He shook awake, unsure at first what had startled him. Something slipped out of his mind, leaving only an inky shadow of recollection, a dark and shifting reflection that quickly dissolved into his expanding awareness.
He was shivering. His sheets and blanket were strewn on the floor. He rolled up on his side and leaned over to grab them. His muscles ached as if he’d been straining. His hand recoiled upon touching his sheet. It was cold and damp. He pushed it aside and pulled his blanket up over him and laid back down, his head at a harsh angle.
He stared out through the small, circular viewport of his cell-like cabin trying to fall back asleep; watching the same scene he’d stared at his entire short life. A sea of a million gently pulsating lights danced out the window. Outside of the hull of the ship, it was the only thing he’d ever seen, all he’d ever known, and yet whenever he truly looked it still filled him with mystery and awe.
His family had traveled through this twinkling ocean of unknown for generations, and for him it was their journey among the stars that defined them. They were voyageurs. They had a mission. Even at his young age he understood this. The elders made sure of that. He knew that these lights were his path and his goal, that his ancestors had set their course through the stars long ago, and he knew that he would arrive. No one had told him this, but he knew. He felt it. He felt the lights sing to him, and he knew that when he reached them he’d learn the truth.
Odd, he thought as he looked at the stars, that they filled him with mystery, yet felt so familiar. Their song was the song of his life.
He had been almost rigid with tension until he heard their call that night. Once he quieted his mind and opened his awareness he found it where it always was, the ghostly rhythm pulsing through his whole existence. He felt strangely at home, and his body eased. His thoughts drifted out the viewport and he was carried off to sleep.
The black behind his eyelids grew fuzzy as everything got brighter. He blinked, but couldn’t tell if his eyes were open or closed. He stretched his hand out in front of him and saw it glowing brighter and brighter before everything became awash in light.