I stared at the dying remnants of my lamp’s flame, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes. Dust and decay filled my nostrils. At least I wasn’t running out of air anytime soon. Perhaps the best use of it was to calm myself down and wait for help. The rubble would stay put.
But would I?
Would the Sun?
The earthquake hit like a thunderbolt. It separated me from my entire crew. No response from either side. Stuck between a throne room and death, I meditated, conserving my energy for when I needed it most.
“I wish I could do something to help you,” the Sun whispered in my ear. “I feel so useless in the sky, bloating and whatnot.”
“You are doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing,” I whispered back. “No one asked you to stay burning for ten billion years. The gods, perhaps, but certainly not me.”
“I am a god.”
I chuckled. Hardly any saliva coated my tongue. The first sign of dehydration. “Then I must worship you?”
“No. You don’t have to worship me.”
“Should I love you?”
“No. You don’t have to love me.”
I swallowed. I held back my tears. “What should I do then? You’ve been around long enough to know what I should do in this situation. I mean, you might be billions of years older than I am, but I’m in my seventies. I’d say that’s close enough for advice giving?”
The Sun sighed. She, or what I thought to be a ‘She,’ took a deep breath as well.
“Those fake weights — do you still have them?” she asked.
I drifted my hand toward my rucksack and curled my palm around the replicas. The only remnant of a civilization I’d been searching for decades for.
“Take one out, and hit yourself on the head with it. Put yourself out of this misery of living, and come see me as a spirit. I can’t do anything up here, and you can do anything down there. So one of us must hasten this process.”
My brow furrowed. “You first.”
The Sun scoffed at me. “Humans… always so stubborn.”
“If stubborn shall save me from your wrath a few more decades, then yes. Let me be stubborn. Perhaps it’s best I ended up underground. Perhaps I can survive your tremendous explosion.”
“Tch. It will not be tremendous. It will be slow and painful for both of us. You know that. You went to school.”
“Now, now. No need to get testy.”
“Oh, so now you don’t want me to explode and blow everything up?”
I smiled, forcing back tears. “No. That’s not what I want.”
“Then…” The Sun paused. “What do we want?”
I opened my eyes, taking in the darkness of the ancient throne room, and shrugged. Kindness? More time? Something to acknowledge us? Something to keep us afloat, knowing our coming pain will end?
Oh, how in heaven’s name, did I end up underground with the ability to talk to the Sun?
“Because I gave you that ability after you asked for it,” the Sun hissed. “That’s how. And I was kind to you. And I kept you afloat. All that time while you were in the hospital.”
“And now, you’re in the hospital,” I said. “You’re the one with the broken legs.”
“A broken stomach. One that’s unfathomably large and conducts nuclear fusion, but can’t save itself. No wonder so many humans I’ve met and conversed with call me vain. I’m like a cow.”
I stood from the floor and turned out the lamp light. “You are not a cow.”
“I am a cow. And a god. I’ll come back as a cow and be the grass that the cows eat, and then be a hamburger on someone’s plate. Just like you told me about.”
I shook my head. “Whatever you say, my Sun.”
This week’s piece is brought to you by The Story Shack’s Writing Prompt Generator. Here were the parameters I got.
Word count: 650
Genre: Magical Realism
Sentence to use: “You don’t have to love me.”
Bonus prompt: The Sun is failing.
How’d I do? Let me know in the comments.