A Feast of Starlight

* * * * *

Heavenly Bodies Fall
Christmas eve, some years ago

Blazing trails of magic through the sky, the boy awoke to a shower of falling stars. All across the midnight dome, heavenly bodies fell to earth, shimmering wild in flaming colours and singing an enchanted song… that called to him.

Beckoning him with promises of wonder.

His eyes alight with curiosity, he crept out of his bed and padded across the wintry-cold floor. Even though he was already seven years old, and knew better than what he was about to do, the spellbound boy still snuck out of his room.

Passing his parents’ bedroom, he heard his father snore and mother softly sigh, but neither woke as he descended the stairs and bundled up in the small hallway.

His heart filled with adventure, the boy had no attention for the decorated tree adorning the living room, nor the gathering of presents tucked beneath the evergreen pine — and without a second thought, disappeared into the sleeping night.

A flurry of snow fell down along with the stars, kissing his skin. The street’s bare trees all glinted with gold fairy lights, wrapped around their trunks and branches, yet the boy’s gaze was ever upon the sky.

Suddenly, the largest star he had ever seen made a wide, swooping arch — and dimmed behind the woodlands, where the lake lay slumbering.

Mesmerized, the boy walked on, his way ahead lit by continuous trails of heavenly light. Frosty leaves crackled under his boots, and small creatures called from the shadows while he followed the curving trail. Slightly wary of the unknown, he hesitated for a moment when the bushes rustled at his side — until a warm, soft glow illuminated everything around him.

A glow, spilling from the lake.

The eeriness instantly forgotten, the boy wandered further, leaving the trees’ embrace, the sing-song voices guiding him to the large star that had captivated him…

floating just above the water.

Pebbles crunching, he crouched as near the lake’s rippling edge as he dared, reaching out to the orb of light — to meet someone’s hand instead.

Wide-eyed, the boy’s gaze slipped from the delicate fingers, to embroidered, silk sleeves, until he looked up into the face of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

“Who… are you?” he said in awe, blinking fierce at her skin that seemed to impossibly bloom like starlight from within.

The woman smiled. “Someone who has been waiting for you.”

“For me?” the boy replied, breathless.

“Yes, always for you.”

Confused, the boy shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

“One day you will,” she smiled even prettier, her black hair spilling like a waterfall past her shoulders. “I promise.”

Sooner than the young boy could reply, she touched her hand to his cheek before pressing a kiss to his brow.

“We’ll meet again,” she whispered — and all at once, the world around him faded away.


* * * * *

The Celestial Maiden
a small town myth

Once there was a maiden born holding starlight deep inside. She was the daughter of a heavenly god and a mortal woman, whom he asked to become his bride. And though their love was true, their time was not, for the ancient scriptures that ruled the heavens forbade such a union… and demanded them to part.

Torn between two worlds, the maiden’s father was doomed to watch his new family from afar, where he observed the maiden’s mother wither away from the pain of her broken heart — and die.

Left with only the ghostly memories of her parents, the maiden fell to the care of her mother’s brother; a ruthless man, who found in his niece a means of fortune…

for when the maiden wished it, she could glow like the heavenly bodies that light the night.

Part of a travelling circus, her uncle forced her to display her gifts from city to city, town to town, and without any means to oppose him, the maiden grew up in captivity, her years passing from child to adulthood, merely surviving — until the day, love stepped in her way.

The man who stole her heart was a young farmer, who was the first to notice the woman behind the gift. Enamoured, he vouched to break her free of her uncle’s tyranny, and take her far away.

But, revelling in her hope for the future, the maiden failed to notice her uncle’s spying eyes till it was far too late, and he took what mattered most…

when he ruthlessly murdered the young man in his sleep.

Inconsolable, the maiden relinquished all purpose for life — and began to cry. For days upon days, she cried, and with her tears, came falling stars as she forced the heavenly gift to spill out of her, and perish, so she would no longer be of any use to the loathsome uncle she could no longer abide.

Watching her ever, still, her heavenly father defied the ancient laws for atonement when he called upon his powers, and using the stars she spilled, ferried her up to him to the celestial realms above.

And so, the myth began, as the gods allotted his challenge by giving the maiden a place at his side — and grand her wish to descend to earth just once every winter in a shower of stars, in hope of finding her love again who had so unfairly died…


* * * * *

Miracles and Magic
Christmas eve, eleven years later

Lonely, but not alone, the young man wandered the Winter fairground. Golden lights glimmered in the grand town-tree, as music danced through the icy air upon the ringing of laughter and the voices of shopkeepers, praising hot drinks and trinkets.

It all seemed merry, alive and warm, yet somehow he often felt ill at ease at days like these. He could not explain it, but it ever seemed like he was searching for something important he had once lost; a feeling that intensified whenever December grew near.

And at eighteen, it was no different.

He had not intended to come, aiming to escape his strange emotions this year round — but an unforeseen urge had compelled him to venture out despite it all, and partake in his hometown tradition.

Hands in his pockets, collar set up high, the young man followed as many began to make their wake to the forest-embraced lake; most holding small paper boats in their hands that carried notes for the Celestial Maiden — always, a prayer for love and hope.

Standing back a little ways, he exchanged a greeting here and there, watching the first candle-lit boats sail away into the night — when he suddenly heard it; the sing-song voices from a faraway dream…

His head snapped up, his breath hitched, while above him the velvet skies turned luminous with bright, falling stars; descending as far as the horizon reached.

Childhood memories replaying in real-time, the largest star he had ever seen broke free from the many, and swept elegantly down to meet the earth. All around him young and old reacted as one, as the heavenly light crashed in a wondrous explosion of colour — and a single person was extraordinarily left standing in its wake…

A woman; the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

Involuntarily, he took a step. And another. Everything and everyone around him falling away, while he drank in her skin that seemed to glow from within, and the long, black hair that cascaded down her slim back.

She smiled, reaching out a hand — and with every new, tentative step he took, remembrance washed over him. Recollections of his bewitched seven-year-old self at the water’s edge became laced with flashbacks of a life impossibly long ago; of caressing her face, kissing those lips…

From the shadows of time, he felt himself — his true, ever searching self — emerge back into the light, and all answers filled his mind that he had so desperately tried to find.

A hush wrapped them together when he finally, finally touched his fingertips to hers, and pulled her against his chest; heartbeat to heartbeat, soul to soul.

For a moment, wordless they stood, the farmer boy and the maiden fair, until he softly said the same words he had said once before, “Will you run away with me?”

And every hour, day and year they had gone without one another blew away like dust on the wind, when she instantly replied, “Anywhere, and everywhere. As long as I’m with you.”


* * * * *

Feast of Starlight
a love that conquers all

Once there was a maiden born holding starlight deep inside, who loved a boy so much, she never gave up finding him — not even when he died.

In the view of many, they reunited one late December night, and he asked her to be his bride. They lived till their hair turned silver and white, and not even when death came knocking, did they say their good-byes.

For watching them always, her father swept both into the heavens, where till this date they look down upon us, blessing all who look for love in their life.

Total Word Count: ± 1500
Genre(s): Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

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