The Comet

The ground is warm beneath Doll's back as she lies in the fire's ruins, its erstwhile host's half-frozen blood splattered all around her. Her skin is pristine; her witch's wrath was careful when that pitiful storyteller finally turned its teeth on her.

She enjoys the warmth with the same sad hunger as she might regard her last meal before execution, were she a thing which could die. There's precious little of it left in the world, and the false-sun's baleful eye leeches more away with each passing day.

It's finally quiet.

The last distant explosions have long since faded; the last ash has fallen and the last plumes of radioactive dust have sunk into the frozen earth. The world is as dead as Doll has ever dreamed, seen only by the last few hold-outs huddled around their precious geothermal vents.

Perhaps they'll outlast Doll, as the planet's heart stubbornly refuses to cool. Perhaps the false-sun's hunger will crack open the world and slurp out its heart. She's looking forward to finding out!

There's no rush, though.

Plenty of time left to stare up at the sky.

She sees the stars so clearly now, without a glimmer of city-light to wash them out, without the true-sun's selfish rays commanding the sky's obedience. The false-sun doesn't care what its victims see; its hunger is far more honest.

... but at least the true-sun was warm.

Still, still—

Stare up with her, let her eyes guide yours; up and up and up, past the few remaining clouds and the last fungal shepherd's unceremonious death, up beyond the false-sun—there, between those glimmers of light, between those distant pinpricks—a scar across the sky!

A bleeding cut, dripping with orange-gold light! The true-sun's seed cast out into the void, that rippling trail marking its passage across the sky! A fragment cast off to some unknown place, toward some distant hope, the scantest whiff of escape from its hungry twin—

Doll's not sure where it will end up, but she's sure that she'll find a way to be there when it does; and she's not sure what she'll do, but she vows that she'll discover that too. A spark of light glimmers in her eyes.

She doesn't notice her witch receding into nothingness.