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Weeping Stars

Ambage Flash Fiction Theme: Red Star

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#1 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Oct 07 2012 - 10:26 AM

Weeping Stars

Special.It was the first thing that came to her mind when he started to cough again. She stared down at his body, spread out on the bed half covered in sheets, the other half exposed to fresh air. He was constantly either with a fever or shivering with the chills.A face, puffed up under the eyes, red at the cheeks. Lines under the eyes brought up from all the late nights, stricken with tiredness. But that was her face, not his.She moved the hair from her eyes and placed a cool towel on the young Toa’s head. He was breathing easily, but it was shallow. He didn’t get a coughing fit all the time, but each time he did it only reminded her of how much time he had left. He was a wielder of stone, so he was meant to be stronger than this.At least that’s what he believed.They were both Toa. She was one of Psionics, and he was one of Stone. Living as two of the guardians in their village wasn’t always easy. Matoran, people similar to them in every way except for their special abilities, constantly asked for requests and help. They were so different when they both discovered their power over the elements a few years back. They were almost total opposites in everything, mind and strength, humble and proud, even their skin color, white and dark brown.But… there had been an attraction. And years later, now married and surprisingly happy, they didn’t seem so different any more.They just seemed like one person.And she was about to lose her other half.“Are you okay?”She glanced his way and smiled, standing above him next to the bed right beside the nightstand. He wasn’t even looking at her, just staring up into the night sky by the window. She had just gotten back from a dispute going on in the village. Usually she would have taken her time. Today, she simply ended the silly brawl, forcefully.Today was not the day for pointless distractions.“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” she replied, frowning.“You know how I am,” he said, finally looking at her. He wasn’t downhearted, and he seemed comfortable.It had struck only weeks before. He started to feel dizzy on patrol, tired often. Then he started to vomit and get headaches.It was an ‘infection’, the local doctor had told them, a Makuta virus that could have been obtained from anything, from anywhere. Sometimes it took effect over physical bodies, or the mind, but it was usually something that could be cured.But this one was different, he had told them. It was attacking one organ in the Toa of Stone’s body, the heart. And there was no known way to counteract it now.“Would you mind grabbing me something…”“Anything,” she said, quickly, quietly. There was no light in the room, because the glare made his headache worsen. Only the stars gave them a soft light.“…I really, really want a chocolate chip cookie. A large one.”She almost laughed aloud as tears sprang to her eyes.“Oh yeah? The ones you like, at the bakery, right?”***When she returned he looked worse.The local baker was well aware of her husband’s condition. The two had been friends for years since the Toa of Stone had stopped a fire at the establishment.With a saddened look, he had given her the cookie for free. A large one, just like he liked it.Sitting on the bed, she handed him the cookie, now unwrapped, and he started to break it apart at the edges, placing each piece in his mouth.“I’m going to miss this the most…” he broke off a piece and gave it to her. She ate it, not hungry. As she chewed she kept her eyes on him. “The little things, see, the daily events that don’t seem important. Those are my most cherished memories with you.”His eyes seemed a little blurry, his breathing weaker. He reached out with his fingers, slowly wrapping them around her nearest hand.She started to choke up, so she leaned in and pressed her forehead to his. She didn’t want to keep watching him.And then he started to whisper.“I had a dream, of us. In Paradise, on this planet that never seemed to end…” she started to open her eyes, not knowing if he was delirious or not. “Our friends were all there, even the ones we’ve lost. Your sister was there. I was there… We’re all happy, we’re safe.”“K-kinda like in Artahka right?” she said, smiling and whispering back. But she didn’t believe a word of what he said.“No. This place was real. I saw it.” He stared up at her, and she forced herself to believe what he said, even though she didn’t understand.“I’ll be back. At some time and place. And I promise I’ll see you again…”***She walked out of the house, feeling the crisp winter air biting at her skin. It was somewhat refreshing though. Cool and real. She was lost right now, her mind numb. Her husband had passed away only moments ago.She glanced around, Matoran were watching her, their eyes all asking the same question. They all knew the answer.Reflexively she brought a hand to her mouth, taking a big bite out of the half eaten cookie. It tasted wonderful and still a little warm.Glancing upward as she chewed, she didn’t want to feel any emotions, for a few more minutes. Being a Toa of Psionics had advantages.Then, she noticed something.What he had been looking at from his window, far in the sky, high in the heavens. It glowed brightly, among millions of its brothers, but it was unique. The red star.It felt like it was staring down at her pitiful form, asking her to notice him; glowing with a promise.____The entire story including the title all come to a total of 998 words. This is the first Bionicle story I've written where they are portrayed as humans. It's an entry for the Ambage Flash Fiction Contest, Theme #1: Red Star. The story was published a few days ago in my short story collection... but since all the other entries were posted in the Short Stories Forum I thought maybe I should as well.

Edited by Quote (Mr. Traveler), Oct 07 2012 - 10:28 AM.

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#2 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Oct 11 2012 - 09:31 PM

Nuile checking in for duty, bestowing an official SSCC review as requested.This is exactly what I was dreading when I heard about the Red Star. A physical, tangible "afterlife" in the BIONICLE Universe was the bleakest, blandest idea Greg ever came up with.But you pulled it off.You gave it a magic and mysticism and a romance that was touching. You took a machine that resurrects the "data" of dead beings and turned it into something allegorically beautiful.I do have to say that I can't stand excessively anthropomorphized biomechanical beings. Marriage and cookies--these things don't exist. But it's only my personal opinion, and the story was otherwise so good that I'll overlook it.I'll also add that the way you wove detail and backstory in and around the story as it transpired was very skilfully executed. It wasn't so much as to drown the scene you were showing, but it was enough to make the scene more significant.Beyond that, I have nothing further to say. You wrote a very sweet story here, and I enjoyed it very much. Great work,

Keep writing,

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

Edited by My Name is Nuile, Oct 12 2012 - 07:09 PM.

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I know I am ready to start my voyage.


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#3 Offline Peach 00

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Posted Oct 26 2012 - 09:18 PM

Grant, you've pulled off once again the ability to touch the reader in so many ways. I forgot how much I missed reading your stories...now I just remembered how much I love your writing style, and how much that your stories can connect with me deep down.I swear, I almost cried reading this. The beauty created here...it is unlike any other. You gave these characters, these biomechanical beings...you gave them life and feeling, the ability to love with their heart and soul. That love is different than the love protrayed in other stories. It is a love that all of us can relate to when a loved one is in trouble, or close to death. Although life and feeling is in all BIONICLE characters, you added something to them that was different. I can't identify with what it is, but it added so much more to the story. I applaud your ability to, as you always do, connect with your audience.The wife's care for her husband's health is realistic. She takes care of him, despite her duties. She tries as hard as she can to make his life comfortable in the end, to make it something less painful than it already is. It is a basic responsibility in a marriage to take care of your spouse, but you made the wife more willing to spend every moment with her husband. You definitely wrote that feeling well without making it too corny, if that is possibly the right word.I like the idea you used of a human-BIONICLE sort of setting. I have always wanted to experiment in that type of setting, but I've never attempted to try that. And although the idea of marriage and cookies don't exist in BIONICLE whatsoever, I enjoyed that concept. It was nice to introduce those concepts to such a strange thing as BIONICLE, for it gave it a warm touch.On the concept of the Red Star: It being the main focus in a way, I must say you definitely captured the idea of the Red Star. It's representation of an 'afterlife' can be considered weak, but you made it strong in this case, to both the reader and the character. To me, in any situation, you can make any interpretation of the Red Star, which I've always found irritating. But here, you can't help but know that it represents the wife's late husband - nothing else but that.Grammar and spelling wise, I did not find anything wrong beside one mistake:

“Would you mind grabbing me something…”

There should be a question mark at the end of the periods. It's kind of a nitpick/suggestion more than an actual problem with the writing, but I just think that since it's a question or request, it'd make sense to put a question mark here. =)For the most part, Grant, this is a wonderfully tender, sweet, and touching story. Your descriptions are remarkable (as always), your overall writing style pleasant, and your plot and characters are excellent. Thank you for the enthralling, terrific read - keep up the good work, I will be looking forward to your next story. =]
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On the day the wall came down / They threw the locks onto the ground
And with glasses high / We raised a cry / For freedom had arrived
On the day the wall came down / The ship of fools had finally run aground
Promises lit up the night / Like paper doves in flight
I dreamed you had left my side / No warmth, not even pride remained
And even though you needed me / It was clear that I could not do a thing for you
Now life devalues day by day / As friends and neighbors turn away
And there's a change that even with regret / Cannot be undone
Now frontiers shift like desert sands / While nations wash their bloodied hands
Of loyalty, of history / In shades of grey
I woke to the sound of drums / The music played, the morning sun streamed in
I turned and I looked at you / And all but the bitter residues slipped away
slipped away...

#4 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Nov 10 2012 - 12:21 AM

Oh man, thanks a lot. Really appreciate both reviews from you guys and thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed it. =3 I'd like to just say that the Human/Bionicle idea isn't one I normally do, as I said before. It was kind of an experiment, and the new Red Star idea gave me an excuse to make it a somewhat bittersweet ending then just a bitter one. And I know cookies and marriage aren't in Bionicle at all and I totally agree with you guys that it does not belong in the Bionicle universe. Still, if I was going to make them human, I decided to go all the way.Second thing I just wanted to note, the "paradise" that the Toa of Stone sees was a future Spherus Magna, thought that'd be kinda cool. :BAgain, thanks guys! =D
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