Orion

And I smile, because if the most correct thing in the world looks wrong the only thing you can do is to smile.

Bessie runs further, straight ahead into the fields, as if she is hunting something.

I shout her name, but, really, I don’t care.

Bessie is somewhere in the wet mud, but I can only look up, at the wrong Orion.

Orion has seven stars. Three in a line diagonally from the horizon and a very vivid square of four stars is arranged around those three, locking those three into an imaginary square.

But Bessie runs somewhere in the mud and all I can look at is the wrong Orion, the Orion with four stars in the center. And the fourth star, every time I raise my head against the cold, looks wrong.

It’s not a shooting star.

Bessie brings me a stick. I grab the stick, wet and cold, and I throw it away. She runs after it, but I don’t look at her.

I look back up.

That fourth star, it’s not just there, in Orion and in place. It’s moved away from the other three.

It’s not a shooting star. Shooting stars leave a trail.

Bessie makes a strange noise, not much different from a human’s coughing laugh. I have to smile and yet I look up and I’m pretty sure I just saw the fourth star move.

For years I loved Orion. Orion, because it’s always there and it’s always easy to spot and it’s always those three stars in a line and then those four stars in a square around those three. And now I hate Orion because Orion had a fourth star a minute ago and now that fourth star is outside that strange imaginary square, that fourth star has definitely definitely definitely moved.

Bessie is back, panting and with the dog equivalent of a huge grin on her face. I wrestle the stick out of her mouth, but I don’t look at her, I just look up at that moving fourth star. And while I throw her stick my body moves and still I’m pretty sure that that fourth star just took a leap, took a jump, crossed the equivalent of five light years on the sky in the direction of the horizon.

And it’s bigger, isn’t it?

Just my imagination.

Look away. Look at Bessie. Don’t look at the sky. Don’t look at Orion.

Bessie is chewing on that stick while she walks back to me. I smile at her.

And I’m pretty sure something in the sky glows far too bright.

I smile at her.

A silent explosion in the sky?

Bessie rubs against my leg and I rub her soft, long, golden fur. Good dog. Good girl. Give me the stick.

My arm swings the stick away and Bessie runs and that flash of light lasts far too long for an explosion.

I watch as Bessie runs and a bright light smashes down from the sky, right into the ground. Not a mile away from us.

Bessie grabs the stick and looks up towards the bright red and yellow and white lights that sets the horizon on fire.

She runs towards me, but I don’t look at her, because in that flash of light I see movement.

There’s at least five or six shadows, dark and high as trees, but they move.

The flash of light disappears. I hear a dull, rough sound of stone smashing on stone.

And those shadows are still there, dark against dark, running.

Two of them running towards us.

I scream Bessie’s name.

She’s just a few steps to my right.

A thundering noise, like strong wind that blows straight into my ears.

I feel the rush of wind.

That thing ran past me.

Dark and thin. Like a twenty foot locust running on its hind legs, with long gaits.

That thing ran towards the town.

I duck.

Bessie comes back to me, whining. She’s limping. Her right leg up in the air as if it’s broken.

“Fuck”, I say.

She rubs against my leg and if she’d be a human she’d have tears in her eyes. She even left her stick on that field.

I lift the whining, soft, golden Bessie on my arms and turn around.

The town is there, bright as ever.

That shadow, it has disappeared between the houses. Just my imagination.

“Fuck,” I say, because that mud path in front of us has a hole in it that wasn’t there before.

We walk back, Bessie whines and I tumble quietly towards the houses.

Houses, quiet and calm and bright as always.

But I hold my best friend for many years in my arms and above us I see Orion with three stars in the center and now Orion with three stars in the center seems wrong.

I’m pretty sure the shape of that house has changed.

But I look away because that’s what you do.

I look at Bessie, her trusting face with the tongue hanging out, whining, and that leg, flat in a way that it shouldn’t be.

“Fuck,” I say and I walk towards the town with my eyes to the ground, but I’m pretty sure that house moved.

Today we went to the vet for Bessie. I sit in the waiting room.

He says he will have to cut her hind leg off.

That doesn’t ring in my mind, even as I think of her face and her tongue on my hands and neck.

I can only look at the headline: Unidentified rowdies smashing back yards and cars and pushing over an empty bus.

I don’t dare to grab the newspaper, my hands are too cod and stiff.

And all I can see is Orion with three or four stars, I’m not even sure anymore.

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