by Stephanie Nina Pitsirilos and Seth Martel

PANEL 1: horizontal panel that takes up the width of the page. Planet Earth in the bottom right corner, a shining light breaching its horizon. The background is the galaxy and the universe beyond, in blues, black, and purples. TEXT: "Andromeda. STORY: Stephanie Nina Pitsirilos. ART + LETTERS: Seth Martel" PANEL 2: Square panel half the width of the page. The Earth is now in better view, with blues and greens. The bright light is a visible circle just above Earth. CAPTION: "Sometimes it's more than just light..." PANEL 3: Square panel half the width of the page. There are silhouettes of mermaids, purple and outlined in white, their tails and hair billowing. The most visible mermaid reaches out with a hand, eyes looking to the reader. They are in streaks of white and cyan light. CAPTION: "...that travels toward..." PANEL 4: horizontal panel that takes up the width of the page. Earth, still seen from space, is in the right of the panel. The mermaids float in space as they approach, still white outlines against the blues, black, and purples of space. CAPTION 1: "...then arrives at a planet after a very long journey." CAPTION 2: "2.5 million light-years to you. 1.5 Dark Signatures for M31."
Narrow, diagonal panels that increase in width. Text floats over top the panels. CAPTION 1: "I permitted us to fall. Our bodies became one with the matter we swam through." CAPTION 2: "I dressed myself in myth." PANEL 1: White outlines and silouhettes of mermaids in space, arms extended, hair billowing upward, as if to take a dive. PANEL 2: Close-up of previous panel, but now the mermaids are outlined in red, orange, and yellow. Their hair and tails look as though aflame. PANEL 3: Close-up of one mermaid, their hair and scales are white and grey against a bright cyan sky, as though they are clouds. PANEL 4: Close-up of the mermaids as they fall downward, two visible with heads, necks, and shoulders, while two others are farther behind. They are outlined in black against a mid-brown background, while they are covered in teal Greek text. PANEL 5: Larger shot of the teal water on a bright day. There are streaks of white that fall into the water. In the bottom left corner are three men on an old, wooden ship. One of them is pointing toward the falling objects. SFX: SPLOOSH!
PANEL 1: horizontal panel that takes up the width of the page. A boat seen from below, in hues of teal and green. There are five mermaids here, looking up to the hull of the boat, light shining through the water. One mermaid has dived into the water and an arc of white follows her from the surface. PANEL 2: about 2/3 the width of the page. Two men are in a rowboad in the bottom right corner of the page; one man is rowing, the other is standing; both wear loose white clothes. CAPTION: "Myths call out to you." PANEL 3: Narrow, last third of the width of the page. Close-up of the man walking along the shore, showing his legs and feet from the knees down. The water is to his left and there are footprints to his right, in the sand. PANEL 4: Panel takes just over half the width of the page. The two men, from the shoulders up, are in the foreground, the backs of their heads facing the reader. Before them are a group of beautiful people among the rocks on the beach. They wear loose, billowing robes, and the sun's light shines brightly above them against the bright blue sky. PANEL 5: Panel takes up remainder of page. A close-up of the woman in the front; she is curly-haired with deep brown skin and red eyes trimmed blue. CAPTION: "Myths are what you want."
PANEL 1: about 2/3 the width of the page. One of the men from the previous panels lays on his back with the woman from the last panel stradling him; she pins him down by the wrists, a blanket draped over her from the waist down, her curly hair covering her face. There is a porthole just next to her head, that gives off a soft glow to the rest of the brown, wooden cabin. CAPTION: "I am - we are - what we swim through." PANEL 2: Close-up of the man from the shoulder up, an arm/hand behind his head, one eye open. CAPTION: "But..." PANEL 3: about 1/3 the width of the page. In the background, the woman walks up a set of stairs, her white robes billowing behind her. In the foreground, the man is sitting up in bed, facing the woman. We only see his bare back, arm, and the back of his head; he is covered from the waist down with a grey blanket. CAPTION: "I leave a vaccuum." DIALOGUE: "Sirrah?" PANEL 4: about 1/3 the width of the page. A close-up of the woman's feet, as she ascends the stairs. She wears an anklet that glows and disappears in a trace of equally-glowing dust. CAPTION: "A loose thread of untethered atoms, the signature of where we left." PANEL 5: about 1/3 the width of the page. Shot of the man from above, as he, too, ascends the stairs after her. He has a worried look on his face, black hair slightly askew and arms pumping. He wears light brown trousers. CAPTION: "You experience yearning." PANEL 6: Panel is the width of the page. Shot of the main deck of the ship, with the mainmast in the middle. Much of the crew are now here, with the man from the previous panels exiting a door from below decks. The men are calling out various names. DIALOGUE: "MIRACH!" "BUNA!" "ALMACH!" "STERRENNACHT!" "TITAWIN!" "NEMBUS!" "ADHIL!" "SIRRAH!" "VERITATE!"
PANEL 1: half the width of the page. A bright blue sky with equally bright sea. There are two large grey rocks jutting out from the water. PANEL 2: Same as previous panel, only now a large cruise ship, with purple accent, and the name "PEGASUS" has entered between the rocks. CAPTION: "Centuries of yearning." PANEL 3: Just over 1/3 the width of the page. Against a bright blue sky, we see a woman reclining in a purple pool chair on the cruiseship deck, pointing to the sky. She wears a tan sun hat, a pink sundress, and holds a glinting wine glass. PANEL 4: Panel takes up the rest of the page width. Against the same blue sky, we see a rocket and its trail of smoke, as it heads toward a brilliant white spot in the sky. CAPTION: "Yearning as morphed into something with purpose." PANEL 5:large panel, about half the page. Two astronauts in space-walk suits float against a background of black, purple, blue, and white. There is a disk galaxy in the background behind them, and a set of solar panels to the bottom right. The astronauts are looking up and away to the galaxy in the distance. CAPTION: "You have a quest." TEXT: "END"

© Copyright Stephanie Nina Pitsirilos and Seth Martel

Stephanie Pitsirilos is a public health advocate and writer. Her fiction and comics appear in numerous anthologies including COVID CHRONICLES: A Comics Anthology (Graphic Mundi, Feb 2021); Insider Art (2020); Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology (Ohio State University Press, August 2021) and Elsewhere Volume 2 (Unlikely Heroes Studios, 2021). She’s co-creator of the Webtoon series DR163. Many of her works have been for benefits. A Manhattan native, she volunteers as a librarian fill-in for a NYC public elementary school as Mrs. Peanut Butter. Mom to Amazons. Zines as Andromeda. Twitter: @zoehealth   
Instagram: @TheNinaGalaxy

Seth Martel is a Hudson Valley, NY based illustrator and graphic designer. Twitter: @scmartel

Read the Rest of the February Issue

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