The jar had held pickles, once. Now, it was full of stars. She’d soaked the label off, then buffed the inside and outside until, at the right angle, it looked like the lid was just floating on air. Aside from the stars.
“Mom, Oni’s got fireflies,” said her brother. “Make her let them out!” But they came and saw nothing, and went away muttering hopeful words like “imagination” and “savant”.
“Whatcha got in there, weirdo?” giggled Yakini, the playground bully. “Invisible fairies?” She and her cronies fell down laughing, laughing, at the girl with the empty jar.
After school, she lay in the shadowed house with the jar by her bed, letting the light of the stars play across her face. “Capella,” she said, pointing at her favorite. “Algol,” she named another as it swept past in its swirling dance.
At night, with the village asleep but the dogs awake, she crept out to the commons. She lay back against hard, dusty ground, and sought out a thinly-populated stretch of sky just down from Cassiopeia. With a smile on her lips, and a pickle jar held close to her heart, she willed one more star into being.