A staggeringly large city encased in glass. Floating above the planet. Above Joe’s place of work.
Joe’s mouth was agape. Countless towering buildings resembling futuristic skyscrapers rose high above him, enclosed in a glass box with rounded top corners. And at the bottom of the structure was a large base, black as night, on which the glass firmament lay. He saw tiny points of reflected light floating and moving steadily between the vast amount of buildings; the city was populated and bustling.
Joe also saw the electric pink point of light Watch had shown him before, emanating from a corner on the very bottom of the structure’s base.
Screams. Joe suddenly heard screams, car horns, car collisions, coming from everywhere. Chaos surrounded him. But Joe simply stayed where he was, staring at the city in the sky with awe.
In a daze, Joe lifted up his phone which had never left his hand since leaving the office.
“Hang tight +4; we’re far from done 444 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”
Joe had no clue that it would be the last alert he would ever receive from Watch.
Joe snapped out of his reverie and started thinking rationally. “Could Claire see it too?” He brought up her name in his texting app and began typing. Sent +1. The Stats app was still as vigilant as usual, which came as no surprise to Joe.
Almost immediately: buzz.
“HOLY **** ARE YOU SEEING THIS”
It was from Claire. Joe heard an odd sound come from the top of his building, and when he looked, the beam of light ascending towards the structure began to fade and cease to exist. The dark foreboding city, however, remained above, blanketing most of the northern sky.
Another text from Claire came through: “i see you have. what is that thing! it’s so huge… are they the ones spying on us???”
“Yes. Watch is up there”. Sent +1.
Speaking of Watch…
He began typing into a blank text. Certainly Watch had been observing this whole time. “Or maybe he’s quite busy with this new development he’s orchestrated…” Joe mused.
“Watch, are you still here?”
Joe began walking in the direction of his home, fingers still lightly clasped around his phone in his pocket to feel any alert vibrations.
30 seconds. Nothing.
Joe continued to walk. He glanced behind him at the structure. The glass barrier encompassing the city reflected the waning beams of the sunset.
One minute and 30 seconds. No alerts. No Watch.
Joe stopped in his tracks and pulled out his phone. It remained silent with no notifications. He stared again at his drafted text to Watch, thinking he may not have seen it.
Buzz. From Claire.
“and like that, now its gone”
Joe immediately looked up. Indeed, all he saw was purple-blue sky where the structure had been.
Joe continued staring into the sky. He felt numb. Still nothing from Watch. Joe’s heart began to sink.
He continued his trek home in a zombie-like trance. He passed by countless observers standing outside of their cars and homes, some with drones in silent vigil. All of them were in the same state of confusion, looking in the direction of the phantom structure.
“Because yes,” Joe realized, “it’s still there.”