Author : Selso Sam Zaghloul

Cherry woke up at three o’clock local time, sweating and panting. She turned and looked out the window as the light from the smaller moon dripped into the room.

She had the dream again. The same dream she had nearly every night since the colony group had plopped their dull-gray prefab houses on this world. A dream of music, of an unearthly song bigger than everything, and of a light that would consume the heavens.

She trudged out of bed, dragging herself to the sink. She splashed ice cold water onto her face, as if trying to wash out the vision from here mind. It didn’t work. She could still hear the song echoing in here head, and the light dance before here whenever she blinked. She sighed. Cherry wished she had someone to talk to. But the other colonist lived in a compound about ten minutes away; a home to herself was supposedly Cherry’s reward for her work on the soil survey.

But the truth hung there, unspoken. They wanted Cherry and her dreams of heavenly music and all-embracing light as far away as possible, as if she was a useful, but dangerous animal. And maybe they were right to do so, she wondered in despair, maybe she was a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off.

Then she heard it. The same music from her dreams rose faintly into her ears. Cherry listened, at first in fear (this was it, she thought I’ve had finally lost my mind) and then in longing, greater longing than anything she had wanted in her entire life, until she could stand it no longer and ran out into the night, the melody pulling on her soul like a fishing line .

She didn’t care that it was the middle of the night, or that the song emanated from the untamed forest, or even that she was as naked as a newborn. The music made its siren’s call, and Cherry would answer, no matter what.

As she dashed through the spiral pines she nearly ran into pack of gecko-wolves, one the planet’s most vicious predator, who could strip a man to bone in seconds. She barely noticed them as they parted before her as if they were bowing before some sort of holy woman.

She exited the forest near seaside cliff. The Song was coming beneath her, from within the earth. She got on her knees and began to claw at the ground like a dog searching for the last bone in the universe. Hours later, she hit something.

The music stopped.

She had uncovered a black metal surface, barely visible in the light of the second moon. Cherry held her breath, and slowly reached for it with here index finger, trembling in both fear and excitement. The second she touched the metal’s cool surface, veins of light appeared on it, spreading quickly. The structure, a sphere the size of Cherry’s head, bursts out of the ground, knocking her on her ass, and floated over the clam sea.

The sphere disassembled itself into five pieces, like a puzzle in reverse. The floating pieces were still connected by the light, and from that light emerged five new structures, rectangles this time, and they too disassembled, and reattached themselves to the ends of the sphere-pieces. The process repeated-metal structures would come forth from the light, take themselves apart and attach the new individual parts to the ever expanding super-structure that had begun with the sphere.

By the time the larger moon rose, Cherry was no longer sitting before open space.

She was standing before a city.

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