"We Are All the Same" is one of the September Writing Challenge entries that was chosen to be a featured story.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, lived a boy. Just a boy like any other boy, yet a boy like no other boy you’ve ever seen before. A boy with silky blue hair and hazel eyes that burned with the fire of an exploding star, with skin as soft as the petals of a rose, and a voice of pure silver.

At the 27th hour of the sixtieth day of the third month, the three suns that showered his planet with light rose, awakening this boy to a new day. And a special day at that — his 103rd birthday. Today, he became a young man. Today, his story began — or so he felt. All the time before now, washed away in a sea of insignificance. Here was his chance at becoming something great — someone truly remarkable — of leaving something behind. No more being that wallflower kid, that side-lined soul — no more. Today. Today Alaris lived up to his name. Powerful and complete.

Lashes open wide, expecting a different view from eyes now one year wiser. Everything looked the same, but the surge of passion in his bones let him believe that he was a changed being. Living alone since the age of 50 had him used to the silence. He banished it with loud singing, clear and pure as he checked that the oddly obedient creatures native to his planet had set his house straight as he slept. He collected the dish he left out for them out of compassion and ate his own fruit, all blue today in honour of his change in age.

Alaris climbed out his window to walk to the Falls — towering cascades of stardust, bathing him in a healthy glow and leaving him feeling energized. No contact today — if another soul interacted with his, it could disturb the ceremony that enlightened all boys his age. Sitting on a rock high above the Falls, watching the stars and that beautiful, blue planet that always remained in the right corner of the sky, he brushed a hand through his hair absentmindedly, slowly growing aware of a dull ache above his left eye. Alarmed, he massaged his temples, trying to ease the throbbing.

To his confusion, it only grew in magnitude — like a searing hot flash, forcing him to jump up in panic, then down on his knees as his throat expressed the scream in his mind. Losing grip on reality, he saw, as though through a window, a girl his age, dark-haired and tan-skinned, tapping away at a primitive looking device. He heard blasts of music, and the smell of unclean air burned his nose as he tried to make sense of what he was seeing. And then she looked up.

Eyes the colour of his own peered out of plain, black-rimmed glasses, full of excitement and sparks. Words in an unintelligible language streamed across her face, and then she was gone as he fell with a jolt back into his consciousness.

Under a lamp glowing with blue fire, Alaris put down a sheet of clear leaves, and placed his knife against the makeshift page. Then, he began to write. At once he felt the control. Here he had found it — his weapon, his tool to being who he wanted to be: words. Memories down on paper, dreams, truth, lies, stories and experiences, all in one place. Alaris — who he is — in the sentences printed with careful punctuation. Something to leave behind. A newfound purpose, a talent revealed — to weave the syllables with the skill of a spider making a web of silk, so that all fell into place and the broken could still be beautiful.

When I saw Alaris, all I said was: “I write because it makes me more of who I am, and less of who I’m trying not to be.” Maybe he found that he felt the same. We can’t fit ourselves into the boxes made by letters on a page, but we will try.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a girl found that, inside, we are all the same.




Aditi Chanda

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