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SHORT STORY: Celestial Beings

July 29, 2010

The Sun sits high above my head now. I feel the heat.

I challenge the Sun and stare into its heart, blinding at first but then beads of fire form the outline of a circle. I close my eyes soon after, a dark blue after-image bleeds through my brain. I try again but can’t hold on long enough to trace that perfect circle in my mind ‑- the edges bend, cave in at the sides and my sun looks ugly, distorted, a random blob in the sky. I don’t look at it anymore, I just squint and stare at the newfound rainbow circles spinning on my eyelashes. These circles overlap each transparent other and disappear when I keep my eyes open wide. I keep looking for circles that day: rubber tire circles, satellite dish circles, four circles on the ‘ScOtt’s WOOd transpOrt truck. None compare to my sun.

I don’t know how far I’ve walked or where. The direction is clear though, away from home. Once I pass the industrial site I travel to a vacant field, jump a barbwire fence to get to it. The rest of my afternoon I spend lying in long grass, waiting for the clouds to finally cover that Sun.

Night creeps slow and uneven. The Day stretches out in sharp slices that the Moon can’t decide whether to reassemble the light or sweep it away. ‘Always indecisive,’ I whisper to her. It’s obvious I like her better than the Sun but she doesn’t need to know that I like her at all.

I try to keep a biting tone, if any, around her. Already I’ve made the mistake of being too friendly with one celestial being — the one who’s circle I couldn’t get out of my head.

Day sprung abruptly, unlike the Night, his arrogance and boldness shines onto every being around him. At first, like most people, I was drawn to the Sun; not because of majestic qualities but simply because I was cold and he was hot. We talked yes but of vanity, photosynthesis, rainbows, heat waves, drought. His accomplishments surpassed mine (if I even have accomplishments to account for).  No mortal can outmatch the Sun.

“For centuries I’ve been worshipped by humans. Has anyone worshipped you before?”

His narcissism burns me, literally, so I can only take doses of his energy; hide from him in the shadows when I can. He hides his face from me at his own will, deeming me unworthy. Once in a while I challenge his. My eyes weave past the searing rays and outline the simplicity of his circle.

The Moon was never one for such games. Her subtle yet illuminating face rarely bears a smile. Although the Sun conquers all Living Creatures, Lady Moonlit is the keeper of Darkness, Mystery and Death.

“Anyone can rule over the living but it takes a master to dominate the dead.”

“Nonsense! The dead remain dead for eternity. A skilled ruler tends to the living, maintaining life is not a simple task.”

“And yet your subjects must eventually decay. Her empire increases faster than yours.”

“What use are a thousand logs for firewood without a match to set the flame? Life is vibrant, active and controls the forces of darkness and light, living and dead. Their span is no doubt short but their reign is superior. What do the dead do? Lay in the earth and allow worms, living worm if I’m not mistaken, consume them?” And then he’d grin and concluded, “Mortals simply don’t understand, especially not lost little girls.”

The clouds still don’t budge and as usual the Moon is late. She isn’t hasty like the Sun. He’s punctual at dawn, rudely dismantling the platform of dusk. At times it looks as though she’s falling from the sky the way he pushes her away. But she stands silently in the corner of the sky observing, not admiring nor judging the Sun’s grand appearance.

Many people enjoy sunsets. Magnificent Sun prepares for slumber with a show of vibrant oranges, yellows and purples that roll across the horizon. I agree it is breathtaking but the sunset is just the red carpet for Lady Moon’s performance.

She pierces a hole in the sky to slide through, creeping in like a late guest. The hole isn’t always perfect, a lot of times its too small and I can only see parts of her, halves of her, slivers. Yes as always she regains her composure and takes command of the sky.

Her ladies in waiting-the ones we call stars — skate on beams of her light, tumbling gracefully in all directions until, as if glued to the darkened sky, halt when the Queen commands, “Stop.”

The stillness is immeasurable. Her light sinks deeper into the sky while she wakes the shadows to life; they slither from all corners of the earth. They do not dance like the stars but consume leftover sun traces and spread a blackness so whole and empty, it sparkles.  One by one the shadows eclipse the land, joining together, constantly growing and changing shapes. With time, it becomes impossible to see your own hand from your face and it is at that moment that the Moon shines her brightest.

I found it a bit vain of her to absolve light one second and then completely embody it the next. I later found out her reasons:

“It’s a universal truth that a celestial being must bring vision to all in its path. To be the key source of light and dominate the sky. Vanity is seeking glory from others, lighting the sky is glorious all together.” She’d frown then begin again, “But you are right. All forms of power are laced with pride. And I’m the daughter of Sun, I can not create the light on my own. I must have inherited at least a bit of egotism from him.” My face must have been smug because before I spoke she spoke. “ You find fault in me which I accept, but don’t expect me to change on your behalf.”

That was the last time we conversed. I like the Moon for that, Sun always has the desire to prove his greatness to me, like I am someone worth pleasing.  But the Moon puts me in my place and will easily have nothing to do with me if she wishes. Celestial beings crave human attention, glorification, awe, recognition even loathing but not one single universal entity outside the Earth has requested a mortal for a friend.

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