It was a dark and stormy night.
Wait. No it wasn’t.
It was a clear and starry night. There, that’s better. And that’s why we decided to go stargazing.
It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Our parents all let us go out, provided we’d be back by at least midnight, and we took jackets, picnic blankets and a thermos of hot chocolate. Which we, of course, readily agreed to.
I was meant to be the mature one. The eldest of the group, I walked on ahead, finding the perfect spot on the hill to put down our picnic. It was easy. I don’t know what our teacher complained about on school trips.
“Come on,” I shouted. “We’ll miss the stars!” Even the next oldest, a few months younger than me, sped up and ran over, taking my words very literally, flopping down immediately on their backs.
“Look!” cried one of the youngest, Milly. “I can see the stars!”
“So can I!” Michael, from a few doors down, pointed up. “That one looks like a saucepan.”
“That’s the Big Dipper,” I said, lying down beside them, only just on the blanket because the kids took up so much room.
We lay for only a minute or two before the youngest began to wiggle and complain. “The ground is hard!” “My feet are cold!” “I think I can feel the stars pressing down on me!” That kind of thing.
Except, the last one was kind of true.
Even I could feel it. A constriction on my chest like a corset. I sat up. It felt like a panic attack, so I breathed calmly, slowly, trying to regulate my frantically beating heart. “Can I go home?” the middling, Lyla, asked. Her blue eyes were wide and she had one of her hands pressing on her chest.
“Yes,” I said quickly. “I think that would be a good idea.”
As we were packing up, one of the younger ones pointed up and soon they were all doing it. “Zoe!” they shouted, and I turned and looked up, the constriction in my chest having not lessened. “Look!”
It was a beautiful meteor shower. There were all sorts of colours: reds, purples, blues, yellows, greens. I blinked heavily. I didn’t think meteors made those kinds of colours. Something felt wrong, and I nearly had a real panic attack. “We should go,” I said, so firmly and with a little quiver in my voice that they all immediately obeyed, without question. Unlike themselves. We ran down the big hill and back through the streets to our houses, all disappearing inside without even saying goodbye.
That night, I looked out of my window for a few moments. The sky was normal. I pretended it hadn’t happened. Perhaps it was the kids’ over active imaginations getting to me. But, if it wasn’t, I couldn’t help but wonder what all of those colours were, and I wanted to find out.
I dropped the curtain, but not before a purple streak confirmed that the whole thing had been scarily, exhilaratingly real.
Feedback is appreciated! 😀 I’m wondering if I should continue this into a longer work – maybe even a novel? Let me know what you think!