The Creature Made of Stars
A Short Story by Chris Bird

The owl watched silently as the moon beams touched the old church spire in a icy,cold light. The village was soundless , the houses huddled together in heavy shadows . The stone square was quiet too the windows reflecting back the darkness of the midnight hour. The owl made her move suddenly sweeping across the square toward the statue. She perched here after a long agile flight through the night air. The statue was made of iron from old war cannons used centuries before in a local war. The surface of the statue was pitted with tiny holes, grooves and the lumps and bumps of the years. The iron statue depicted a women holding a flag staring proudly up at the stars. There was a sense of mystery to the pose of the iron women. She had once been regarded as a symbol of indomitable courage , of patriotic fervour. She had faded after years in the summer heat and the winter cold . The indifference of new generations had left her without a formal purpose.

Was she looking upward with a sense of resolve or a sense of war weariness? The locals had become so used to the statue that they hardly noticed it anymore. On market day a trader even hung apples and tomatoes from one of the statues upraised arms. The eyes of the statue were cold as the chill stars , her face was still and forlorn. Its plinth had been scratched and blurred by the years.

The owl rested for a moment. It shuffled its brown feathers and turned its head toward the moon above . The bright glare of the moon's surface shone back toward the owl's sharp eyesight. Then the owl saw something against the pale , glowing background of the moon. The shape seemed to move across the surface of the moon itself. The owl stared with a quizzical expression. The shape grew very very slowly as it moved across the moon's face.

The owl kept watching as the dark shape continued to grow . Its feathers ruffled uneasily. It stepped onto one claw and then another in a nervous shuffle. There was no doubt now that the shape, whatever it was , was approaching the square at an astonishing speed. The stars seemed to fall back as the shape streamed forward. The owl decided not to take any chances and in a split second flew out of the square back toward the black trees of the forest.

The statue stood alone in the moonlight . There was silence again . However the silence did not last for long. As the stars shone a glittering shape moved over the village and forest.
In a stream of sound a bright shape appeared in the square . It radiated white light in a
jagged , pointy shaped form. The light turned and twisted in front of the old statue . It glowed and shimmered . It looked as if a comet had become a jigsaw piece right there in the cold night. It had an angular series of shapes that stuck out in every direction. It was something between a huge
thistle or a spider that had grown to an enormous , confused shape. Its many points shone and white light poured out of its centre. In a second the square seemed to be full of a brittle , beautiful light.

The creature looked around . Its eyes stood at the end of a sharp triangular limb that moved slightly in the air. Its legs, of which there were many, pointed in all directions at once. Its long spine shimmered and shone with pointy bones and its hands had long , thin fingers that also glowed white . The statue suddenly opened its old eyes. It stared at the creature before it.
'What manner of creature are you?' asked the statue in a polite but surprised tone.

The light of the creature expanded as it spoke.
It's words lit the air , spiralling out in all directions in streams of starlight .
'I am known as The Creature that is Made of Stars' it replied in voice that could not disguise a certain pride.

The statue looked around the stone square.
' I have been asleep for so long . How come I awoke ? I remember the names of so many people who have lived in this village but they are all gone now. I am from the past but somehow I live again. How did this come about?'
The starlight of the creature shone more intensely than ever.

' I heard your heartbeat from faraway ' it replied ' I came to give you life again'.
The statue thought for a while and said,
' Is that your job? To bring life? To light up the old world with new light?'
The creature seemed to smile . Its mouth opened in a surge of bright light.
'That's one of my sidelines ' it explained. After a shiny pause the creature added, '
I also light up dying stars and show the way to comets travelling across the universe'.
'Its all in days work'.
The statue turned its stiff old body. It groaned as it stepped unsteadily down to the stones of the square. It's body gave a series of metallic groans and moans. The women turned her metal head. She looked all around. Gradually she walked across the square.

'Come with me ' she said to the creature. Her walking was painful and unsteady. She lay the flag down . 'Follow me ' she whispered.
Together they crossed the square until they came to the church graveyard. The statue slowly searched the graves by the light cast out by the creature. At last she found the particular grave that she sought.

'He was my love , my darling a century ago ' she said quietly . Her iron fingers touched the name on the grave. ' I remember when he was young '.
The creature made of stars showered light across the graves . The grey stones reflected back the glow and the branches of the trees gleamed too.
'Let me stay here ' said the iron statue . She lay down slowly on the grave. Her body moved uneasily. The iron body slowly dissolved here beside the grave stone.
' We were young , we were young ' she said her voice trailing away into whispers.

The creature made of stars shone for only a moment more before the light faded forever.

The grave yard was silent except for the distant call of an owl.