Teacup story – Starlight

Starlight – Even starlight dies. (Genre – General , Rating – PG)

The stars shine.

They have shined for millennia. They shine across the emptiness of space, where no sound can travel, a silent marker to enable humanity to describe the universe.

Their surfaces are not as serene as the distant specks of light in a night sky might suggest. The boil, they writhe, they are huge gaseous monsters that define the power of the universe. From within the raging surfaces, where chemistry and physics intertwine to force new elements out into space, light is born. The sparkling star in the sky is a pulsating beast that fires off huge arcs of molten metal into space, only for it to come crashing down back on the star’s surface due to the immense force of gravity.

Stars mark the violent birth of the universe, and like all things as vast as the universe, they are barely understood. Something so gentle, so serene in the distance, describes the ability for life to be made in that part of the solar system. Stars write the rules that govern how plants will grow and what colours they have to be to survive. Stars will create plants from rocks that tumble through the darkness of space, drawing them into an orbit and prescribing them a new path.

And the end of a star’s life, when it has burned and sparkled for millennia, it will shine brighter than ever before. It will grow, far larger than any human mind can comprehend, swallowing planets into its expanding size until it can grow no more.

Then, in a moment, it hangs on the edge of a precipice. The universe waits and watches, holding its breath as the edges of the star tumble back towards the centre again, gathering speed until it explodes with such power and force it will shake the very fabric of space around it.

Yet there will be no sound. Sound cannot travel in space, but the light that flares from it will travel millions of years across the universe. It will travel through galaxies, between galaxies, until it touches the atmosphere of some distant world. There, it will continue to fall towards the life that lies below on the planet, whose eyes turn upwards just at the right moment to catch a star shimmering brighter than the others.

Then the light will die, and so will the remains of the star. That corner of space will darken now, no longer visible to the life that looks up at the heavens for comfort. A reminder, perhaps, that everything in the universe is not eternal.

Even starlight has to die.

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