Update (10/15/17): Pt. 2 of "October Orchards" is currently in the works! Will be a little while yet, but out ASAP. :)

10.28.2014

Short story: "Under Starlight"

CC image by Alistair Nicol via Flickr

Under Starlight
By: Eve Estelle

     I sit in a room. A small, but comfortable room. My eyes distant as my mind wanders. I am in front of a window; curved, with a fairly large, white sill which serves as a seat. The window bulges slightly outward from the house, giving a nearly three-sixty view of the world just beyond.

     "Wow," I breathed quietly. "I just can't help but feel utterly peaceful when sitting here. Even inspired." I stared off into the distant landscape—which, to be quite honest, was nothing out of the ordinary. It was a simple stretch of grassy land, with a small forest of various trees lining the horizon. Being autumn, the trees were blossoming with color; mainly red, orange, and yellow, but it was early in the season, so there was a bit of green left on some of the trees as well. You couldn't see it from this particular window, but there was a gravel and dirt road that lead to this house somewhere out there. It would be more towards the front, I suppose, though, where the gravel driveway was.
     Oh. I should probably clarify that little sentence there: When I say "house," I don't mean where I live. Not this time, anyway. A friend and I had decided to take a little vacation. We needed a break from the tedious tasks and rush of the city, so we had rented a place out in the wilderness for a few days. We had been here for a full two days and nights already, and it was absolutely beautiful.
    I could go on and on about the many wonderful things and places around here for sightseers, but what I was really excited for was nightfall. During the day, the sun would shine its rays down on the large pond that was to the right of the little house. Every so often, you would hear the pop! sound of a fish snapping at the water's surface, and you'd turn around to see the small ripples of water slowly fading away—until it happened again. Silly fish. You'd also hear birds of many different species, singing and chirping, chasing one another around the vast field and temporarily disappearing into the line of trees. But during the night, the landscape changed; it was an entirely different world once the sun set and the moon took its place. What was it like? Well, dusk will arrive soon; you'll have to wait a little longer for that tidbit of information. No one likes spoilers.

     Finally, I pulled out of my oh-so-relaxing windowsill daydream, and headed for the kitchen. Standing, I stretched my arms and let out a quick yawn. Maybe I'd take a quick snooze before sundown; I still had about an hour to go, according to the approximate 7:05 PM time for sunset. Taking a left into the dining room of the house, I took another left to get to the kitchen. My vacation roommate and friend, Sasha, who I had mentioned earlier (though not by name), was there at the kitchen table eating a bowl of Special K.
     "Hiya," she said, waving her cereal spoon at me as I entered.
     "Ello, Gov'na." I responded, putting on my best Cockney accent—which was terrible, by the way.
     Sasha nearly spit out the spoonful of cereal she had been about to eat as she started laughing. "That was ridiculous," she said. "That accent does not fit well on you. I'll make sure to remember that if I ever end up needing someone who sounds English."
     "What can I say," I smiled and shrugged. "You waved your cereal spoon at me. I had to get you back somehow, right?" I made my way over to the cupboards, opening each one until I found the bowls, and grabbed a small, white one. I also got a fork from one of the drawers below the cupboards. "Speaking of cereal, I don't know how you can eat that stuff. It's so bland."
     "It's good for you." Sasha countered with a chuckle.
     "You are a better soul than me, Sasha," I replied as I pulled a pack of chicken-flavored Ramen Noodles out of another cupboard.
     "Really?" I could almost hear her as she smacked her face with her palm. "Ramen Noodles are almost pure salt. And you're telling me about being bland!"
     "At least these have a name for their flavor! Yours just says 'multi grain.'"
     "I can add sugar and a number of other things to my cereal, and it will still have decent nutritional value. You can add the same things and still have a bowl full of salt." She retorted and ate another spoonful. "Besides, there are other flavors of this. Multi grain is all I had left, though."
     I stared into space for a moment as her words sank in. "Huh. I never thought of it that way—bowl full of salt thing, I mean. I suppose you're right!" I chuckled and picked up the pan atop the stove that was now filled with boiling water and my noodles. I drained most of the water in the pan, leaving enough to fill the bottom of my bowl, and mixed the noodles with the chicken seasoning. After quickly rinsing the pan, I went to sit down at the table.
     "So, are you going out again when it gets dark?" Sasha asked curiously.
     "Of course," I replied. "Wouldn't miss it."
     She nodded. "Good. I wish we could stay here longer, it really is a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the city."
     "Oh boy, you can say that again." I shook my head. "City living can really make you forget just how beautiful the world is. It drags you away from simply enjoying life, and makes you feel like you're not worth anything if you don't work twenty-four seven, have three kids, and don't go to college."
     "Ugh. Yeah, my relatives are going crazy with baby fever.” Sasha rubbed at her eyes. "One of my cousins just got married, and another recently had a son. Now they're asking me when I'm going to get married and have kids."
     I shook my head. "Yikes. That wouldn't be something family would rush you into, I would think. Being your relatives and all."
     She shrugged. "Parents want grandchildren. Aunts and uncles want more nieces and nephews. It's only natural, but I'm not ready for that."
     "I completely understand." I sighed. "But remember that it is your life. It's hard to deny family, but sometimes it's necessary. Some people weren't born to have kids. Or even to get married," I paused to eat a spoonful of noodles. "The human race has no problem with low population levels at the moment. We have the freedom now to do other things with our lives."
     Sasha sighed, nodded, and stared at her bowl of cereal. "I know. But it's so hard when they're all so pumped up about it."
     "You're the one that's going to have to deal with everything that comes with kids. That's a big decision, and you can't let someone else make it for you." I said.
     "You're absolutely right," she replied. "But it's still tough."
     "Oh, definitely," I chuckled and stood from my seat at the table, having finished my noodle soup. "Hey, I'm going to sleep for a few minutes before dusk. Wake me up if you need anything." I paused, thinking. "Or if I oversleep."
     Sasha smiled and nodded. "No problem, I will."

    Before heading to sleep, I decided to change into my night clothing. I had a feeling that if I didn't do it now, I'd be too tired to do it when I was going to bed later. Closing the door to the room I was sleeping in during our stay here, I quickly grabbed my long, white night gown and got out of my jeans, light tee, and my dark gray cardigan.
     I went back into the living room, and gently plopped down onto the couch that was against one of the walls. The couch was an olive green, a color I'm not normally fond of, but it actually went quite nicely with the color scheme of the little house. It was also soft and amazingly comfortable as I lay myself down onto it.
     When I woke up again, the room was much darker than before. I could hardly see; though, I could still make out the shadows of furniture fairly easily. The sun must be almost down.
     I sat up and let out a yawn. To the left of the couch was a small bedside table, and on it my cell phone, which I picked up and checked the time. "7:10 PM," I mumbled sleepily to myself. Yawning again, I stood up and stretched, then headed for the front door on the other side of the room. "Be back in a bit," I called to Sasha, assuming she was still near the kitchen—or at least somewhere that she could hear me. 
     Opening the door, I was not disappointed. The cool autumn breeze hit me like a wave, and I immediately felt awake and energized, my drowsiness vanishing. I stepped down the small flight of stairs that lead into the large grassy yard, and looked around at the incredible world that now surrounded me.
     The grass was a lush, dark green in the darkness of the night, soft and cold beneath my feet. There was little sound, but yet the world had never seemed so alive. The pond that, before, had appeared to be your typical backyard lake with a simple grassy rim was now surrounded by fungi of various sizes, all shining in their brilliant bioluminescence. The pond's waters reflected the light of the crescent moon, giving the water an unearthly and beautiful glow.
     As I walked across the dream-like landscape, the long, silk sleeves and body of my night gown danced in the gentle breeze. I looked up towards the heavens, and the sky was breathtaking; the vast expanse of blackness was filled with little specks of light, so many that even the planets were tough to distinguish from the endless number of stars. I was able to make out multiple constellations, including Cassiopeia, Orion, Andromeda, and the Great Bear, Ursa Major. If I looked hard enough, I could even make out a bit of Eridanus, the Celestial River.
     What really stood out, though, was something much larger than any constellation. It was the Milky Way itself. While we are unable to see the center of our galaxy with our eyes, we can see its arms, and it is a sight you'll never forget. The beauty of the Milky Way can't be described; words just can't do it justice. But let me tell you, it's beautiful. The long line made up of millions of stars glows at its edges, making it fairly easy to spot in the sea of space.
     I breathed in the refreshing night air; feeling absolutely peaceful. You'll rarely see anything like this in the city. You'll discover wonders, but nothing like this. The last rays of daylight vanished below the horizon, and darkness fully reigned.
     I made my way over to one of the evergreens that stood tall, still, and close to the pond. I sat down beneath it, leaning against its cool bark under the protection of its pines, closed my eyes, and listened to the tranquil sounds of the night.

7 comments:

  1. Dear lord. Your writing-amazing. Utterly gripping and descriptive. I love it. And the Lindsey Stirling music playing while I read made it ten times better.
    Your blog is lovely dear, and you've certainly gained a follower from me! =)
    ~Adi

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    1. Awe, thank you so much Adaline! I really appreciate it. I'm so happy to hear that you found it to your liking. Yes, Lindsey Stirling makes everything better LOL. Thanks for the follow as well!

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    2. No problem, dear! It's amazing!
      Yes, she does. Honestly, it was hard to close the tab, I didn't want to have the music stop. xD
      ~Adi

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    3. Oh you could always leave the tab open, I wouldn't mind that! lol! I completely understand though. I open this blog up and listen to the short playlist I have while I'm working on other things quite often. Easier than searching YouTube over and over!

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    4. I am debating it! xD
      I agree, far easier than looking up her videos or fiddling with the music player I have on my computer.
      ~Adi

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