Author: Samantha Walsh

The burst of light was brief, yet all-consuming in the dark which enveloped the very stars that the light seemed to fall from. A descending orb of brilliant flame rocketed towards the ground, striking the dirt with a harsh crack! that startled both my companion and myself. A look between us both, and we understood; we took off towards the crash site, shoving away trifles of bramble and tall weed.

Five minutes of silent sprinting towards the crash site led us to the smell of something burning. Something – though, what, we did not know – was engulfed in flames. Silence rooted us in place as a creature crawled from the fire. It turned to face us, bright flame consuming its wide, pained eyes…reaching for us.

Before either of us could react, it collapsed. I assumed it was dead.

My companion was the first to move. Slowly approaching the flames, we knelt beside the fallen figure, blinking in numb surprise. The vessel had four letters running down the side. Most of them had burned off by now, consumed by the flame.

The creature shuddered once and fell still. Upon lifting its helmet, I could only see that its skin was impossibly pale, with four limbs sprawled out stiff at its sides. Its chest pounded weakly by a thudding beneath before stopping altogether. We could only leave it there, that night; leave it to be consumed by the stars and the distant planet of blue and green twinkling on the horizon.