Synopsis: A young girl, Ashley Benisto sees an unusual being clothed in silk and light and wonders if she has seen 1. A ghost, 2. An angel, or 3. An alien. Wanting to investigate, she finds the woman is indeed not of this world and comes bearing rejuvenate powers to heal our planet.
Chapter 1--Suburban Summer
Ashley Benisto adored her hometown, but during the summer it became horribly boring. It wasn't that she was complaining but typically her friends would take vacations to other states. Thankfully, she wasn't too far from the local camping grounds and there was a large lake there that she could take her small sailboat out whenever she wanted. Of course, she'd let her parents know when she was going out before she did so. She was a very responsible teenager and had a great relationship with her parents. Ashley knew she was fortunate to be one of the minorities of teens that actually did get along well with their mom and dad, not just one or the other, or in some cases, not at all.
It had been a particularly busy day for Ashley. She had been helping her mother, Amber, tend to the small backyard garden that they had taken such pains in growing since the beginning of June. The tomatoes were growing heartily, the bell peppers looking plump, the cabbage and squash looking lovely and the watermelon were becoming nice, round and ripe.
"All we have to do is mulch and water our garden and we'll be through for the day.", Amber said, wiping her forehead with the back of her arm. It had been a rather humid day and the sweat was starting to bead around her eyebrows, nape of her neck and the small of her back.
"I'll get us both some lemonade. Sheesh, it's really a scorcher today.", Ashley said, running inside to fill some glasses with ice and pink lemonade and share with her mother. Her dad, Sergio, was relaxing in his favorite recliner, sipping a Coke and watching the news. He had been mowing the grass earlier and decided to rest for a bit.
"Hello my flower.", he said, affectionately as she walked by. She laughed.
"The work on the garden's nearly done. You should come out and take a look at it later. In August I'm sure we'll have plenty of veggies and fruit to share with the neighbors.", she said.
"Fantastic ! I'll be out as soon as the news is over.", Sergio said, enthusiastically.
As soon as the news finished, Sergio ran outside to see the green-thumb marvel that was his wife and daughter's garden.
"Incredible. We are already overproducing as it is. We should harvest some of these things and get them down to the farmer's market.", he offered.
"That's a superb idea, Tesoro.", Amber purred as she pulled her husband close from the side and kissed him affectionately. He grinned wolfishly and chuckled. It was moments like these that he remembered why he married her; for her amazing inward beauty and her knockout kisses.
Chapter 2--A Being Clothed in Light
After dinner, Ashley was looking forward to sailing on the lake. Her sailboat Proud Mary was waiting for her, tied securely to the dock. She quickly untied it, began prospecting and a wind directed her to the middle of the lake. The stars had already begun to sparkle brightly in the sky and the moon was fully visible. Crickets and frogs began singing and she laid back in the sailboat to watch fireflies idly floating by. Suddenly, there was a nearly-blinding light right in the middle of the sky. Ashley was baffled, curious as to why meteors were falling at this time of year. Meteor showers didn't occur until later in the summer. This was no meteor, though. The light came closer to her as well as her sailboat. She could clearly see that this was no mere light, but a being clothed in light. It was a woman wearing silken garments, her hair flowing freely in the wind, even when there was none. When the woman opened her eyes and extended her hands toward Ashley, she felt a sense of ultimate serenity.
"Are you an angel ?", she questioned to the luminescent female. The feminine being giggled, shaking her head left to right. She thought that maybe the being was a specter of some sort but realized that the woman was solid and warm to the touch, so her being dead was ridiculous and improbable.
"I am not of your world. I come from the Beta Gamma system, light years from Earth.", the alien said.
"Do you have a name ? Do you require any sustenance ? Anything I can do to assist you ?", Ashley said as the woman took her hand and walked across the lake with her back to the dock.
"My name in your language is Lyra, but that is unimportant. I don't require much, just a place to sleep. I come here for one purpose, but I will impart that to you tomorrow, Ashley.", Lyra said, tenderly as she followed the girl to her home and slept outside in a tree, perfectly comfortable and never complaining.
"I wonder how she knows my name.", Ashley thought, but then shook the thought off, too tired to think about anything else for the moment.
Chapter 3--Lyra's News
Lyra appeared mysteriously at Ashley's door without her parents asking where she had come from or why she was dressed so differently.
"I'll explain everything to you as soon as possible. Right now we need to find someplace a bit more private so I can divulge my news to you.", Lyra stated. Ashley knew from the moment she had met this Beta Gamman that she could trust her. Walking with her to the forests, Ashley sat down on a stump and listened intently.
"When you asked how I could know your name, I have telepathic abilities.", Lyra began.
"Fascinating. What else can you do ?", Ashley answered, excitedly.
"That is exactly why I brought you here. To discuss my ability of rejuvenation. I wish to heal your ailing planet. Unfortunately, it means I must sacrifice my spirit. But, I have led a fulfilling life. Before I do such a thing, I am going to leave you with the secrets to maintaining this better lifestyle.", Lyra said. She didn't seemed bothered by the fact she would have to die to re-stabilize Earth.
"Why do you have to die ? I just met you and I'd like to think of you as my friend.", Ashley stated in immense anger, frustration, disbelief and shock. Lyra had a feeling that this would happen, but she had been chosen for this mission. If she didn't fulfill it, Earth would disintegrate completely. Ashley fought back bitter tears but the tears came against her best efforts.
"It is my destiny, Ashley. I am sorry. I didn't expect I would make such a fast friendship with you.", Lyra said, realizing no amount of what she said now would ever assuage Ashley's rage. Ashley cried for a bit and ran to Lyra, throwing her arms around her.
"I suppose I must accept this, even if I don't particularly like it.", Ashley said, sniffling a bit.
"You're awfully brave, my friend. I will impart this knowledge to you and soon begin my transition. Share it with as many people as you like for it will be the way to keep the rejuvenated Earth you will be standing on happy and healthy.", Lyra said as she hovered near to Ashley and placed her fingertips upon the young adolescent's forehead. The wealth of knowledge that Ashley received was almost too much for her to process and she nearly fainted, but she was able to retain everything she had 'learned'.
"You know what to do now. I'm afraid it is goodbye for us. Tell no one about where you received this information.", Lyra said. Ashley sadly nodded and obediently began her campaign to re-establish the planet that Lyra would help provide.
Chapter 4--Preparing the Way
Not everyone took Ashley seriously but her parents were the first to listen to her directions. She wasn't being an 'eco-freak' by any means. She was actually working alongside mother nature with a few other people. Even if it was only a small number, it would be enough for that 'square of the world'. There would soon be others that followed suit in their own little patches. Small though their efforts were, the groups worked together to help the Earth.
Lyra had found a secluded spot to start the gradual process of rejuvenating the earth. Her silken body began unraveling, each particle of her luminescent body dissolving. Strangely, dying wasn't at all painful and her soul began to rise. From paradise, she could see her ancestors opening their arms to her, welcoming her home.
"Elders !", she said with happiness she couldn't even be able to describe. As her physical self disintegrated the whole earth was completely restored.
Although Ashley hadn't seen Lyra's transition to paradise she had felt as if a soul had lifted from the physical plane to the spiritual one. Oddly, Ashley wasn't sad because a single strand of white silken hair fell from the sky and landed around her neck, forming a gossamer necklace.
"I understand. You're never truly gone, but with me always. Thank you, dear friend.", she thought to herself with a soft smile. Even though questions on how she and her small band of friends would be able to maintain this newfound 'patch of dirt', she knew it was up to her and any progeny she might have. Somehow, Ashley felt, even though she was only 14-and-a-half years old that she would be more than capable of keeping up with the duty and privilege that Lyra had allotted her. Not only would she do so with dignity, but with the giving, caring, open heart of a servant.
Ashley had always wondered if death was the end of life as she was accustomed to it. She had all the proof she needed through Lyra's selfless gift to her and to all humanity. In a way, she had never left because she could feel Lyra's life-giving presence with her wherever she went. She no longer feared death any longer.
Summer soon came to an end and Ashley's garden was still producing fruits and vegetables that she inevitably had to give away to her friends and neighbors. She was a bit saddened that vacation was ending but she was inwardly celebrating that she was able to see her friends once more. She was glad that school had begun once again and miraculously, she never felt loneliness to the degree she had any longer. Every time she looked at her neck, she felt warmth and serenity and remembered Lyra's example. No matter what occurred in Ashley's life she would carry that spirit with her, reaching out and enlightening others along the way in Lyra's memory.