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Old July 21st, 2014, 09:10 PM
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The blue bees danced in the orange sunlight, new growth was exploding in the spring warmth. The trees shook all their leaves in the cooling breeze rolling down from glacier and not too far away one could hear the ocean. A maned mouse popped around a tree, saw the two children, and ran away.

She crouched low in the bushes' shadows, overlooking the clearing, making sure her brown hair fell across her eyes to obscure her face from anything that glanced in her direction. She clutched her flint knife close, as if she were some kind of warrior ready to ambush an enemy tribesman.

Her brother was standing carelessly behind her, leaning on his spear and picking at the dirt with his toes. "I may have caught twenty fish by now. You waste my time. Women should not hunt."

She did not move. "You say I lie?"

He spoke easily. "No. I say you are wrong. I say you do not know."

"I have seen it a full hand times. You will see it too."

"You saw a rock."

Without looking back she kicked him with her bare foot. "Do not tell me what I saw. That is a sin."

"Yes," he sighed, "I think you saw a rock."

"Rocks do not fly. It is a star come to earth. You will see."

He looked up. "When from here I see the sun touch that branch, I will go home."

They both heard it - not the sound but the presence. He turned and crouched slowly, as he had been trained. She slowly put forward her flint knife and pointed. "There" - voice as low as she could make it.

A ball. A shiney ball, about the size of a tree goat's head, came drifting through the trees and into the clearing. It was impossible. Just a head above the ground, like a trophy, no body, no legs, no wings, nothing carrying it, floating like a cloud in the sky only lower. The boy's face wrinkled in incomprehension. The ball passed through the sunlight and suddenly shone brightly. A star! It was a star come down! She was right!

"Is it one of ours?" he asked lying next to her, also bringing his voice as low as he could.

"No. Ours are red. This is ... white."

"No tribe owns the white star. Why would it come here? We should tell the Star Matriarch."

"I wanted you to stand with me when I told her myself," she said.

"You!" He looked at her as if seeing her for the first time.

The ball suddenly sped across the clearing towards them. They crouched lower, the hair on the back of their necks standing up, because it approached but more because they could somehow feel it moving. It stopped a few paces in front of them. It had an eye, some kind of perfect staring shiny eye, and the eye passed over them as if they were not hidden at all.

She hesitated, then stood up in full view. "I am Taniki, of the red star tribe. Are you the white star?"

With a slight grinding noise the eye focused on her, and though mouthless the ball spoke.

"I cannot understand. May I ...." She suddenly lurched back with her hands up, as if hit in the face, dropping her knife, and then suddenly pulled her arms back as if they were hit. "It burns! It burned me!"

Her brother sprang up, fully balanced, spear ready. He thrust hard and hit the ball squarely in the center. It made a crunching noise and resisted movement as if somehow it were anchored to the ground. The flint spear point broke but he pulled back and thrust again with all his might, yelling "Stupid rock!"

He saw it, the starlight. It flashed around the edges of his spear, burning the dust in the air, and burning his face on either side of his right eye. His right vision could no longer see anything of earth but was filled with the black of night and its stars.

He swung his spear in an arc and smashed the top of the ball. Without waiting he turned, grabbed his sister, and started running back through the trees hauling her with him.

"I see stars!" she wailed.

"Me too, shut up and run!"

The ball did not move, but seemed to hang lower in the air. The grinding noises of the eye were worse. After a moment it faced around and went back across the clearing, slower. It no longer flew level but was tilted. It disappeared into the trees.
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