swine 2022 issue 01 – belonging

Page 50

broken constellations Eli Rooke They were alien, perhaps, in a sense of the word. Not of this world but not of another; not from here did not mean from elsewhere. Something was missed in their definition—‘alien’ but without the ‘i’ dotted. The alıen fell to the planet. Through the darkness and out of the darkness, they were left staring up at the starlit sky wondering if they had just become. They didn’t realise creation would be quite so unceremonious as to just throw them to the dirt. The dust settled around them as if they had always been there, not caring that maybe they didn’t want to be. When the people found the alıen, they were watching the stars with such intensity that their own eyes burned. The people asked what they were, who they were. And it had never before

occurred to the alıen to start any sentence with I. How selfish it would be to claim existence under the death of falling stars. They didn’t have an answer. They didn’t think they deserved one. They asked the people what it meant to exist. What reason and purpose had ripped them from their space between the stars and down to the ground, suddenly conscious and feeling. It was cold here, they said, away from the constellations that had housed them. The people said they existed because they 47

must. With sympathy, they said that they, too, did not get a say as they were torn from below the earth and air was forced into their lungs But it was warm here, they said, where the sunlight touched and embraced. The people nodded to the east and the alıen watched in panic as their stars began to fade into blue. Desperation and fear spurred their first true movement. They clawed their fingers into the horizon and tried to bury the sun. Tried to send it back to where it and the people came from. They did not want to lose their stars; their celestial codex would give them the answers if they just looked hard enough. They would find the answer if they just counted enough stars. One Two Three—It would tell them why. Four Five Six—It had to tell them why. Seven Eight Nine—They had to know why.

…They could not stop the sun. A shadow formed below them, and they feared they had lost themself before they even had a chance to be found. The people, and all their shadows, said the night would come again. Said that day granted warmth and respite from the wondering. There were things to do, places to see. They told the alıen of gardens with blooming flowers, of beaches with hidden coral reefs,