Live Once, Die Twice

Seldom does a star get a chance to watch its binary companion die, twice. Enjoy!

It had spun itself to death.

I look at the pulsar, its tightly packed neutrons now emitting none of the intense magnetic fields I had grown used to. It simply hung there, a sphere of darkness suspended in space and the only evidence of the once mighty star that I had managed to outlive. It had been the larger star among the two of us, and when it exploded into a supernova and then shrunk into a pulsar, I was bathed in lethal radiation that only a star its size could produce.

We had lived in perfect harmony until it had run out of fuel and exploded into a supernova. If surviving the onslaught of the shock wave wasn’t remarkable enough, I had also stuck through intense magnetic fields shot out from the pulsar. Now, after millions of years, there is finally some peace and quiet. I am running out of hydrogen atoms to fuse too, and my outer layers are getting cooler by the year. There is comfort in the thought that I can slip into silence seamlessly.

Then the damnedest of things happened.

I felt my outer layers being sucked by the seemingly dead pulsar. The accretion grew from a faint glow of light to an alarming transfer of matter onto its poles. It began to stir, mercilessly crushing my dream of a happily ever after. It used my matter to gain momentum, picking up speed while I watched helplessly.

Soon, the magnetic fields bolted out from its poles, and the pulsar never seemed to have died in the first place.

And we were back to square one.

Write a comment