Star Slippers: Part One
- Star Slippers: Part One
Many people believe that any story that begins with “Once upon a time…” is a fairytale. But, there are truths to these tales and that is so for Avaline and her Star Slippers.
Once upon a time, an eccentric woman lived on the mysterious Moon. Her name was Aurora, and she washed her hair in moonbeams and played hide-n-seek with fiery stars. She constructed her tiny cottage from space debris, but oh… how it sparkled! It shined so bright her home was mistaken for a star on Earth.
The eccentric woman also held a special power that allowed her to adapt to her environment, a skill that had saved her life many times and made her an asset to NASA’s top-secret research team. Space had been her home for many years. The gift, a curse as well, kept her alert. She smelled the slightest change in the air, and her ears heard the whispers of footsteps from a mile away. Always alert for the villains who would love a chance to misuse this special ability.
The brave woman watched over the Blue Marble with a warrior’s devotion. Aurora made sure all her kin were safe and healthy. However, the woman’s heart belonged to her beautiful flaxen-haired granddaughter. The child’s eyes were as blue as a cloudless sky with a glimmer of moonlight. A gift from her moon-bound grandmother. The lonely Aurora used an obsidian crystal ball to watch over her special one who lived hundreds of thousands of miles away.
Like most little girls, she loved her grandmother. Since she was a young girl, she looked up at the moon and thought of her Aurora. When she was a little older, she begged her parents for a way to tell her grandmother all her stories, imaginary and real. The older lady got word of her granddaughter’s biggest wish and went to work. With the help of her star friends, they created a special orb from stardust and olivine, a unique rock found on the moon and Earth. The crystal globe emitted a greenish glow when being used. The Starbees was a unique gift. The galactic dome projected a holographic projection of the person being called. Aurora could move around and interact with her grandchild, but a game of catch was impossible, for she was back on the Moon.
Avaline cradled the ball like a baby when she was at home. Her face beamed like the sun each time she pushed the small button on the base of the space sphere.
Avaline created stories and shared them with her grandmother. They spent hours in this magical way. Noni shared stories about her life on the Moon. It was a great opportunity to pass on her knowledge to the next generation. She trained the small child how to use her special abilities and how to keep them hidden. They studied the names and stories of the twinkling pinpricks in the dark fabric of night. The two of them studied for spelling tests and Aurora got the chance to cheer for her granddaughter at gymnastics events.
For many years, the child couldn’t wait to see her Noni. But one day, she missed a call to her grandmother.
Aurora called, worried. “Hey monkey, is everything well?”
Avaline’s face crumpled as hot tears fell in big drops.
“Oh, sweetie. What’s wrong?” Aurora’s hologram stepped closer to the orb. The projection shimmered as she lifted her hand to put it on the sad child’s head, but she quickly brought it back down at her shimmery side.
The child took a deep breath and wiped her nose on the arm of her cotton shirt. “I… I want you to hug me for real and paint with me or go play at a park.” She cried. “Not a moving picture!” She slammed the ball down and stomped through the door.
Aurora stood, shocked, as she stared after her granddaughter. She had to fix this, but how? The image split apart as she disconnected her side. She looked at Earth from her window before she closed the blinds. A stack of books sat on her desk. She sat down and grabbed the one on top.
At school, Avaline sat in the first row in class. She stared at the board with blank eyes, lost in her thoughts. Why should other children have what she couldn’t? Hadn’t Noni always told her she was special? She bit her nails and thought of her grandmother. She needed to apologize. The clock ticked loudly. She had three more hours.
She decided to ask her science teacher if he knew how she could get to space without a rocket. She raised her hand and waited for him to call on her. The entire class erupted in laughter when she questioned him. Before the tears fell, she asked to go to the restroom. She ran to the girl’s bathroom. She hid her red face with her long hair. Once the door was closed behind her, she took a deep breath, bit her lip, and gulped. She splashed water on her face and looked into the blurry mirror. She gripped the sides of the sink until her knuckles turned white. Humiliated, she let out a loud groan, smoothed her skirt, and returned to face her classmates with a fake smile plastered on her face.
By the time she left school, her mood had deflated, and she walked home with slumped shoulders. She kicked the rocks while she dragged her feet up the driveway to her house. As soon as she walked through the front door, she knew who could answer her question, plus she thought she should say sorry.
She ran into her bedroom and took out the crystal ball. “I’ll call Noni.”
“Hi, Noni. I’m sorry about last night.” She looked into her Noni’s blue-gray eyes lined with small wrinkles.
Aurora smiled and kneeled in front of her granddaughter. “This must be hard for you. Apology accepted. I wish we could spend every day together too, sweetie, but your safety is the most important issue. I’ve had years of training before NASA assigned my current mission to me. ” She thought back to the unfortunate day they found out that Avaline had a special talent too.
One afternoon at the public pool. The toddler’s dad turned to grab a towel when she jumped into the pool and sank to the bottom. Tiny bubbles rose to the top of the water by the time he dived into the cloudy water. Stunned, his eyes bulged at the sight of his little girl cross-legged at the bottom of the pool. She sat calmly and played with her little toy turtle. Her dad scooped her light frame into his arms and kicked his feet. Once they surfaced, he walked out of the pool, snatched the towel up, and hurried to the car.
“But Noni, I want the real you. The other kids get to do real things with their grandma, but I don’t.” Avaline rolled her eyes and stomped her feet.
Aurora snapped out of the memory and felt her heart shatter at Avaline’s words. It was true. She didn’t spend much time with her granddaughter on the Blue Marble. But her work kept her away. And her son would never allow his only child to travel to the silvery orb in the sky. It could be a dangerous trip, and Aurora didn’t want to risk the girl’s safety.
“We will figure something out, sweetie. I promise.” Her figure blinked in and out, she blew a kiss, and disappeared with a low echo, “Pinkie promise.”
A few nights later, Avaline smothered her cries in her pillow. She punched the soft mattress. It wasn’t fair. She rolled onto her back, worn down, and stared upward at the glowing stars on her ceiling. She daydreamed they floated amongst the planets with her together. They could have such grand adventures. She grabbed the covers and realized she was wearing her fluffy house shoes. “I wish you guys could fly,” she whispered to the unicorn heads as she kicked them off. They made a soft thud as they hit the floor. Her eyes drooped and finally closed.
The night was quiet except for a child’s light snore. The moon climbed the dark sky. A milky light caused inky pictures to take shape on the walls. A shadowy figure floated slowly to the foot of the small bed while little lights fluttered like butterflies around the unicorn slippers.
The wispy silhouette whispered a few words, patted the sleeping girl’s back, and then turned back to the dark corner of the room. A tiny star flew through the darkness. It giggled like a child as it hovered over the young girl’s head before it landed on one of the shoes. The lively speck pushed through the bright black eye of the unicorn’s head and, with a spark of gold, the eye went black again.
Suddenly, the slippers shimmered like a sparkler and sent an explosion of blue lights that cascaded from the ceiling like a light mist. The fluffy unicorns spun in mid-air and landed on the plush, purple carpet. Just then, a sliver of light pierced through the clouds, illuminating the magical creature’s eye. Its stitched mouth, once straight and unmoving, curved into a secretive smile. The magical creature’s gaze locked onto the small lump concealed beneath the covers.