We hurried down the trail through the woods and to the parking lot where we would meet our ride. Since the moon wasn’t visible, starlight was the only source of light but with our excellent night vision, that was enough. We were quiet as we traveled and Aileene and I walked hand-in-hand. There were a few times I had to catch her as she stumbled, because rather than look at the trail, she kept looking at the sky.
After another stumble I finally sent, You’re not usually this clumsy. Is there something wrong?
The stars on Earth differ from those on Theria, she replied and broadcast a sense of wonder through our connection.
Even though I was raised on Earth, I had adjusted to the constellations on Theria but imagined this was a novel experience for Aileene and Mother. Aileene had an enormous smile on her face as she looked up through the canopy of trees over the trail and a warmth spread through my chest as I saw the look on her face. I pulled her to a stop and she looked at me with curiosity. I dropped my backpack, put my arms around my future mate, manifested my wings and slowly flew us above the treetops so she could get a better look. She gasped as the entire sky came into view.
The stars glittered like diamonds against black velvet. I didn’t know much about the constellations but knew about Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Pegasus and Draco. My parents taught me these constellations and now it made sense since they’re named after a bear, a winged-horse and a dragon. As we hovered in the air I pointed these out to Aileene and she smiled in wonder. The longer we stared at the stars the more we saw. It was as if we were looking through a telescope and it felt like we were traveling in space. We used thought-speech to describe our experiences to each other.
We hovered in reverential silence until Josef cleared his throat and murmured, “Sire, we should go.”
Aileene turned towards me, kissed me and then I lowered us to the trail.
Thank you, Alister, that was beautiful, she sent.
Not as beautiful as you, I answered and was gratified to hear her self-conscious giggle at my compliment.
Oh, Alister, can you please give me a ride next? Shelley broadcast to our entire group and I heard people laugh.
You’re just jealous you can’t fly, I returned and replaced my backpack.
No, I’m just jealous that Aileene got a hug and none of the rest of us did, he sent.
Whatever, I sent, let’s get going again.
We started walking again and about an hour later we exited the forest and entered pandemonium.