Day 131 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write a story with a strong focus on the sky.
Erin: The night sky talked to me.
The stars told me where I was from.
The moon told me where I was going.
In the country, I felt whole.
The city made me feel like half of a person.
When the clouds blocked my view my life was stagnant.
When it was blocked by walls or lights I just yearned for making the problem go away.
In the daytime I was drained.
As a human I didn’t function well.
I was made a creature of the night.
Shannon: I woke up when I heard her old bedsprings creaking from her side of the room. She got up every night and I always woke up soon after, but I’d keep my eyes closed. I listened to her open the door and walk out, barely able to hear her steps fade down the stairs.
As soon as I could no longer hear her feet, I’d go to the window and wait to see her out there looking up at the sky. When I first caught her looking up, not long after she joined our foster home, I thought there was something mystical about her actions, like she connected with the sky, and she longed to spend her nights admiring its presence.
Then I looked closer, and I realized she wasn’t just staring. She was looking for something.
I traced her steps as quietly as I could, and whispered her name when I found her lying on her blanket in the backyard. She wasn’t startled, as she calmly raised herself to her elbows. “What are you looking for,” I asked, needing to know.
“They’re coming back for me,” she replied before tilting her head back up. Afraid she had already looked away too long.
“Who are you talking about?” I bit my lip, not sure I wanted to know the answer.
“My family. They promised they’d come back for me,” she didn’t look away. She was so confident.
“Do they fly a lot,” I questioned moving to sit down next to her, trying to make sense of it.
“Yes, that’s the only way they can travel when they come to Earth.” I waited for her to crack a smile but she was serious. Great, my roommate was either delusional or an alien. Actually come to think about it, foster life could be dull at times, and this could be entertaining for once.
“Ok,” I nodded, joining her in looking up. “Can you tell me about them?”
How does the sky drive your story?
Strolling briskly from a curt meeting between myself, a self-obsessed troll of an elf who’d somehow managed to be promoted to the relative top of the food chain without gaining any experience or understanding of the position whatsoever and Jason, a sorely thin worker with a freshly broken nose. For the most part, the conference went as well as could be expected, though the ending could have gone better than my big mouth getting Jason fired. I made a quick note on my cell to take him to dinner at some point and offer something, anything, to the poor guy. As I had my head down, I heard a low, long whistle coming from up above and swerved to glance up, expecting a snowball in the face. For whatever reason, the elves hated every human, even the ones who were attempting to help them, with a fiery vengeance which forced them to act like complete jerks when in public.
I blinked in the brilliantly bright setting sun, but saw no trace of an assassin hiding to assault me with snow; it was a bit unsettling having to check around corners for attackers. Glancing around in a circle, the noise came again. This time, I was staring in the direction with my brows furrowed as I could see no source for the sound. For a moment I stood stock still as elves wandered past, glancing at the insane human and chuckling under their breath, and attempted to spot the cause. After a little while, just as I was about to move, ignore the whole situation as though it hadn’t happened, it came again and I caught a glint shining from the clear sky above me like the first star at night.
Confused, I stepped a few paces away from the cluttered roadway and leaned against the factory building, all the while following the strange sparkling spot in the otherwise spotless sky. Around the edges, the colour was being sucked out of the universe and near the middle, right above the town; the bright blue was deepening to cobalt with streaks of pale white clouds that reflected the sunlight. As the sun reached the horizon line and bled out across the sky, the alabaster clouds soaked up the striking hues, becoming bloody bandages spread thin to cover up the endless cosmos.
Again, the strange whistle came, begging me forward; something touched my mind and told me to follow the sound, almost forcing me toward the wilderness. I could have resisted, decided to ignore it entirely and head to my next meeting, but I leaned into the terrifying turn and walked onto the icy plain on the wrong side of the tracks. Past the buildings’ warm glow, the wind whipped snow about in frosted tornadoes and burned my cheeks violently, bringing a chilly tear to my eye. Whistling in the loneliness, the star began to sing a short tune to me, or itself, as it led me away from civilization.
At that point I could have just turned around and no one would be the wiser of my failed journey or hallucination or whatever this was, but I couldn’t bring myself to pry my eyes from the twinkling stars above. Even as my jacket hood became filled with snow, which dripped down my back and froze to my sweater, I trekked ahead. The sky had died down from the flashes of brilliant fiery hues and was a calm, cool and collected indigo with the occasional spongy cloud glowing with golden light that floated past. After a while I couldn’t tell you if I’d been gone twenty minutes or twenty hours, but the snow was starting to waver and warp before my tired eyes.
When the woman stood before me, I barely recognized her, almost walking straight through the ethereal being in a daze. But she held her star-studded fingers to my face and the world became harsh and cold again; I remembered that I’d been following a mystical star whose whistle echoed off its fellow celestial bodies. “Anemos,” I breathed in a cloud of warm air that drifted into the sky and mingled with the clouds.
She touched the frozen surface of the tundra and it began to crack and give, a chasm forming in the snow and ice that threatened to swallow me whole. Taking careful steps backward, I wanted to shout at her, beg her to stop, but the whistling star continued and was addling my mind horribly. Suddenly, the solid ground beneath my boots was missing and the world was rising too fast before my eyes, blackness licking at the edges of my vision. The last thing I saw before I passed out was the singing star winking at me from the deepening night sky, its whistle slipping from my consciousness like an old earworm.
(This… didn’t end up about the sky. Sorry. I was going to compare the sky from one area to another, and it didn’t happen.)
Heather sits down on a grassy hill just outside the city. She looks off into the distance.
“Shuri said you’d be here,” she hears behind her. Nakia sits down next to her.
Heather sighs, “It’s good to be back on Earth.”
“You don’t talk about your adventure much,” Nakia states.
“I haven’t had time too. I just came back.”
The two stay in comfortable silence, until Nakia brings up what’s been on Heather’s mind, “You could stay here, Heather.”
“No I couldn’t,” Heather dismisses.
“Sargeant Barnes has decided to stay after he heals. Did you know that?”
“No. But my point still stands.”
“What point is that?” Nakia asks patiently.
Heather stares at the slowly setting sun. “This place is… paradise,” she breathes, “but it isn’t home.” She looks at Nakia, determination flooding her eyes, “That’s the only place I’ll truly belong; home.”
Nakia nods, “Wise words.”
“…This place is paradise, though,” Heather says, looking back at the landscape, “it reminds me of my home.”
“No matter what goes on around it, it isn’t affected,” Heather explains, “if I go home, the only way I know things have changed since is because I have changed. Yet, the farm still feels like I’m a ten year old helping Grandpa with the horses.”
“And you miss that?”
Heather takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. Her eyelashes brim with tears, allowing one to trail down each cheek. “Yes.”