The Galaxy Coloring Book


PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

If you like my work, buy me a virtual cup of coffee at Ko-Fi.

I stoked the fireplace while contemplating the unusual coloring book I bought at the Flea Market last Sunday. I was referred to the vendor rather mysteriously. She suggested that I would find this particular book especially interesting.

I thought I’d reserved my “coloring between the lines” behavior for playing with my grandchildren, but this wasn’t a child’s plaything.

I had retired from my career in astronomy years back, but my childhood fascination with the universe never left me. If I colored the lines according to instructions, Earth’s gateway to a people and their far distant star would finally become known.

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The Lyrid Event


© Ted Strutz

A small group of amateur astronomers had gathered at Ted’s farm outside Garden Valley to photograph the Lyrid meteor shower that year. It was late and just about everyone had gone back to Boise, taking their cameras and telescopes with them. Only Ted’s trusty old Nixon was on its tripod still aimed at the heavens.

Ted had a dark room in the shed out back but he’d never get to develop the film. Everyone had photographed something unusual from the farm’s unique vantage point that night and they all died within a week.

Ted was next.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. Mine is 96 words.

The camera pointing up reminded me of when I took Astronomy classes at UNLV during the early to mid 1970s. Sometimes we’d go out to the desert at night to look at different stellar phenomena through telescopes and to photograph some of them.

The Lyrid meteor shower is typically observed every April and this year will be best seen in the early morning hours of April 22.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to