Author : Michael Merriam

“We never had much,” she said. “The freighter was our life. Now it’s all lost, ripped apart by a neutron star.”

I sat next to her. I couldn’t answer. My mind was dazzled, my eyes locked on her naked body stretched out on the bed we shared. She reached out her arms, and I fell into her embrace.

My lips on her neck, I stroked the flat of her stomach, reached beyond with one hand until she pulled me onto and into her body.

I was a silly child. She had over two decades on me, my lovely, melancholy lover.

Later — days or weeks later — we sat on the rocks overlooking the dead lighthouse, long abandoned, nature carving it up.

“Do you think the stars will give back what they have taken, at the end?”

“I don’t know.”

And I didn’t. I still don’t.

She was a beautiful burning demon, all alabaster skin and black hair. She seemed an artist’s creation, unreal, ethereal. In that moment she frightened me.

“I think they will.” She turned, leaned on me. I place an arm around her, held her tightly.

Soft sobs and crashing surf were all.



A cool breeze blew off the sea as I watched the crowd gather like ghouls and vultures. The white and red van, its ugly blinking eye atop, sat parked with doors open wide. I didn’t need to go down. I knew.

I didn’t travel to Mars Station to see her casket fired into the sun, as was her right as a navigator. I didn’t want to watch it blaze in the an instant before evaporating or deal with dour strangers and weeping women, black shrouded, staring, whispering, asking questions I wouldn’t answer.

I would remember my lover for her laughter, her sweat-covered skin after sex, her gentleness in all things.

“Do you think the stars will give back what they have taken, at the end?”

“I don’t know.”

I still don’t.

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