I wait on the hilltop overlooking the city. The night sky above me is cloudless; countless stars blinking, the moon emitting a soft, pale glow. The gentle breeze drops, the leaves on the trees cease their rustling, and only the distant sound of late night traffic disturbs the otherwise silent calm.
I roll onto my back, gazing up at the lights flickering in the sky; each one a distant star, many with planets of their own orbiting. How many worlds are out there, I wonder. How many planets like ours are waiting to be discovered. Nobody knows the answer to that, and likely never will, but I cannot believe we are alone in this universe. It’s too vast – Einstein believed it to be infinite – for there not to be life elsewhere.
All those worlds. Those seemingly endless possibilities.
The sound of dogs barking brings me back to earth. I hear men shouting. I sit up, looking the opposite way to the city. I see torchlight flicking left and right. The noise grows louder, closer. I scramble to my feet, swinging my rucksack to my shoulders, tightening the straps.
Sadly, Unlike the sky and stars above, my night has just one possible outcome. I set off down the hill towards the city; the inevitable conclusion drawing ever nearer.