The Star

The Star by which I am guided to my death came to me in a dream.

A maddening dream.

The sort of dream indistinguishable from reality yet only exists in the moment unburdened by memory or expectation.

All the day previous I was hounded by premonition. A prickly feeling stroking my shoulder – that spot right between blade and spine – where the hand of one seeking your attention in the milling crowd lands.

And I knew death awaited me.

So I arranged for camaraderie.

It is important to make time to be together. To be present. To be company and companion.

It’s a lesson we all know but rarely abide by.

With great change looming though, I felt it important to burn a little brighter to stave off the dark. To make solid and renewed those fraying threads of friendship and brotherhood that weather in neglect. Balm to my weariness – the weariness we never notice, or at least admit to, until relieved – carried so long.

Now; yesterday mattered not. It’s impulse had no impact in this place, I was sure.

Left to my own devices, I did wander this way and that down those ways from which the Star could be seen.

The Star guiding me to my destiny.

My Star.

My fate.

My death, whatever form it takes.

Perhaps some ruffian come upon me unawares? Skulking in an ally?

Comic accident? Death by falling piano? No, absurd.

My end could not come by such ludicrous means.

I felt immortal as a lobster, but without the energy to grow.

Aneurism then. Struck down sudden. A warm rush to the brain, flooded and drowned.

I was content with that and so I whistled.

The street was not empty, yet not full. Subdued bustle. People going about their business without commotion, without face; murky and indistinguishable. Vague politeness shared. One smile blurring into another, eyes obscure.

The Star shone brightly and warmly delivering messages to me which I did not understand. Not yet.

Perhaps upon my death the coded pulses of light would be revealed to me.

Or perhaps not.

One cannot live their life dwelling on maybes. That’s how life passes by unnoticed. Our attention stolen by maybes.

Observe, acknowledge, act. This is the proper way to live. The way of least waste.

Of time. Of chance. Of breath.

I walked on in my maddening dream; calm and serene, I approached what awaited.

Bomb blast.

Rubble strewn blades cut my face, fly past.

Dust clouds eyes and lungs fill. I climb. The building, shards of brick and glass.

Sirens wail. I climb.

Seeking the Star in the muddled light. I climb.

Atop the tumbledown, a garden hedged in. Trees gone wild in neglect.

Within this garden did I encounter a snake bearing the face of my third lover. This snake, face unhinged, cheeks bulging and pallid sick, proceeded vomiting a three footed rabbit.

Slick and squished, I knew it – my innocence.

Gone from me these many years – foot stolen by the second and with it my luck, turned to her favor and my misfortune; beset upon me since our abrupt parting – consumed wholly by the third.

Warily I approached and took it in my hand, my forlorn innocence.

The snake struck out but did not bite to my surprise, rather wrapping round my wrist, rising to gaze balefully in my eyes.

In silence, a stare. Twixt it and I.

Shared for an indeterminate time, neither giving way. My wrist squeezed in the coils, my fist clenched around the dead creature.

Into ether, it vanished.

My innocence I buried in the garden; beneath a leaning juniper tree.

I look up, tears of mourning upon my cheek.

The spider hung from the moon to catch my Star.

“No!” I cry, “I do not belong to your heaven!” as it weaves the will of fate.

I reach out as I fall away from the sky.

Empty now.

“James,” my name cried out. A woman’s voice, urgent and desperate.

The Star, gone from my gaze; the dream shatters, fragments glitter as they spin into nothing.

I am needed here still, but by whom I do not know.

–j.e. pittman