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Photo by Jennie Coughlin

Photo by Jennie Coughlin

Rory’s Story Cubes Mini Story #14

“I’m cold,” nine-year-old Natalia said. Well, she whined. There was no other way to describe it.

“It’s not that cold,” Mai said.

“I wasn’t cold when I was running around,” Natalia replied.

“And you can’t see shooting stars darting about like a dragonfly,” Mai said.

The sigh, Mai was certain, could be heard three states away.

“Patience,” Mai said. Then, she pointed, “There. See it?”

“Yes! Oh, cool!”

“Quick, make a wish.”

A pause. “Okay, I did. Did you make a wish, Mums?”

“Of course. Some day, soon, I hope, people will travel to the real stars in big ships across millions of miles.”

“Mums, that’s only in books.”

“Not at all. My mother told me that when she showed me my first shooting star, so it must be true.”

The child laughed, but Mai sensed when she sobered, leaning as she did against Mai. “Mums, was it silly to wish for my mom to be alive again?”

“Never,” Mai said, her arm around the girl. “What do you think I wished for?”

In the dark, Alexei took Mai’s hand and squeezed. Another meteorite streaked across the sky, seeming to head for them. It flared bright before it faded.