Cover Photo: An illustration of a little girl riding her bike in a suburb, a training wheel just fallen off, while her father tries to keep up. He is a shadow cracking open with light.
Illustration by Maryam Sefati for Catapult

The Astronomers

One day, Brian would dissolve into the atmosphere and not come back. One day, this room, our home, our love, would no longer be able to contain him.

Brian shattered into a field of light while he was supposed to be teaching Matilda how to ride her bike. The training wheels had just come off, and she was wobbling unsteadily down the alley behind our home. I could see it all clearly through the kitchen window: Brian’s good hand on the small of Matilda’s back, guiding her forward. The glow bleeding through his fingertips, then exploding out, taking his body with it.

Adam Byko is an MFA candidate and Provost Fellow at the University of Central Florida. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming with The Pinch, the Notre Dame Review, and F(r)iction among other publications. He has not yet seen an alligator in the wild.