I lay on my back in the sleeping bag, head pillowed on crossed arms, no tent between me and the sky. The meteor shower was supposed to peak around four in the morning, but I wasn’t so sure I could make it that late. Early? I never know how to talk about the time between midnight and sunrise.
I know how lucky I was to find that clearing. After a long day of hiking, it was a godsend to find somewhere tailor made for watching the night sky. The moon was the merest sliver of light; only a new moon would have made for better viewing.
I snuggled a little deeper into my bed under the stars, the soft rustle of nylon and polyester singing me a sweet lullaby of peaceful, warm comfort. I smiled to myself as I saw my third double meteor of the night. I don’t know why two shooting stars at the same time make me feel that way, but they do. Like it doesn’t really matter how much we’ve screwed up, that things will still be okay in the end.
I dozed off for a little while, but when I checked my watch upon waking, and it was a little after three. I felt rested enough to stay awake for a while, so I felt around to my right until my hand touched my water bottle. I took a slug and looked at the sky.
I took a gander at some of The Blog Propellant’s former prompts, and found another of my favorite kind! I love the challenge of including every suggestion in one coherent story.
Henry looked up at the few stars above that he could see peeking through the trees at 3 am. He’d had a long day on the trail, and didn’t feel like setting up an entire camp when he was done for the day. With no chance of rain, a perfect ratio of breeze to ambient temperature, and few bugs, he had felt secure in his decision. Now he began to reconsider.
Maybe it was a sound that woke him, some creature stirring in the woods nearby. He had no way of knowing and only sleeplessness to show for it. He shifted on his sleeping pad and had a sudden thought: the moon won’t leave me alone. A sincerely odd thought to have, especially on a night when he couldn’t see the moon from where he lay. A very Leto II thing to say, even. A shiver shook through him, and he closed his eyes with purpose. It was time to get back to sleep. Another long day tomorrow.
Sleep refused to come. Henry counted sheep until New Zealand was empty, and still his mind refused to rest. He decided to let it wander where it would, in hopes that he would bore himself to sweet, sweet sleep.
He could still see the shapes of the constellations on the backs of his eyelids, and that led him to think about his fling with the astrologer a few years back. She was always talking about the stars and planets, which he could understand, seeing as how astrology was her first love. He never got into it, though. That was the underlying cause of their breakup: his inability to care enough to appreciate the house that Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius built.
These thoughts led him to consider another former girlfriend, and her preoccupation with ‘the green man of the wood.’ Henry had never gotten a satisfactory explanation for her fascination, so he simply let it go. He blamed this quite admirable ability for most of his relationship choices. Friends of Henry’s caught on to this quickly, and began to set him up with odder and odder girls.
The problem was that Henry liked many of these girls, while his friends did not. He grew more and more distant from most of them, but they still come around sometimes. It was the judgment they passed on Henry’s girlfriends that he couldn’t take anymore.
Having rehashed his entire line of reasoning for escaping his real life on a long distance hike, Henry fell back asleep. His peaceful snoring eventually drew the small crowd of creatures with round, moony eyes closer and closer–the same creatures that had given him the unsettling feeling of being followed earlier.
By the morning, they had disappeared again.
Are you enjoying these more frequent forays into fiction? Do let me know.