What do I remember?
I remember the globe, which she cuddled like a doll. Rudimentary at best but somehow more real than any satellite photo, crude continents and ersatz oceans housing every story offered by mankind. To touch it was forbidden to all but the goddess herself, and for good reason. Unless you want to hear everything at once, best to leave it to Deia.
I remember the Matron, quiet and tall, laying a gentle hand on her charge’s shoulder whenever it was time. She’d listen to Deia’s repeated stories with the faintest smile, watch the little goddess’ globe spin with the slightest awe.
Most of all I remember the stars.
They surrounded her, enveloped her, were part of her—and I mean that quite literally, because they shifted when she moved. A trillion points of light, so vivid they seemed painted on, twisting and rearranging endlessly around this little blonde girl.
Those were the first to go.
You didn’t notice it at first—how could you, when they were so many?—but little by little the bright lights winked out, darkness spiraling inward, Deia refusing to notice. When she thought no one was looking, she bunched up her cloak, glared at the dark patches. She willed the stars to return, and yet they did not.
In increasing darkness the globe grew quiet. What Deia could hear with the touch of a fingertip became what she’d press her ear to world to absorb. I saw Matron crying, watching her charge clutch the globe. Her tears were silent. Deia’s were not.
“Please!” She cried, flailing her fists in tantrum, hammering mountains and forests to rubble. More stories silenced, and she wailed even louder, struck even harder, got even less.
From ten billion stars, fifteen remained, haloed on the hood she now pulled above her head. Wisps of blonde hair trailed across the world, its south pole bumping into her pulled-up knees; one or two lone voices spoke, feeble and bland, but she didn’t bother repeating them for the Matron.
“Please.” That’s all she whispered, fainter and fainter all the time. “I want the stories back.”
I said most of all I remember the stars.
That was a lie.
Most of all I remember her, the once-grinning goddess of imagination, curled weakly around her dying little world. Wanting everything, getting nothing, begging softly, while Matron faded with the last of her stars.