Stars One One

Here is a brand-new portion of the Stars in Heaven story, with a shift in point of view, so all italics I am afraid…

The brief repetition at the start is meant to remind us of where we began.

Today was the day. Daniel had decided: he’d had enough. So today would be the Escape. There would be no turning back…

Daniel was running as quickly as his legs could carry him down the alleyway. At the second intersection he turned left and ran harder, taking the next right and the following left. He had pushed through people rudely and carelessly: his one aim to get out of sight instantly and lose whatever pursuit had developed.

He knew Ghorf would be after him in an instant. He felt himself wishing it had been Ghorf he had kicked rather than the boy. It would have been so sweet. But all in the past now, all behind him…

Orionʼs Horsehead Nebula (again) — oriented as seen in the sky and much less enhanced for color. If you check back and look closely in one previous photo, this is the third time I have featured this astronomical sight.

But the kid had puked all over his leg. Daniel couldn’t stand that. Especially today. This day he needed to be his best, not puked on and stinking like barf. But it was too late to fix that now. It had begun, his Escape.

His wet leg worked with his left to hurry Daniel along. He could smell the kidʼs vomit as he moved, thinking vaguely, as he dodged among people who sometimes recoiled, leaving him some space, smelling the stench themselves, that this was not a good start.

But it was too late to stop. No turning back. He had heard and overheard the phrase when he accompanied his father on the long journeys to town to sell the stars. Once they were underway, after a certain distance, there was no turning back. He had come to that place for himself, in his own life. He had made the break. He had run. Now there was no turning back.

Ghorf would kill him for that confrontation just now if the old man were ever to find or catch him. No turning back.

And he dodged and turned his erratic way through the tangled routes among the thousand booths in If-naryadh’iq squared, listening keenly for outraged noise worse than what he stirred up himself. Ghorf would be after him, even without knowing where Daniel was headed, even oblivious of what Daniel had taken. After that contretemps, the old, fat ogre would be on his tail as quickly as his piggy mind sorted out the details to realize the youth was gone.

But Ghorf was old and fat, while Daniel was young. His father might be stronger, but Daniel has desperation and his dreams to wing his feet. He gloated on that thought, reaching inside his shirt for the little bag, to ensure himself that his treasure was there, safe and with him.

And he collided powerfully with a large woman bending into a booth. He had tried to place his route between her and the kiosk, but something had drawn her interest and hawklike she had moved with amazing rapidity right in his way.

As he tried to wriggle out from beneath her bulk, a huge, moist hand clamped hard on his neck, the thumb all the way up under his ear into the joint of his jaw.

“In a hurry to leave, little thief?” her raucous, city-accented voice wailed from above.

“ — No thief!” Daniel managed to gasp, as she hauled him up into her view.

“What, lad? Pretty convenient accident for one whoʼs no thief.”

“And Iʼm in a hurry.”

“Clearly. And from the country, too. But not in such haste you wonʼt linger,” and she pinioned him against the booth, trapped by her massive, encompassing torso, releasing her grip on his neck and head, “while I make sure you havenʼt…” Her body shifted as she did something he couldnʼt see with his face buried in her bosom. “ — No you havenʼt. All still here.” She sounded only vaguely relieved.

She sniffed and then stepped back further, evidently scenting the still-wet puke on his leg.

“Iʼm no thief. It was just an accident.” Daniel exploded as she stepped back, effectively freeing him.

“But exactly the kind of accident little pickpockets practice to distract someone like me from her purse. Canʼt be too careful these days.” She had a huge lopsided nose squashed in the middle of lumpily shapeless face. But her eyes were large and not menacing, blue. “Go along, boy. If you are in such a hurry you canʼt avoid an obstacle as big as me, you are donʼt have time to be ogling my pert charms.”

And he didnʼt: he could hear exactly the sounds of indignation he had been dreading.

“S — sorry, maʼam!” he coughed with rural good manners as he dashed away, aware she moved immediately into her desired position against the booth.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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