PRW Runner-Up Tour: Shooting Star by Tiffany Rose
There was a shooting star the evening I escaped, a light that was bright and beautiful one minute and gone another. I remembered my grandma once said that such sights meant a soul had gone to heaven. But such tales were of little concern to me right now. All I knew is that I had to run. So, I did.
This hadn’t been the first time I have been spotted somewhere, and I doubted it would be the last. Some would use my name for their own gains, but this time I pulled a prank of my own, and cheated the men out of their prized captive. I made sure not to stop for a single second after I jumped off the back of that train – and continued on mile past the railway station.
I had worked up a sweat since it was warm this time of year in Russia; all though, I’ve heard some people say it’s always cold, despite the time of year. I hoped the men after me weren’t local, maybe something as simple as the weather could help me break free. I had never been one for school room restrictions, and I was not going to let anyone create new rules to hold me back now.
Russia was a big place and I did not know where to go, hardly knew where I was. The wind seemed alive and continued to push me forward as if it knew where I belonged. I was led to the only place that had people I knew, a grave yard.
I wandered around in the grass, dew painting my shoes with the promise of morning. There were dozens of graves, but one stood out. The head stone was old, and unlike the others, it displayed a lack of care. No flowers, no candles, nothing to show respect or love for someone that had fallen.
I bent down, and ran my fingers over the carved stone with the dates of 1869–1917. History had not been kind to this man. Rumors swirled around him, and my family was wrapped with the tales, but none of us ever believed. I remember eagerly asking my mother when my friend would stop by, and that cold December night she told me he died. We were so sad that my sisters and I huddled up together against the bitter news. “Rasputin,” I said softly, “my dear, precious friend.”
A rattle of chains made me look up, the noise spiking a fear deep into my bones. Had they found me like they had before that July night? I looked from grave to grave but did not see a thing. I ventured out, following the sound that seemed to glide against the grass and scraped along headstones. I could not find out where the sound was coming from. Despite my efforts, every time I thought I had found the source the noise moved further away. Until the sound just stopped completely, as if someone had let the ghostly prisoners free.
I had not realized how far I had wandered into the cemetery. My friend’s grave seemed years away now. Only the moon light promised any sort of guidance. But it too would go down, leaving me out in the cold. So, when I found an unlit candle next to a man’s grave, I picked it up. “Thank you,” I whispered with a bow. I may be known for misbehaving, but I would not disrespect the dead.
I patted the pockets of my jacket which held the matchbook I stole from the train. After tugging at my gloves so I could light the candle with greater ease. The weather nipped at my exposed skin before I could even strike the match. The glow of the flame vowed its warmth to me, and I paid the kindness back by keeping the spark alive.
When I looked up, I no longer saw the graveyard with its dull shades of black, gray, and hints of green. Instead a colorful sight stole my breath away. Autumn leaves of vibrant yellow and orange fell as soft as snow, their shapes smoothed over and ethereal. Dancing among them were ghostly images, they blurred as if someone had taken a photo, allowing the film inside to sit for a moment and capture the swirl of the dresses.
With haste my glove was replaced, and captivation compelled me to dance along with them. Their spirits rose with a riot of color around the headstones. One man, a soldier I believe, bowed, and offered his hand to dance. Once evenings had been spent doing needlework while my father read to us, but rare days were this festive.
I spun around until I was dizzy, my feet tripping up before managing to successfully stop. The water-colored visions were swept away, and in their place, something else. Sitting by a patch of flowers, the sort once woven into my hair, was a solid black fluff ball of a dog. Her head was tilted as she looked at me, curious to what I was doing.
“Shvibzik?” I asked as I crouched down and wiggled my fingers for her to come closer. As the pup trotted over, I was certain this was my dog. Once I had refused to even go to bed without her, but I didn’t have the faintest idea how she had gotten all the way out here. As I petted her behind the ears, I looked to see if she broke off someone’s leash, but found no one living. “Is father around?”
She bolted out from under my hand as if to answer this question. I barely grabbed the candle before running after her. The flame blew out, but I was too worried that if I stopped to relight it I would truly lose her. I followed my four-legged friend, passing by a palace along the sea, horse stables, and a collection of mine shafts that gave me a chill, before the dog stopped its impossible pace.
Shvibzik sat in front of a crypt, and I had to stand on my tip toes to look down at her since the entrance was dug a few feet into the ground. Above ground was a carved stone monument that vaguely reminded me of Saint Petersburg. It too had domes swirled with color. I did not understand why I was brought here. “Did you want me to go in there?”
Paws brushed eagerly against the bottom on the door. “I’m coming, I’m coming,” I said taking a few steps down to join. Once I opened the door, she bolted off again vanishing into the dark completely, like a puff of cigarette smoke that my sister and I used to hide from our parents. The whole thing made me miss having the moon as my ally.
I called her name, my voice echoing as it bounced off the narrow walls and into the distance. It was even colder down here as I unhappily pulled at my gloves again so I could relight the candle wanting everything it could provide.
The room got brighter from the match, and grew brighter still. When the snow-white color faded from my eyes, I could see a shining dinner table. I felt warmed by the steamed roast goose that sat in the middle like a centerpiece. Apples, prunes, and other fruits were gathered around the meal. Better still, I saw my sisters, and my father sitting at the end. I remembered the night that my brother and I snuck under the table pinching our guests before we playfully scurried away so my father wouldn’t scold us. Tonight however, my father smiled as if pleased with my behavior, before turning to my mother. She waved for me to come closer, and I happily did.
The single step stole the beautiful Christmas from my eyes. I looked around the now dim crypt. The walls felt too closed compared to the open dining room, and silent company eerily still compared to the vision of my family gathered around.
I frowned, and called for Shvibzik again. Instead of a bark, my name echoed back. I dropped the candle at the sound, but not in fear. I knew that voice. “Alexei!” I yelled and ran through the dark towards the sound, blindly traveling down the halls. The air grew colder and colder as I traveled into the heart of the crypt.
The hallway led to a large room with a series of lit candles placed all around on various bits of stone. It gave the whole room an orange-red glow and plaques were placed around like nametags on a dinner table. I found my father’s name first, and once I could pull myself away from it, I found more. The names of my mother, three sisters, and finally I spotted the youngest out of all of them, my brother Alexei.
I thought about that shooting star, blazing across the sky line, and then to my request of being brought to my father. Not knowing of the importance of either at the time. I felt as if in a dream, and somewhere knew this happened every time I woke up.
There was one stone left unread, and after I visited all the others, I moved towards it. “Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova,” I said, reading my own name. I closed my eyes, breathing in the truth. I hadn’t always been here, and neither had they, but what is lost can be found. Although sometimes in life, the truth only comes out in pieces.
In that time, my name had been scattered upon the wind, the sound of it drawing me to those who could remember, to those who called my name and brought me to life again. Part rumor and part hope of the people. Stories of me spread like wild fire, in the minds and imaginations of some, and the bitter cold hearts of others who still wished to profit off our royal name.
But here is where I wanted to be, safely tucked away with the rest of my family. My brother Alexei and I no longer separated or lost from the rest of our kin. In the cold hour of dawn, with rosy cheeks and a smile, I joined them again. The truth is, I was always that shooting star.Therefore, Buy dapoxetine Online works by causing the inhibition of enzyme PDE-5 and activation of cGMP. dapoxetine causes the erection by producing order dapoxetine online cheap. If you have a need to buy high-quality Priligy no prescription, in our online pharmacy you can will get Dapoxetine in short period of time and pay. Doxycycline tablets prevent malaria. Buy your tablets from Superdrug Online Doctor – prescription and delivery are included. Local pharmacy pick-up available doxycycline buy online. Doxycycline online. Doxycycline medication. Buy Doxycycline without prescription. You can find generic and branded medication in our online Store…