mister starman

All fell silent. It was a strange sensation. An unnerving windy silence only disturbed by the gentle crackle of flames flickering from the scars of the war. An endless war or so it seemed.

Jenny peered through the glassless window of a house that had been long since occupied. She had hidden in the house, out of the way. The house was wasn’t hers. She remembered the family that once lived there: Two adults, two children - the typical. She didn’t know what happened to them, but she was thankful for the little food they had left in their wake.

Even though Jenny had lived in Christmas all her life, the land she saw outside of the window was far from recognisable. The landscape, as she remembered it, was nothing but a fading photograph once captured in the back of her memory.

She stared out into the carnage. She noticed a small stuffed toy bear smouldering, scorched and abandoned on the ground near to what used to be the nursery. The town she once ran around freely and without fear as a child lay to waist in front of her. The crumbling buildings, an array of strewn debris, bricks and blocks, clothing and possessions partially buried amongst the dirty snow.

Jenny wiped a tear from her face. It had made a crooked channel through the dirt amassed on her skin. She sniffed, wiping her nose on the back of her sleeve and decided it was time to move. She edged with caution towards the door; adjusting her long-bow hitched over her shoulder and around her torso. She has thought it surprising that the house had even withstood the bombardment at all, never mind the rackety front door. It wasn’t locked. Four wide untidily sawn planks stood vertical and were nailed to three shorter horizontal planks. Each horizontal plank hung from the crudely put together door frame by old hammered iron hinges. She gave a slight tug at the black iron handle and the wooden door creaked open with ease.

Creeping forward out into the open, Jenny readily looked around for any signs of life. As she ventured slowly forward, the loud clattering caused her to flinch into a startled jump. Instinctively, she quickly whipped the bow from her around her body with her one hand, whilst priming an arrow from her quiver in the other - ready. Realising the cause of the noise was merely the rackety door collapsing off its hinges behind her she re-gathered her composure. She smiled with relief and gave a cursing whisper. She thought it best for now to keep her bow and arrow drawn in case one of those aliens was still lurking in the smoky dark. She had once heard stories of large green armoured monsters, men eating plants and once, in particular, a snake-like creature that tried to possess the townsfolk of the village; infiltrating the dreams of the few and making them do unspeakable things. She was always quite conservative about snakes anyway as a rule, especially when she was told the snake had once controlled the minds of all children of the village school. It gave her the creeps to think about it. She began to tense and feel her spine tingle with a chill.

Jenny glanced towards the centre of the town. The main assault was concentrated there; the epicentre of the war. There was nothing but desolation. The old clock tower was in ruin; burning bright with an untamed blaze of oranges and yellows. Surrounding buildings blew black gulfs of smoke high towards a deserted sky. The bronze saucer ships and smaller drones had gone. Jenny hoped they had left them in peace.

She stared long at the dark night sky. The true beauty in the twinkle of stars had been nothing but a story her mother once told her. It was the first time she had seen them unobscured. It was a magnificent sight, she thought. After the burst of flame that channelled from the clock-tower, destroying the huge mothership, all the ships seemed to retreat from the orbit of her home. She guessed that must have been the moment that they were truly beaten.

Scanning the night blue sky, Jenny noticed a light burning incandescently like a star, high above the town. She gazed at it for a while. It too was beautiful. It burnt brighter than any in view. In fact, it seemed to be glowing even brighter, and growing larger over time.

She began to doubt that it may be a star. Is it moving? It can’t be moving. It is moving! Jenny’s thoughts began to wonder.

The star burnt brighter with intensity. It was starting to come closer and whatever it was, it was coming in Jenny’s direction.

Jenny turned and ducked for cover behind what was left by a scorched upturned wooden cart. She began to think that if it was a good idea. The integrity of the cart was diminished and was barely holding itself together. She waited anyway and peered through what was left of the charcoal spindles of the cart’s only remaining wheel.

She couldn’t believe what she saw. The object she once thought a star was definitely not a star. As it approached, she heard a noise. The noise sounded like a shriek. It wasn’t one of alarm but one of almost a fearful delight. It reminded her time she went sledging with her father. He would take her to the steep snowy slopes of the Whispering Peaks in the southern lands. She would scream all the way down, terrified by the speed or even fall but still she enjoyed every moment of the thrill.


To her amazement, she saw a man. Yes, she was sure it was a man. He rocketed through the air flailing his arms and legs wildly, whooshing past at an unbelievable velocity like a meteorite entering the atmosphere, he left a golden stream of glittery embers in his wake. She peered from her cover and watched as he disappeared into the dark Woods of Susurration.

Jenny emerged from behind the cart. She watched the trail of light gradually vanish through the tall trees of the wood. Listening carefully she could still make out the scream. However, the tone had changed and become less thrilled. The sound became more panicked.

‘Whoa, wait whooooooooooooooooooooooooooa! Aaaaaaaaaaaagh!’ The screams stopped with an almighty crash and the silence fell once more. 

He can’t have landed too far away, she thought. She had been brought up near the Outland Woods and knew them very well. Her father once took her through the Tundra-Vald as a child, a vast wood of tall moon-pines by only using the lunar light of the two moons as a guide.

There was no time to find others to help track down what she saw. If it was yet another threat, it was best she tracked it down and killed it now before it had the chance to attack. She was confident she could follow the light into the wood. She readied her bow and arrow and carefully stepped into the darkness of the wood.


Before the wars, it was told that the Tree-Ents, normally the larger and more colossal of the trees, were said to have uprooted and moved themselves deeper into the forest to hopefully escape the ravishes of the war. Many were convinced it was more of children’s fable than actual truth as no one had actually seen a Tree-Ent. Jenny liked to believe that the trees were alive. As a child both her and her father would walk deep into the forests and listen to the winds whistle through the enormous branches and leaves. He used to tell her that the sound was actually the trees whispering to each other and loved she believed it.

Stepping deeper into the forest, Jenny reached into her pocket and pulled out a brown leather pouch. It was tied by a thin darker and much more worn leather lace. She undone the lace and opened the pouch. Reaching inside, she pulled out a handful of tiny transparent pebbles. Clutching them in the cup of her hand she raised them to her mouth and gave them a light blow. The heat of her breath on the stones caused them to start glowing. The more she blew on them, the brighter they became. Once they were bright enough, she threw them up in the air, scattering them. They landed in and around the foot of a large trough of disturbed snow and soil. It was if a large plough had dug a straight path through the earth. It ended at the foot of one of the oldest trees in the wood. The tree stood nearly three hundred and thirty foot high and had a trunk of nearly twenty foot in diameter. It was unsurprising to Jenny to find that it was what brought the scream to such an abrupt halt.

A large heaped mixture of snow and soil sat at the foot of the tree. Larger dollops of snow fell around her from the large branches of the trees.

She noticed something strange in the snowy mound at the base of the large tree. It was a foot, sticking out of the snow; shoeless and naked to the elements. She got closer and set herself down beside the foot. She stabbed the arrow she held into the soft snow beside her and hooked the longbow over her head and around her chest like a satchel strap. She reached into the pockets of her Snow Cat fur coat and pulled out two larger translucent pebbles. Both fitted neatly into the palms of her hands. Holding them in either hand she gently knocked one across the other before throwing them to the ground. The clear glass-like stones began to glow and slowly both gave a radiant phosphorescent shine. Now she could see the foot with more detail. It seemed humanoid like everyone else on the planet. She tentatively grabbed at the foot and heard a muffled laugh come from the snowy mound. The foot began to wriggle; toes and ankle flexing before the foot’s companion jutted out of the mound. This one hosted a brown leather shoe. It was tatty and old and had to a hole through the middle of its leather sole. This one too wriggled about and unearthed the rest of the legs that belonged to the feet.

Jenny took a step back as the mound of snow moved and slowly uncovered a man. He groaned and moaned his way out of his icy incarceration until he sat bolt upright. His eyes shut; he seemed asleep but for the unusual smile spread wide across his elongated chin. His face twitched and flinched, the muscles in his features convulsing repeatedly, it seemed without control. His arms suddenly jutted outwards like baby beckoning a cuddle until they froze still like onset rigor mortis.

Jenny watched in a bemused amazement. She noticed sparks of gold flicker in his skin of the man’s face, his hands, and his unveiled big toe. Occasionally his body twitched in his raggedy old clothing. She could see the scorch marks of his frock jacket and around the collar and cuffs of his shirt. It looked like the man had been in an explosion of some kind but strangely, there wasn’t a scratch on him. The golden glow under his skin began to fade and with that the twitching subsided.

Jenny waited momentarily before approaching the Starman again. He didn’t move. He sat like an old tin soldier propped up in a snowy armchair. His arms outstretched and the smile which Jenny started to think looked somewhat creepy.

She moved closer. He was oddly handsome and looked familiar but she couldn’t place the face. She reached out to touch his left hand and recoiled in an instant. It was hot - burning hot. It reminded her of her mother’s hot iron she used to press creases from their linen. Jenny had been warned not to touch the iron once her father had removed it from the fireplace. Being a rather inquisitive child and somewhat disobedient, she still placed her palm on the surface and remembered crying in pain for the rest of the day. She remembered her mother bathing her red blistered hand in a bowl of ice; she was slightly more sympathetic than her father ever was who decided to lecture her for days after. 

Could this be another one of those metal men?, she thought. She readied her longbow, picked up the arrow she had stabbed in to the snow. She steadied the arrow against her thumb knuckle and bow and drew the tension in its string with a creek. She knew that it may not have any used against a metal man but she wanted to be prepared none the less.

Suddenly the man’s eyes opened and he began to yell at the top of his voice. The sudden action startled Jenny and she stumbled backwards, catching her heel on one of the exposed bulky tree roots the Starman unearthed in his crash landing. She lost her grip on her arrow and it fired from her grasp with a whistle as she landed on the cold ground.

The yell stopped suddenly.

Jenny got back to her feet and tucked her long russet hair back behind her ears. She looked at the man. He was awake now. His eyes wide and mad with that strange consuming smile still stretched from ear to ear.