Author’s note: Once again, this story has the same characters as my first short story, Rebel Prince. Also my third short story, A Poem By A Star (No, Literally). This isn’t Part Three, so you’ll understand it just fine on it’s own, but you might want to read Rebel Prince and A Poem By A Star (No, Literally) first to gain better understanding and enjoy this more!
“What on Ash?” I stared at the thing in Arava’s hand and my mouth dropped open.
“No,” she teased. “Not on Ash.”
“Whaddya mean?” I scrunched my face up. “And why are you holding a skull?!”
My 8-year-old friend Arava was somewhat of an…oddity. To me, in a good way. Arava was a rebel who appreciated her powers. Plus, I had eventually told her I was the prince (she was new to Tyala, so didn’t know about my sucky title), and she literally just said ‘cool’. To the rest of my kingdom, Tyala…in a bad way. Any sort of differences were bad in Tyala, and one of Arava’s differences were powers, which were also bad in Tyala.
Anyways, I had known Arava for over 2 months, but she still amazed me sometimes. In this case, I was amazed and creeped out. Arava wasn’t shy about sharing her opinions, and she had often mentioned she wanted to kill somebody who annoyed her (I think she was being sarcastic. Think.). But I didn’t think she would go ahead and do it!
“Oh, don’t look so horrified,” Arava punched my shoulder. She admired the skull. “It’s not from a human, don’t worry.”
“Surprisingly, I’m still not calm.”
Arava grinned. “Well, it may be from a human. But not from on Ash. This is an alien’s skull!”
I took it from her and studied it. The skull looked like that of a human’s, probably dead for a while. It was just dirty bone, its empty eye sockets staring at me (which was strange, seeing the empty eye sockets had, you know, no eyes). “Where’d you get it?”
“From the moon,” Arava said.
I pushed it back in her hands. “What?”
“I got it from the moon,” she repeated.
“But…how? Nobody’s been to the moon before!”
Arava held her chest high. “I’m the first!”
I sighed and plopped down on my bed. I glanced at my clock—it was 1 pm—then said, “Get that skull out of my room, then come explain.”
“Woah,” I breathed, “that’s cool.”
“I know, right?” Arava seemed extremely pleased with herself. “I rock.”
“Much like the hunk of rock I visited,” she added.
I snorted. “Haha, so funny.”
Ash’s moon did a full orbit of our planet once a year. It orbited in an oval from the bottom to the top of Ash, getting dangerously close to the tip of our planet as it passed over the North Pole.
The moon would be completing its orbit by passing over the North Pole tomorrow, I knew that. What I didn’t know was that people—actually, a single person—would be going to the moon tomorrow, too.
As Arava explained, Scientist Ozai had decided it was time to visit the moon in search of alien life. They would be sending one person a year, when the moon finished its trip around Ash. The reason that time was because it was the easiest—our moon was super magnetic, so all the person had to do was hold a giant magnet while standing on the North Pole. Then, they’d search for whatever and wait a year on the moon until they could hop off the moon to get back on Earth.
It sounded really, really awful. A year? On the moon?
Arava had gone as a test a couple days ago, apparently. She had flown on a rocket—Scientist Ozai decided to send somebody as a test so that when they sent the person tomorrow, everything would go smoothly.
Arava returned to Ash after a day—once she had finished dropping off an insane amount of supplies (needed by the unlucky human who would go to the moon tomorrow) and searching for alien life. She didn’t find any—although she did find some alien death.
“So,” Arava said, “guess what?”
I grinned. “What?”
“I said,” she said flatly, “guess.”
I gave her The Look. “You found an elephant who can juggle and adopted him and named him Frisby. Then he turned into a frisbee so you cried. Then you decided crying was for losers and came here to call me a loser. Was I right?”
Arava laughed the simple, joyful laugh of a young girl who was holding a creepy skull 10 minutes ago. “Not at all.”
Arava smiled. “So. Guess who signed up to go to the moon tomorrow?”
“You?” I shrugged. She shook her head. “Scientist Ozai?” Nope. “Somebody in the world?”
“Yeah,” Arava said, “but no. Guess!”
“Bob. Jeff. Frisby. Me.”
I expected her to shake her head. Maybe we could roll on the floor laughing over my ridiculous answers. Instead, she shook her head at my first answer, said ‘nope’ to my second answer, rolled her eyes at my third answer…then nodded at my last guess.
“What?!” I exclaimed. “You’re kidding, right?”
Arava’s smile stretched ear-to-ear. “Surprise!”
“No! No, I didn’t! I never signed up! What’s happening! Aaargh, EXPLAIN!” I sputtered.
“I signed you up. There’s no way your dad would let you go to the moon cuz it’s dangerous, so it’s rebellious. I don’t want to not see you for a year, but it’s part of your training, so yeah!”
I grunted in frustration and held my head in my hands. I felt dizzy and extremely unfocused at what Arava had just said. Sadly, she was Miss Literal—I was definitely going to the moon. “My dad wouldn’t let me go because it’s dangerous, yes, and I don’t want to go because it’s SO FREAKIN’ DANGEROUS! Not going to the moon, no thank you!”
“You’re welcome,” she beamed. “And one more thing.” I glanced at her expectantly and she added, “Guess.”
My hands curled into fists as I growled, “Arava! What else did you do?”
“Oh, nothing else. Just wanted to mention: you can’t cancel, and you hafta be at the North Pole by 4 pm.” She jumped off my bed and flounced out of the room, singing ‘You're Welcome!’ from Moana as I buried my face in my hands.
I couldn’t believe Arava.
I called Scientist Ozai to get all the facts, and let’s just say I didn’t like them:
- Yep, I had to be there by 4 pm.
- ‘There’ was a hotel, which I would stay the night at
- Tomorrow I would train
- Tomorrow evening, when the moon ‘rose’—although on that particular day, it would be more like ‘looks like it’s hurting towards us cuz it is’—I would hop on
- I’d have a camera to explain my findings
- I’d be finding ‘findings’ for a year
- In a year (and a day, since I was leaving tomorrow), I could come home.
- I’d be treated like a hero, which is why it was ‘an honor’ to go
- Even though it’s ‘an honor’, literally nobody volunteered
- ...yeah, you can’t un-sign-up for ‘this honor’.
Once learning all this I formation, I got super, super scared.
I didn’t want to go to the moon!
Everybody knew going to the moon was dangerous. If somebody wanted to be the first to walk on the moon—that was hypothetical, because wanting to is different and, right, different is bad—they would want to because it was their dream. But they would still understand how dangerous it up.
I understood how dangerous it was, but going to the moon wasn’t my dream. So I DIDN’T want to go. I was scared to go.
I could hide in my closet.
I could hide under my bed.
But wherever I physically hid, I couldn’t hide from the fact I was being sent up into space.
What if I hid? Like, hid, hid? If you can’t find a poor, scared teenage boy, you can’t make said boy go to the moon.
No, I scolded myself. Thousands of people are on board with this. I can’t hide anywhere.
It was the same reason my dad, king of Tyala, couldn’t let me not go:
While was furious that I was going to the moon, he couldn’t stop it. Because he was the king of Tyala, not the rest of the world.
And, as I already mentioned to myself, lots of other kingdoms were in on this moon business—Scientist Ozai had been meeting with other scientists from all over. Anyways, I was going, or else there would be war.
Luckily, I was the prince, so I had access to a variety of resources—including a private jet to fly me to the North Pole.
Unluckily, I was the prince, so I had access to a variety of resources—including a private jet to fly me to My Doom.
By 4 pm, I was there.
The North Pole.
The place where I’d leave Ash for a year.
I checked into the hotel—which was extremely sucky compared to my cushy, 11th-floor room—and went to bed early.
The next morning, the day I was being sent off into space, I went to the lab.
I trained. I trained and I trained and I trained. It was way less fun than training in powers and being rebellious with Arava—I had to wear a heavy space suit and practice walking.
Do you know how humiliating it is to be learning to walk again?
It seriously felt like I was a toddler the way the scientists spoke and explained it to me.
Finally—although in this case, ‘finally’ is BAD—it was 9 pm. Which meant the moon was about to pass just yards above our head.
Scientist Ozai gave me a giant magnet and we walked into the middle of a snow-covered field. Everybody left and I stood there, waiting.
Then, the moon came around.
Everybody who wasn’t stupid knew the moon came super close to Ash. Everybody who wasn’t stupid also hadn’t experienced when the moon came close to Ash.
Somehow, the moon entered our atmosphere. It started hurtling at the space just above me from the side.
It’s really freaky, having the moon visible in life-size. Just imagine the biggest rock you’ve ever seen, with no edges, entering your line of vision.
And you just stand there, like a deer caught in the headlights, as it comes towards you.
It didn’t make a sound, but I did.
I couldn’t run, though. Even if I tried, I would fly through the air as the magnet in my hands clambered through the sky to reach the moon.
A moment later, the moon passed over me, and I flew up, up, up, until my magnet connected with the moon.
I’ve flown before. Hovered, anyway. I have telekinesis, so Arava and I flew pretty often. I was used to levitating myself. I was not used to shooting through the sky.
I stuck to the moon like an ant in honey, and…nothing happened. I just flailed around a bit.
Then, another moment later, the moon had zoomed far enough away from Ash that it gained its gravitational pull back, sorta.
Let me set the scene: the moon had its own gravitational pull, even though it was partially in the atmosphere of a giant planet with its own gravitational pull.
Don’t ask me. I had no idea about the science behind it.
I could tell when the moon got its force back. I shifted from hanging—which lasted less than a second—to standing.
On the moon.
Have you ever truly given gravity a thought? Thought about how you were upside down right now, but it felt like you were right side up? It’s freaky, right?
You know what freakier?
Being able to see that you’re upside down.
The moon was exactly what I would imagine it like. It was bumpy gray that seemed to stretch in all directions, with huge craters. My spacesuit let me breathe normally (as normal as you can breath on the moon), but I was still breathless.
As I stood on the rocky expanse, I felt totally normal—in the sense it felt like I was right side up. But above my head, I could see Ash—but it wasn’t a distant planet, either. I saw the houses. I saw the people. I saw everything.
It was like in the first 5 minutes of an airplane—you see stuff. It seems small, but you see it pretty darn well.
The moon orbited extremely slowly, so I knew I would still be generally close to Ash—in its atmosphere, even—for the next couple of days.
I shook my head to clear it, then started to explore.
Hardly any gravity was fun.
Knowing you would have hardly any gravity for another year…not so fun.
As I walked around the moon, I could see how Arava would enjoy it. But that was when she was taking a round trip. Me…well, I was taking a round trip where ‘round’ meant ‘’round the planet’.
I FaceTimed with the scientists as I explored.
Yeah, I FaceTimed.
It was kind of cool, exploring. 100% freaky, but a little cool.
I saw tons of things, meaning I felt tons of things. What can I say? I was curious. Plus, the scientists wanted loads of information, so I provided it—although I felt like I was in a haze the whole time.
I wouldn’t see my family, my friend, for another year.
I finished the night’s work, and went to the easy-assemble space station Arava had built. It was tiny, like a metal camping tent—it had a bed and not much else. Surrounding my metal tent was, like, an acre of supplies—canned food, bottles water, etc.
I took off my suit and got in my tent. The thing about Ash’s moon—it had oxygen, but actually too much oxygen. It was best to wear a suit to filter the air, although we could go a little while without it. My tent contained vents that filtered the air, the same way my spacesuit did, so I could sleep fine.
I closed my eyes and started sleeping my first night (day?) on the moon.
By the time it was 12 pm (I went to bed crazy late, remember?), I was up.
After 10 hours in my tent, I was done thinking.
And I had decided, as I gazed at the planet in the night sky:
I was going to do whatever it took to get back to Planet Ash.
Author’s Note #2: Okay, sorry for the half-cliffhanger! I had the story plot for this short story all thought out but it was getting long so I decided to cut it. I’ll do Part 2 of, well, Part 3 as soon as the right prompt shows up—but I’ll be flexible with the prompt, so hopefully you won’t be left hanging for too long! So…yeah. I hope you liked this, and Jax’s journey will be continued soon!