Star Fire

Author: Rick Tobin

“There is simply nothing we can do for you medically Mr. Tambor. Digeenia is fatal in mammals, like you. Perhaps someday there will be a vaccine or treatment, but considering its outcome, you might want to choose our pathway alternative. It promises a painless passing.”

Micah Tambor stared at his cabin’s screen. All other lights were off as last stages of illness made his eyes wince at brightness. He was mentally and emotionally prepared for his growing symptoms as muscle and bone transmuted into blue goo, would then harden, and finally, swiftly coagulate into diamond-hard crystals at his last breath. Some called it the ‘sparkling death.’

“I’ve no desire to be transitioned in one of those drug chambers. I’ve traveled widely since leaving Earth. I knew there would be risks. Actually, I have a plan that requires me to continue on my own path, regardless of pain.”

“But Mr. Tambor, you are beloved. You once brokered peace on your world when its nuclear destruction was at hand, then later took your glassblowing arts throughout our galaxy. So many worlds have felt joy from amazing skills and discoveries you brought to them. This station would be judged harshly for standing by while you suffered.”

“I’ve had my time with doctors, but now I must move on for one last wish. When I have finally transformed into glittering dust, I want my remains strewn in the Carson Nebula, just around its edges, in a thin line.”

“That is a most unusual request, sir, but you are, after all, a most unusual being. We will comply as long as you provide a record of your final wishes, in case the universe feels you were mishandled.”

“That has already been done and should be there, on your screen.”

“So it is, Mr. Tambor. Why a nebula, if I may ask?”

“As a glassblower, I always felt that God fashioned similar designs in those dazzling clouds of diaphanous colors scattered throughout the inky skies. Being part of one of those masterpieces, like the Carson, is the finest tribute I can imagine. Fire and color have been my life’s work.”

“But Earth would have wanted your return just once more. What of your family?”

“My family has all gone to their rewards and I never had an inclination to build one of my own. Let Earth and those who cared for my works remember me as I was—a simple artist who happened by coincidence to be at the right moment in history to bring compassion and reason to save the people I loved. I want to be of star fire now, bound in colors of the Almighty, for that gleaming powder may someday be a star. One of our finest Earth poets once wrote:

“Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.”

Micah Tambor’s crystals circled in sweeping arms and twisting currents of space dust around Carson’s Nebula, but within months became a flashing necklace outlining the object in a flurry of spectral wonder— a glassblower’s final touch at the end of his creator’s brush, reminding all who looked skyward that unselfish love can bring both beauty and peace.

3 Comments

  1. SimonJM

    Nicely done.
    Another quick pass of the editing pen would have been good.

Submit a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Random Story :

  • Turned Off

    The girl was only on at night, like all of …

The Past

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Flash Fiction

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries
Founding Member

Submissions

We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.

Voices of Tomorrow

Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.

If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact ssmith@365tomorrows.com