A Diamond in the Sky

 For the Stefko Family

     Delilah snaked her arm into the station’s broken support thruster.  If she could just get the stabilizer loose, she might be able to get it fixed.  If not, they were going to have to order a new one from Earth. 

     No one wanted that. 

     She planted her magnetized boots and pulled.  The stabilizer didn’t budge.  She sighed and punched it. 

     The thruster exploded.  The force pushed her away from the station.  Her safety line caught, held for an instant, then snapped. 

     The world went white. 


     Delilah’s breath echoed in her helmet.  The filtered air tasted thin and smelled like sweat.  For a second, she had no idea where she was.  Then memory rushed back. 

     She checked her air—she didn’t have much left.  Then she maneuvered herself around, looking for the station.  She managed not to cry out when she saw it.  It was so far away.  She’d never get back in time. 

     She was dead already. 

     At least the station was still there.  It looked like the explosion had been limited to the thruster.  She hoped everyone else was okay. 

     She stared at the stars, wondered how long her body would drift. 

     Her suit dinged, and her O2 bar flashed.  "I know," she whispered.  Talking wasted oxygen, but that hardly mattered.   

     No one was coming for her. 

     Her radio crackled, and Tony’s voice cut across the vacuum.  "Delilah?  Are you awake?" 


     "I’m sorry." 

     Her stomach twisted.  Of course they’d made Tony monitor her.  Tony, who wrote bad poetry, remembered her birthday, sang like an angel, and had no idea that she was in love with him. 

     "We weren’t sure you were alive," Tony said.  "There was an explosion." 

     "I know." 

     "We—we can’t get to you in time." 

     "I know." 

     She couldn’t tell him now.  It—it wasn’t fair.  But maybe she could have a dying wish.  "Tony, would you—would you sing for me?" 

     "I don’t know what to sing," he whispered. 

     "Anything," Delilah said.  The silence stretched.  Her chest started to ache.  "Please."  

     "Twinkle, twinkle little star," Tony sang. 

     "How I wonder what you are. 
     Up above the world so high,
     like a diamond in the sky.   

     When the blazing sun is gone,
     When he nothing shines upon,
     Then you show your little light,
     Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

     Then the traveller in the dark,
     Thanks you for your tiny spark,
     He could not see which way to go,
     If you did not twinkle so.

     In the dark blue sky you keep,
     And often through my curtains peep,
     For you never shut your eye,
     Till the sun is in the sky.

     As your bright and tiny spark,
     Lights the traveller in the dark.
     Though I know not what you are,
     Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

     Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
     How I wonder what you are.
     Up above the world so high,
     Like a diamond in the sky."

     Delilah’s breathing grew frantic.  She closed her eyes and listened. 

     Tony’s voice broke, but he kept singing.  "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.  How I wonder what you are." 

     Then his voice was the only sound, and Delilah drifted away. 



About Jamie

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cats. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Pod. She has a novella and two short story collections available from Air and Nothingness Press. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking. You can find her online at www.jamielackey.com.

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