Author : Elisa Nuckle

The star in the sky doesn’t move anymore. It blocks out all other light. Something new has come. She looks up through her mask and sees the colors of space, not so empty after all. Blues and yellows and browns and reds and whites. The particles that built their wandering home, that built everything.

If they could repair it, maybe it would leave at last. His presence remains unexplained. She’s certain the star is male, but no one believes her. He hums to those that listen. There are stories in the melodies she refuses to believe. Strange tales of pale creatures with hair and exposed eyes. Beautiful. And terrible.

He was a plea for help. That much she can make out. She spends more time near it and finds its white surface provides a certain calm, despite her people falling apart around her. He has ruined their traveler, destroyed their fuel resources. There are fights. Death, even, but she only listens to his desperation. Her mask shows the threads of heat that weave its shell like a moving picture. The more their traveler wanes, the stronger he becomes.

Finally, he invited her to see the fruits of his labor. A small hatch opens only for her. It smells of rain, a thing she sees in her dreams along with vast expanses of choppy blue waves. An ocean planet caught in its death throes. She steps into the black and is met with nothingness. Stars begin to twinkle, and she finds space mirrored to her. Her hand unhooks the familiar clasps. For the first time, she can breathe without the mask. The air is fresh, dense and clean. And in the distance, past a dusty red orb, lay the beauty that haunted her sleep. The blue planet.

He couldn’t save them, so he found a way to preserve their memory. She was his final witness, and she would not forget.

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