Skewers of Starwood

Skewers of Starwood
#1
Skewers of Starwood
  Stax carried a wide bough of starwood to the labyrinthine entrance.
  His expression melded between fear and confidence. His glittering red, starlike corona flared in and out like a breath, and finally he stepped inside, with his intentions finally settled.
  Ternary and binary stars orbited around the lobby and it all felt too large, too large. He stood shorter than the rest of him and meeker than his parents, but he knew from the eye-sides and side-eyes that he was immediately noticed, smallened in the center-front of a cacophonous swirling mass, bodies and bodies slipping apart to ensure his alienation on the moment of arrival.
    He had done this to himself.
      He had earned this from his family.
        Alien.
  His three parents stepped up and began a-conversating. Lilia and Vertra and Metrex in their formation and a barely-facade of hope that their son might be more suitable this go-around. Lilia said, "Is that the branch you're planning to carve?"
  Metrex, "You remember how many people are coming from the far family, right? I hope that's enough to cover everyone."
    Stax: laughter and a slip-off avalanche. "If people don't want it, they don't need to."
  Vertra put her arms in a defensive stance, as fit the family, and her glare flickered a moment. "Everyone's contributions is part of the meal, so. Just be as ready as you can be."
    Stax wasn't ready at all.
  Lilia, "Last year's was a joke."
  Metrex, "Certainly could see this one devolving into another."
  Vertra, "Please do better than that."
    Stax wasn't better at all.
  The connectivity between each solar system and solar body became a mess too complicated to untangle through simple conversation. Some stars Stax recognized, which became his rocks, and yet the longer he'd known them the more resistant he was to go near. Siblings sized and shaped and made differently, with different voices and livelihoods, all incredibly tuned in, tuned in further than in any other previous gathering. They'd all grown up. He heaved the log further over his shoulder and rubbed a moment at his glares, struggling to find an in, a place to present himself. A place with not a soul he knew. For the best.
  He found a smaller couple conversating.
  He introduced himself with a grin which had acid in it.
    "Yes, we know you're Stax," one of them murmured. This was a dim, flickering, short-as-can-be star, which seemed thin enough to simply brush away.
      The other, being the largest and most booming Energetic he'd ever seen, said, "I'm your grand-uncle, and this is my friend! We were wondering when you'd show up."
  Steam broken out of him, Stax recoiled a bit and flat-flinched his grin to stay composed. "Oh, well, then that's all news to me! What are your names?"
  "Eietta," said the friend, "and he is Mezzorett." Their voice, in contrast to Mezzorett, was held back and tense, like a pin's through could snap it.
  But this conversation did not devolve so easily into a broken thought as others had, and instead Mezzorett offered a thick orange arm to offer to shake and star Stax's, who did not respond with much more than stiffness. They said, "I'd heard from your parents that you were out and about exploring the universe!"
  Stax grinned and blinked. "I... er, yes! I'm actually just dropping in for Harbor Night since it's tradition, but I've been flying from place to place for growths and growths. Really, as long as I can remember."
  "That's amazing." Mezz beamed beams, wresting his arm on Stax's broad shoulders. "The Energetics in our quart of the family are so stationary-- we go where the solar wind takes us! It was only this growth we got to come to Harbor Night proper, after hearing about it so long." He began to beckon both him and Plett to a triangular corner table, where the symbol of a great nebula was stricken on in embroidered far-cloth.
  With a little uncertainty, Stax hazarded, "How have you heard of me, exactly? I don't mean to talk about myself so quickly, but was it anything about my previous contributions?"
  "Not a thing," assured Eietta.
  "I'm guessing you were truly the life of the whole place, eh?" chuckled Mezz.
  To that, Stax just mainstayed. He nodded absently and went right along with such a thing without a second thought, or with plenty of second thoughts. "I'm just hoping to outdo myself with this round."
  He hoisted the bough of starwood onto his own lap.
    He stared at it.
      He stared at it.
        He stared at it.
  Eietta sat back and the iron chair swivelled a little bit against the thin star's intense weight, relaxing some. Mezzorett remained intensely interested, his form almost encircling Stax. "Tell me about life as a wanderer, grandkiddo. I assume you're jetting around the place in something nice and fast, keeping your senses up? You don't look a hint bloated over one-hundred, and yet you've got the confidence of a real geezer."
  "Oh, you know!" Stax exhumed, from some readily false confidence. He'd been trying to feed his own ego for growths, and this was a shift into the pit of discomfort. "I've been looking all around for people and... sights and sounds, and everything. But I don't want to be a tourist, so I usually find some kind of center spot and just orbit around for a few growths, really make my mark on the whole... the whole deal around that. I recently found this place called Kethobos, which I'm..."
  Mezz threw himself in, glares wider than before. "What have you seen as of late?"
  Entranced by entrancement, Stax continued. "...well, all these little moons orbit Kethobos! They're not too much more than acid-salt vertices, compared to what I've seen in some places, but the way they cycle is the basis for an entire society a thousand stars away. That society and the society of Kethobos have never communicated, but one influences everything about the other!"
  "Two particles in lockstep, eh?" mused Mezz. "You know, it's those kinds of things you get a chance not to just tour around, you get to really see and understand. Generations past and before us, I'm sure Energetics will be simply spending their energy basking in their own lights, but you're shining something into every place."
    Stax meant to mention, but absolutely didn't mention, the fact that he didn't shine or light up a single thing in his vicinity, the fact that this little oddity with Kethobos was nothing more than something for him to point and laugh at.
      For a moment, he wished it were more.
  He said, "I do mean to start writing about it all, one day. You know, really scholar and dollar it out. I'm sure people like those kinds of... er, pointless rehashes of things they could go and experience instead."
  To the side, Eietta finally spoke in, quiet enough that the bustling room behind them was nearly enough to drown out, and yet loud enough to completely silence Mezz. "Won't always have the chance to experience everything. The growths move on, and entropy recycles everything. You're doing a noble thing."
  Stax glimmered a second in pause. "...you know, that's quite the good thought."
  "Eietta's full of good thoughts!" Mezz harrumphed and knocked on the table thrice. "I have no clue how you two haven't met 'til now, with all the traveling you do. I guess both of you aren't that great at meeting new people!"
  "Mmm," hummed Eietta.
  "Right," muttered Stax.
  When the red starman asked in particular where in the family Mezzorett was from, he didn't get anything like a direct answer. So far away, he assumed, that the both of them had no clue of Stax's unspoken alienation-- and so their conversation was such a beautifully blank canvas. But unlike each canvas before that, he felt compelled to... try. Try. His words were a little more restrained, and yet he was comfortable saying more of them. He leaned forth in interest. He even asked questions without compulsion, spoke about himself at least somewhat humbly, and in the span of ten minutes he had almost come to like the both of them, to some degree. When Eietta said the few things that they did, it made something of a spark shoot throughout Stax's surface.
  "The starwood is your contribution, then?" asked Mezz.
  "Yes," Stax said, chuckling. "You know, it's always struck me as such a strange thing, the whole ritual of it all! I don't know anyone else who's even ever worked with starwood, and it's not like any of them could help assist, or teach me a thing. I have to leap into it with no precedent. It's ridiculous!"
  His grand-uncle's expression drooped a little. "Mm. You may be missing the point of the exercise, then. Each starsystem has its own specialty, and it must morph from growth to growth. I can't say I've been here for any others, but..."
  "It's always a little flawed," said Stax, folding his arms in defense. "Nobody's coordinating the thing. It's inevitable somebody will screw their part up and make the pot boil for the rest of everyone."
  Eietta spoke quietly without a hesitant moment. "You don't just try to figure it out?"
  The starman shook his head. "Disaster."
    Or projected disaster.
      Or imagined disaster.
        Disaster in self-doubt, self-hate and frustration.
          It had never gotten so bad as when Stax presumed it would.
            They'd always solve without Stax.
  He hoisted it up back onto his shoulder once the room became organized enough to announce a start to things. There was mixed confusion and rejoicing for the lack of a disturbance or self-uprighting speech from Stax, and the bit most anticipated and most time-consuming was due to begin. Harbor Night was a celebration of a grand escape-- one so far-flung in the past but which was still reason for Energetics to eat and cavort and plan. When a few dozen Energetics finally made their escape from a Harbinger hyperstructure and started an independence for their species, each member of that escape had a role in the grand plan-- and thus so would the ensuing ritualistic ceremony.
  No knowledge would be passed on. No part would be shared between a great number of people. Every slice of the family would integrate their own ideas, and only through the combinatorics of insanity would there be anything edible at the end. It was Stax's worst nightmare, and he had never seen it succeed.
    He'd always leave before then.
      He'd always eat dinner at a Starmark instead.
  He followed close with his ingredient-tool and close with Eietta and Mezz, where a great number of kitchen extensions had been arranged for each of the fifty Energetics who had turned up, and a handful of others which would not be used due to absence, surely making the rest of the plan fail. Stax slyly grinned at his unaware companions as each step of the arduous process began. It would take orbits upon orbits.
  It began with the oldest-- grand-grand and great-great ancestors from far beyond Stax's time, even. Six gigantic rettin shells began to be corrugiblated, then stirred acternally-- then a vret was forced into a blender and transformed both into a crakk. There was no applause or laughter, there was no explanation, just a down-the-aisle observation of each and every old and withering star and their new flavor of tired art. Certainly during his adventures Stax had seen many of these different techniques done by the virtuosic and typical, but this was far from a celebration or even a snobby, patronizing museum tour. His family were entirely nonsensical fakes.
  But, then, there was Mezzorett. After he'd gone and done his activity with little fanfare, readying a couple infinitely long carrots with the flick of an arm, he returned with barely contained giddiness amidst the travelling crowd. "This is incredible!" he murmured, tapping Stax on the arm.
  "--Why?" he asked in return.
  "I know it's a taste fitting nothing else here, but I'm just so interested to see how it works from here! It's going to be chaos."
  Stax frowned. "Well... yes! Yes, it's going to be, but I don't see why you want your obviously competent work developed into chaos. That sounds absolutely stupid."
  Mezzorett boomed in laughter, and a shifting of the moving bodies indicated that it wasn't entirely expected by the rest of them. "Everyone does their job well independently, and so the whole works out. It's got to, hasn't it?"
  "No?" asked Stax.
  Eietta, not far, chittered some. "Seems like you don't want to stick around."
    "I've got to do my section," Stax said, quieted.
  His mothers Lilia Vertra and Metrex delicately arranged strigu into lines of paste, plucked a fax's trett modifier for its liquid, and harvested ev mos for a half-orbit, respectively. As each new participant in the line of nonsense became younger and younger, Stax's anxiety grew more than it ever had. He started gently tapping at the surface of the wood in his arms to test their strength. He glanced around for help. There was no help, not an inch of it. But now and then Mezzorett would whisper curiously about what activity was being performed next, and trying-knowledgeable Stax replied with begrudge, and then puffed out his corona once again in the blindingly bright crowd.
  "I can't wait for yours," Eietta stated, muted, and yet audible in the way that words never should. They echoed throughout his head. He was trapped in it now.
    He'd never worked with starwood in a proper context.
      Well, he had. He'd practiced. But he'd never done this.
        He'd done this thousands of times to prepare.
          He'd never gotten this far.
            He'd failed every time he'd gotten this far.
  Before, before, before-- but he was stuck utterly in the moment as his slightly younger siblings went one-by-one tumbling into the grinder, one literally. They each came out with conviction and that hint of satisfaction, and as time approached he felt glare on him like a solar storm. Now even Mezz remained quiet as Harbor's Night approached its ultimate moments, and the starwood was weighing on him, and his entire center began to shudder at the gravity of it all, and the gravity of those around him.
  He had always considered that eventually he would escape their orbit.
    But they invited him back.
      They always hoped for better.
  And so he hoped for better, and so he hopped time would finally stop or slow enough for him to do something about his inevitable path to the center, but not even the disturbing calm of Eietta's voice wishing him luck could bring the blistering spotlight off of him.
  He stepped forward to his station, which was a small desk with one singular cosmologistic knife and blocky chair. He ionized in abject horror, slid slowly into his seat, set down the branch of glistening starwood, and began to carve.
  Stab.
  Slash.
  The wood parted too easily and held up too well.
  Slash.
  Stab.
  He cut in jank-lockstep and peeled bark with unsteady hands.
  Stab.
  Slash.
  With a little jab, Stax tried to cut away nebulae, without any success.
  Slash.
  Stab.
  Each whittle of the blade multiplied difficulty and workload.
  Stab.
  Slash.
  He screamed without words and chuckled weakly and thought about breaking away to stab someone.
  Slash.
  Stab.
  A pile of skewers.

[Image: gKCr8WS.png]

  An incredibly large pile of sloppily-carved skewers of starwood, glistening brightly, only barely befitting of the mighty stars and starry skies which made up his family. He shakily stood up and crumpled the chair to the side in defeat, feeling his body momentarily drift into a Stax he had never been before-- utterly wracked with fear and disappointment in himself. He slithered a bit to a blank-faced crowd of the glow and wormed inside of the center so he could stay still and matterless.
    Lilia stepped out of it for a moment to lean her white-hot body forward, staring at his work.
      She came on back.
        She was scowling some, glare pierced.
  The final commencement and the very youngest besides Stax in the sprawling star-mesh was a red streak half his height, who stepped to his station of pots and pans, banged two together, laughed its tinny cosmic laugh, and then ran back into the crowd. Two embraced him; there was a smattering of approving words. The red starman melted into himself.
  Those with more experience called an end to this section of the ceremony while Stax began to feel his core implode a tad. Pain wreaked through his body in waves, and as he pressed a steaming hot arm against a steaming hot chest, he felt nothing improve. Sections of the crowd broke off, and broke off, and broke off, then a collection of shouted, barked commands put the world into motion. Ah, look! they said. We've got ingredients here that will work together. Here, and here, and here.
  Shouts and scattered applause. He noticed stone-faced geezers suddenly giddy in delight for one creation or another, but as he slowly retracted back to his station and sat unsteadily back in the blocky and malicious chair, he only stiffened in demeanor. He no longer had reason to make himself vulnerable or even present. It was already over. He had already failed.
    For the second time.
      third.
        fourth.
          fifth, and so on
            and wordlessly condemned for an attempt.
  And this was his place again at the center, wordless. Stax stared onward into the bustling room of excitement and pride which was utterly absent from him, or that he chose not to participate in for any hundred of reasons, and plastered a V-grin sickly smile for what would end up being orbits upon orbits upon orbits, as the meal took horrifying shape out of cobbled-together mess until finally, finally, finally, it started looking wholly decent.
  That was the worst part-- it began to look decent.
  But finally he was approached by the only person, seeming, that cared enough to try and incorporate his half-shavings half-bark skewers of starwood. Mezzorett bumbled over and slammed himself down in a carried-over chair, beaming. "Alright. Mmmph, alright, I think I've worked out how to get these skewers into the meal!"
  Stax sunk a little in a mix of surprise and anguish. "You really don't have to do that. I'm completely aware how badly I screwed them up. Far from... worst, and yet horrible. I hope that gives an idea."
  Mezz simply grinned, starting to pick up the stiff skewers and inspect them with two weathered glares. "I've never even seen the things made. Willing to bet they're a real tough task. We'll skewer everything on 'em-- it fits perfectly! It's the last step to things."
  "Nobody's ever said that to me," Stax murmured. Then he composed himself, brought his corona to grips. "No, but-- no. I really... don't think you should use them, after all. At all. I'll just come back and--"
  "Why?" The large star leaned forth on the table, still gripping one of the skewers lightly. "Why not use 'em?"
    Stax's face scrunched up a little in pain, again. It seeped into him and began to pour.
      All over, surface flaring.
  "Not a single person here thinks they're worth a care," he simply stated. "They haven't in previous years. They've even tried, but it's never right for what they're doing. Despite it all!"
  "Pick something else, then? Somethin' you think would work better?"
  The red starman broke a little and started to speak in a way befitting of a neutron collapse.
    "I never asked to start carving starwood to make skewers. I have no mentor, I have nobody to learn from or compare myself to. It's what I set out to do and
      it's never been worth anyone's time.
        It's never even been worth the effort of coming here to disappoint people! I mean,
          typically disappointing people is just an incredible thing, truly, but,
            not family,
              who continue to want me to improve
                but I never do."
  Mezzorett sat still a second. He inhaled a great deal of the hydrogen-rich air and put it out again, form shifting slightly as he grew unsure. But with a little triple-tap of his gleaming knuckle against the cosmologistic table, all that shakiness disappeared, and his starry form glowed brighter than before. "I'm sure they don't think all that. I haven't known you long, grandkiddo, but you're trying your damnedest. I'm willing to bet half of the whole thing is these charlatans don't know how to properly skewer a meal!"
    These words were meaningless.
  Without allowing another word of protest from Stax, Mezz gathered the pile of misshapen skewers of starwood and heaved them into his wide arms, and began carrying them in wobble-step to the rest of the arranging stations. There was a moment of pause from each person he met up with, but even from a distance away Stax could watch his grand-uncle convince each and every one of them to start skewering the meals-- to turn hand food into street food and finally 'complete' the Harbor Night, in his own little way. Eventually he was joined by his meek little friend in Eietta, and in this agonizing moment watching things go well, Stax started to brandish a broken little grin.
  The food was plated, prepped, thrown together and welded together. Ternary clusters began baton-passing the skewered concoctions between each other in telephoning fashion, and within moments every sun in the room was holding their finished meal. Stax could even spot the convenience of it-- a long handle to keep the orbiting, horrific mess away from your hands.
  Harbor Night had served dinner.
  Stax stared at the brutalized branch of starwood in a bed of sparkling sawdust.
  But they would not eat just yet; a moment came when he scatter-form crowd made room for a stood-up podium with stairs, which was slid in loudly and aggressively to the center of the Harbor Night universe. Then with a silenced fanfare Stax could watch the announcer, being Eietta, stand up and start to speak. From the very first words, he could tell there was little planning to it all. There was little planning for anything.
  Eietta said, "Okay, I think we can calm down a little." They chuckled softly, and a crowd followed suit.
    "I was contacted-- by someone a lot of you know, Mezzorett, to speak up here. I'm only a family friend, but I'd like to think that the growths have been leading up to this for a while now. Energetics all over the universe have their own way of celebrating what happened on Harbor Night, but this one really takes the cake! Or the... whatever we've cooked up." Another splatter of laughter.
      "The story has really been mangled over time. Most young folks like to think it was some kind of daring escape, Harbinger baddies and all." Eietta leaned their head from side to side, huffing. "It was more like... a formal agreement to leave, accompanied by the most inane and convoluted plan ever conceived. I should know! I should know, since-- haha, uh. I guess I should say. I was there." The stars dimmed in confusion.
        "I was there for the original Harbor Night, and no tradition like the one celebrated by this particular family has really embraced the spirit of it. I think nobody knows what's going on! But that's okay. We're all working together. Seeing that reminded me of all those times back in the day. I'm one of the last ones left after all that.
          "I am one of the last ones left, and I'm honored to have been invited to-- to have been welcomed towards a family so wonderfully inviting, friendly, and ingenious. I'm thankful that this inane plan to make this meal today was sealed together by one of your youngest, Stax, with these skewers of--"

    The starwood across the room suddenly burst.

[Image: MrABnHY.png]

  A cacophonous explosion of sound and color and mist, quixotic rays shattering into the air as each and every skewer lost composition at once. It had been aged appropriately, the bough, composed just rotten enough to explode during a moment of peak starlight. Infinite carrot stems atop glittering far-dust sailed into the ceiling. Fax trett modifier liquid coated guests in a warm sauna and lines of strigufungi began growing and flaming all at once. Every Energetic attempting to shield themselves would rapidly find their arms lathered in a steaming layer of wiggly arms.
  Stax sat still.
  In a moment, every star realized what had just occurred. Every relative swivelled to face the beaming, half-broken Stax who sat still and sat still and squirmed and held every expression in stasis except for a frozen and pained grin. The agony overtook him; the glares overworked him.
  Mom, and mom, and mom, in unison: "Ruined."
  He finally pulled his collapsed star of a form upwards and stood up out of his chair, pushing all the equipment away until he was standing. Then, with a smile, he started to announce thusly:
    "Oh! I must have aged it too much before getting here."
  It was no accident, though he could have lied and construed it as such. It was no act of pettiness or misunderstanding, or a directed attack on a soul in particular, or even a message. Stax stared deep back at the pity, anger and disappointment in him, and once it was all out-- once he could even see Mezzorett suddenly sink into a face of betrayal and confusion, he no longer felt any of it. He was freed of the obligation to do well. He had already done his worst.
  Stax walked without another second glance from the interior of the vast kitchen to the lobby of the vast home until he had pushed aside two wide carbon doors and entered the vast outdoors of a darkstar. Once he was out,
    he broke down,
      and began to sob deeply
        into the ground.
          Star-filled liquid formed a tiny pool below him
            and he waited for the moment to leave.
  It took many moments for the moment to leave. It took more than he expected. He felt himself trying to feign an expression again, but it didn't easily come. He found himself standing up and congratulating himself. He found himself saying, "What did you expect, exactly?" He found himself muttering and then yelling, "You should have stayed to see how they responded." Then he was out, an Energetic without energy, drained of anything solid, and his gaseous under-form walked from the house to a small ridge of charred dirt, where he fell, and sat, and waited.
  He wasn't particularly sure for what. Some shards of himself were still left on the ground, and he needed to wait for them to return or die off. It wasn't as easy as every other time.
  It took longer.
  It took so long that he didn't ever feel himself picking up the pieces.
  Instead, after so long had passed that he'd forgotten how he got there, Stax was greeted with the short and wiry figure of a star exiting Harbor's Night early; inevitably Eietta, again, now standing at a shadow's height that felt immeasurable. They gave a meek grin, sauntered over with difficulty over the blackened dirt, and then sat beside him.
    "You're not gone yet?" they asked.
  Stax put out a small burst of plasma and answered with sharpness, hostility. "No, I've got to see how people exit! You can't wash off all what just blew up in their faces." He grinned.
  "Your mothers tell me you generally leave after making the skewers." Eietta took in some of the thick atmosphere. "They hadn't ever gotten used before."
  "It doesn't matter." Stax stared ahead. "I brought near-rot starwood so that it'd blow up in someone's face. It's their fault for inviting me again and again.
    "Oh, because it's family, surely I'll be better off this time.
      "But it's never good enough."
  Eietta nodded slowly, and hummed. "That sounds right." However, they tilted their head to the side, after-- staring the starman in his unfocused glare. "But you didn't want it to happen. The moment you met Mezz, I think you wanted to reconsider."
    "I wanted to see," he said, "if the skewers would go well. And of course they didn't. It's impossible. It was a task I set myself up for and never could improve on."
      Eietta sat up. "I think you met somebody you didn't want to disappoint."
        "That's every person! It's always going to happen." His smile grew bitter.
          "But you didn't want it to."
            "But it did."
  He sunk into the ground a bit, angry like a kid. His whole body quaked and boiled with plasmatic afterburst. "I'm sure they put you up to this."
  "No," said Eietta, "I think you really might have made them give up on you."
    Sting.
      He recoiled a bit and felt an arrow in his chest.
  "...Good!" he announced, unable to contain his sudden and irrevocable anguish. "That's what I've been waiting for! Dozens and dozens and dozens of growths in my life spent failing at the same task an idiot can do, dozens of growths making little mistakes they never forget about. I stopped trying a long time ago. I'm glad I don't even have to fake it anymore."
  ...
  A quiet moment passed, wherein the starman reached a point of true and agonizing acceptance.
  ...
  Eietta slowly reached over an arm, and wrapped it around his shoulder. "I don't know you, Stax, but I'm sorry."
  Stax suddenly burst out in a chuckle, still shaking, still worse for wear, past some kind of threshold of destruction. His snapped-in-half voice went, "You were really part of Harbor Night? Part of the whole jailbreak?"
  "Mhm! Eietta SDSS." They laid back, mirroring the chuckle. "Seems unlikely, with the time between us and then. But I was there in the earliest days of Energetic servitude to Harbingers, when we made the decision without knowing the consequences. It wasn't a grand escape, but it was memorable enough to have made a difference." They gazed off for a moment. "Our plan to escape was as convoluted and confusing as this whole event with your family. The difference is you shouldn't have to fight for your place in the world, here."
  "Yeah," he muttered. "I guess that helps put the whole thing into context."
  "I hope so."
    "I don't know why, Eietta, but something in me feels good about having ruined things. I've tried so many times in the past and it's never worked. But the fact that I got somebody I'd never met to trust me, and the fact I had to just watch, knowing I'd blast away any chance of being part of the family... it's just hilarious, you know! I don't have to think about making it up to them or a second chance anymore. It's just over."
      "Good feeling? You're sure that's a good feeling?"
  Stax stiffened a little, finally turning to face the small Energetic. "...No, ha. It's not a good feeling at all. I suppose I just don't really know what the alternative is."
  Eietta said, "I hope you get a chance to find out."
  After a moment's hesitation, Stax said, "You're a pretty nice star, you know."
    "And we're still talking, aren't we?"
      "We'll see for how long," Stax chuckled.
        "Why not the rest of the night?"
          He felt something flutter inside him.
        ...
      ...
    ...
  But he relented.
  Stax could not motivate himself to stay and try; even in the face of a great attraction he relented to the feeling of weightlessness and throwing himself out of his family's orbit. His shards had been put back together. After an excruciatingly long conversation with an excruciatingly forgiving star, Stax finally
  sat up,
    stood up,
      wept a little longer,
        and began to make the long trek away from home.


A Starwood BoughShow
[Image: vXCAe9O.png] [Image: tKD6Zjr.png] [Image: CzJL2j4.png]
[Image: afkF4Z7.png] [Image: laXOQ6l.png] [Image: 6SlA6Oy.png] [Image: rwi0EBt.png]
[Image: IJhRwJC.png]
Quote