She remembered alabaster walls bedecked in jewel-framed portraits and detailed landscapes. She could sit upon on a pile of pillows and stare outside her wide window. Stars filled it. Pinpricks in the black sheet of the night.

But that was a memory. One of the few that crept along as she pieced things together.

Only one thing remained constant: An endless sheet of pinpricked night.

There was one other thing that remained. It was not as constant as the stars, but it was present for a very long time.

It was a sound.

Her, the stars, and the sound.

The Sound.

It was something to hold onto, something beside her and the distant points of light. She let the Sound flow over her, vibrating her insides and outs. The Sound penetrated. The Sound shook things loose. It was the Sound that gave her memories.

So she believed.

So she thought until she suddenly realized that the Sound was coming from her.

It was her voice.

She remembered wide stone steps leading down down and up up like the inside of a seashell. Fingers interlaced. The smells of outside come in on a warm breeze. The heat from her lover. The heat from his hand on her thigh. The heat from the stars shining through the sky above them as they tumbled slowly on the steps.

The Sound was a song.

A sad song of loneliness. A happy song of friendliness. It shook loose from inside her. It vibrated out past her skin, out through her throat and tongue and teeth. Into the space between her and the stars.  Into the Deep.

So she sang, knowing that’s what it was she was doing.

She sang and she let the stars shine beyond her as she slid below them.

The Song soothed the scorching cold from her skin. It pried free her swollen eyes. It started her heart. She felt warmth deep down inside. Deep down where she once drew breath outside of Song. In her own private Deep. Beyond the reach of stars.

She remembered cool evenings on a wide warm rock at the edge of a slow stream. Frogs sang her song and the smells were sweet and darker than the shadows under the water’s forever flowing skin. Alone at last, in the nearest silence the night had to offer, with its symphony of night creatures picking up the song from those who sang for the day. Alone with the stars shining off the ever-darkening water.

There was no measure to the length of her song. It surprised her when she stopped singing.

She kept on in silence, relishing her newfound relaxation.

She thought about where she was going. About where she had been. Neither place was easy to see, especially under the dazzling sky. She realized, after a long ride through the dark that she had never moved. That it was indeed the sky that slipped past. And that her song marked time. That it held forever. That it reflected the stars.

She pondered her journey while it came around her. For countless beats of her heart she listened. And silence taught her a new song.

She opened herself and shone.

She let the Deep inside her.

She let the stars inside.

Quietly, gently, she let them in. They spoke to her. They whispered to her what she’d known all along.

She spun under the rushing sky. She let the sky spin within.

She let the stars live there inside her.

And they sang new songs.

She let the music come out her lips, her hips, her fingertips. Her eyes. She let the songs of her Deep Stars shine on wherever she went.

She let the stars shine against the distant pinpricks in the sheet of constant black. She let their music mingle. And from the distance, from the far far past and from long beyond her end, she heard another song. And another. And countless more. Until each star was singing with its stars inside, and all the stars were hers.

She let them dance around her, and she danced within their song. She whirled and twirled and from her pores fell beads of song drops, shining under endless suns. She was never alone again.

She rolled under the deepening night sky, tossing her eyes open to raze the distance between her and all those distant points of light.

And finally she went to bed.

She slept deep, deep down behind those alabaster walls. With piles of pillows for her spinning head. With comforters and with an arm around her. With memories.

She went to sleep with the Deepest of Smiles, wrapped in the warmest skies.

She dreamt of a night full of stars.

And they all sang her song.

Kevin Shamel lives in an old haunted house in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two kids, a dog and a cat. He spends his days playing with the aforementioned critters, practicing joyful oddness, and writing. You will rarely find him speaking (or writing) about himself in third person because it”s a very odd practice, even for him. Visit his blog at Shameless Stuff for links to more of his stories and whatever else is going on.

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Every Day Fiction

  • chick sure likes stars

  • Celeste

    A five for me, Kevin. A song in itself. Beautiful and poetic. Thank you.

  • Wow! I love the descriptive. Simply amazing! I think I can learn a thing or two from this passage of fiction. Thank-you for sharing it with us.

  • Rob

    A wonderfully written piece. Obviously there will be many people who will love it. I did not, sorry. To me it seemed like it was just describing a drug trip or something like that.

  • Amy Corbin

    This almost seemed like poetry to me. Very nice, beautiful poetry, but not really a story. Though, I must say I really liked it.

  • Some very nice descriptions but I, too, don’t really follow what is going on.

  • Bob

    Some nice alliteration, but I’m still stuck on the idea of something happening in stories.

  • I agree that the language is beautiful and the descriptions are breathtaking. But, I also was looking for a story and couldn’t find one. This is, after all, just descriptions of thoughts or something I can’t figure out either.

  • Angela

    It reads like a woman who is in a coma or bedridden and the memory of song keeps her connected and alive but I could be wrong…great description though!

  • Well, I’m sorry, but that one made no sense to me at all. I have no idea what was going, or what happened … if, indeed, anything DID happen. Lots of “mighty purty wurds” but not much story there.

  • J.C. Towler

    I’m with Bob, Alan and Rob.

    For me, this started off interesting then tipped into a stream of consciousness type of writing which I’m not particularly fond of. Couldn’t figure out if the MC was corporal or amorphous or if there was some sort of desublimation going on here.


  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    I liked this poemstory very much until the reiteration of the all the stars and songs being hers – the new ones, the old ones … she within them and they within her. It’s the opposite of never being alone again. Except for the cryptic phrase “with an arm around her,” there are no other people present with her in her dance. It’s terribly lonely. What could be lonelier than that? This poem/story contradicts itself.

    There are quite a number of writings which don’t exactly fit the poem category or the story category but deserve to be read and to have a place among the published. This is one example despite misgivings about it.

  • Jen

    This was very nice writing. At first I thought it was a little too wordy, but than when it got into the songs and the dancing it was very beuatiful and poetic. The story doesn’t need too many plot point to be worthwhile, it’s just beuatiful.

  • Thanks for reading, everyone!

    I can assure you all that there’s a story there. If you can’t find it then that’s okay, but if you do–thank you for paying attention.

    Mostly it’s supposed to be pretty.

  • gay

    It is pretty. kevin, you be a poet.

  • Bob

    Sorry Kevin, but a work in which the reader can’t discern the plot is not successful as a story. Even Melville, who wrote lots and lots of pretty prose, managed to work in a clue as to what was happening now and then.

    You don’t get to pick your “readers”. Part of growing as a writer is learning how to trust that your readers may know a thing or two about “literature” as well as cartoons, learning how to set aside your defensive responses to criticism, and thereby learning how to connect with your audience. Maybe then you’ll set aside your intellectual snobbery and stop taking yourself so seriously.

    It’s a nice work, and it’s successful as a piece of prose poetry. But a story it ain’t.

  • Oh, Bob.

  • I enjoyed reading this piece, Kevin. Very poetic and lovely. Great images — I could totally see her with the pin pricked darkness and her alabaster tower.

  • Breezy Medina

    A few months ago, I asked Kevin to write me a bed time story because I was always having to go to bed whilst we were a talkin’.
    I love this story. I may be a little bias in my opinion, but this is a story. It’s a story about a dream. Dreams typically read this way.
    Anyway, I hope that you all find something to enjoy and take away from this definite story.

  • Kevin,
    This is a sweet dream, a poetic voice for a bedtime lullaby. Writers of prose care not too very much for poetry as I’ve learned these past months here at EDF.
    But the story is the draem and the dreamer–alone and yet not.


  • Alyssa

    Pretty Pretty Pretty. A perfect bedtime story. I gave it 5 stars, but it really deserves 6.

  • Sharon

    It’s got a certain loveliness, all right, but the repetitive capitalizations seemed gimmicky to me.

  • Tch, tch! All this arguing over what this piece is or isn’t …

    The way that it flows,
    It surely ain’t prose,
    But it hasn’t a rhyme,
    Which in poems is a crime,
    There isn’t a plot,
    So a story it’s not.
    This piece is no fun,
    So I give it a one!

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    A poem it isn’t. Since it isn’t and it is artistry, it fits into the only other category in this fine magazine –story. Besides, it has a plot:
    1)Female of the species sits before window and remembers past landscapes including night sky. Only presence remaining from the past is night sky and a sound.
    2)The female suddenly is overtaken by the realization that the sound was from within herself.
    3)She believes the sound interconnnects with her memories, which can connect with the night sky, bringing to her further memories which are never of people except for a lover’s hand on her thigh. She daydreams that all the stars are hers.
    4) And finally she went to bed, her “spinning head” replacing the hand on thigh with an arm around her, believing that starry sounds can replace people and keep her from being alone.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Bob – I agree with you in part, but writers ought to consider that “readers may or may not know a thing or two about ‘literature’,” and should struggle to reach them anyway.

    Everyone always ought to take oneself seriously.

    J.C. Towler – I don’t see this piece as a stream of consciousness which I do like; (how can you dislike a genre? it depends on the particular work). This is only me, of course, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is written with dislike of the female wraith, and is trying to mimic the kind of dreaminess of T.V. female M.C.’s who are raptured by the fame of mediocre singers onstage who are full of baloney.

    Jim – Prose flows. Sometimes it rhymes.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    I meant the M.C.’s are full of baloney, but with further thought, so are the singers.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    dj barber – What in particular lead you to believe that writers of prose, in general, don’t like poetry? Many writers of prose are also writers of poetry.

  • That’s true Roberta, Many authors write both. However, need you look further than the reactions to Kevin’s story right here.


  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    dj barber – Here’s one: Maybe writers of prose don’t like fiction. Here’s one even harder to find: Maybe story writers don’t like prose. Let us reason together and look further.

  • You may be correct, Roberta. But I bet this story received as many ratings of 1 as it did 5. Of course real sci-fi freaks might find a great story here by Kevin–it reminds me of the rather psychaedelic ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    dj barber – Then to be safe, let’s all rate stories as “3” and no one will be capable of distinguishing what each really thinks, or that any of us have a differing opinion, follow-up separately, or individualistic partialities (and get away with it).

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    I meant “HAVE” individualistic partialities. I’m glad EDF has a variety of editors. Congratulations EDF!

  • I think that’s what the comment section is for, Roberta–to distinguish what folks think. The ratings are okay, I think, for people to give an opinion on a piece without writing something concise. Many are much too shy to write about others’ writings–I liked this piece by Kevin. It had a wonderful flow and voice. And if it’s too artistic for some, well, I can see from many of the comments above, it wasn’t that for all.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    dj barber – Actually I pictured this story as a wide-screen movie theatre extravaganza, a spectacle of starry photography with surround sound,threatened towers just barely visible in the distance, under the clear Texas-like sky.
    It’s so very homey to find another person with the same idea of the comment section as I have. I’m concerned about some lack of understanding about “facetiousness” which means spoken from a viewpoint, a facet differing from ones own and expected to be understood as such. I also agree the poems not too artistic.

  • Nan

    I enjoyed this, as far as it went. I wish it had gone farther, into some sort of action, some sort of plot and interaction rather than becoming even more abstract than it started. But hey, that’s just me, and we’re all glad to have a wide variety of voices.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    dj barber – For “poem” I meant “poem’s”

  • Roberta,
    As I said; This was like the ending of 2001, fabulous imagry-but a story as well. At least one I could see.

  • QM

    It seems I only post comments on your work, Mr. Shamel.
    I have to give you a round (of sorts) of applause. Made me want to stop looking things I’d lost years ago and just be happy I had them once. (Maybe not house keys.)

    Congratuwelldone on a beautiful piece of poetry and/or story telling.

    I second the ‘oh, Bob’ motion.

  • I like you, QM. Thanks.