Skip to main content

You are here

Second Place- "Dust and Stars" by Noel

Almost there, just a few more feet.
The faint light in the distance wavered with a rhythmic blinking. A dusty, dun
moth flitted in an uncoordinated pattern towards the beacon of light. Grains of
effervescent dust sprinkled from the moth like salt over a fresh meal. With each wing
beat the light grew excitingly closer.
Ripples of dust erupted when the moth smacked into the pristine, dewy leaf. The
stuffed animal of a bug scuttled over with eager twitches of it’s antennae. But then grew
a guarded curiosity. It was one of its own. It had glistening buggy eyes, sturdy, nimble
legs, and a pair of wings.
But oh, that shiny, why did the bug have a shiny? That enticing bauble, not to be
the moth’s.
They inched closer to one another. Their antennae nibbling at the other, eliciting
squeaks and beeps of intrigued excitement, like a small dog too jittery to sit still. The
luster of the firefly faded in and out with a bubblegum rhythm.
With a smooth waddle, the lamplight bug pivoted around, then leapt into the air.
The rather lackluster new friend unevenly fluttered into the air after them, as if fumbling
to follow after.
The two waltz across the ink painted sky in uneven trails of light. The moth
followed in an evanescent, yet jagged path after its sunlight. The soot of the moth was

illuminated with the gleam from the firefly, creating even more stars in the sky than there
already were.
And they traced that sky with more dirty stars and planets, stopping in the apricot
warmth of a lamplight. There they bobbled in circles, danced, and cooed at each other
with overwhelming joy, casting airy shadows over the night.
With chirpy peeps and squeaks like that of two cars in traffic, they were off again,
flitting about in the brisk night air. The myriad of stars, and abundance more they trailed
behind looked like a river at sunset, where the sun salted the river with jewels.
Encouraging and primitive chirps guided them to a porch light. But they
mindlessly rattled against a crosshatch mesh. They perched upon one of the rungs of
the seemingly endless ladder barrier and watched as the bauble imitated the ceaseless
glow of the light behind it.
The hazy porch light fizzled out abruptly. With naive buggy eyes, the two
watched a lumbering figure hobble out and grumble at the lifeless light. With a brief trip,
it dawdled back out with a new, pristine bauble. Their fingers were coarse and shaky as
they twisted the defunct bulb, and wedged in a new one.
Almost instantly life had returned to the porch. The being waved their hand
dismissively, and with a tired breath, trudged back inside. After the clatter of the door
had silenced, the two started to tap dance and trill again.
Dust was frothing on the mesh, partly from the moth, partly because it had
always been a defining trait of the house. It fluttered down whenever the two moved or
teasingly bumped each other.

Faint babbel emitted from them as they detached from the screen and
leap-frogged along the clear sky. The firefly lead a clear trail of light, like a child writing
their name with a Fourth of July sparkler; while the moth zig-zagged behind, in front,
below, all around their friend, leaving beaches of soot and dust behind.
The next stop ended on a tree branch, resuming the routing of cooing at each
other and bumping into each other with playful dwindles of the light.
But it was not to be.
With a swift pluck of the branch, the shiny bauble was gone. The muted bug
watched a fleeting, frantic flashing of the light as it was carried off by the keen,
unforgiving talons of a commanding night predator
The moth watched with a helpless consternation as the once radiant light was
now flickering out. Dust rolled off the moth as it waddled in circles, confused as to why
everything was now harrowingly sunless. But it didn’t know what happened. It was
clueless as to the abrupt absence of light, painfully clueless. There was a funeral
silence now, no primitive beeps or squeaks, no ambience whatsoever it seemed.
But it could not be sad, or angry. Just confused and utterly helpless. Confused as
to why they were left in the dark, confused as to why they couldn’t see. Confused as to
where the shiny bauble-friend went, why they were taken away so suddenly.
Instead of clear skies there was now a somber overcast. The moth bobbed up
and down as it blindly piloted through the now hazy air, looking, just looking for a new
shiny to be enamored with.
Maybe one day we meet again.

Add comment

Log in to post comments

Translate Page