Nora Reynolds was having one of the worst days of her life when she met Snow White.
Hell, whom was she kidding? It has been the worst six months of my life, she thought as she walked slowly toward the front porch of her house.
Six months ago she had lost her beloved older sister, Ruth, also affectionately called PeeWee due to her short five-foot-two frame. They had been extremely close and Nora was still in shock at the loss. It didn’t seem to matter that they had had six month’s notice that the dreaded cancer would take her away. It was still hard for Nora to get up every day and go through the motions. Hard not be disappointed when she didn’t get that expected call just before going to work or to bed. Or, not being able to look forward to their shopping trips, or dinner out, or movies and popcorn in the living room of Nora’s house, which happened to be the same house they had grown up in. It was hard for Nora to feel anything mattered anymore and that attitude was affecting her life and her work. She had not been able to sleep but for a few hours each night even when she got home late and exhausted from a long day at work. She’d lost some weight, which she really couldn’t afford on her lanky frame. She had felt herself moving away, emotionally, from the few friends she had. The crew at work had been giving her a wide berth, waiting patiently for the grief to diminish some. Just thinking about it, on top of all the things that had gone wrong today, had Nora running a hand over her face and up into her short, mahogany-colored hair. She was exhausted, physically and emotionally.
It was in this state that she first laid eyes on Snow White. That’s actually the first thing that popped into her mind when she saw the stark white figure hiding in the shadows of her front porch. As she slowly approached the old, two-story white house, she decided that she was so exhausted she had to be hallucinating. When the stranger shifted slightly at her approach, Nora stopped and pulled the Glock from the holster at her waist. Jamming the gun out in front – in a two-handed, death-grip – she advanced with slow, but steady steps and stopped at the bottom step.
“Okay, move slowly and step out where I can see you.”
When the figure moved from the shadows into the faint porch light, Nora was positive that she had toppled completely over the edge into insanity. For Snow White was a six-foot alien; the ET kind of alien; complete with big, black eyes, white, almost translucent skin, long tapered fingers and long thin legs.
For a moment Nora felt her world shift so dramatically that she was sure she was going to collapse. With her right hand strangling the gun, she moved her left hand to rub her eyes. Hoping the action would wipe the tiredness from them and then her world would magically return to normal. If normal was what you’d call her life. Yet, when Nora peered toward the big front porch, Snow White was still standing there.
Nora’s left hand returned to the death grip on her gun. She jabbed it forward as the figure moved closer to the top step. “Stop right there.”
“Please. I-will-not-hurt-you,” Snow White said, haltingly, as the long-fingered, white hands rose in a pleading motion.
Snow White’s screeching voice hurt Nora’s ears. Wishing her hands were free to cover her ears, Nora grimaced and asked, “You speak English?”
“Yes. Please-give-me-moment-to-explain.” The white hands rose higher in supplication.
With the gun still trained on Snow White, Nora said, “Go ahead, but don’t move.”
“Please. I-do-something-but-do-not-be-afraid. It-will-be-easy-to-explain.”
“Go ahead,” Nora replied, after a moment’s pause.
And, then right before her tired eyes, Snow White shimmered and transformed into a woman – a human-looking woman. Astonished, Nora’s arms dropped to her side, the gun held limply in her hand. Grappling with reality, Nora took the woman’s measure. She was taller than most women that she knew. Taller than her own five-foot-seven, close to five-nine, Nora guessed. With long, brownish hair, dark brown eyes (though still with an elongated appearance), and now dressed in light, blue button-down blouse, navy slacks that hugged her slim figure and flat, casual, shoes. Pretty in an ordinary sort of way, Nora supposed. The kind you might notice on the street but would have a hard time remembering later on.
Nora had seen some pretty strange things in her seven years as a DEA agent in the big city of Washington, DC, but she’d never seen anything like this. As a matter of fact, she wasn’t quite sure she was seeing what was right before her eyes. She shook her head like a dog shakes off the water, and rubbed her tired eyes, again, hoping against hope that the scene before her would return to normal.
“Please, Nora, let me explain,” pleaded Snow White in a perfectly, normal human voice that was soft and raspy. Nora’s tired, befuddled mind never registered the fact that this alien stranger knew her name. Instead, it only noticed there was no halting speech this time. Apparently, it changed with her appearance, Nora thought.
“I know this is a shock for you, but I had to come in my true form so that you would not waste time doubting all that I will tell you.” She reached out one perfectly normal human hand, right down to the red fingernails. “Come. It is safe. Let me explain.”
Later, after Nora had had sufficient sleep, it dawned on her that she really must have been insane to enter into her own house with someone she did not know, much less an ET. Her years on the job had taught her better than that. And, yet, that is exactly what she did.