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continued from The Song in the Meadow

“OH! You’re here! We so hoped you’d make it in time!” the elated creature exclaimed.
The surprise of being directly addressed knocked her on her rear as she stammered a reply, “Oh…I, I’m sorry. Wait—in time for what? You knew I was coming?”
“Everyone knows that,” it confirmed.
“Oh, you’ll just love it,” another beamed as many started to acknowledge her excitedly. “Tonight is the night when we move on. “
“All of you?” she implored as she gazed at the vast population before her.
“Every last one of us,” chimed a surprising baritone.
“Where are you going?”
“Up there!” said a buzzing soprano voice.
Kathryn looked up reflexively, but saw nothing but the many diamond-like stars nestled in their deep blue backdrop.
“Up there? There’s nothing up there but the sky and stars.”
“Exactly!” They were all aflutter at this point.
Confused by what she was hearing and seeing, she asked, “would you mind, I mean…could I ask…what are you?”
“Why, we’re Asteruffs. We’re star seeds,” replied the original greeter.
“You mean to tell me that you’re all going to become stars tonight? Does that mean all of the stars above us were once Asteruffs?”
“Oh yes. It’s been that way since this world was created.”

She was filled with skepticism—something she had far too much of—but wanted to believe the little creatures. After all, why would they lie? It’s just that, in her world, stars were huge burning masses of gas, not tiny funny-looking seedlings. As her feelings threatened to ruin the beauty of the otherwise magical moment, a strong and wise voice resounded from behind her to address her doubt.

“I know, Kathryn. These unassuming Asteruffs look far more like the weeds of your world than wondrous pieces of the galaxies, but its different here. The Creator loves humble beginnings that lead to glorious endings. I know it’s hard to be believe, but in just a few minutes, you will bear witness to one such event.”

She was about to turn around to see the source of the voice (it seemed she might have to get used to mysterious voices,) when curiously on-cue, the wind roared from the West and headed towards the Asteruffs. Immediately, they were all set alight in response and Kathryn stood and was mesmerized by the field of sparkling luminaries before her. Swiftly, the wind arrived and uprooted the brightly-lit seedlings and whisked them into a whirlwind.

She laughed, lifted her arms, and began to twirl as the thousands of twinkling creatures danced around her and sang even more joyously than before. Time seemed to slow as she stood in the field, dancing with the Asteruffs as they made their ascent. She lingered in that moment as long as possible, overjoyed to be a part of their most magical moment, but all too soon she was waving “good-bye” as they flew higher and further away. By the next night, they’d be at home with the rest of the stars in that enchanted land. She sighed wistfully as she wished she could be as fortunate as them.

“Breathtaking, wasn’t it?” observed the voice from behind again.

Her throat thickened as she was reminded of the mysterious presence behind her. There was something intimidating about the voice, as if it came from a mighty speaker. Though distinctly feminine, it somehow didn’t seem human. She braced herself and turned slowly. Her jaw dropped and her eyes met the deep yellow eyes of someone she never expected. There, as sure as she stood, sat a majestic, amber tigress staring back, waiting for a response. She could only utter a squeak as the shock of such a formidable presence caused her to faint and fall into the lush grass below.

To be continued…

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