The Star that Forgot to Hold onto The Sky

The star opened her eyes as she fell sparkling through the chill, night sky. The other stars gleamed with a pale indifference as she streamed past them down and down toward the icy, city skyline.

The chimneys and rooftops huddled together in rusty shadows staring up in disbelief. As the star plummeted she thought
“How did I become detached from the sky?”
“Who did this to me?”
The skyline remained silent.
No answer or reply sounded.

The star , gathering pace all the time, began to spiral sending out sparks of white radiance in every conceivable direction. A stream of starlight cascaded down toward the grim stone and brick of
the midnight city.

A grey owl watching from a hillside tree nodded wisely and whispered to the old tree,
“That star doesn't know how to hold onto the sky”.
The old tree coughed and grumbled.
“You really have the knack of stating the bleeding obvious” came its gravely voice.

Under the tree a rabbit looked up anxiously twitching it's tiny , brown nose,
“Will this affect carrots in anyway?” it asked in a nervous voice.

“Dear oh dear” mumbled the ancient tree,
“I'm surrounded by idiots!” The branches of the tree shook in exasperation and the tree added in a whisper, “If I could I would move to another forest”.

The owl shrugged and staring up hissed suddenly,
The star had stopped falling .
It had come to rest on the very top of a huge oak tree.
Its pulsing light illuminated every leaf and branch.
The dark , brown bark of the tree shimmered and shone with the impact of the star . The tree itself seemed to radiate a precise , defined light.
The owl could not look away such was the startling beauty of the scene.
The rabbit twitched but all sense of anxiety was gone!
Even the old tree was lost for words.

The star seemed to blur into the substance of the tree . Branches and bark became silvery streaks that brightened the whole forest. Then the bark of the tree began to open in tiny, definite cracks and the stars brilliance shone through. The tree's branches seemed to lift up the light throwing it back toward the heavens. The tree and the star became one entity, shining, shining in rapture
and hope.

Faraway in the city centre stood a silent, dark house. The rooms of the house were shadowed and still. Furniture stood in the dark as if waiting for a particular guest to arrive. The sound of the ticking came from one distant room. The clock had been attached to the dusty wall for many, many years . The hands of the old clock ticked in a remorseless routine. No one listened to the ticking clock except for a tiny spider sitting on
a nearby bookshelf. The spider listened to the ticking and twitched a leg.

Suddenly a gleam of light came from outside the window pane. Light streaked across the gloomy room. The spider scuttled over a pile of old books and stared in wonder at the window. Light streaked across the shadowy room, falling in a bright crescent on the far wall . The spider ran excitedly toward the window . It moved eagerly into the silver light that glowed on the dusty carpet . As it did the spider gleamed and felt a surge of ecstasy.

Across town other trees began to chatter and call to eachother. They all longed to see the tree that gleamed.
Some started to whisper ,
“Maybe the tree of light can save of us all”
“Yes” said another tree “this tree could save us all from being cut down.”

The trees could barely contain their excitement.
The 'tree of light' (as the other trees had named it) sent a crystal wave across the stony, city streets.

The pavements and walls began to crackle and rustle . Colourful cracks of light quickly spread in every direction. Soon the night began to retreat , shadows chased one another in their
hurry to elude the beautiful light.

The stars in the sky glittered with delight. Even the moon gave his approval as the city became a place of illumination and radiance.

Part 2

From old discarded newspapers ghostly words floated upward into the air, scattering sentences along alleys and roads. Words, gleaming, stuck to the bodies and faces of the war statues outside the rail station and in the city parks. The breeze carried fragments of words along railway tracks to other cities spelling out new perspectives, new explanations. From graveyards and mausoleums light burnt most brightly and the earth crumbled to ash as the dead spoke again.

Steam trains soon left their tracks to cross the sky, thundering between clouds and smoke.

The star and the tree were broken and united .
Together they blurred the edges at the end of the cold night.

Disturbed by the chaotic beauty of the light ravens and crows and other night birds formed black clouds rising , rising into the skyline.

Early that morning as the city awoke new radio songs emerged describing the 'star tree' as it was now being called. Shadows and crows fled the
city park. A river of light had become something to embrace, something to which to devote belief and earnest sanction.

Part 3

The houses crowded along a narrow alley leading to the station. The day shone above them with a brittle intensity. The city was quiet still absorbing the news of the 'star tree'.
Newspapers outlined sensational recollections of people who had witnessed strange human size birds moving around at dusk in the forest near the city limits . Priests spoke of unseen colours and hues
emanating from the stained glass windows of ancient chapels and churches.
The world of the working day had changed forever .
In between the sound of radio songs , the rustle of newspapers and the engines of motorbikes cascades of light (fragmenting and shimmering)
entered everyone's lives. Children spoke in languages unheard of before. The sight of giant birds in the city squares at first provoked no great consternation. The birds stood like tall men in black shapes their beaks
sharp and their eyes bursting with intelligence.
Twenty of the giant birds stood at the very heart of the city . They shuffled and moved between the stone statues and monuments speaking in strange calls and shrieks. Amongst the giant birds one stood apart . She wore upon her black head an emerald crown that glinted in the moonlight as she gestured and moved between her followers and friends. The people of the city came to the streets to marvel at the giant birds. Some elderly residents brought ancients clocks and time pieces to give as homage to the birds.
From faraway the moon looked down,
“Are they giant ravens these fantastical creatures?” the moon asked of the nearest star.
The star was silent .
“Now morning will never return to the city” the star whispered.

True enough after the 'star tree' faded no further light ever came to the city . Morning never returned as the star beside the moon had
warned. The giant ravens (for that is what they were) reviled in the darkness of the city streets. Slowly the people of the town began to fade away ,
step by step losing all form and shape before briefly becoming streaks of ghostly mist.
The city itself gradually faded too into starlit mist. The giant birds absorbed the outlines of all the street names and memories of the city.
They flew away toward the moon carrying all the shapes and substance that had once constituted the city leaving behind only darkness and silence.

Chris Bird ,April 17th 2016