The Curious Case Of The Disappearing Stars - Short Story

Amit is used to having his dinner in his backyard garden under the canopy of stars. For him to finish his dinner, his mom has to tell him a new story every day. But today, he is barely listening to the story.
"...Dhruva star's tapasaya shook the heavens.."
"Mom, the bright star beside the circle of stars disappeared"
"Yeah? Where did it go?"
"It's not there! Do stars die?"
"May be it moved somewhere else."
"No, it's very bright and I don't see it anywhere. What happened to it?"
"Stars move, it must have moved somewhere which isn't visible from our side."

Amit wasn't really satisfied with this answer, he was pondering about the explanation, looking at the stars intensely. Just then, a star little far from the circle of stars he tracks disappeared. Amit blinked. He thought it's just a trick of his eyes. But he can't see the star anymore.

"Mom! That star just disappeared right now in a blink" - Amit gasped. But the non-curious eyes of an adult don't keep track of every star, they only see a blackness speckled with bright spots - it's all the same every night.

Starry Sky
Sky Full Of Stars

The disappearance of the stars didn't go unnoticed by the scientists and it in fact drove them into panic. Skies change - stars move, stars explode leaving dust or black holes or supernovas. But it never happens in a jiffy, everything can be observed over a period of time. This one is different, the stars are just gone in a poof. You blink and you miss it. They aren't leaving any trace which can be observable in infrared. If just one star disappeared this way, it would have been a happy mystery - one to be studied for years. But galaxies themselves have been disappearing outside the galactic group and it has spread as if a virus has been attacking the space itself. It all happened so fast leaving no clue. Soon, Local Group - our own galactic group of which Milky Way is part of, has been hit - 20 galaxies disappeared, before it finally spread to our own galaxy - confirming the fears of the scientists. It's spreading.

Even the busy adults with their heads generally bent towards their phones started looking at the skies. It was unusually dark these days, despite all the light and air pollution of the cities.

Scientists are surveying sun 24*7, to see any abnormal flares or changes in sun's luminosity. But the sun remained the same, as if nothing has been happening in it's neighborhood. It didn't dim or brighten up.


JD was intently focused on his papers - he has been studying the phenomenon since it started. Every theory he tried hit a dead end. He had been sleepless since months trying to find any minor clue which can shed some light on what's happening. He finally gave up on finding the root cause and started focusing on damage control - if and when Sun disappears, what needs to be done?

Can we survive it? People will be blissfully ignorant of it for 8 minutes after Sun has disappeared, as sun light takes 8 minutes to hit us. Earth would just keep going in space, though it's more of flying off into space because of the momentum, than in an orbit.  In a week, temperatures will drop to freezing point. We can live off on the electricity, but plants would soon die. Untill Earth hits another object in space, we would be drifting off at the same speed.

He tried to be optimistic to focus- "May be another solar system would pick us up on our way". But it all seemed far fetched.
It all looked bleak and hopeless to JD - "We are not prepared for this".


Amit was sweating under the hot sun, running between the wickets with cricket bat in his hand. He wiped off the sweat from his brow. He hit a sixer next and tried to look at the trajectory of the ball. The sun was in his eyes and he tried to block it with his small palm to get a better look of the ball. The ball landed far away into the seated audience. They were all cheering for him.

He felt it before he could see it. He felt cold. He couldn't feel the blazing light and heat, he brought down his hand which was shielding his face. Suddenly, it was all pitch dark.

For more stories, please see Short Stories


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