Saturday, August 1, 2020

Suspended in the Stars | Chapter 1

During the month of August I "blogging a book" here on the blog. You can read all about why I chose to do that in this post. The story spanned the month of August and was written daily to post within the month. I decided to leave up just the first chapter of Suspended in the Stars but please forgive any errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation since this is not professionally edited. I asked readers to think of it like this: you're all reading my first-pass pages! 

Chapter 1


I’m falling through the air.

Darkness surrounds me with only one spotlight focused on my descent. Above me, a canopy of stars. Below me, blackness. The crowd holds a collective breath in anticipation as I seem to hang there, suspended in the stars.

My dress wings out behind me, the base a bright, tiger orange that bleeds into a bodice of deep turquoise. It wraps tight around my torso in intricate ropes and twists, Zeras crystals dotting it like constellations. Their iridescent surface sends out rainbows like arrows into the dark.

This next move is new, something no audience has seen yet. On a normal night, I wouldn’t be worried about performing it, but tonight is different. It’s laced with a lingering sadness that preoccupies me. And in this business, distraction can be deadly.

Queen Laerkin has been assassinated. The news has only just reached us, but that’s the way of travelers, always days—or months—late to current events. I can’t afford the grief right now, but it’s hard to ignore. She was a good queen, kind and gracious to the galaxy her husband still rules. Her death, sudden and violent as it was, is sure to signal future ramifications for an empire in a tenuous relationship with its neighbors.

“Mommy, she’s falling!”

The child’s shriek yanks my attention back to the present. I’m almost a little too low, but not yet.

My hands fly out for the timed release of the next fly bar. It’s feet…then inches away. I snatch it and propel myself forward, legs and pointed toes swinging to gain momentum. At the apex of the arch I let go and twist. My arms wrap across my body, legs flying over my head in not one, not two, but three flips before I extend out.

The next timed bar has released and I’m there to meet it. Both hands grip the cool metal and I flip one hundred and eighty degrees so my abdomen rests against the bar. Arms push straight and I smile. All white teeth and confidence as if I didn’t almost plummet to my death on the duraplast floor.

“And that, folks, is Talie Zarna – the Soaring Staress. Give her a round of applause.” Delmar’s magnified voice fills the auditorium. It’s greeted with cheers and applause that echo against the curved walls.

My spotlight extinguishes and I’m left swaying in darkness, rolling sore shoulders and thanking the stars I’m done. It’s been a long day and I can’t wait to relax, take a bath, and sleep.

Delmar continues the post show wrap-up and, with a subtle nod from me, one of the stage hands retracts my fly bar to the descent platform. I climb on and it discreetly takes me down to the showroom floor where I can exit offstage.

A rush of cool air greets me in the backstage hallway. It carries the scent of dreyhass and I wrinkle my nose.

“Sorry, Sti had a little accident tonight.” Raxon tries and fails to hide his grin. Gray, cat-like eyes hold their usual laughter, but he’s exceptionally amused at my reaction.

“On stage?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “Actually, right where you’re standing.”

I look down where my bare feet rest. It’s clean now, but just the thought makes me jump forward several feet.

“There too,” he says. I can hear his grin.

I make a face and rush down the hall to more of his laughter.

“Where are you running to?” Freyda comes around the corner, her black and white makeup gone. Still, her lips are inked like midnight and she wears a simple, floor-length tunic the color of dried blood. It’s belted at the waist, the attached gold loops a cultural signifier of her status: elite.


“Say no more” She groans and closes her eyes, revealing black lids. “It happened right after my act. Disgusting.” Freyda is my best friend aboard The Midway. When I first joined the circus, she immediately befriended me and our bond has only strengthened over the years. “How did it go tonight?”

“Good.” My hesitation is apparent.

“I thought it looked amazing, though you had me wondering if you would reach that last catch.”

She’d seen the performance but waited for me to tell her. She was often too insightful for her own good. “I was just tired. You know how I get with a new routine.”

“I do.” Her black-lipped smile stretches wide and she tips her head toward an adjacent hallway. “Want to get a snack with me? I was just headed to the galley.”

She knows I can’t say no to the Quaras 6 ice cream that was recently stocked at our last supply dock, but tonight my emotions are all over the place and I won’t be good company.


She looks at me like I’ve turned into a double headed Iduos. “You are turning down ice cream? Are you sick?”

“No,” I smile to assure her I’m fine. “Just tired. We’ll get some tomorrow—I promise.”

With a reluctance that every part of her body displays, Freyda turns down the hall. She gives me one last pleading look before she rounds the corner to the galley. I am lucky to have her as a friend, and any other night I would go with her, but not tonight. Tonight, I need to be alone.

I continue down the hall but soon divert my path to the outer passway. It’s my favorite route back to my berth with both the exterior wall and ceiling made up of sio-glass panes. Stars pinprick the view to my right while the planet we’re stationed at spans beneath me.

I always take this route when I can. It helps me avoid the crowds that will leave by way of the open concourse where food stalls and shops will capture their last Credits before they disembark.

Thoughts of Queen Laerkin cause me to stop and stare at the swirling cloud patterns of the planet below. I can’t even remember the name of this stop, proof that I’ve been with the circus so long it’s become my life. My world.

At least I have a life—unlike the queen.

I rest my head against the cool surface of the sio-glass and close my eyes. A lone tear streaks down my makeup-caked cheek, but I don’t brush it away. Let it stay there as my outward evidence of inward grief.

A door slides open down the hallway and I immediately straighten, no one uses this hallway on show nights. It’s part of the reason I take it—a little slice of privacy on an overcrowded ship.

Footsteps thud toward me and I wonder if something is wrong. A security breach perhaps? It’s happened before. Overzealous fans trying to see one of their favorite acts or someone begging to join the show to escape indenture or poverty. I think I would have heard the alert though.

I curse myself for not keeping my sec-bracelet on, but I never wear it to perform. If I’d just left it backstage instead of in my berth I could call someone, but I’m all alone in this passway, just like I wanted.

I move to the opposite side of the hall and press against a bulkhead. It’s not much cover, but it’s all I have.

The footfalls move closer and—

They stop. A door slides open and closed, I barely hear it over the pounding of my heart. Are they gone? I wait, holding my breath to hear any indication of movement, but it’s as silent as space.

After a full minute, I begin to relax. It was either a sec-unit checking out movement in the passway or someone who took a wrong turn, but I’m alone again. Good.

I push away from the smooth wall and turn down the hall again, retracing steps I’ve made a hundred times. The passway is the same, but the view is always different, even if it’s only the subtle differences of a new sky. My eyes drink in the starlight and I’m mesmerized. So distracted that I don’t see the figure standing in the hall in front of me until it’s too late.

Umph.” I walk into a cold wall of armor and muscle. Gloved figures latch onto my arms in a vicelike grip, immobilizing me. “What—”


When I look up, my gaze meets golden brown eyes trained on me. They are the only part of the boy’s face that I can see, the rest of him covered in black matte armor from head to booted foot.


Instinct kicks in and I try to wrestle free. His brow furrows and he fights to keep a grip on me, but I can tell he’s holding back. He could snap my arms in two with his suits’ added strength, but he doesn’t.

“Please,” his voice is muffled by the helmet he wears, but insistent. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Then let. Me. Go!” I struggle even harder, adrenaline making me bold.

With a sigh, he releases one of my arms and I expect freedom until he pulls out a deadly looking gun.

“Stop.” His eyes burn into mine and I notice the lines running the length of his gun are pulsing a dangerous red. “Hide me and I won’t kill you.”

Suspended in the Stars ©Emilie Hendryx

Thanks so much for joining me for this first chapter. I had so much fun getting all the way to 31 - Whew! If you're interested in reading the rest I have left it up on Wattpad for the time being since it's entered into a contest. 


  1. Ooooo...can you load more early?!?! Sooooo good!!!!!

  2. I was like, I will just check this out. It’s not my typical genre, but I’m game. And then I kept reading and reading and then you hooked me at the end and I have to wait for more 😂

    1. Muhahaha all part of my evil plan to convert the world to loving YA scifi 😈😂

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    1. Well, my comment posted 5 times! I guess I meant it when I said this was “so good”! But now I’ve deleted all 5 instead of just 4! 🤦🏻‍♀️ But I am loving this story!!!

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