Book of Days: April 18, In the Ruins

Just beyond the edge of the woods there was a ruin. The children all knew of it, and it was a prime place for playing hide and seek, given its size. No one seemed to know what the huge complex had been, nor why it had been abandoned, but they didn’t care. Instead, the children knew it for its nooks and crannies, for the walls that had fallen, but enough to give them cover while still letting them see the one seeking.

Sherlene had played among the ruins as a child, never really noting the details, but this was the first time she had returned as an adult. There had been something in her history class, a picture in one of the lectures, that had twigged a memory and since then she’d been waiting for first break to be able to travel home.

The picture she’d seen was one of a wall on a planet far from her home world, and a symbol that made her think of an eight-pointed star. There was writing, above and beneath, faded and damaged, but she didn’t know the language in any case. What she did know, or thought she knew, was the star.

There was a wall in the ruins beyond the edge of the forest, one that was not only intact but still held part of the floor above. They were not, of course, allowed to climb to that higher level, and of course they had done so anyway. Sherlene had gone up, once, thinking she could hide above the head of the seeker, and found more of the floor intact than she had at first imagined. It wasn’t that they couldn’t see the upper floors, nor knew them to be above their heads when they were playing, it was just that their parents made it seem as though the whole thing would fall down in an instant, and she hadn’t expected entire rooms to still be intact.

She’d crept through these rooms, expecting the floor to give out beneath her feet at any minute, and had at last taken a hiding spot behind a wall that gave her a view over the rest of the complex from a place where it had, in fact, crumbled away. It was the best hiding spot she’d come across in all her years of playing. Which meant, of course, that no one found her, though their search was too vigorous for her to leave her place and run to home. Instead, she grew bored watching them search the lower levels, and had turned her attention to the empty room.

The star had been painted on one of the inner walls. The writing was there as well, she was certain, but the star was the only thing of interest in the crumbled building, and she’d looked at it long enough for it to live in her memory, even though she’d never thought of it again once she had a clear path from her spot to the tree where she would claim safety from the game. She hadn’t thought of it, but still, when she saw it in the lecture, she remembered.

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by | Apr 18, 2021

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