It was, for humanity, an event that reverberated through the ages, a moment that spawned much future hope and belief, as well as controversy and doubt. The moment in question, of course, was humans’ first contact with alien life, to put it rather flatly.
One moment, all was as usual, and another moment, there was a giant spherical object hovering above the sunlit surface of the Earth. There was no bang or crash, just silence as it orbited. For a few minutes it did nothing. Then, upon its white surface it sprouted a single human eye, with a deep black pupil and a vivid red iris. The sphere was glowing, perfectly visible to those within its shadow, who were only just now beginning to notice and alert the rest of humanity.
The sphere began to move, gliding silently around and around the world, as if trying to capture the whole surface in its gaze. The people who lived on the night side of the Earth had only just begun to receive the news on their televisions. They were advised to stay inside. Panic flamed in their hearts.
But in one house, a young child heard the news, heard the speculation, the terror, and in their heart was kindled not panic or fear. No. They were taken by an idle curiosity, a hint of rebellion, and just a wisp of an unplaceable yearning, which at that moment had floated up from within them. And while their father clutched at their aunt in fear and companionship from the couch, they slipped away from the fearful voices through the back door.
The early night was pleasantly warm and still. It was as if the world were under the spell of an ominous silence, for even the summer bugs had ceased to cry out. The child could feel the warmth of the pavement, not yet dissipated into the darkness, soak up through the soles of their shoes as they wandered towards empty road. Though the night was young, there seemed to be no drivers out.
And there they stood, in the middle of the road, looking up at the sky and squinting. They had no idea how big it was supposed to be.
Then, over the trees to the west, a white glow began to appear, and there rose like a perverse companion to the sun and moon, the sphere. The child stared in awe. It looked much, much larger than the sun, and, in the night, so much brighter than the moon. Its white surface was unblemished but for the massive eye, rendered with eyelids and all.
Overwhelmed, the child felt their breath catch in their throat. They were frozen in place on that warm spring night.
As the eye approached the zenith of its passage over the child, they felt that it was slowing, slowing to a standstill, until—it was directly above them. They had felt it pierce into their soul and into those dark personal parts of them—as yet unknown to even them—a warm light flooded, and in that moment, they felt as if the totality of their being had been seen, felt, understood, and then lovingly embraced by the sphere that hung in the sky above them. They felt, though they were unable to articulate this sentiment until much later, as if they had been accepted in the most absolute sense.
As quickly as it came, it was gone, replaced by the worried voices of their father and aunt, who clasped their shoulders and tenderly led them back to the house, as the great eye set in the east.
And so it was for some, those who sought to see this strange visitor, and were in turn seen. All across the globe, as most hid, a very few emerged to see the only visitation humanity would receive in their lifetimes. Some captured images or video, but none captured the sensation of the eye, except in their own hearts. There, the feeling lingered in big ways and small for the rest of their lives.
Once the sphere had done its tour of the whole world, it paused, its surface cleared of any sign of the eye, and before the people of Earth, or the nations, or the militaries could do anything, it vanished as it had come, without a sound.
Afterwards, those who had experienced its true gaze began to speak of it to others, trying to pass on the compassion they had so unexpectedly felt. Though many of these people gathered and recounted their shared experiences, there were always people who dismissed their words. Yet not all did, and around these people grew a new faith. For at that time, no one could deny the existence of the sphere, as later generations could when the photos and videos had suffered so much iconography as to become unbelievable and were called fake. And so, beyond the simple historical record which had very few solid facts keep track of, this new religion, for the better and also for the worse, preserved the experiences of this mysterious encounter.
Nov 2021 - Jun 2022