A Universe Without Stars


ago
3 min
20
readings
2
Qualified
quiet house

he roamed the empty hallways
feeling like nothing more than a restless spirit
searching for something unattainable
waiting for something that had already past

the old sink was dripping as he wasted away his hours
dripping his life down the drain

he lay, slumped in an ornate chair
staring at the crackling fireplace with hatred
his gaze never seemed to waver less than that

the street outside was fairly busy
girls and boys ran round and round in circles
while his head spun round and round
wallowing in sorrow

his eyes were bloodshot
when he looked in the mirror for the first time
they were swollen, leaking
he must remember to get them fixed
along with the sink

a delicate penstroke started it all
it was his needle to weave a masterpiece
a baton to conduct a grand orchestra
and his greatest downfall

it was only a month ago, but it felt like lifetimes in absence
it played out like a novel, a tragedy
with god as the author

she was pale with fright at his first glance
but nothing like a ghost
her dark locks streamed past her shoulders
while her eyes held an emerald pain

a fire of resilience seared within her bones
defiance of her father, disdain of her mother
though it could be extinguished to a laugh by a simple tease

as the ship’s rocking grew more steady in the weeks
her sea legs did as well
soon, she’d tie knots faster
and weather down storms with strength

she remained beneath the deck at night
refusing to partake in nasty drinking songs and vile card games

he found himself by her side most nights
watching her whenever she seemed distracted

weeks grew into months
they’d race each other to the top of the mast and back again
when the captain was in his quarters
their smiles were wide and eager
fresh faces licked with saltwater

though her hair grew more coarse and tangled
eventually chopped short to a bob
and though her fine clothes were reduced to bare threads

she remained a sunny personality
and he grew to love her light

this was where the novel should have ended
where god shouldn’t have dipped his quill into more ink
for then he wouldn’t have smeared the page
with tainted agony

the day was clear
cloudless and hot
they worked on deck
until one of the suns dipped down

the other was as bright as ever
and like a flower he turned to her
the plant kissed the sun with a newfound love in its heart
one that had taken a beating by the sea

powerful as it was, the sun grew shy
it too loved the plant
wrapping rays around it to keep it close

he hated to continue after this memory
he loathed everything about it
it had cost him, tore him, hurt him

the ink spilled

sun and plant were ripped apart by a dark wave
only to be followed by more
the plant’s roots were its strength
it fought the water it had so long rode

but the frail sun had never been in water
how could it, being in the heavens?

the sun slipped past the horizon, lower than it
into the depth of the dark

the plant had only just broken free of the water’s clutches
when it realized its light was missing

his hand clenched the edge of the desk
the ocean ravaged in his ears
he was in his study
on land and dry

his eyelids tried to cover the pain
but the darkness behind his eyes turned into waves
and he was there again
choking and heaving

and
then
he
dove

some say god is cruel
some say he is merciful
he didn’t carry an opinion of god
he certainly wasn’t thinking of him as he saw her
fighting to resurface

deeper still he swam
heart burning more than his naked eyes

she never became still, which was the trouble
her body writhed
her hair spread out around her
her eyes reflected the haunting of the sea

she looked for him as he kicked lower and lower
his lungs wailed in protest
but he was right there

he could see her
touch her hand
and he did

he took her and kicked upwards, only upwards
she pulled on his hand
she was running out of air
but the surface was close

he breathed out through his nose
a last ditch attempt for extra time
and looked back
about to gesture for her to do the same

and his long time friend betrayed him

a sharp current split them apart
and he heard the most awful sound
he would ever hear in his entire life
a muffled scream underwater, followed by his yell

it echoed in his ears
pulsating, magnifying in his skull
the shrieks of the sunken took her voice
and asked him to join them

she sunk faster and faster away from him
her eyes remained open for only seconds
but a veil of hair passed over her face
and her body relaxed

he broke through the surface
coughing and spluttering
dazed and confused

he had just seen her
held her
but she wasn’t above the water, next to him

he hadn’t left her
he was still thinking of her
his instincts, his body, reacted

saving him
but leaving her

the once radiant sun had now dimmed
2

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