Jonathan Kent sighed and pulled out his gold pocket watch. It was 8:10 pm. Church should have let out thirty minutes ago. Up at the front of the fellowship hall, Pastor Linquist was droning along about faith and unconditional love.
It wasn't that Jonathan didn't like Pastor Linquist. Quite the opposite, in fact. The two men got along just fine, and the reverend had eaten lunch with the Kents on more than one occasion. But it was getting late, and tomorrow was a Monday and that meant the start of a new week. Milking the cows, checking on the crops, and come to think of it, Jonathan had to go down to Russ' General Store to order more fertilizer. But Jonathan wasn't in the mood to hear about the Lord's Good News. Not after the bad news he and Martha had received just the other day.
Jonathan glanced to his right at his wife of six years. She was dressed in her Sunday best: A floral-print dress, a white cotton shawl and her "dress-up shoes". She seemed to be listening intently to the sermon, devouring ever word Linquist was saying. More than once, the pastor's words seemed to move her, and she reached into her handbag and drew out a tissue and dried her eyes with it.
"And now," Pastor Linquist said, stretching his arms out to the congregation of the Smallville Baptist Church, "I would like to close with a silent prayer offering. If any of you have a concern or need guidance from the Lord, please make your way to the front of the church here."
Soft hymn music began to play via the organ and a sprinkling of people got up from the pews and headed toward the front of the room. Jonathan closed his Bible. It was almost over. Just a few more seconds, and-
Martha quietly rose from her seat and made her way up the aisle and to the front of the church where she joined the others and kneeled down before a huge wooden cross, mounted above the preacher's podium. Jonathan watched her for several seconds. She seemed to actually believe that praying would make a difference. That prayer could . . .. Jonathan reached into his pant's pocket a dabbed a tear away from his eye.
The ride back home was one of silence. The moon was high overhead, casting a strong light over the otherwise dark, flat plains of Kansas. And the old red Fork pickup truck rumbled along, it's two occupants sitting in awkward quiet.
Jonathan let go of the wheel with one hand and rubbed his sandy-colored mustache. That was what he did when he was deep in thought. At least that was what Martha always said. "I, uh, know what you went up there for." He said at last, shattering the oppressive stillness.
Martha didn't say anything.
"I just don't want to see you get hurt. I mean . . ." Okay, here it was. He was going to say it. No telling how she would react. " . . . The doctors didn't seem to have much hope."
"Doctors don't know everything," Martha said, still looking straight ahead through the windshield.
"It's just that after miscarriage last summer-" His voice trailed off, and for one horrifying moment Jonathan thought that he might start to cry. And that wouldn't do. He had to be strong.
"Ask and you shall receive," Martha said matter-of-factly, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "The Lord says that if you have faith in Him, anything and everything is possible."
That may be. That very well may be, but after six long years of trying to have kids, it was getting a little late. They had been praying non-stop all those years and not once had anything happened that had led Jonathan to believe that God cared. He remembered the joy; the utter joy, he and Martha experienced last summer when Martha announced that she was "expecting". They were already picking out boy and girl names when late one night, he found Martha locked in the bathroom crying. He didn't have to ask what was wrong.
Now this. Martha was really grasping at straws now. Prayer? Please. That was just-
"JONATHAN, LOOK OUT!!"
Jonathan snapped back to reality just as Martha grabbed the steering wheel out from his hands and gave it a sharp turn. The truck made a crazy right turn as a blazing white light illuminated the windows. A deafening vooooom sound filled the pickup and the next thing he knew, the trunk ran right into a ditch.
"What in the-"
Next to him, Martha's mouth was wide open in an O of surprise. Her eyes were as big as saucers. "Look!" She exclaimed.
Jonathan looked in the direction she was pointing and saw a white light streaking through the sky. Crazy shadows played over the countryside, as the source of the light seemed to crash in a nearby wooded area.
"What was that?" Martha asked.
Jonathan turned the ignition off and opened his door. "Probably a meteorite. I'm gonna check it out. Why don't you just sit here until I get back?" The night air was cool and a light wind blew as he power-walked toward the small forest.
"Wait for me!"
And there was Martha, sprinting toward her husband with a worrisome look on her face.
"Martha, you should have stayed in the truck."
She didn't say anything.
Oh, well. Whatever. The two of them entered the forest quietly. What exactly were they looking for? A meteorite, yes, but what was the big deal about a meteorite? Jonathan didn't know, but he felt he was being led beeper and deeper into the woods for a reason beyond his understanding. And speaking of the woods, the top of the trees were torn off and scattered along the leaf-covered ground. That was most likely caused when the meteorite had crashed into the woods here.
Must have been one big meteorite, Jonathan thought.
"What's this?" Martha asked from behind him.
He turned and saw Martha holding a strange rock about the size of a billiard-ball. No, it wasn't just any rock. It was green and cast an eerie glow over her face. "Could it be part of the meteor?"
"Might be. Come on, I think it crashed a little on up ahead."
Martha dropped the strange green rock onto the ground and followed her husband further into the woods.
It was getting late, well, late for Smallville anyway, and Jonathan was about to suggest that they should just forget about it and go home when he saw something up ahead. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before.
The whole thing was about 5 and a half feet tall and was standing straight up out of the ground. Two golden wing-like metallic things seemed to be folded over something large. It reminded Jonathan of a mother bird covering her eggs with her own wings. Yes, that was about as close as you could get to describing it. Below the "wings" was a shiny black tube-like structure about four feet in height. Oddly enough, the tube didn't seemed connected to the other part of the structure, yet it seemed to stay together anyhow. And above the wings, topping the whole thing off, were six golden rays about two feet each in length, hovering above the rest of the device.
Neither Jonathan nor Martha said a word. This was no meteor. This was something else entirely. Jonathan's first thought when he saw the odd contraption was that is was a spaceship. But it didn't look like the ones that appeared in movies or in comic books.
A twig snapped behind him, and he saw Martha walking toward the mechanism. "Martha, get back," He hissed. "We don't know what that thing is! We-"
But the rest of his sentence was cut short as the two golden wings unfolded to reveal a huge crystalline orb floating in the air, not attached to anything.
This is it, Jonathan thought, it is a space ship and now it's going to kill us with some death-ray!
Seconds passed, and no death ray came shooting out from anywhere. But the orb began to open. Tiny cracks appeared on the otherwise smooth surface and soon the front side of sphere broke open just like an egg to reveal-
"A baby!" Martha gasped. She had hold of Jonathan in a tight death-grip. "A b-b-baby…"
Yes, it was a baby. And a human baby, too. The poor thing looked to be only a few months old and had a mass of jet-black hair sticking out wildly in different directions. He also had the most beautiful eyes, two light cerulean blue eyes.
"The poor thing!" Martha exclaimed as she reached into the ship (yes, Jonathan had started thinking of it as a ship now) and pulled out a baby wrapped in a tinfoil-like blanket of blue, yellow, and red. "The poor dear! You must have been scared! Were you scared, little baby?" Martha asked, putting her face close to the baby's own. "Well, you don't have to be afraid any more."
"Martha, are you crazy?!?!" Jonathan yelled. "That's a s-s-spaceship and that baby CAME from that spaceship and I … this …. this is too much!" Jonathan let out a deep breath of air and rested his left hand on a nearby tree while the other hand went looking for his hankie. His chest felt all weird and tight. He felt lightheaded. Woozy.
Martha was paying him no attention. She was completely focused on the baby. "All this time," she whispered. "All this time and now my prayers have finally been answered." A single tear slid down her check.
"We can't keep him!" Jonathan exclaimed, having regained his exposure somewhat.
"And why not?" Martha asked incredulously.
"What about that baby's parents? What about that?" As soon as the words came out, he knew that this baby had no parents. At least no earthly parents.
Martha was apparently ignoring him once more. She had opened the blanket a little and took a peek at the baby. "It's a boy!" She exclaimed gleefully.
" What do you mean 'what'? We just can't spirit him away!"
"I know that," Martha said, a sly smile forming over her lips. She was already walking back toward the direction of the truck. "We'll give him to the orphanage and then we'll adopt him!"
"But, but!" But Jonathan knew it was no use. His wife had already made up her mind. And besides, what was wrong with giving the boy to the orphanage? It wasn't like he had any parents around here anyway. But still, the kid came from a crashed spaceship! He was an alien! He was an honest to goodness –
He was an answer to a prayer.
Jonathan looked up into the night sky. The stars were shining brightly and the fat full moon was a huge yellow piece of amber floating through the sky. And then the strangest feeling came over Jonathan Kent, the simple Kansas farmer.
The feeling that everything was going to be all right and better than before.