On the edge of the world, they looked out across the sky.
A head above him now, Strella stood straight-backed, hands clasped in front of her like she’d always been taught. There were no people of importance, position or power around now, save for her father.
‘Wonderful, isn’t it?’
Beside her, he stooped. His hair felt the caress of an ever-closer death, white with the shock of all he’d seen. It crowned him like wisps of softly spoken words, uttered in reverence and ceremony. His hands were not held like hers, but gripped a short and smart rod, supporting his frail frame. Her father appeared stronger than he was now, bedecked in flowing robes of nobility. A heavy chain of office swung around his neck. Grand, dazzling, and to Strella, a reminder of the trappings of his position. It was as though he became his adornments, and they sapped everything from him. His own self melted into them, barely there, becoming ethereal underneath their weight.
She half-nodded, eyes transfixed at the stars laid out in front of them like silver threads, winking. An endless sea of potential, places she could visit. From the corner of her eye she looked at the chain around her father’s shoulders, drooping low down towards his chest. A trapping that was bound to become hers. Or, rather, she was bound to it.
Strella held back a huff, keeping her eyes forward and her base thoughts to herself.
‘Which one was your favourite?’
The question came out before she had a chance to think about it too much. Her father didn’t falter as she expected he would. His hands didn’t quiver, his eyes didn’t move. She watched him, again from the corner of her eye, trying to gauge a reaction. Nothing but a slight smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, fighting against his sense of duty and properness.
‘There.’ His hand moved slightly so he could point. A myriad stars clustered around the point of his finger, no single one standing out. They all twinkled at the pair stood on the viewing deck. Strella held back all the other questions flowing into her mind, waiting for him to speak again. In his age he liked to think on things, and she’d learned to be patient for as long as it took him to think on what he wanted to say.
‘It’s an old, old place. Not full of much. Not really advanced in any way beyond the usual. Some would consider it a dumping ground, really. Where a lot of lost and forgotten and obsolete things end up.’ He paused. She waited.
She waited longer. Held her hands together tighter.
‘Why did you like it so much?’
This time, his smile was full, broad, and with it, his eyes lit up with the light of all the stars.
‘You were born there, Strella. Born out of those stars there. Our astral child.’
A piece I’m really interested in continuing and turning into a longer piece.
The original prompt for #6 was something entirely different – ‘Eye Contact’ – which will be the title of a short piece I’m producing for my current academic project. I didn’t want to publish something online which will end up being part of a larger collection (or, not yet, anyway), so instead I snatched a prompt off a different website and rolled with it.
I’m fascinated by the stars, astrology, the cosmos, and anything to do with space. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from all the “red shift” and “quantum” stuff, though, and just imagine.