Once lived a girl. And she wanted nothing more but to touch the stars.
She watched, daily, the other people fly higher above the clouds than she had ever dreamt. She was determined to get her wings to join them. But you see, to have wings, you first had to be able to afford wings. And she was very poor, she barely worked enough to put food on her lonely table. And when she did, she would sit by her window and stare at the all the people with their wings and desperately covet them.
But there was one she sought out in particular. A boy roughly her age with brown hair and whiskey eyes. She stayed up nearly every night to watching him return safely to the ground, but could never bring herself to say hi. She figured, once she had her wings, she would have the confidence to talk to this boy, so every time she earned some money, she put some aside, and skipped a couple meals, so she could get her wings. After years of watching and seeing and sitting on the sidelines, she had finally saved up enough for her wings. She went to be fitted and measured and sized for them and proudly handed over the payment in full.
She decided on a pair of stunning black feathered wings. And had them installed as soon as she could. After she was put through training and cleared for flight, she took to the air immediately, a natural at flight. The air and clouds felt like a second home to her. But she noticed, that the past couple evenings when she had seen the boy flying before, he wasn't there.
Confused, she went asking about for him. All the people she talked to said that one night he had gone for a flight alone and yet to return. Distraught, she tied up her long brown hair and took to the skies in a determined search for him. She searched for days and spent many and night asleep in the clouds. He never left her thought for a second. And when she had searched everywhere she thought she could possibly have gone, she took to the sky. Even higher than she had been searching before. And she found him. Sitting contemplatively on a cloud late at night, staring determinedly at the closest star. She lowered herself next to him and told him everything.
He was awestruck and hugely grateful for her attention, he then explained his predicament to her. You see he was trying to do what nobody had done before, are actually touch a star. She said she wanted the exact same thing and she was determined to bring stardust home with her to always have a remnant of space by her side. So they discussed for a great length of time how they would, together, conquer space and touch the star that they had named Ahkai.
She, whom the boy nicknamed Stardust, was sure that if she just flew to it that she would be able to get what she wanted and after she proved it possible, help the boy whom she nicknamed Moonlight, reach the star as well. So as they laid one night, on a cloud not too far away from the star, Stardust awoke. She stretched her wings and set off on her hour long flight towards the star.
As she approached it, however, she became acutely aware of why reaching the star was so unheard of. Her enhanced body could handle the heat and her lungs could adapt to the change in the air. Even her eyes could adapt to the brightness. But as she drew closer, her wings begun to ache and blister. She held true, though, she kept flying, merely moments away from her goal of capturing stardust. And right when she saw the dust, floating around in the star, her wings began to flame. They weren't able to withstand the heat. Terrified and injured she flew away as fast as she could from the star, her wings still burning and sizzling behind her and trying to push her to her destination.
Moonlight startled awake, Stardust wasn't next to him. She had gone to the star alone. He sprung up immediately and began to stop her on her journey.
She saw him in the distance, fearfully searching the skies for her. She pushed away the thought of pain and called for him, she even dared to let a smile play on her pained face. And right as she began to will her hurting wings to move towards him, they gave out. All she saw as she began to fall through the clouds were his silhouette turn towards her and yell her name. She dropped through the clouds and realized she had disappointed him. All her hard work was for naught.
There was no way he would get to her in time. So she wrapped her arms around herself as she fell and watched the tears stream upwards towards the star who cost her everything.
He flew as fast as he could. How could he have endangered the life of this stranger he cared so little about, knew so little about, and feel such guilt? He watched as, despite his furious flight, she dipped below the clouds out of his sight.
She hit the stone road with a deafening thud. Screams echoed through the square and children were rushed away from the broken body by worried mothers and scared siblings. Another plummeting figured emerged from the clouds and everyone braced themselves for more death. Yet this one landed gently. He lowered himself mournfully to the ground next to her and held the face of this stranger he wanted so much to know.
And he wept.
He wept because he lost her and he wept because he didn't warn her. He stared at her broken body and her blood that ran red down the street. He stared at her eyes, frozen open and the tear stains going up her face. And he looked at the ashes and remnants of black feathers left in her wings. Her wings, what was left of them, were flecked with stardust. The very thing she had wanted so badly. And she would never have what she really wanted.
Just that bit of stardust.