The air, warm and light, through it passed the fluttering webbed bugs. They flapped at the air with little energy but were held aloft by the warmth that rose from the rich soil.
Their wings were transparent and their heads small and furry. They left behind strings of fiber that dangled across the blooming flowers that covered the floor of the primeval forest. And in between the shifting red of the sky, brilliant globes of light could be seen, passing a glow of nourishing light over the ever-changing landscape.
Darling awoke with a gasp. Visions had never come to her with such clarity and strength! She hopped from her sac and walked softly to the forgotten observatory. The others still slept. They never awoke during the night, and so Darling often took these moments to live as she willed.
Tonight, the distant Spiral Dust Cloud was moving through its quarter cycle where the brightest stars were closest, and the colors were melted away into a solid spattering of yellow and white light. Darling blinked, and was delighted to find a few tears coming to her eyes. A tingle went down her spine, and she felt something deep and powerful moving within her heart.
And then, as if it were an opening eye, a small red light blinked to life across the rocky horizon. Darling let the glimmer of a smile come to her confused expression as she moved to the telescope for a better look. She had never seen this light before.
Focusing her scope first on the horizon, and then up a few degrees into the expanse of space, she found the light after a moment of careful adjustments. The light was a soft red, but it came not from a star, for it was blinking at regular intervals.
Coming away from the lens with a newly inspired curiosity, Darling tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and moved to the console. She brought the telescope's image onto the screen, and then settled herself on the cushion to watch.
There was something about the light that intrigued her. It was new, and in a world where the sky was the only image of hope, any change to its beautiful face was meaningful. Darling increased the magnification, but the light remained obscure and distant.
Perhaps it came from one of the ancient probes, stuck in a never-ending orbit, its purpose long forgotten. She knew so little of the universe and could not think of any other explanation. Perhaps the mystery of the light would intrigue the others.
She was doubtful, but she moved to fetch someone for she wished to share this moment with another human being. As she pulled away however, a change registered out of the corner of her eye and she stopped. She turned back to the simple image of the blinking red light. It was still flashing at the same interval. But she knew that she'd seen a change.
She moved closer, staring the light down, and then, there!--the light skipped a beat! With an uplifting excitement, she settled back onto the cushion to watch, sitting cross-legged and straight up.
The light blinked for some time and then skipped another beat. But the timing of this skipped beat hit a solid mark in her mind, and she began counting under her breath. Sure enough, the skipped beat came every ten seconds!
Maybe it was not just a flashing light! Maybe it was a signal!
This fantastic thought made her jump in her seat with excitement. What a discovery she had made! Maybe the signal would change again! And just as she was thinking this thought, the light turned blue!
Her eyes went wide, and then she laughed at her sudden shock and began to count the flashes.
The night continued like this for some time, small changes occurring to the light just often enough to keep Darling patient and attentive. But after what seemed like a full hour, she decided that she ought to return to sleep.
And it was at this moment that the signal burst into full song: blue, green, red, orange, faster, slower, longer, shorter--the pulses were suddenly alive and active!
Darling stared in dumbfound amazement and then snapped to attention and quickly reached for the recording device on the console. The display lasted thirty seconds, and then, with a soundless snap, Darling found herself staring into the utter darkness of space.