The Celestial Alchemist

Sooner or later, they all found their way to his laboratory: broken promises, unrequited love, shattered illusions, abandoned hope and lost desires. He nurtured them with affection until they were sturdy and healthy enough to be fashioned into something that was far more than the sum of their separate parts.

His work table was large and carved with symbols of faith that had long since been forgotten by the poor creatures who inhabited the blue planet far below his laboratory. Here, he worked untiringly upon his creations. Only a small number of them achieved the goal he had set, but his standards were high and there was no room for recrimination. Failure was, by necessity, an integral part of the vision. Without it, there could be no gratification in success. It was something to be expected, even if acceptance was sometimes difficult.

His strong hands were skilled and gentle, each fragile aspiration liable to be crushed by a thoughtless movement or show of impatience. The components were pitiful in their isolation but, together, they formed a formidable bond.

He tenderly cradled his five-pointed design in a sensitive palm and attached to one of the spines a flurry of squandered vows, which had been dissected, refurbished and then transformed into a flowing tail, rich with the colors of imagination and fancy.

With infinite care, he placed the arrow of his making into a crossbow forged deep in the flames of fortune's ever-burning fire. Slowly, he crossed the laboratory to the open portal which overlooked the void.

"Fly straight and true, my little ones," he murmured as he launched the missile. "This is your second chance."

The object gathered velocity from empty silence and borrowed illumination from distant galaxies, until it traveled beyond the speed of sound...beyond the speed of light.

Far below, the people of earth paused for a second in their busy lives to watch the shooting star journey across the darkened sky. They pointed, smiled joyfully at each other and, for a moment, were childlike with wonder and belief. Fingers were crossed and eyes momentarily squeezed tightly closed as requests were made.

The Celestial Alchemist was well-pleased. He raised a hand in farewell.

"Be forceful and potent, my little ones," he commanded. "Grant a wish...fulfill a dream...create a fantasy."

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