Our village looks like a mirror without a reflection, lively, but bland. It wouldn’t, normally, but the village of Starry Night just a couple fields away outshines us by a million stars. Literally. Their side of the sky seems to favor the village of Starry Night by thousands, sprinkled with glittering souls of light that send down feathery beams of gold and silver.
I lugged a basket of apples into the village of Starry Night, carrying out my mother’s bidding to sell the apples from our apple trees. It was a desperate move—especially when almost no one in their village went outside anymore. The dirt streets were barren, and all the doors of the houses locked shut. Nothing could be heard except for the faint chirping of birds, and the ringing of the church bell, which sounded steadily, a heartbeat for the village of Starry Night. A signal that they weren’t completely hiding.
I rapped on the door of each house, waiting 12 seconds before moving onto the next. Soon the basket of apples seemed to grow heavier, in contrast to how I wanted it to grow lighter. I suppressed a sigh of irritation. I didn’t understand why the people of Starry Night were such hermits.
As the sky grew darker and the first lights began to appear, I had almost given up. Not a single person had bothered to come out to buy an apple, or at least acknowledge me. I began to doubt the existence of these people.
Wearily, I took a break at the front steps of the church and bit into one of the apples, eyes catching on a winding, twisting tower of cypress. It was just outside the village, like a guardian, or maybe a tree of curses. I wiped the juices from the apple away from my chin and tossed the core aside. Standing up, I turned and pounded on the church doors.
“Apples!” I screeched like a madwoman. “Apples for sale!”
After a while, there was still no response.
“Or half off! You can have them at half price!” I banged on the church doors.
I desperately threw my body against the door. The home my mother and I had barely gotten was slipping away from our grasp and if I couldn’t drag in at least a little bit of money we’d be living on the streets.
Instantly, I could feel the wall I’d built for so many years crumble away inside me. Still, there was no response.
“But we really need this money...” I whispered quietly. An overwhelming surge of anger rolled in waves through my head. “Open up!” I shrieked.
Hundreds of more stars were starting to appear now, turning their watchful gazes upon me as they radiated in gold, their faint glows swirling slowly.
I gazed silently at the heather hills that seemed to be moving along with the breeze. It was so quiet...