The poetic and moving tale of star in the deep reaches of the universe. (555 Words)
|The Heart of a Star|
It began in the deep reaches of space, past swirling pillars of stars and dust, beyond all traces of light and energy and matter. It began as a possibility.
Conceived among particles little larger than atoms, bound by forces as old and fundamental as space-time itself, there bloomed in the void a coagulation of energy. Plasma erupted into the darkness, a blossoming of heat and light into liquid flame. Brighter and brighter the orb burned, gathering matter to itself until it had flooded the vacuum with a steady, golden radiance. The light of that star was not the flickering glow of a candle, but a piercing, enveloping wave.
For countless millennia, the star ruled that corner of the cosmos. Other stars--never quite as bright--came and went, but this star remained. Under its gaze passed the icy tails of comets, planets forming among the debris left in their wake. The star was bathed in the brilliance of distant nebulae, draped in cosmic dust, and tugged irresistibly by a black hole. It watched the formation and expulsion of galaxies, witnessed the destruction of a thousand planets, aging with every passing moment until its time, too, had come.
It began with the failure of its molten heart. The long ages of roaring energy had taken their toll; the core of the star hardened into firm stone, and century by century it began to die. Its brilliance dimmed, its heat faded, until it was but a shade of the giant it had once been. Finally, lacking the energy to sustain itself, the great star groaned and collapsed inward, drawing all its mass into a single, concentrated sphere. There was a moment of absolute stillness, and the universe seemed to hold its breath.
A massive concussion shattered the abyss and the sphere erupted into the awesome splendor of a supernova. Colossal shockwaves ripped through the deep reaches of heaven, propelling with them a single fragment from the heart of the star.
This stone hurtled across the blackness of space, tumbling through gas clouds and solar systems, soaring past debris fields and dust pillars. It collided with the nose of an asteroid, danced between jovian giants. For half a million years, it clung to the backside of a comet, hitchhiking across the vast expanses of emptiness. When it was finally flung free, the stone was in a strange galaxy, millions of light-years from its birthplace, rocketing past a small star toward a little blue planet in the distance.
As the stone grew near, oceans and land became discernible. A small, white moon circled the planet like a watchful eye. The stone felt the tug of the planet’s gravity, the inexorable drag toward the surface. There was no avoiding it now. The stone tore through the atmosphere, losing substance to heat and friction as it plummeted downward.
When it landed with a soft thud among dry leaves and short blades of grass, it was little more than a pebble. It bounced aimlessly until it came to a stop on a rocky path. There it lay until evening, watching as the sun sank beneath the horizon and the stars emerged, peering through cracks in the darkness.
“Daddy, look!” A small hand scooped up the stone, lifting it to the dying light. “Where do you think it came from?”
“I don’t know, honey. Give it here.” The pebble was traded; soft hands to a rougher, more callused pair. “Seems pretty normal, honey. It’s probably been here a long time.”