Prologue

Keldan Green stumbled in the muddy field and fell hard on his hands and knees. A fresh flood of adrenaline rushed through him and his breath quickened. He scrambled to his feet and set off running again, his shoes slipping against the wet black soil on the moor. The rain was coming down harder now, and it seemed to push against him, restraining him, as if to say: I know what you’ve done.

He spit the rain from his mouth and kept running.

At the edge of the field was dark line of trees, their heads tossing in the storm, their silver leaves lit by the moon. A blue glow beneath the trees showed him where she was waiting. As he approached her position he slowed to a walk and stopped to gaze upward. Behind her, barely visible through the driving rain, was a giant wheel-shaped object, standing on end. Keldan gaped at its towering form, at the sheer massiveness of it. She stood quietly for a moment and then walked away toward the object. She knew why Keldan was there. She knew he’d follow.

“Wait,” he called. The word seemed to disappear as soon as it left his lips, carried away by the wind. She turned. Keldan raised his voice above the persistent storm.

“I won’t go without Mirralu! She’s back at the house. She can’t stay here. Not now.”

The girl nodded. “It is acceptable. I will arrange to bring her to us.”

She turned again and headed toward the object. Keldan followed. If she said she would bring Mirralu along, he trusted that she would do it. Whatever else she was, she was not a liar.

As he got nearer to the object, it began to take solid shape before his eyes. Its hull was enormous, and made of a metal he’d never seen. It seemed to be hovering, weightless, above the ground. As soon as they were positioned beneath it, a disc, flat as a Fal coin and wide enough for two or three men to stand on, separated from the seamless hull directly above them. It began to descend in a pool of light and soon touched the black earth without a sound. They stepped onto the disc and it immediately ascended. Keldan’s stomach dropped as they left the ground and traveled upward through thin air.

Moments later, they were inside. The fields and forests were gone, the rain and wind forgotten. They were standing in a quiet, dry antechamber. The only sound was the drops of water falling to the floor from Keldan’s clothing and hair. The room was empty except for a plain, metal box on a low table.

She gestured to the box. “A gift for you. A symbol of our agreement.”

He stepped forward and opened the lid. Inside was a uniform jacket. Its material was dark blue, and weathered with age. It had brass buttons, and brass stars along the shoulders. Keldan pulled the jacket on over his soaked, filthy shirt, buttoning it over the blood stains. When he turned around, she was gone, but a door was open to the ship’s bridge.

A soft, sweet voice seemed to whisper into his mind.

Welcome, Captain Keldan…

 

Flight of The Fallingstar is a work-in-progress short story series. Start the journey here, with Episode 1: The Passenger.

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