Wish Upon a Star

Wesley pushed the cushion behind his head into place and gazed up into the night sky. The buzz from a bottle of wine let him indulge the fantasy that the spinning globe had paused, leaving him hanging over the void, so that if he didn’t hold on tightly to something he might well fall down into the unending, fathomless deeps of space, striking sparks from suns, kicking planets out of orbit, a long, endless dive into star-lit darkness.

He laughed, and his companion smiled too, without understanding the reason for his mirth. Solitary laughter is a most efficient goad though, and it wasn’t long before the inevitable question was asked.

“I’m laughing because I’ve just remembered what this night means.”

“It’s a meteor shower, right? That’s what you told me. Said you always watched them, ever since you were a kid.”

“That’s right, but this one is special. My grandfather told me a story about it. People used to think the meteors were the fiery tears of St Lawrence.”

“Never heard of him.”

“Why does that not surprise me? He was martyred by the Romans on August the tenth, in the Year of Our Lord, 258. Same night as the shower, you see? Librarians and cooks both look him as an inspiration. An odd pairing, perhaps.”

“How did he die?”

The voice had a flicker of interest now and Wesley’s lips curved in a grim smile. “They placed him across a gridiron and cooked him. You don’t get to be a saint without suffering, you know, without enduring torment both physical and mental.”

A silence fell and Wesley watched, entranced, as he spotted the first flashing spear of silver arc across the sky.

“So you think when you get him back, he’ll be a saint? Saint Angel?” The words were punctuated by a derisive snort.

The mockery was annoying, the provocation plain. Wesley got to his knees and lifted up his wrist with a brutal tug. Justine’s breath hissed out sharply as her chafed flesh rubbed against the cuff.

“I’m not sure,” Wesley said pleasantly. “But if you see yourself in a halo, I’m more than willing to do my bit to help you qualify.”

Watching her grovel and plead was frighteningly entertaining. So much so that he missed the rest of the shower and the patient tears of heaven fell unheeded.

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