"Carcass of a Star" is one of the first pieces I wrote when I began to seriously pursue writing as a lifelong endeavor. Since its conception in 2016, it has become one of my favorite works, and has even, to my surprise, won an award.
Anyways, enjoy. :)
Carcass of a Star
Eli stood as he stared straight up into the night sky. He viewed a great beyond, dotted with subtle freckles of light here and there. Silence was the accompaniment of the occasion, and every now and again it seemed his mind could place patterns in the way the stars hung, creating the illusion that the vespers were connected by faint lines. He knew, however, this was merely his eyes playing tricks on him. The sky was a black canvas, and, the longer he looked, the deeper it appeared. He remembered his teachers in high school science class saying that some stars had died out millions of years ago and that the light we see in the sky simply hasn't reached Earth yet.
It was a melancholic moment; to think the brilliant light of a star could merely be the grandeur of a glory long gone.
Eli lowered his head.
Photo by William F. Burk
He told himself he wouldn't think of her; he told himself he would forget. He would come outside, look at the stars—put it in “perspective.”
It was futile.
Eli sighed deeply as he walked across the weathered boards of his back porch to the door. Locking the door behind him as he entered, he sunk into the recliner. The old cushions seemed to swallow him whole, casting him into an abyss shadowed by the darkness of the room around him. He had no words; loud emotion enveloped a silent man.
Turning on the TV was useless; he couldn't focus. He tried calling her. Once. Twice. Four times...
Even the stars live in the past, he thought to himself, remembering how close they were at one time. His stomach tore and writhed; her smile made him anxious. Her hazel eyes were akin to the stardust illuminated by a distant sun. She was a spectacle: a marvel that danced around him when they walked the historic district. Nothing about her was commonplace, but everything about her absence was. The days without her voice were deafening.
The air was stagnant.
Eli raised from the chair and walked down the hall. The scuffing of his feet made a scratching sound as the rubbed against the aged carpet. He changed into more comfortable clothes, then went to bed. Another day had gone; another day had been wasted. He lay for a while, then slumber took him. A chilly autumn night, once more: alone.
But even worse: once more, mundane.
William F. Burk
Award-winning author of fantasy, flash fiction, and poetry. Author of "The Heart of Hearts," a debut fantasy novel. Always writing, forever and ever.