Two had gone before.
Years ago their bikes had returned – neatly parked at the edge of the tunnel – but they themselves had not. Hope was they were still out there. Somewhere in the vastness.
Young Hilliard had spent most of his youth waiting for their return, with stories of undiscovered lands and strange creatures beyond the reaches of space. Waiting, at the edge of the tunnel, with its delicately warped interior. Waiting, eternity within reach.
And as time passed and hope for the two subsided, Hilliard’s courage grew alongside his curiosity. At the age of 21, he bought a rusty old bicycle, said goodbye to his parents and peddled doggedly into the blackness. Three days later the bike returned. Hilliard did not.
His name would soon be forgotten, as had been those of the first two. But young boys are still gathering at the edge of the tunnel, staring into the void.
Staring, through their youthful struggles, to the stars.
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