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Life on the Moon- Short Story


I hate it here. Mom says to give it more time. But I hate it just as much today as I did yesterday. It always seems dark and I hate the dark. Monsters live in the dark. Everyone knows that. Mom says it seems dark because they colored the dome so we don’t cook like bugs underneath a magnifying glass. That just makes it worse. I held a magnifying glass over bugs, once, just to see what they looked like up close. They had cool big eyes and lots of poking things that looked like big hairs. But then they started smoking. I ran into the house and grabbed water from the sink in a big glass. I poured it all over them. They didn’t move again. There are no bugs here. I dig in the dirt by the swing set and there is nothing but more dirt. Strange dirt, not black like the dirt at home, but dusty, white and empty.

Mom says we can never go back to our home on Earth again. But I can see it at night. It glows like the globe in my room that I use as a night light. Dad says I’m too old for a night light. So I wait until they’re asleep before I turn it on. Now I can see two Earths glowing. The one in my room and the one outside my window.

I wish Jimmy had come with us. He would love this house. I have a room that has a big screen for my Xbox. Inside my closet as big as Jimmy’s room, I have loads of games. Lego Spiderman is my favorite. It’s awesome. I tried to call him when I hit level 7, the hardest level ever.

Mom said, “That’s nice. Now go outside and play.” She didn’t get it at all.

“Please let me call Jimmy. He understands.” Mom looked at me and shook her head. “We talked about this before when you said good- bye. You can’t call. The cell towers here don’t reach that far.”

“Well, when is he getting here?” I cried. “

“He’s not coming. Only people who work really hard and deserve it can live here. Like your father.”

I don’t get this. I know Jimmy’s father. He has two jobs. One is at the biggest building in town cleaning up at night. A couple of times Jimmy and I got to go to work with him. We rode the elevator up to the top floor. From up there we could see all sorts of lights. The other job is as a teacher for kids who can’t see. He shows them how to use the white cane so they don’t hit things. Even Jimmy’s mom works as a cook. She made the school lunches where we went to school. Jimmy said that’s why he got to go to Houghton Academy.

Zach lives with us. He makes me dinner and cleans the house. He cried for the first three nights when we got to the new house. His mom had cried like crazy when they said good-bye. I hid behind my mom while we waited for them.

“Thanks for taking my boy.” His mom said her eyes black from all the goop running down her face.

“I’m sure he’ll do just fine.” My mom said tapping her feet.

“Please Mom, I want to stay with you.” He hugged her.

“I know Zach. But there is no future here. Please go, so I know that you have hope.” She held him close to her. Then she turned and walked up the steps to her apartment. Zach grabbed his duffle bag and followed us to the car. He didn’t say anything for the entire trip.

I told Zach the first day we put the boxes in our new house that I didn’t want to be here either. It sucked that we had to go. He didn’t say anything, but looked at me in such a way that I was kinda scared. I asked if he wanted to play video games on my big screen. He said a bad word, that I won’t say cause I don’t want to get into trouble, and slammed the door to his room. It kind of sucks cause he’s my only friend here, even if he is older than me.

I go back outside. It’s too quiet. My mom says that she likes it quiet without the traffic and noise of the city. I miss the birds. Even in the city there were birds that made all sorts of noises during the day. There are no birds here. But my mom tells me that they are bringing grass with the next shipment from the planet. Maybe some worms or bugs will come with the grass. After dinner, I go to bed and turn on the globe so I can watch both Earths.

“Chris, wake up.” Zach gives me a nudge and hands me clothes to put on. “We are going on a field trip to the farm.” I haven’t seen him smile so big since we got here. This makes me super excited. I get dressed as fast as Flash. I love field trips. Mr. Hodges took us all to a farm when I was in second grade. We rode the bus for what seemed like forever. On the way we sang “the wheels on the bus go round and round” until Mr. Hodges gave us the evil eye. So we quieted down. No one wanted to get in trouble and miss out on the animals. Animals ran all over the place. Big cows, with black and white spots, munched grass in the fields. We “mooed”. They didn’t say anything back, just looked us with their big eyes. My favorite were the chickens. When Mr. Hodges wasn’t looking, we chased them all around the yard. They sure were fast.

I’m so excited to go on this field trip that I shove the pancakes that Zach made for me into my mouth as quickly as I can so we can get going.

“Is Mom coming too?” I ask in between mouthfuls.

“Nope little man, it’s just me and you.” Zach says with a wink.

This makes me pause a little, but he’s smiling and seems really happy to be going. We pack a bag that has water and some granola bars for snacks.

I haven’t been outside of our family dome. A long path connects groups of family domes. It reminds me of the sidewalks back home. But there are no cracks to jump over. Zach is humming a song I remember from school, so I start to hum along too. At the end of the path, we come to a chamber. Zach enters a code into the door and it hisses like a snake and then pulls apart. He shows me a panic button.

“Never push this unless you can’t breathe.” He cautions me. I nod showing him that I’m paying attention. But I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t I be able to breathe? Everything looks different on the other side. There is a large building that looks like the grocery store that Mom and I went to after school. It has the same yellow letters on a big blue background, but it seems weird. I can’t put my finger on what makes it so different until I realize that there are no cars and there isn’t a parking lot. Zach leads me over to another sidewalk, that runs between the grocery store and a bunch of other stores. There are many with clothes and shoes, but I don’t see any toy stores. There’s a big computer store. I’ll ask Zach if we can check that out later. Maybe they have some Xbox games. On the sidewalk, I practically fall on my face as it speeds away underneath my feet. “Hang on little man.” He says laughing.

On the other side of the stores, houses that look just like ours zip by really fast. I try to see other kids like me, but the dome makes everything a little fuzzy.

“Where’s the school?” I ask.

Zach frowns and then says, “There’s no school. Starting next week, you’ll log onto the computer and do classes from there.” I wish I could talk to Jimmy about having no school. He would think that was great. But right now, I’d give my Lego Spiderman game to be able to go to school.

The sidewalk ends and we step off. This time I stumble and land on my knees. Zach bends down and inspects them. “Looks okay.” He smiles and offers me a hand up. From there we get on a train. I see another boy about my size, but he is in the car ahead of us. I make my best googly face at him when he looks at me. He laughs and makes a scary monster face back at me by pulling his eyelids down and his lips up. We take turns making faces until his mom gives him the evil eye. He shrugs his shoulders and I wave mouthing my name Chris. He mouths his name back. I think it’s Jack. Zach grabs my hand when the lady computer voice says, “Fun Fields Farm”.

I’m so excited I pull on Zach’s arm to move him along. The gray path leads to a tall building. “That’s the biggest silo I’ve ever seen.” I want Zach to think I’m smart. So I like using big words that I learned from Mr. Hodge. I wonder if he is here too. Maybe he’ll be at the farm today.

After we have walked for about a million years, we get to the building. A guy with a uniform and a badge stops us at the door. “Fieldtrip.” Zach says to the guy and points to me. I stand as tall as I can and nod my head, letting him know that this is about school stuff. It works and the guy lets us through. We get into the elevator and look at all the buttons.

“What do you want to see first?” Zach asks reading the different buttons on the wall.

“Cows. I want to see the cows.” I say moving back and forth. “Moo.” I add practicing my mooing voice. Zach just smiles and presses a button.

I can smell the cows before the elevator door opens. When it does open it doesn’t make me want to moo. Instead I want to throw up because it smells so bad. Rows of cows in little stalls are all I see. I pull my shirt up over my nose as we walk through the stalls. Zach lets go of my hand and walks over to one of the cows. I try my best “moo”. But they don’t even look at me. Zach reaches into one of the troughs that is in front of the cow. He scoops up these brown pellets that look like Mr. Hodge’s classroom pet hamster, Daisy’s poop.

“Eww”, I say when he turns around to hand me some.

The cows don’t move at all. Long green skinny ropes that look like snakes come out of the cows body and go to the ceiling. It scares me a little.

“Where’s the field?” I say not wanting to look at these cows anymore. I want to see the ones out munching on grass that raise their heads and look at me when I moo.

“I don’t think there is one, little man.” Zach says touching the gate. “There is no door to this stall. I think they stay here until they die.”

“I want to go home.” I say.

“Me too.” Zach takes me hand and we head back to the house. Neither one of us talks on the way home. I just look at my feet.

Mom is in a really good mood when we get back to the house. She’s running around the kitchen unloading a bunch of bags with potato chips, dip and bags of fruit.

“Where were you guys today?” She asks.

Zach looks at me and shakes his head slightly. He doesn’t have to worry about me tellin’ on him taking me on a fieldtrip. I don’t want to talk about those sad cows ever again.

“Just around.” I say. Mom doesn’t stop her unpacking bags and lining things up on the counter. She takes out the cutting board and stops chopping up carrots.

“You don’t need to make dinner tonight Zach.” She says as she grabs a green pepper and starts chopping on that. “We’re having a few people over tonight to watch the meteor. You are more than welcome to join us. We’ll be grilling steaks and having a few side dishes.”

Zach doesn’t say anything. He turns and walks to his bedroom. I follow him. Before he disappears inside, he bends down and gives me a hug. For some reason I start crying. Not the loud baby crying, but the grown up kind where tears run down your face, but you don’t make any noises. He holds me for a long time before he lets me go, then he closes his door.

I stay in my room as long as I can. I have the Lego Spiderman game on the big screen, but I don’t really feel like playing. Doesn’t really matter if I can’t tell Jimmy all about it.

People start to arrive, so I know I better put on clean clothes and head outside. Their voices sound like a busy city street. Dad is home and standing at the grill. He’s talking to another guy with beer in his hand.

“Hey Chris. How do you want your hamburger?” He asks.

I don’t say anything. I find my way to the swing set that, thankfully, is away from the people. I swing back and forth for a long time, until the air gets darker. The Earth’s glowing in the sky. It’s so blue.

“There she is.” An older man with a pipe hanging out of his teeth says. Sure enough, I see the glow of the meteor. It’s small, almost a speck, but it glows red and orange in the sky. Behind it there’s a tail of light.

“Wow.” A lady in high heels and a dress says in a high squeaky voice that hurts my ears. Everyone else is silent. It looks like the Earth eats the red light, swallows it whole. But I know this isn’t the case. That’s a stupid kid’s idea.

“I’m heading to bed,” I say to Mom after people start talking again. The man with a pipe must’ve told a joke ‘cause he’s laughing.

“Sure, honey.” She leans down and kisses me on the cheek.

I brush my teeth and get into my pajamas. I look out my bedroom window at the Earth. A small brown spot, like spilled hot chocolate, is starting to spread over the land. I pick up the globe. It’s light in my hands. Friction from the carpet makes the closet door hard to open. But I yank on it until it gives. Once in my closet, I walk past all the pants hung neatly on hangers and the shelf of Xbox games tucked underneath them. In the back corner there’s my old blanket. A picture of the cow jumping over the moon is crumpled so the moon and cow are on top of each other. I lift the blanket and place the globe underneath it. I’m not afraid of the dark anymore. I know who the monsters are now.

END


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