Turns out I'm not so good at the philosophical. Or maybe it's the stream of conscience that was tripping me up here, but I never sat down to work on this story and now Halloween is two days away.
Time for a new idea, right? Here's an excerpt. I'll see if anybody can pick up on what I did:
It didn’t amaze him when Sarah nudged his arm with her elbow. She was either a mind-reader—and Chuck hoped this wasn’t the case—or she had memorized his facial expressions because she always seemed to know whenever his thoughts took a dark turn. He looked over at her and forced an absent smile even as he pushed thoughts of the bunker to the back of his mind. “What’s up?”Hint: this story is also the result of a bet. If I were into bird-killin', I'd be proud that it's a two birds, one stone sort of deal. It'll be posted either tomorrow or on Halloween.
“You’re a nerd,” Sarah said.
Chuck blinked. “Oh, God, did my spending hours a day on the computer give it away?”
She grinned. “Not what I meant. I’m just curious. You know anything about…” She trailed off and nodded.
After a few seconds, Chuck realized she was nodding up at the stars. “Astronomy?” he asked. “I took a couple of courses in college, and I’ve read up on it. What do you want to know?”
“I don’t know. Anything. The stars out on the Point were just amazing, but I never really knew anything about them, except which is the North Star.”
“Hm. Okay.” Chuck scanned the sky for a moment. “Okay, there, do you see that W-shaped constellation?” He leaned closer to Sarah and pointed.
It took her a minute to reply. “Yeah, I think?”
“Close enough for government work. That’s Cassiopeia. Not really a role model, as she was kind of vain and boasted about her beauty.”
“Does this story have a moral attached to it?” Sarah asked, stealing the beer for another sip.
Chuck grinned over at her. “I doubt you’d let anybody hang you upside down for half of eternity, even if you were vain.”
“Probably not,” Sarah agreed.
“Cassie up there was the wife of Cepheus. What happened, and this is just one version of the tale and also me dealing with a patchy memory, but she claimed that she and…I think it was her daughter? Yeah, her daughter, Andromeda. She said she and Andromeda were prettier than these demigoddesses, which of course pissed good old Poseidon, god of the sea, off. And he flooded the country.”
“I’m guessing he had a temper,” Sarah said.