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Stargazer

By Kendra Rabbitts

Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in the sky.

She had lived there for as long as she could remember, and spent her days swimming in clouds and her nights dancing past stars. When she got tired, she curled up in the moon and slept.

But some days she saw the world below, and wanted to explore, so she floated on wisps of mist down into the cities and towns, to see all the people that lived such a different life from her. There were cars, great noisy things – like the planes that roared past her sometimes – but so many of them! Lights, sounds, the whole earth was bustling and busy.

Her favourite thing, though, was to drift onto the windowsills of buildings and peer inside. One night she had seen teenagers watching a film, and laughed along with them. Another time, she had heard a baby cry, his mother roused from her sleep to calm him. Her favourite was in the winter, once, when a family was hanging beautiful ornaments on a tree. A tree inside a house! Imagine that.

Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in a flat.

He had lived there for as long as he could remember, and spent his days at school and his evenings looking after his mum. When he got tired, he forced himself to stay awake and do his homework.

But some days, when his mum was alright, when she was having a good day, he could almost forget that everything was so terrible. They would go for walks in the park, or solve the crossword together, or bake – little things – but the boy lived for those days. They were the days when he had a family again. When he wasn’t alone. When everything would turn out okay in the end.

In the evenings, after a good day when he had put his mum to bed with a mug of warm tea, he would sit up on the windowsill in his bedroom and look out at the stars. One day, he thought to himself, one day I will go out and explore those stars.

But not today, he thought, because mum needs me here.

The stars will have to wait.

Once upon a time a girl from the sky met a boy who dreamed of the stars.

She flew towards a windowsill, a new windowsill, a new scene. No pretty ornaments or sleepovers here, she realised with disappointment. The room was dark. But as she came closer, she saw a boy sitting on the windowsill inside.

The girl touched down next to him, the two separated by the glass. She looked at him curiously. His eyes were hopeful but his face was sad. She decided she would talk to the boy.

Who are you, she asked, And why are you sitting on the windowsill?

The boy shrugged. I like the windowsill, he answered, I can see the stars from here.

I will take you to the stars, if you want, offered the girl, but the boy shook his head.

Mum needs me, he said.

Once upon a time a girl from the sky encountered an open window.

When the girl next came by the block of flats, the window was open and the boy was sitting on the windowsill once more.

I hoped you would come back, the boy smiled.

Are you lonely? the girl asked him.

Sometimes, he told her, I don’t have much time for friends.

I will be your friend, said the sky girl, and the boy nodded.

I would like that, he said.

The girl smiled at him and sat next to him on the windowsill. She spent the night there, teaching him the names of the constellations, and soon he was asleep. The girl laid him in bed. He must have been very tired.

Once upon a time a boy woke up to a tidy house.

The kitchen was clean and tidy, the washing up done. All the little jobs that he never quite found time for were done – the cobwebs round the kitchen window gone, the tea stains on the sink cleaned off. He made breakfast and had time to read a little before school.

When the boy got home, the girl was waiting for him.

I thought you only came at night, the boy told her, I thought I dreamed you.

No, the girl told him, But I cleaned your house.

Why? the boy asked.

You looked tired, explained the girl.

That evening, the girl sang the boy a lullaby as he fell asleep.

Once upon a time a girl took a boy flying.

I really shouldn’t, the boy told her.

Why not? she asked.

What if mum needs me? he said.

But the girl shook her head and said, You have me now. It’s okay. I will look after you and your mum.

What if I’m afraid? he asked.

The girl shook her head again. You don’t have to be afraid any more, she said.

And the boy took the girl’s hand. She pulled him with a rush out of his window and together they soared through the skies. This is where I live, she told him, And I want to show all of it to you.

It’s beautiful, he said.

Once upon a time a boy and a girl sat in the moon together.

Thank you, he said, Thank you for your help.

It’s okay, she said, You have helped me too. The sky can be a lonely place when you have nobody to share it with.

Then the girl smiled. Come one, she said, Let’s go and explore.

The boy and the girl flew through the city together, until they saw a child sitting on his windowsill.

Who are you? the child asked.

We are here to help, they said, We are here to show you the stars.

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