A WORK of FLASH FICTION by UEL ARAMCHEK
She was born with a condition the doctors referred to as heliocentricity; a warm, crimson sun was clearly visible at the center of her torso. “Long ago,” her nurse explained. “All human beings had stars within themselves, much like you. According to the Book of Secret Anatomy, their primitive bodies had velvet curtains where we have ribs today so as not to blind each other. Now that we all share a sun in the sky, there’s no need for everyone to have one of their own. It’s vestigial, like your appendix.”
She hadn’t noticed the inner star until somewhere around her tenth birthday. When it began, her skin looked like the surface of a paper lantern. She took up juggling in her teen years; the extra gravity allowed her to toss objects into bizarre ellipses and perihelia with a flick of her wrist, but it could only last so long. By the time she turned twenty-one, her body had grown too radioactive for her to appear in public.
The surgeons had to wear eclipse goggles to perform the first incision. Everyone present around the operating table was in awe of the extraordinary beauty that was found within her ribs. Each bone was a rod of transparent crystal curled around an organic orrery. Nine planets hovered along the axis of her pellucid spine where the digestive organs would normally rest. Though awe was abound, anesthetic was a costly and limited resource, and there was still a job to do.
When it was over with, they let her keep the old sun in a jar of formalin. It didn’t last long without a body in which to incubate; within a month, it had collapsed into a forgotten black hole on her bookshelf. There wasn’t much to be said about the halogen bulb they replaced it with beyond the fact that it needed to be changed every few years to keep her internal worlds alive.
She missed that intense feeling of gravity stirring at the core of her being, and in the years that followed, she began to have vivid dreams that it was still there. It seemed impossible at this point, yet every now and then, she was sure that she had caught the glimmer of a distantly orbiting moon out of the corner of her eye.
Very fanciful and moving.