The sky fumed to an uneasy red like a wisp in a wizard’s head. A comet was about to fall and break little Howl’s sleep. It had always been like this on nights nearing his birthday. When Howl was about to turn thirteen, the fiery vision recurred more often and strong. He woke up with a trickle of cold sweat and a desire for the other half of the dream. It made him ache for the visibility of the being beyond the bleeding heavens―the absence.
Howl lay on the rocking chair beside the fireplace on a bleak night in Porthaven, Wales, waiting for the spell of sleep to take over him again. He intended to cross midnight and the first hour of his thirteenth birthday, and attempted to reach unfamiliar places of the dream world. The lone wind whined against the creaking window, waking Howl for awhile. He caught sight of a turnip-head scarecrow waving at him from the outside and dozed back to sleep in a blink or so. Embers rose up in a slow dance against the gloom and the fire seemed to whisper in a brittle voice, “hearth” which can be confused with “heart” or was it the other way around. The firelights condensate into murky clouds of cerise, and there came Howl waiting for the phantom comet to land and crash, but there was still none.
He was awakened by the thump of the scarecrow against the glass as if it was knocking. He rubbed his eyes to shove away the fog in his head. The pounding of stick and hay against glass ceased and the scarecrow disappeared. Both of Howl’s parents had gone on a trip to the Capitol to attend a convention on steam engine and magic as prime investors, and he was left home alone. Howl had no one to ask to about his recurring dreams that night and his parents might had intended it for Howl to skip over his boyhood. This had been a faltering tradition of the wizards, to leave their young alone on Deisiram, the eve of the thirteenth birthday.
That night, Howl went before the vintage mirror again as he usually did whenever he felt confused. Rarely did he fail to look at his reflection and compare it to the ethereal. He had dyed his hair starlight bright from black with coiffure potions to compete with the glow of heavenly bodies. Howl had a fascination for stars, or can it be said that he had a curiosity and ambition for beings that have the upper hand. He had always thought of stars as the eyes and legions of the skies, spying on the nooks and crannies of the world. He wondered if a little boy like him was a spectacle to the the specters above as the stars were to him. This made him lust to be a glorious panopticon himself but his frail wizarding abilities kept him frustrated. The astrophil wanted to become what he loved.