This one got loooong xD I just couldn’t stop, and of course I HAD to reference a certain song sung by a certain Cliff Edwards. (Seriously, the timeline is perfect)
Yet another insight to an unseen character from my main story, I am on a roll with these!
In reference to this list of one-word prompts. Feel free to send me one!
Zepheera wandered the dark passages inside the walls of the human flat. She couldn’t sleep. Walking by herself, especially at night, had proven to help Zepheera clear her mind on numerous occasions, and it had become a ritual of sorts.
She perked up as something caught her ear. It sounded like distant music, but it was difficult to make out through the dry wall and layers of dust surrounding her. Excitement filled her heart. The beans never played music this late. She picked up the pace, almost jogging across beams, zipping up ladders much faster than she had ever dared.
Finally, she came across a door, carefully cut to match the wallpaper outside. This led to a side-table in the humans’ sitting room. The door was safely hidden behind knick-knacks and the occasional stack of books, while still providing a decent view of the room beyond. From there, it was usually an easy hop onto the ever-present ottoman to the floor, and from there any good borrower had access to the entire room.
But Zepheera knew better than to enter right away. Instead she eased the door open just a crack and peeked out The lights were still on, as well as the radio on the far side of the room. She could make out a pair of knees on the armchair and a light snoring could be heard behind the radio’s soft violins. She let go of the tension in her shoulders once she knew the human was safely asleep.
Leaving the door cracked, she sat down next to it and closed her eyes as she listened. It was hard to imagine a human bean to match the singer she heard. Beans were massive, dangerously intelligent beasts that existed to provide people like her things to borrower. This voice was crooning, trembling with vibrato, and seemed to float right into her mind. He didn’t sound dangerous at all. This made Zepheera all the more curious as he began a new verse.
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Zepheera frowned. Quite a few of those words eluded her, but from what little she could understand, it seemed to go against what she’d been taught. She inwardly remarked that humans must be very different from borrowers, but kept listening.
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing
“You’re up late.”
She gasped, startled by the sudden voice, and opened her eyes to see her uncle half illuminated by the tiny opening.
“Uncle Boston, you scared me!” Zepheera huffed, crossing her arms indignantly. “Anyway, you’re up, too,” she pointed out.
Boston shrugged. “They left the radio on.”
Zepheera’s expression softened. “Right. Sorry.” Her uncle lived behind the mantelpiece where the radio always sat. This usually didn’t bother him unless he was trying to sleep, like tonight.
He chuckled lightly, white teeth standing out against his brown skin in the dim lighting. He bent to sit next to his young niece. “And anyway, I’m a grown-up and you’re a child. You should be in bed, not out here by yourself.”
Zepheera scoffed. “I’m thirteen,” she reminded him. “Baycliff says I’m almost old enough to get married!”
Boston’s smile faltered in the slightest and he shook his head, his wild halo of black hair swaying in time with the simple motion. “Yeah, well your stepfather doesn’t know you like I do.”
Zepheera couldn’t argue with that. In any case, her uncle wasn’t exactly dragging her back home, so she pulled her knees in close and went back to listening to the radio. A chorus had been added, taking turns with the original singer. They were repeating the last phrase Zepheera had heard, so she hoped she hadn’t missed too much.
Like a bolt out of the blue
Suddenly it comes in view
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
A chill ran up Zepheera’s spine, spreading through her scalp. The strange words combined with the sweet high note the singer ended on moved Zepheera deeply. For one thing, she was no expert on human singing, but it hardly seemed possible for someone to sing such a seemingly astronomical note. And for another…
“Uncle?” she asked quietly as another song began but went ignored. “What’s a star?”
Boston blinked at the sudden question. “Er, well… Do you remember me telling you about the sky?”
Zepheera nodded. She had yet to see it for herself; though her uncle was teaching her to borrow at such a young age, he still insisted there were certain things she wasn’t ready for. One of them being the outside world, and by extension, the sky.
“Well, at night, the sky becomes dark and all these little lights that the beans call stars appear in it.”
Zepheera pondered this, then followed up with another query. “Is it true, then? Can they make wishes come true?”
“Now, Zepheera.” Boston’s naturally kind tone took on a firm edge to it. “We’ve talked about this.”
Heaving a sigh, Zepheera hugged her knees into her chest. “I know, I know…” Her uncle had always emphasized how dangerous it was for borrowers to want for anything apart from basic needs and comforts. If one got too ambitious, they increased their risk of being caught by the beans. And everyone knew that could only end badly.
However, seeing his niece so despondent softened Boston’s heart. He took a deep breath and hopped to his feet. “Let’s go find out for ourselves,” he said, offering a hand to help
She looked at his hand quizzically for a moment before sucking in an elated breath. “You mean…?”
Boston nodded. “You’re ready.”
He led Zepheera all the way up to the attic where there was a small round window easily within reach. The two borrowers sat on the sill, the elder smiling as the child stared at the outside world with open wonder. Boston smiled fondly. His brother’s daughter was growing up so fast.
If only he could be here to see it.
“Which star am I supposed to wish on?” she asked.
Boston shrugged. “I suppose you can just pick one.”
Zepheera turned her gaze up to the twinkling specks of light that dazzled the night sky. She chose one at the tip of a bunch that seemed to take the shape of a fishhook in Zepheera’s mind, and she closed her eyes.
Please take me far away from here.