WE BECAME A STAR
by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Jimmie and me upped that morning with no intention than stealing a bit of food for fun more than belly. Down the end of the long line of huts was a great tree, two hundred feet tall if a hand. We figured it was as good a day as any to make climb, but the air was thicker than ever had been. Good swimming air, and climbing was dirty work.
Top of the tree was a patriot package. War hadn't stopped by since dad was a lad, but the tree always seeded for the odd fugitive breaking from the killing. From up here we could see anything we ever knew. I broke open the huge egg of flexcrete with my BigKnuckle and we feasted in a little way on dried things and what might have been roots. There was some chewy boozy thing but Jimmie spat it out. I tried it and re-spat it. What we had was good enough for a fluffy head and maybe that's what gave us our new idea.
Looking upward forever, we felt the curve of the dark blue splotchy sky and it seemed right what they said, that the sky was a ceiling. It meant why we never felt the wind but we heard of it. Out down a ways we saw a fat lightbladder and Jimmie took the bandages from the egg.
"Might get dark up there," said he and kicked off like a shot to rope the slow glower. It was a bloated thing, fat with sap and as big as both our heads. Bright to make spots all over when we looked away. We were happy for the catch and swam up without another word. It might have been a day we swam, no knowing as the light was a constant dim. People were up there. Another world of tiny hanging huts and blue algae until you couldn't eat no more. We took it all in before we bumped our thick skulls on the roof of the world.
The sky was sticky and we set up a little place on it, tethering our lightbladder and seeing the other bladders we once knew were stars. It was prettyful forever. Above any war anyone ever known. Jimmie and me algae-stuffed our lightbladder to bursting almost. We thought to stay and we became the biggest star had ever been.