If you like this, stick around for maybe a couple hundred years until I can write the rest of the book. Author problems.
Wolf of Rigel
A bit from a future book
The man walked by her booth three times before finally stopping. By then, Celeste was weirded out to the extreme. The man wasn’t her age. He had to be around a hundred, and Celeste had just turned eighteen. He wasn’t someone she knew, and her memory never failed. She looked up at him on his fourth walk by and he looked at her like he had all the other times. His expression was one of excitement and oddity. He seemed glad that she finally noticed him.
“Hello, young lady.” He had a nuance of a British accent.
“Hi.” She didn’t say anything else. It was awkward, but if she wanted to know anything else about the man, it wasn’t wise to start the conversation. He seemed to have no problem getting to the point.
“Do you know what you did was quite clever?”
Celeste raised a dark eyebrow. “What I did about what?”
“Your tattoos.” He pointed to her. “Quite clever.”
Celeste eyed her pale arms once again. “I don’t have any tattoos.”
“You rarely see such skill, and I have never seen anyone with tats on their face.”
Celeste felt like she’d been hit in the stomach. Why were some people so mean? And this guy? The last person she thought would make a personal insult like that. Her high-school classmates? Sure, they would, but for somebody to point it out, in a restaurant. Now, that was rude. She lifted a hand to her scarred cheek. “What do you want?”
The man lowered himself into the booth with a creak and a jolt. He gripped one of his legs and eased it up on top of the other with a grave rolling groan. “I just wanted to tell you, I appreciate a young lady like yourself with such an interest in astronomy.”
A thought crossed Celeste’s mind that perhaps he was senile. “Astronomy?”
“Yes, you see, the youth this day, are all quite in their own worlds. When I was a boy we would spend hours and hours just studying the sky. But now, all they do is look at their phones and such. Why, when was the last time you heard a boy remark, ‘why isn’t that a beautiful painted bunting?’… though you must certainly admire a Bohemian Waxwing even more.”
Celeste held up a finger. “What’re you talking about?” He rambled on as if she hadn’t spoken.
“Or, did you know, that to tell the difference between two trees, you have to be one of them or be a lumberjack? Anywho, back to the point, I love the look of your tattoos— do you think they could get something like that on this loose skin?” He pulled at his elastic cheek for a moment, giving Celeste an opportunity to speak.
“These are scars, you know, from acne.”
“Nonsense, see that one, it’s blue!”
Celeste knew which one he meant, “not exactly blue.”
“It’s called Rigel, a cobalt beauty, and across Orion’s belt from it, that big feller is Betelgeuse.”
“Gross. Now, please, stop speculating and move on if you will.”
The man’s eyes suddenly became clearer and he spoke with more earnest.
“You can often hear a child confidently and positively say that… dragons aren’t real. But it is strange, with so little of a worldview, that child can be so sure. What if we are like those children? So sure… yet we know and see so little…” Without another word, the man stood and step tap step tap step step tapped away.