The Space Around the Stars

She had not forgotten her name, although it had been so long since the word ‘Patrice’ had suspired from any throat that she remembered it almost as though it were some other’s name, some person she had known well but parted from long since. They did not much use names, they who have taken her, nor words, although they are not silent, and they are not unfriendly.

They made no fires, nor lighted lights, nor mended, nor builded, nor remembered. It was a strange life, so unlike her previous one that at times she wondered whether she dreamt, or lay in a coma in a hospital somewhere, attended by quiet nurses and patient doctors. But mostly she was busy learning the ways of their society.

The night was their first and last lesson, the bible that bore their names and their legends, in the air as much as in the stars. She lay awake her first nights, tired — for the sunrise ordered her life as it did everyone’s — but unable to sleep for the terror, the old fear of the dark. Without the lights, the night was much louder, the sky much larger.

She was learning the size of herself.