“A very long time ago people would wish on stars. Those distant lights, so very fathomable then, were beacons.”
He flicked his eyes away from the microphone, noting Mex’s confused frown. Mex caught his pause, and made efforts to straighten her guard stance, mimicking his own characteristic and disciplined posture.
Justin leaned back to the mess to wires, buttons, and mesh that could be called only with hyperbole, a mixing board. The microphone was held upright with dingy zip ties and a good half of the sliders sparked with an attempt to move them. He continued with further explanation, as long as the dull red light simmered beneath the plastic knob, he was on air.
“Beacons, leading you towards something you wanted. The act of wishing gave us hope. No one wishes on stars anymore, the real ones, and I get it. We don’t live in that world, most of you never have. It was a world where the stars were symbols, and so far away no one cared that our symbols were just burning gaseous clusters.”
Justin looked at Mex again, checking that she was following as he spoke. If his station guard was getting the message, chances were good he was making sense to his listeners as well.
“So what happened? Well, someone, some stupid sonaofabitch from a long time ago, wished on the wrong star. It must have worked, because soon other people, those with too much hope and not enough common sense, were doing it too. They traded in their jobs, their families, their place in the human race, to get in on the deal.
“The thing is. Wishes are not supposed to be granted. You chase them, you push and run after them, and somewhere along the way you might manage to accomplish the thing you were hoping for in the first place. But this isn’t what happened.Suddenly people were abandoning everything for this star. They got what they wanted.”
Justin took a breath, mostly to steady himself but also to create the appropriate amount of anticipation.
“They wanted power. And this star, if you want to call it that, gave it to them. They became our leaders, they ruled our nations and slowly made the earth ready for the star. These people were the ones who opened up the sky in the hopes the stars could give them everything they wanted. And at that point, with their minds twisted and flayed open, I think they got it. The stars used to be symbols to us but I witnessed their birth here.”
Mex was staring at him. Justin ignored the look for the time. The red light was on, he needed to talk.
“Those things, what we thought were stars, they poisoned us. We are not meant to know them, to interact with them, it ruined us just like it ruined the world. You want to know why everything is foul? Why your kids don’t survive, why the ones who do turn into killers, and pissants, and glazed eye slaves? Why you can’t walk an hour without something or someone wanting to see you bleed? It’s them. The unfathomable things we wished to.”
Justin’s felt his own words tighten his chest. It was a good sign. They might have some effect, his words might do some good.
“And now, people gouge out their eyes and flock to the swamps to sing. They follow a falsely named ghost and toss people into fires, and carve maps into their fellows back, they kill and maim and still wish to these things. And then they wonder why this world is shit…
Justin checked the light, still red.
“I have your answer. This world, our world now, it started with a wish.”