Erato’s Misadventures – Brothers and Sisters

It felt like the month of July would never end. Mercury in retrograde did not help. All of the strange interactions at the Olympus building led me to believe something else bubbled beneath the surface, but I felt too tired to figure out what it was. A tense energy thickened the air, and I could feel it hum in my veins. 

I reached for the remote and the skylight roof of my bedroom slid open to reveal a cloudless sky filled with stars. 

Perfect. 

I fixed my telescope on the sky and found the Orion Nebula. A milky haze surrounded startling pinks, aquas, and blues. Colors swirled across the night, masking some stars, intensifying others. New stars emerging into the gaseous cloud, birthed by Orion’s sword.

Gorgeous. 

Soothing.

My center.

I remember the philosopher, Democritus, and his ideas about matter being comprised of tiny invisible atoms. In 400 BC, people scoffed, but his theory about the Milky Way held on, picked up in 1755 by Immanuel Kant, who dubbed nebulas as “island universes.”

So many times, I find myself caught up in the abstract science of it all, instead of focusing on the amazing beauty never to be seen by mortal eyes. A universe so vast it is incomprehensible…even to those who study it. So many times I wish I could show the mortals what they are missing. So many times, I am selfish and glad it is one thing they cannot ruin. 

I heard a small meow.

Dugo somehow found his way into my penthouse again. He sidled over, asking for a small bit of affection before curling up beside me for a nap. I appreciated his friendship. 

This new life could be lonely. Being at the OA felt odd. Even in the midst of family (albeit extended), I did not quite fit in. 

The ink-black darkness started to dissolve into morning, stars disappearing into the light. Not ready to give up, I strained my eyes to seek out more of my galaxy. 

A flurry of movement caught my attention a moment before I heard a cooing.

Dugo woke from his nap, his grey ears perked and alert. He gave a strange little cat chirp deep in his throat and jumped off the bed to investigate. 

A pigeon landed just inside my bedroom. The bird cocked his head at me and then looked at Dugo to assess the threat level. 

“Dugo,” I warned. “Be nice.”

The bird came closer. I could see a small cylinder attached to him. I reached out and he hopped onto my outstretched hand. I inched my other hand toward him and was able to touch the cylinder. A scroll of paper edged out, so I pulled. 

A note from Erato. 

That’s so him. 

Dear Sister mine,
You often said I ignored the cool, clear light of the stars for the heat of the night – I fear you’re right. I am lost, your counsel I would borrow. I’ve been away too long and to my sorrow. May we speak tomorrow?
Erato

I couldn’t help it, I clapped and squealed out loud. My brother was close. Finally. Family who understood me. 

Cell in hand, I sent the pigeon on his way and called my darling brother instead. 

He answered, but I could barely make out his voice with all of the background noise. 

“Erato? Where are you?”

I struggled to hear, but only got mumbles in return. Mumbles, underscored by mortal moaning mixed with wicked club music.

Nox.

“Er, I want you here as soon as you finish up whatever it is you’re doing. You’ve got the address. Let me know when you’ll arrive. We’ll catch up and then grab something to eat. I can’t wait to see you.”

The call ended. 

I picked Dugo up and danced around the room with him in my arms. 

“My brother’s coming. My brother’s coming.”

Dugo was not impressed.

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Urania (Kimberlee Gerstmann)

Urania (Kimberlee Gerstmann)

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Urania is portrayed by the author, Kimberlee Gerstmann, who is finally working her way out of a serious post-MFA slump. When she’s not writing, taking care of her menagerie (and/or extended family), she’s railing against injustice, and advocating for/teaching art to children. #WritingCommunity
Urania (Kimberlee Gerstmann)

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