Lights in the Night Sky

The sky here is beautiful: different from home, though.  This seat feels weird.  Where is he?  He told me to meet him here, by this body of liquid water; I hope I’m at the right place.  I’m at the right place; I’m sure of it.  Mountains are slowly fading into the dark blue of the night sky along with the trees; I can hear the water going back and forth on the shore calmly, quietly, and innocently with a moon that is full, and quite large compared to the planet, reflecting on the water.  I hear a strange call in the distance. One I can’t describe, made by a creature I’m sure that I have read about before coming here.  These clothes are weird. I hear walking; perhaps he is here.

“Peter,” It’s him.  “Or do you want me to call you by your real name, Pietor?” he said as he sat down next to me.

“Whichever you prefer, I’m used to both, Erik.”

“You can call me Erōx, if you feel more comfortable.  It’s just us here, nobody is going to hear us.” I nodded as he told me this.  “That is why I chose this spot. Besides, I always found it calming.”

“It is.”

“So how was your adventure? How long again were you here?”

“I don’t know, for about a year for us I think,” I told him.

“So about what?  One and a quarter years for them?”

“Yes,” I said as I exhaled heavily relaxing in this seat.  “My adventure was fine. I miss her though.”

“Well you could talk to her through your little device, though, right?”

“Yes, but there is something about face-to-face talking.”

“We will get you back to her as soon as we are done here,” he told me.

“What did the other observers say?” I asked him.

“Three were for and three were against.”

“So I’m the tiebreaker?” I asked, frustrated.

“I’m afraid so. You have the weight of this world on your shoulders,” Erōx exclaimed, exhaling heavily.

“Who burdened us with this task anyway?”

“No one knows.  Whoever gave us the machine that allows us to teleport, thousands of years ago.” he told me.

“Why must we do this though?”

“To keep this galaxy safe, to protect it from a galactic war, and to help it prosper,” he explained as the call I heard earlier is sounded again. I jumped.

“What is that?” I said turning around to look behind me, where the sound was coming from.

“It’s called a wolf; a quadruped covered in fur.  It’s a hunter. You should have read about it.”

“I’m not a big fan of reading.”

“Well no one said you had to read. The encyclopedia was just there to help,” he told me.  There is a small fog forming above the water.  “So…what do you think about them?”

“The humans?”

“Well, the other life forms we’re not too worried about. They don’t pose any real threat.  If you ask me, I think they are the ones that could be better protected, even saved, if you voted against.  No pressure though.”

“I’m sure.”

“So…”

“They are violent,” I told him.  “They destroy, and are at times ignorant of the consequences their actions may lead to.”

“That is what the others were saying.”

“I find that they fight over resources they should be sharing, or instead of fighting, trying to work together to create a new way to power their vehicles.”

“I worry if the same would happen on a cosmic level if the humans and another species discovered a resource,” Erōx added.

“So do I,” I told him.  “They are also destroying their own planet. Forests are being taken down, the air polluted, and other life forms are nearing extinction. They are at times destroying things they don’t even know exist.”

“Hmm.”

“I feel that they are the biggest threats to their survival, but I do admire how they protect certain pieces of land.  What are they called again?”

“National parks, and we are currently in one called Yellowstone,” he told me.

“I also approve on how they wish to journey as far as they can into space, pushing the limits and boundaries of what seems possible.  They seem to be stubborn, you know, like if you tell them something is impossible they will want to test your opinion,” I said, smiling.

“Yeah, I’ve always found that also.”

“Beings like that could be very helpful in helping unite the galaxy.”

“But they are violent and they destroy, like you said.”

“Yes, but I wonder how they would be if they got rid of country borders.  Would they still fight wars?  Or would they unite under one flag? Creating a peace,” I asked him.

“Who knows; they are very unpredictable,” he responded as we sat in silence for a minute or so.  I looked up at the night sky and noticed that in spite of all the darkness, with those small little points of light, it didn’t seem so dark.  Those little miracles of nature lit up the darkness.

“The humans have created a planet like the night sky: dark and scary, but yet when you take the time to look closely, you find small lights that work together to outshine the darkness and make it seem…”

“Bright and loving,” Erōx said, finishing my sentence.

“Yes.  There is something about them, the humans.  I have been on here a year interacting with them and yet they still surprise me.  They are adventurous, imperfect, and I find that when I begin to lose faith in them because of their violence, the smallest act of good restores my hope for them.  Such as a parent hugging their child, a human taking time out of their day to help another, a young couple falling in love, and just the way they enjoy life sometimes.  They are quite fascinating creatures,” I explained to him.

“I have also found that they seem to have a great understanding of music, and some of them are quite skilled at creating rhythms and songs,” Erōx added.

“I have found that, too. It is quite extraordinary.  Music is a wonderful gift given to the universe.”

“Not to mention it is one of the two most important forms of galactic communication.”

“The other being love,” I said.

“The other being love,” Erōx added.  “What have you learned about the humans and love?” he asked me as I stared off watching the water calmly race up to shore and retreat only to race back up again.  The sand beneath my feet was like the sand back home. I have been on this planet for one year, and my last night here is the first time I found it to feel like home.  “Pietor?”

“I can’t really put a finger on it, but it’s quite beautiful when you see it at work with them.  It’s indescribable,” I said as Erōx smiled and tilted back.

“That’s what I said when I first observed it at work with them.  I observed this ceremony they have called a wedding, where two people unite and become one.  You could feel it in the air all around you.”

“I feel as if many of them don’t understand it, but they trust it you know?” I told him.

“Love is something you cannot fully comprehend. Heck, our species doesn’t even fully understand it, and honestly, I don’t think we ever will.  At least not in this life.”

“I’d be okay with that.”

“Okay with what?” he asked, looking at me perplexed.

“If we don’t fully comprehend or understand it, it gives us something to keep searching for.”

“It’s beautiful though, and if you ask me, it’s the strongest force in the universe.”

“Where do you think it came from?” I asked him.

“A higher power if you ask me. A grand protector of the universe,” Erōx added as we sat in silence for a moment or two.  A wind bristled through the trees as I felt it hit my face.  A vehicle they call a car pulled up about a hundred feet from us.  “So Pietor, I need to hear your decision, do we kill off the humans in order to protect this galaxy and this planet, or do we choose to help them advance their technology and make them allies?” Two humans got out of the car: one male and one female.

“The humans are violent and at times dark. They were given a beautiful planet and seem to be destroying it with war, pollution, and destruction,” The couple stood next to each other. The male had his arm around the female’s shoulders; I think that’s what they call them, yes, shoulders. “However, something must have seen greatness in them to give them such a beautiful planet.”

“The grand protector,” Erōx added.

“Yes.” The male ran to the back of the car and grabbed a wide, long, wavy object.  “What’s that called?” I asked, pointing to the object.

“A blanket,” Erōx said as the human laid it on the ground and they both sat on it.

“I don’t know,” I told Erōx. “What do you think?” I asked as he took a deep breath.  I glanced over to the couple and watched as they pointed at the stars.

“I’ll keep my answer short.  They may be dark like the night sky, something that makes you want to return home, but the longer you stay out, you become attracted to the lights.  They rid the darkness and make you want to stay outside and explore the night sky.  Small points of light working together to help blot out the darkness…it makes me want to help it grow.  I have found good in them, and when I would begin to lose faith in them, a small act of kindness would restore it.”

“Wasn’t exactly short, but…”

“Well no,” he said as we sat in silence for several minutes.  I glanced over to the couple on the blanket. They were laughing, talking, and I could tell they loved each other. It reminded me of her, the one I long to return home to.  They were lost away from reality; it was extraordinary to watch them enjoying life in such a way…and form a love that would grow into something incredible, one that would benefit the universe.  “So, Pietor, what should we do?”

Sometimes the smallest moments of love and light, ones that are missed by most of the world, like the one I was watching, are the most incredible and can make you want to never let them go.  The moments that the universe longs for, and if humans can create these moments on this planet, who knows where that could lead if they had the technology to travel the galaxy.  A light soon shone from Erōx, and when I looked back over at him, he was turning back into his normal form.  Humans might find us to have skin like an animal they call a salamander: a transparent pink with a natural light lighting up our bodies into a subtle glow of different colors of the light spectrum, black eyes, a nose and ears more flattened to the face, five fingers, and feet without spacing in between the toes.

“You are quite locked on those two,” he said.

“I am, they remind me of me and her,” I explained to him.

“It seems as if you have made your decision.”

“I have.”

“Like we said before, sometimes it’s the little things, the small points of light.  Moments like these that rid the darkness.” He took a deep breath and smiled as he stood up to face me.  “They are incredible creatures, aren’t they?” he asked me.

“They are,” I said to him.  He took my hand as he slowly began to teleport away and handed me my teleportation drive.  So I could finally return home, back to her.

Dustin Dehne

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Filed under Fall 2016, Fiction 2016

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