Dark Lights

He stared out of the same porthole at what was, with only slight variation, the same sight he’d seen at what seemed like every moment of his short life. How long could this last? Now was his favorite time to look; at night the scene took on something magical and gave him hope.

The view through the small circle was awash with churning specks of light. Some looked very far off, faint twinkles, others seemed close, like he could almost reach out and touch them if the hull of this dark ship weren’t keeping them apart, but he couldn’t be sure. In the surrounding darkness distance was hard to estimate, and the seemingly closer lights also had a strange nebulous quality. They were blurry and soft at the edges, and they shifted and pitched, their outline changing shape like the distorted reflections he suspected they were. Though they seemed larger, they were disingenuous. He didn’t trust them.

He much preferred the distant twinkles; though they appeared small, they were steady and unwavering. No matter how much the ship pitched or yawed, they held their place. With those lights, he knew where he was. They spoke to him and he felt defined, recognized, identified by their call. He could feel their deep pull, and he knew that if he only could get close enough to them he’d discover their massive, hidden power.

He imagined himself at the helm. He’d strain and pull on the wheel until the ship lurched back and the bow crested the waves, rising up out of the dark water, a new course laid, trajectory fixed on the constant call of twinkling light.

Restless now, he shifted his weight and the chains rattled and scraped, dragging at his sides. He laid his head back down; the gross, watery reflections out of frame now. His head at a harsh angle, he stared up at the stars and they sung him to sleep.

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