Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: A Room Without Stars

This one wasn’t prompted. I was thinking about personal spaces, and about the viewpoint character from my newest project, and… it just happened. Along with her plot role, she’s just started college, so a change in location is pretty much inevitable.

For the first time in my life, I am in a room without stars. No plastic-colored spots on the ceiling—no green-white glimmers on the walls when the lights go out.

I didn’t skip on them because of some twaddle about leaving behind childish things. Anyone who uses that line that way hasn’t read the rest of the quote. Nor did I leave off because it would be too much work. Orientation is slow. I have plenty of time.

But apparently the heat setup here is through the ceiling, and without the ceiling it doesn’t look right. Roll over on the top bunk, look up, still darkness. I considered those little pillow-critter projector things (you call that a star map?), an actual projector (bunk still gets in the way), even having netting between my bunk and its ever-empty neighbor and sticking them on that. Definitely considered that last one. Being above the stars? That could be nifty. But there was always the chance that whatever combination of luck and the meddling of my sponsors had blessed me to be the sole occupant of a double would run out—and with what I’ve learned recently, I think a little superstition, the whole don’t invite it thing, isn’t entirely out of place. If I’m not ready for a roommate, I’m likeliest to get one, right?

So of course, I’m roommate-ready. My desk and computer live under the bunk, curtained off from the rest of the room*. Officially, so the hypothetical second occupant doesn’t have to spend the night rolling over and watching the screen repeat its cheerful message that if anything’s coming in from Somewhere Out There, it and its peers will find the patterns. Unofficially… I’d rather not deal with anyone rooming with me knowing about the Project.

*The cover is why I didn’t get any farther than the text here; I spent the rest of my commute trying to figure out what Zuleika was using, went through several possibilities, explored a bit about her relatives, and still haven’t committed…. though I’m leaning towards the nebula in word art as rendered through applique and embroidery. Possibly in Arabic. We’ll see.


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