Under the Stars Tonight

We didn’t set the tent up tonight; there weren’t enough bugs to make a difference here, and the stars went on for a million miles.

“The sky is so much bigger here,” she whispered as she snuggled deeper into her sleeping bag. “I never want to go home.”

I didn’t reply. There was nothing I could say. She knew as well as I did that we had to go home one day, and one day would come much sooner than either of us wanted. I reached over to rest my hand on her arm through the sleeping bag. It was a little chilly for my bare skin, though, so I squeezed and returned my hand to my own sleeping bag.

Maybe the tent would have been a good idea after all, but oh, the stars were so beautiful. Scattered across the sky above us like ten thousand conflict diamonds.

I listened to her soft, even breathing as she slipped away into sleep. It blended perfectly with the starscape above us, and the fresh air smell perfected the scene. I realized that I really didn’t want to go home. Like, ever.

Maybe we didn’t have to. We could live out here forever. Forage, live off the land. We could do it. We didn’t have to go home.

But it was only August, and we already needed our sleeping bags. We couldn’t possibly survive a winter out here unprotected, and we sure didn’t have either the time or the know-how to build a shelter before the first snow.

But maybe if we moved further south we could do it.

Except, if we decided to do that, we’d have to find a phone somewhere. Because one of us would have to tell Mary.


Hearing Something

Denayra paused as a faint sound caught the corner of her ear. It was gone now, and did not repeat itself. What was that? Some sort of soft scratching, like insects in the walls.

Mystery noises were in Denayra’s top ten pet peeves, but she knew there wasn’t really anything she could do about them. She hoped that time would fade the chill down her spine.

She opened her closet and rifled through the collection of bright tops and bottoms. Tonight was her sister’s bachelorette party, and Denayra wasn’t close to ready. Finally, her fingertips grazed a blouse she’d nearly forgotten about–the deep red would look amazing next to her freshly colored dark mane. Skinny jeans and strappy heels–in gold leather, of course–would complete the outfit, plus accessories.

Denayra smiled to herself as she stepped out of her sweatpants, amused by the thought of her baby sister getting married, but her face fell when the small noise repeated itself.

Of course it waited until I’ve given up listening, she thought to herself. That’s what scares people.

It took a much larger effort this time to move past the recurrence, but she made it as she moved on to her dresser to pick through her jewelry box. She smiled again, remembering the family friend who had gifted it to her when she was a teenager: she always had sunflower seeds, she only wore Birkenstocks, and she laughed too loudly. Denayra had always admired the woman’s self-confidence. It radiated from her like stink from a wet dog.

She bowed her head, concentrating on the search for the elusive black opal earrings. Another chill washed over and through her; Denayra froze, amethyst in hand. Again she heard the sound–the whisper-soft marching of a thousand tiny legs, the bloated-belly feasting of a thousand tiny teeth, the paper-thin tickle of a thousand tiny fingers.

The party wasn’t even a vague memory anymore; nor was her sister, the family friend, or her jewelry box.

The whisper cleared into words:

“Come to me, Denayra,” it caressed the inner workings of her ears with its velvety richness.

“Come to me now. My soul demands it.”

TBP Online Writer’s Guild # 3

20 minutes writing, 8 minutes transcribing and editing. And I pick #42.