And in its absence, hunger

She knew herself a god, but had forgotten everything else. 

She crouched by two stars, a double system - the phrase rolled through her mind without meaning - a great red star and its companion, a sullen white dwarf.  They fascinated her, though she could not have said why.  She moved her hand towards the heat and gases streaming from the giant star, wondering what might happen if she plunged her hand into it.

Best not to try. She knew too little yet.

The red star swirled, and time passed.  

She had been smaller once, she thought. Much smaller.

Surely someone would tell her what to do.

Prayers. The word drifted through her mind; she caught it, rolled it over and over in her mind, repeating it. Prayers.  Prayers had once hummed across her skin, pulling at her, begging her to give birth to stars. Prayers.  They would tell her what to do, tell her if she needed to birth more stars. She turned from the red star and its white companion, bending her thought on prayer, listening, words.


She turned back to the red star. They had fed her once, she thought. With prayers, and something more than prayers. In the slow spins of the star she thought she saw images of smoke and meats, of dark blue flesh, of fires and white hot explosions. They had never fed her enough.  She did not know how she had known that, but she did.  It had never been enough, and they had always wanted more, far more. As had she. More, far more. 

Her hand stretched towards the giant star, and her eyes looked into the universe. Beyond the two stars that spun before her now, beyond, beyond, beyond, to where the stars dwindled and darkness gathered, to beyond even that, to where other stars gathered and danced and spun in utter silence, without a single prayer. Inside her, hunger rose. 

They had wanted - they had wanted -

She could not remember what they had wanted.

But she remembered, now, what she wanted. Stars. Stars. She was hungry, oh so hungry, and the vast field of stars danced before her.  She opened her mouth, and swallowed, and swallowed, and if any voices or prayers called from their places near these stars, they were soon silenced by the rush of starfire into that vast void.




Mari Ness  Mari Ness's website lives near a large, alligator infested lake in Central Florida, which she claims has a tendency to eat her words. Her work has previously appeared in numerous online and print venues, including Fantasy and Polu Texni. She keeps a disorganized blog at, and lives under the delusion that she may, one day, convince her two cats that her laptop is not a cat bed.

Other works by Mari Ness