The word strikes me as I wait alone by the windowsill. The midnight fog is already starting to roll in, covering the streets of Manhattan.
Alone, like the single star in the middle of the vast sky.
I consider writing a poem about the star, maybe even talking to it. But I shut those thoughts down. I shut off any remnant of my peculiarity.
“Only fools talk to stars,” Someone once told me, then they’d go on and on about how the whole world revolves around them.
But Mom did.
She talked to stars, she talked to the sky. And she listened to it too.
“Listen Astra, you can hear the planets singing,” She used to say in that wispy voice of hers.
When I listened, I could hear the soulful whispers and trills.
I still remember the day I sat down next to my Father on the porch of our old house. His hands were covered in grease from a full day at the factory. His face was dusted with dirt, even his light colored hair was dyed black from the grease and soot.
I can hear my Father’s voice echoing in my mind, “Amazing, isn’t it?”
“What’s amazing?” I replied.
“The sky, the stars, the planets. Everything, it’s magnificent.”
I nod even though I don’t understand.
“You know, you have a gift. You can speak to the sky,” He said, taking my hand in his huge, calloused palms. Then he looked straight up at the sky. And I did too.
I lean on the wall and tuck my knees next to my chest. Tears blur my vision.
Stop, I order myself.
Stop being a baby.
But something inside of me is triggered and the tears overflow. They carve rivers in my cheeks. The cheeks Mom used to pinch when she used to sing to me. They drip off my chin and onto my shirt. I try to rub the tears off of my shirt in vain. I wrap my hands around my shoulders.
Eventually I give up, I let my hands fall to my side and let the rest of my tears drip down my face.
I look down at the creaking wood floor. I see the dark shadow of a person at the bottom of the door. I hold my breath, my hiccupy shudders are quieted to small whimpers.
I know people who have already been evicted for making a ruckus in the hallway. I can’t let that happen to me and Father. I doubt he’s allowed to leave me alone here anyway. This is the only apartment we can afford, we spent all our savings on stupid medical bills.
The footsteps recede and I relax a little.
“I’m hungry,” I whisper to myself.
I’ve always had a bad habit of speaking to myself. Before, I would always talk to my Mom. But now, I like to imagine she’s always with me, in the same room, talking back to me.
I step off of the window sill and make my way to the kitchen. It’s a small sink and a microwave. My Father has set up a pile of blankets in the corner he sleeps on. We usually take turns, one person sleeps in the kitchen, the other person sleeps on the couch. The couch isn’t as comfy as you might think. The springs are broken and it’s like sleeping on concrete, the couch permanently smells like old lady and cheap perfume. The owners rented this room for cheap because there’s no oven or hot water. My bare feet are cold against the tiles. Each step sends spikes of cold up the palms of my feet.
I know there’s no food here, Father’s paycheck hasn’t come in yet. Even knowing this, I still rummage through the cabinet. It takes about three seconds for me to open the door and stare aimlessly at the empty, dusty space.
The dark cabinet reminded me of the dark night sky. The shiny metal screws reflected off of the dim lights, shining like stars in the sky. My Mom used to tell me stories about stars, planets and The Nebula.
She used to tell me that there were trillions of dead stars in the universe. I didn’t believe her then, but I believe her now.
Then all of a sudden, I’m eight years old again, sitting on the window sill, back in the blue house we used to have…
She said,” If you sing softly enough, the stars could hear you. I used to respond with the same old reply.
“If you sing softly, how will the stars hear you?”
Then she would smile down at me and delicately laugh. “They can hear you, Moondust.”
Mom would gingerly tap my nose with her finger.
“But what if they can’t, even if I’m singing softly?” I asked, leaning forward so my nose could touch the glass.
She merely laughed again. I loved her laugh. It was gentle and made you feel warm and tingly. Sometimes, she laughed enough, she would start making small snorting noises. She would slap her hand on her thigh and her face would turn red.
“The day the stars stop listening, is the day I die.”
She said this with a grin on her face. But somehow I know she was serious.
I knew she meant this as a warning. Even her stormy eyes looked pleading in the moonlight. What I couldn’t understand was why she didn’t tell me straight then and there that day would come so soon. I wish she would have just told me the truth, or that she would just stay quiet and not tell me this at all.
I close the cabinet door and stand up. I feel myself walking towards the sink, towards the window. The glass looks like someone rubbed water all over it.
Out of nowhere, I start humming. I don’t remember all of the words, but I try to hum the beat.
I stare up at the blinking stars.
I wait for the stars to send me a signal. To send me a sign they can hear me.
In the inky canvas, two stars begin to align.
“What?!” I whisper. I blink.
Another star follows the line.
Then… two others move across the sky to the outer edges.
An X. I realize.
“What does it mean?” I ask.
I know the answer, I’ve heard it hundreds of times in Mom’s stories.
“Look for the X, Moondust.”
I stare at the constellation.
The world was about to burn.
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This was a beautiful story and I loved the name Moondust. I loved the relationship that she had with her mum. You managed to blend sad and lovely together perfectly. Great job!
You are welcome. If you are a fan of stories in Arthurian times, I recommend 'The Buried Giant,' by Ishiguro. It drew me in and wouldn't let go. By the way, I love the affectionate name, Moondust. Nice touch.
"I’ve always had a bad habit of speaking to myself....." Even I do that.....it is hard to get rid of once you are used to it. I really love this story. Looking forward to your stories in the future.
Hehehe, thanks! Since quarantine I've kind of started that habit. LoL. My dog lookes at me like I'm a psycho! XD
wow, this was full of emotion! Great hook, it's what kept me reading. I could easily picture myself in the room, watching Moondust (which is a great name). I like how she related to her mom and seemed kinda distant from her dad, it's a very relatable relationship. Great story!
When is TLO Part 6 coming out?! I'm dying to read it!!!
hmm well...I'm kinda dropping the series because I wasn't very interested in it so yeah
NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Awww, too bad. That was fun to read.
ack i know, but still... I am (hopefully) bringing back The Shadow series tho :) you know what they say, 'write the books you want to see on the shelf'.
Cool! I'll be looking for that!
Very sad and mysterious and evocative. I plan to read more of your stories. One note, your choice, and maybe you intended this, but I would use, 'soles of my feet,' not 'palms of my feet.'
Thank you so much! I'll change it! XD
Chiaroscuro Pt 8!
A beautiful story that delves into family relationships and shows how both parents should engage in the rearing of children. The scenes where mother and the girl, and father and the girl share a talk are endearing. In this piece, the prompt is correctly used. And it not only launches the story but is the framework for the story. Great! Lastly, I so love Moondust - both the name and the character - as I love watching the sky, too!
Hey you looking for book suggestions? I got some: All the books in the roirdanverse (Like percy jackson, and heros of olumpus) A mango Shaped space Series of unforutnate events Land of Stories the inquisitors and more probs
Unfortunately, I've read all of those except the inquisitors and a mango shaped space! Thanks! Never heard of them!
Lol sry bout that. Yeah they're super good books and Mango shaped space is a favourite
I love your story! This is one of the most interesting stories I’ve read on Reedsy so far.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!
Yikes! Please, tell us more... :)
As always, feedback is appreciated! XD Thank you to everyone who takes the time to see the story!!!!
This story is super powerful and emotional! I love how you structured Moondust as a character; you made her both sympathetic and lovable. Great work!
Thanks!!! You made my day! :)
Hey Esther! Would you mind doing my reedsy cast? I need some more characters :)
Yeaaaaah! I’ll totally do it!
Could you shorten the URL by any chance, just to make it easier?
Hey Esther! Have you read Percy Jackson? It's super good!!! At least it is for me. I read the series over and over and over again!!
I have! Nice name! 😀
Have you read Keeper of the Lost Cities?!
I haven't but I should go and borrow it from my local library huh?
This is an awesome story! Also, I love the name moondust.
New Story! Reviews are appreciated!!!
Did you get a new pfp? Love it! Coming to check it out!