Every city has its late-night noise, and her city wasn’t the exception, though it didn’t bother Aislinn, as she was typing furiously on her laptop. The screen was the only source of light in the dark room, but it was at its lowest, as the girl hoped she wouldn’t wake her cousin up. She had her headphones on, music blasting loudly from them. She stopped typing for a moment as she searched for a piece of information in one of her textbooks. Not finding it, she opened an internet tab and typed the question, then continued writing her assignment. It was due next week, but she liked having her paperwork in order, which also included finishing her assignments the day they were given. Aislinn never liked busying herself with last-minute projects.
When she was almost done, the light in her room was suddenly turned on. She turned towards the door and saw her cousin Tiernan standing in the doorframe, his tanned arms crossed over his chest.
“You were supposed to be asleep,” he said, not taking his dark eyes from the girl. “It’s almost midnight, why are you awake?”
Aislinn quickly glanced at the time in the corner of the screen, then looked back at her cousin. “The real question is why are you awake?” She tried to escape his question with a silly answer. Tiernan always hated when she was working overnight on her schoolwork. He said that this is one of the reasons why she was barely staying awake during class. Which wasn’t true, was it?
“I went to get some water,” Tiernan replied flatly, raising a brow at his cousin’s stupid attempt. “Now’s your turn. Or, maybe, I’ll take a wild guess and say that you were working on another project?”
“What? No! No way!” She ran a hand through her auburn hair. “I was just, uhm, shopping online.” She offered him a fake grin, which couldn’t even fool herself.
“Shopping online?” Tiernan kept his brow raised. Aislinn hated shopping online. She only did it when she had no other choice, and even then, she had him take care of most of the order. She didn’t trust herself with details. “Are you sure about that?”
Knowing she had just made a fool out of herself, the girl just sighed in frustration. “Fine! I was writing my paper for next week.”
“Ash –” the boy tried to say, but was interrupted by his cousin.
“I know what you’re going to say, but I really want to have it done so we can go to that fun fair tomorrow.”
“You can work on it later this week.” He tried to reason with her, leaving his place at the doorframe and inching closer to her.
“No, because you know I will keep postponing it after that and will end up doing it the night before, and I don’t want it!” She let out in one long breath and it took Tiernan a minute to take in what she had said. And when he did, he sighed in defeat.
“Just be in bed by one, ok?” He said in a pleading tone. His cousin was the only family he had, and he didn’t want to lose her to some sort of disease or whatnots.
After promising Tiernan that she will get some rest in a short while, Aislinn returned to her writing and finished her ten-page essay on the physics of the black holes. She shut down the laptop, then went to change into her pyjamas. She then took off her glasses and placed them on the nightstand, before lying on the bed and pulling the covers over herself.
She was close to falling asleep, when a bright light coming from outside distracted her. She jumped out of the bed and went at the window to see what it was, but there was nothing to be seen. Am I seeing things? she thought. Maybe Ty is right and I should get more sleep. She went back to bed and fell asleep, thinking about the fun she was going to have with her friends at the fair the next day.
But what she didn’t think about was that the light she had seen earlier was real. It had come from a small spacecraft that had entered the atmosphere. It didn’t disintegrate upon entering and kept her passenger safe and sound upon the crash-landing.
The small round door on the side was opened by a strong kick and a young man emerged from within. He started coughing as he walked around the ship. As soon as he caught his breath, the boy looked more closely at the wreck. There was no way he could use it anymore.
“Black holes!” he shouted as he kicked the shiny metal. He looked around, only to notice the city lights in the distance. At first, he was afraid he had landed on one of the Empire’s planets, but the lights were dimmer than the ones he was used to at home. It was either a border planet or an uncolonized one, but given that the border planets were usually mining planets or used for farming, and this one was clearly in a terrible condition, he decided it was the second option.
Thinking he had nothing to lose, he took the silver backpack he had used to pack some of his things, and started towards the gleaming spots.