In their tribe, it was customary for every boy to venture off into the wild with his father as soon as he was of the right age, and Konu and Kele's mother, Natasha, had decided that it was time. Nobody ever spoke of what to expect during the journey, Kele only knew that all the boys that left always came back looking different: rough around the edges, and all traces of childlike-innocence and dreaming had vanished from their eyes. They would leave as boys, and come back as men.
"We're here," Konu announced
Kele looked up and saw the same tapestry of stars he saw every night; a mess of undecipherable constellations overhead.
"Which constellation is it?"
"Look with your mind, Kele."
Kele looked up, and saw nothing different from the first night, and every night he looked at the stars. There were too many to spot any constellations at all.
"Father, I really can't see it."
His father smiled, as if he was expecting this, and nodded his head. He fumbled with his bag and the few pieces of wood he brought along, striking them together until a small fire lit up on the end of one. He handed it to Kele, "Help me look for wood, we need to build a fire if we wish to stay alive."
"How will I come back to find you? It's pitch black out here, father,"
"The stars will guide you,"
Kele bit his lip, he didn't trust himself to be out in the wild, let alone in the middle of the night, but he didn't want to disappoint his father. He took the burning tree branch and started walking into the darkness, he knew the fire would only last around an hour. He turned around to look back at his father, but he couldn't see past the almost-solid black of the night.
"Keep going, Kele! Standing there won't get you anything," Konu called.
It was a while until Kele finally walked into what must have been an oasis once upon a time, there was a dry cracked indent in the earth where a lake would've fit perfectly, and dead trees were scattered around. He made it a point that he walked in a straight line, so he could just turn around go back the way he came without the hassle of getting lost. He wondered if he looked mature yet, like the rest of the boys that had already gone through this custom, but his inner voice told him the journey was nowhere near over. He broke branches off the trees, piled them under his arm and lit a new torch with the dying flame of his old one.
"Time to go back," he muttered to himself. He looked up at the splatter of stars again, wondering which constellation his father was talking about, it was a mystery to him.
Kele walked for eternity in the darkness of the desert, with only his small ring of light surrounding him. He knew there was no way he'd find his father, and he was starting to wonder if that was the plan. He recalled the words of his friend Hat'o,
"It was both terrible and magnificent, that is all I can say. You will learn soon, Kele, your time will come. All I can tell you is, trust your instincts and listen to the voice inside you, it is almost always right."
Kele tried to listen to his instinct, but it was doubtful, what if his father had left him and gone back to the camp himself? No, not in this darkness. What if he sent Kele away to fend for himself in the wild?
The wind was getting stronger; Kele assumed he had entered the bracket of time that was most dangerous, the dark hours where everything seemed more sinister. His father's words crept into his mind, "Look with your mind, the stars will guide you,"
He looked up at the stars again, and hope fell short. It still looked like a messy universe to him. He fell back into the cold sand and lay there, watching the stars torment him.