Among the Stars

“Commander Cassie, we’ve made contact!”

Cassie looked up from her makeshift repair job on the wing of her ship.  The landing into the alien atmosphere had done a number on the vessel, and the wing, normally straight as a rail, had bent upward at a ninety-degree angle with a large tear near the tip.  Cassie had managed to beat the wing more or less back into shape, but the tear proved harder to repair.  Luckily, after foraging through their dwindling supply cache, she had found one last roll of All-Purpose Binding Strips.  Those babies could hold anything together.  The ship might not look pretty, she thought, but it would fly.  It had to, in the event that contact with the native inhabitants of the planet went awry.

Which, given the history of past expeditions, was a definite possibility.

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Once upon a time, a story took root
In a young girl’s heart.
It was a simple one, full of daring
And adventure and fights worth fighting.
She could not know
When she first encountered the tale –
Young as she was –
Just how deep it would burrow into her soul.

But it did.

It dug deep enough to grow with her,
Deep enough to survive her metamorphosis
From girl to woman without surrendering
Its hold at the core of her being.

She ignored those who scoffed –
Those who could not see the value
Of such a story in a place as harsh
And unyielding as reality –

For the tale held her close
When she needed comfort.
It emboldened her
When she needed strength.

It preached kindness,
And so she strove for empathy.
It valued bravery,
And so she strove for courage
In all things.

Yes, it was easy to ignore
The naysayers –
Almost as easy as it was
To pity them.

For where were their own tales?
Where were the stories to fill the sails
Of their own dreams,
Pushing them forward
Through the tempestuous waters of life?

The Flower Man

Under neon lights and a haze-filled sky in which no astral light but the moon’s brilliance is strong enough to shine through – and even then only as an indistinct orb glimpsed through a thick veil – the flower man walks the streets. The city is well known to him; every alley, every chasm in the sidewalk, every half-starved palm tree eking out an existence on long-neglected roadway medians are comforting in their familiarity. Continue reading