The Quiet King of the Universe

At night the man dreams of the stars. Not in the sky above, but beneath his feet. Glittering granules of sand caught in still cooling obsidian. He dreams of magnificent, impossible beings, bathing him in silent adulation.

He never speaks, this homeless man. Fellow travelers, fellow men who are lost and forgotten, in lieu of a name, call him Stargazer or The Quiet King of the Universe.

How he spends his days: wandering the Earth his eyes constantly skyward. He wonders about dreams where he drifts in the heavens. Are they of a life to come, or one that was? He waits in a liminal state, listless and just on the edge of becoming. He waits, stuck in-between. He waits for the calling, waits for them to pull him out of his life and up into the night.

Even in the day, and in the sun, the blue skies, the clouds, do not fool him. Beyond he can see it is always black. An igneous matte that calms him, calls to him. Even when he sleeps in the rain, drops pattering on the hull of his aluminum lean-to. He can see through the metal and through the darkness, through to the stars that call him home.

And still he waits.

One evening the wait ends. Bright lights shake him from reverie, dreams of standing above the stars. Lights pull him from his hovel. Up, up... Opening his eyes, he is hemmed in by impossible creatures who exist only on the edge of imagining. In a translucent craft in the midst of the stars. He is one with the night sky, one he has watched each day since he was a young man.

He is home once more.

They do not speak, neither does he. After a fashion they bow, one by one, inclining heads or probosces, bending knee or tentacle, even the living shadows sink towards the starry floor in supplication. Quietly, they rejoice. For he has returned; their lord has ascended: the Quiet King of the Universe.

Adrift in the dark, the Quiet King dreams of stars. Not on the floor beneath, but above his head. A night sky. A ceiling coated in pitch and diamond. He dreams of a life that was-

-or is yet to be.