Part XXI


The single heavy door opened all the way all on its own as if powered by some unseen force. There was no sound which surprised Star. How long since the doors to the house had been open, and if they hadn’t been opened for many many years then how was it that they could operate as if they were used every day. There was no evidence of the kind of hard harsh and penetrating light that flowed from most ceilings and the tops of the train tunnels inside the complex. Lights glowed on in front of Star as she moved into what could only be described as the recreation of life from the far past before the asteroid had changed everything in less than one rotation of the planet. Star stopped five feet inside the door, feeling a faint draft behind her but unable to turn and see what might have caused it. The scene opening before her was just too magnetically holding of all her attention. One light went on after another. Over-stuffed couches, chairs, side tables sat, perfectly laid out in a single large room covered in rugs so deeply piled that it was difficult to walk upon them. A fireplace ignited along the shorter wall of the room to Star’s left, while some sort of calming music she’d never heard anything like eased out of every part of the walls and ceiling.   Two fans revolved slowly, looking like many-fingered digits of some macabre but beautiful flat-surfaced hands.

Star took it all in, letting her eyes flow over the interior and the through the glass windows, all of which she knew had been shuttered prior to their entry. The upper lip of the canyon wall across the deep divide in between was a thing of distant but nearly painful beauty, gray rocks veined with clear quartz with giant pines growing and flowing out into the empty air. Suddenly, her thoughts came rushing back inside. There was no noise at all behind her. Nothing. No children’s movements and sounds. She twisted around and stared at the rest of her band, all collected behind some clear barrier. Star ran to the glass wall and put her hands on it, pressing against the hands pushing toward her on the other side.