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Event Horizons

When the stars started going out, Iggy started stealing. Small things at first. A jar of peanut butter, a pocket knife, batteries, flashlights. He took MREs from a friend’s pantry, beans from his aunt’s, ramen from his nephew’s. He dug up an old compass and sifted through boxes in a neighbor’s garage for camping gear.

When the stars started going out, he sat in a wooded clearing and counted what was left.

Years earlier, he had come to this clearing with Magda and they had sprawled out on a wool blanket, her head nestled in the dip of his head and shoulder as they counted each glimmer.

You have to multiply the sum of those stars, she had told him.

You want me to do math, he had muttered while fumbling for the thermos of hot chocolate. He hated math. He had hated—still hated—a lot of things. Magda hadn’t even wanted to spike the hot chocolate, but he couldn’t imagine enjoying the warmth without the burn.

That night, he had basked in the way she looked at him, with her cheeks flushed and her eyes wide and insistent. To understand the immensity of my love.

Now, he washed stolen beans down with stolen whiskey and watched as the stars burst and collapsed, no longer able to resist the pull of their own weight.

If he had reception, he would call her. Ask how much did you love me? while the stars caved in on themselves until all that remained of the cores were black holes.

When the last star went out, Iggy stared at the black speckled with ash and dust.

Alone, he waited for that point of no return they talked about on the news as though it hadn’t already come for him.

——–

*This piece was first published in Bath Flash Fiction Volume Four: With One Eye on the Cows* 

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Sci Fi

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