In which the heroes of the piece are introduced.
I may actually lead with this, rather than the first part I posted.
Tara Sharpe sat on the trunk of her car, covered in dust. Everything was covered in dust, actually. Tara, the car, the map clutched in her hands, the half-empty water bottle at her side, the seats inside the car, the long, lonely road. All dusty. Or is it sandy? Desert stretched off to every horizon, so it’s probably sandy, not dusty. Lots of sand, and nothing else. Tara felt she was owed some tumbleweeds. Maybe a cactus.
More than anything, though, she needed some gas. Her dusty car sat thirsty and useless on a two-lane highway. As far as she could tell, she sat exactly half-way between the two closest towns. She could go east, back to an asshole ex-boyfriend and backstabbing best friend, or she could go west and possibly die of thirst in the middle of nowhere.
Tara grabbed her dusty backpack from the back seat of her poor old Civic and started walking west. She had walked perhaps fifty feet when she remembered her water bottle. She turned back just as a tall, naked blonde man fell from the sky to crush her car.
He crashed atop the hood with a terrible screech of metal. The entire front end of the vehicle collapsed, crumpling in on itself. Tara saw the man plunge through the engine block as though it were made of tissue, then all was obscured by a massive cloud of dust.
“Oh, come on!” she yelled at the plume of dust rising from the wreckage of her car. “I—come on!” She threw her backpack, and it went skittering across the road to tumble across the sand. She clenched her fists in rage and stormed toward the car.
As she approached, the stench of motor oil nearly overwhelmed her. Bits and pieces of the engine, small metal parts she was certain were vital to the smooth operation of a healthy internal combustion engine, bit into the soles of her sneakers. Closer, a sharp clang rang out, and something the suspected was the radiator began hissing furiously. A sudden jet of steam erupted, clearing away enough of the dust cloud that Tara could approach and peer into the remnants of her car.
The sky jumper lay sprawled on his back, hands and feet dangling over the crumpled edges of the engine compartment. Whoever he was, he was the most gorgeous man Tara had ever seen in her life. Smooth, perfect skin, perfect lips, bright blond hair, well defined and chiseled everything. He was completely undamaged by the fall. When he abruptly opened his eyes, Tara yelped and nearly fainted. His eyes were a bright ice blue.
“Hi,” he said. She just stared, mouth agape.
“This must look a little odd,” he continued. Even his voice was perfect, strong and deep, but with a natural rhythm and melody.
Tara finally found her voice (but didn’t look away). “Yeah, well. When I’m around, things usually fall up.”