Mar 22

The Fallen Star

    A star fell in the field behind the house. 

    Mama was cooking dinner, and Susie was playing with her dolls in the front yard. I was out in the woods, hoping to find the source of the weird sounds that have been keeping me awake the past few weeks. The sun was just setting, the stars starting to peek out in the pink sky. 

    It looked like a comet, the star did. I suppose that is what it is, but logic doesn’t grace my mind in the split second I see it speed into the ground. Dirt and debris flies up a hundred feet upon impact, the ground shaking only slightly. I can hear Mama’s scream from all the way across the field. 

    I am closer to the hitzone than my mother and sister are, so I arrive there first. And the star….

    ...doesn’t look like a star. 

    It looks like a smooth, purple rock, like one of the ones you buy at a museum. 

    Again, logic hasn’t introduced itself to me, as it is clearly not a star, but an asteroid. And despite it having just been a fireball mere seconds ago, it did not appear to be hot anymore. No smoke curled around it, and when I hover my hand an inch away from its surface, no heat arose from it. I dare to place my fingers on it. 

    It is cool to the touch. 

    I hear Mama’s and Susie’s footsteps coming closer, and for a reason I cannot explain, I pick up the rock and shove it into my pocket. It makes an awkward bump against my thigh, so I turn my body away to hide it from my family. 

    “What happened?” Mama cries. 

    “I don’t know, this crater just appeared!” I respond. It is a stupid lie, but how were they supposed to know?

    We hover around the crash site for a bit, then stumble back home, proclaiming the oddity of the situation to each other. The rock feels like a solid representation of my dishonesty in my pocket, but the longer this personal escapade continues, the more I feel resolute in my decision to keep it a secret. It feels as though this rock, this star, this whatever it is, fell so close to me because I am the one who is supposed to have it. It could have dropped anywhere in the world, or have shot past our planet entirely, but no. It landed here next to me, and with me it shall stay. 

    I keep it in the back of my closet. Months pass, and I soon forget about it. 

    Until one night, close to a full year after the rock’s arrival, I am awakened in the night to chirping sounds, similar to a bird. I remember last summer, when I would be woken by odd noises from my window, and in my half-asleep haze, I brush it off as such. It doesn’t cross my mind that these sounds are much louder, and much closer.

    I fall asleep again, only to be ripped from my slumber by a rolling sound. Cursing under my breath, I plod across my dark room to turn on my lightswitch.

    My foot falls on a hard object, making a crunching noise. What in the world could that possibly be? I wonder, irritated. 

    I flick the lightswitch on, and light illuminates the room. 

    When I turn around to see what I stepped on, I almost throw up. 

    It is the rock, the fallen “star.” Except it is hollow, and now it is cracked open.

    And inside it….

    I scream.