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Catching Shooting Stars

In the Rag & Bone Junkyard sat a rusty silo over a hundred and fifty feet tall; atop that rusty silo sat a ramshackle shack; atop that ramshackle shack sat two youths: a girl and a boy. In truth, only the lad was sitting, dressed in a dark sombre suit which contrasted sharply with his pale features.. The girl was standing. Petra Flax was trying to prove to her friend Cyrus that it was entirely possible to catch shooting stars in a butterfly net. So far, she had been unsuccessful.

“Just gotta wait fer the right one.” she said, butterfly net tightly in hand, her stance much the same as when holding her bat, Mr Lightninghouse. “These’ve all been jes a smidge too high. One of them low shootin stars, and we’re set.” She nodded. “Happened all the time back in Falun.” 

“The Bucket of Blood is taller than your house.” said Cyrus. “The offices of the Free Press are taller than your house. We should be over there.”

Petra scoffed. “They’re liklely ta get hit anytime now. I measured the height of the House of Flax very carefully, Cye. Not too short, not too tall. The kinda house Moldylocks would like.”

“Goldilocks.” said Cyrus.

“Never met her,” said Petra, steadying her stance. There was a glimmer in the sky. “This is the one, I can feel it in my bones.”

Cyrus stood up. His pale face was bathed in green flickering light. “Petra. This meteor is green.”

Petra smiled. “I toldja. Look how low this one’s comin’ in. This one’s mine.” she took a few practice swings as the meteor approached, lower and lower, whistling through the sky as it approached. 

Cyrus placed a small pale hand on Petra’s shoulder. “Um, Petra… I think the meteor is coming in a little too low.”

“No way, I got it!” she called back to him.

“It’s headed directly at us, I think.” he dropped, tugging the cuff of her coat with him as he went down. The meteor flew above their heads, shaking and breaking up, casting everything in a vivid chartreuse light. How close or distant it had been when it passed over neither of the two could say, as they had both covered their heads. 

Petra looked around. The night seemed very dark suddenly. “Which way did it go?” she asked. 

“Looked like it went down somewhere in the Fells.” said Cyrus.

“Well, don’t jes sit there lookin pale, come ON!”

“Where?” he asked. “It’s the middle of the night.”

Petra paused on the top rung of the ladder heading to the ground. “I thoughtcha said yer aunt was persimmons?”

“Permissive.” Cyrus corrected. “But even she has her limits.” He watched Petra climbing down the ladder, then began to follow her. “What do you want to follow that thing for?” he called down.

“Boy, for a genius kid you sure are dumb sometimes.” she said. “I need it for the junkyard, course!” she jumped the last few feet and landed in the gravel.

Cyrus climbed right to the bottom, then grimaced at the rust on the palms of his hands. He rubbed them on his pants, then looed at Petra. “You don’t need to acquire things for your junkyard.” he said. “That’s not how junkyards work.”

Petra was already readying her wagon. She lit her pipe and turned to Cyrus and laughed. “That’s what the lesser junkmen say.”


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