Part III


Star awoke in complete darkness. Opening her eyes was exactly the same as keeping them closed. She felt the embers of a still warm fire nearby, but no light came from them. Star realized that when they had eaten jar after jar of the shelved supplies total fatigue had come over all of them.

She pawed around the floor close to her with her fingers until they ran across the remains of one of the torches. Carefully, she unwrapped cloth from the remaining dry pine needles. Making a small stack of them she took out her own flint piece and struck it against the steel of her flimsy belt buckle.   Small pieces of needle glowed deep red before a flame appeared. With that small light, Star spotted the pile of label papers Tal and Sol had torn from nearby jars and bottles of water. She fed the blaze until light filled the room.