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Aug 10, 2022 10:13 PM
a boy who has not been home in years catches a star
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The only sign that it's shifted from night to day is a greyish-greenish glow cast through the clouds of toxic fumes that have long since settled over the desolate landscape. It's cold, as it always is, and the corrugated metal of the makeshift shed the boy slept in does nothing to insulate him against it.

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iwannagohome iwannagohome iwannagohome i

He wakes up crying again. It's never been an uncommon occurrence, but since seeing his first sign of life, the tiniest signal that he was closer to The Shard than he thought, it's been more frequent. It was a silkworm, delicate and green against the darkness, hanging from the frame of a cell tower by a singular thread. He had to leave it — he doesn't have enough to support himself, much less another living thing — but he sat with it for hours before he did, watching it move.

He sits up from the nest of tarps, quilts and shredded clothes he sleeps in. He looks out the open side of the shed to the skyline of The Shard in the distance. It glows.

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vessel for that which is right

He repeats the phrase in his head, as he does every morning. They were given to him in a vision – a snatch of something longer, he knows, though he can't remember the rest. The words are carved across his chest, spanning from one shoulder to the other. The scars are raised and messy from being carved over repeatedly with a blade too dull for the job. Recarving them was routine, a monthly ritual, up until he saw the silkworm. Since then something has immobilized him when he's tried, let him get as far as unsheathing his knife and setting it on his collarbone before forcibly stilling his hand. It comes with a peculiar sense of being watched.

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Getting up is hard. He does not want to do it. His body protests when he does it anyway. Once the last of the tears are wiped from his eyes, he stands and fixes his eyes on the horizon.

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It glows green, the skyline of The Shard barely visible. The air is horribly still. 

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"I love you," he whispers to the sky. "I love you I love you I love you."

He's crying again, but it's okay, because he doesn't need to see to walk. He remembers a time when he didn't have to do this every day, but it wasn't real safety. He knew — had been told, by prophecies — that this would come about. That there would be a day where he would have to make this journey, across the wastes, though it was an awful, devastating journey but he was going to get there. The Shard would take him in.

He clutches the gem around his neck. It was taken from the mines near The Shard, during his first pilgrimage there, when he was too young to remember, when getting there was still a matter of an inconvenient but brief journey instead of what it is now.

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It's warm in his hands.

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He squeaks. Nothing is ever warm here. What does it mean?

He clutches it to his cheek, brushing a kiss over it.

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It glows slightly before fading.

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He clutches it for an extra second before letting it rest against his chest again. A sign to continue walking. He can work with that.

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