Once upon a time, a boy lived on a deserted moon lost in the depths of space. His name was Aarvo, and he was a skinny creature as dark as coal. All made of porous rock, when he moved, he made the sound of grinding stone. His hair were spikes of jet-black metal, hard and sharp, and so were his fingers and his toes. His teeth were white, his eyes blue and bright against the blackness of his face.
Last born of the dead moon, Aarvo lived friendless and forlorn on his gray and dusty home. Only the sight of Eera, the planet around which his mother moon revolved, gave him some respite from despair. All blue and green, furrowed by white clouds, the fertile planet was a beauty to behold as she waxed and waned against the backdrop of deep space.
One moonday, as many moondays before after the death of his beloved mother moon, he was lying on his back atop a vertiginous peak that jutted out from the middle of a gigantic crater. He called this incredible natural formation his “space-ear”, because, once he laid down in the center, it was able to focus and amplify all the sounds of space. As Aarvo watched Eera hovering crescent in the sky, he started listening to the turmoil of her crust, the thunder of her fires, the shifting of her restless clouds and the scratching of her storms, the whipping of her bolts of lighting and the veiled singing of her incredible auroras. If he listened even more closely, through the various sounds and background noises of the galaxies around, he perceived even the caress of Eera's breath that ebbed and flowed down to him. And if he squinted, then he could see that breath of life shining against the dark of space, enveloping Eera with a diaphanous blue veil that seemed to try and protect her from the harshness of deep space.
He let his eyes roam across the immense blue of the oceans that embraced her from side to side; the frayed vault of white clouds; the green that invaded entire continents, interrupted only by the brown of what looked like fertile lands. Seeing Eera like that made him think that she must be as alive as the moon herself had once been too, and that, like her, she must be the cradle of countless forms of life. Covered in endless prairies and dense forests; furrowed by fast clouds of countless colors; flooded by huge rivers, lakes and oceans, it had to be inhabited by every sort of creature that flew, crawled, walked or swam, and among all those creatures, perhaps, she even sheltered other children of the stone. There must be others like him, Aarvo thought. Why not right there? After all, the moon had once been full of her own children, so why wouldn't Eera be so too? Aarvo imagined these children of Eera were just like him -- a little bit taller perhaps, and with gentle green eyes, but for sure all nice and cheerful, and who at the moment were probably chatting with each other, laughing, and having a great time.
Still, as much as he tried, even with the aid of his space-ear, he couldn't hear their voices up on Eera. If only he could talk to someone once again, as when his mother moon had been alive, he thought, sitting up. He leaned his hand against the ground, but couldn't feel anything other than dead rock under his fingers. He lifted his eyes up to Eera again. He was sure there must be others like him up there. He just needed to make them notice him, he thought, and then he'd have someone to talk to again. He stood up, jumped down from the vertiginous peak with the help of the jets on the back of his hands, and began sifting through the lunar plains in search of the most beautiful moonstones he could find.
In a moonhour, he made a big pile, loaded them onto a sledge he had built from a sheet of corrugated metal and a rod he had recovered near an impact crater, then, since Eera never set or rose like the other stars and planets, but rotated always suspended in the same place in the sky, he started North, where he knew he would spot her lower on the horizon.
While the clear daylight gave way to the darkness of night in space, he crossed endless plains, rugged mountains, craters and sand dunes. Above him, Eera kept the time by spinning in the sky: one lap for one moonhour, seven to change phase, and thirty to complete a full moonday.
After a couple of moondays, Aarvo finally came into view of his destination: Ak Adept, a mountain range that stretched in an unbroken line among the surrounding craters and mountain ranges. He climbed to the top of Tromm Loc (Mount Bow) sat down, and started carving up his pile of moonstones.
He took one, and with the tip of his sharp fingers, engraved on the black surfaced his own likeness waving with his arm raised; on another, he etched a falling star that flew away from Lissa in an arc; and on a third, he drew himself standing on the round mass of the moon while waving with his arm raised. He would have engraved his own name on those stones, if he had known how to write, but unfortunately there wasn't anyone left of his kind who could have taught him that lost art.
When he was done, he picked up a moonstone at random, took aim, loaded his arm back, and ignited his jet. A flame of super-compressed gas exploded from the back of his hand, throwing his arm forward in a blazing flash. Aarvo grunted with the effort; his shoulder creaked as if it were to break at the joint; then the moonstone slipped from his hand and shot towards the sky.
For an instant, the fine and rare particles of dust suspended in the very first layers of the atmosphere were set ablaze by the tremendous friction. A flaming purple crown arched around the moonstone, stretching back in a spectacular blue-orange tail, then the emptiness of space extinguished the fire, and the moonstone disappeared from view.
Aarvo stretched his radio ears and followed the whistling whine of the stone as it climbed furtively to the farthest reaches of the sky, slipped out of the clutch of the moon, and sailed right into space.
After the first one, he took aim and flung all the other moonstones in his pile into the sky.
Knowing his messengers were all on their way, he patiently sat back and watched Eera waning to a thinner crescent in the sky. He watched her waning as it spun endlessly on herself against a backdrop of stars and constellations that slowly glided by behind her.
Since his home mirrored Eera’s every phase, but in reverse, as Eera was fading into darkness, light was now sweeping more than half of the moon’s surface and gaining ground. Aarvo turned to his left and saw at the horizon the edge of sunrise rolling forward with an eerie sigh, swallowing the night of space in its relentless path. He stared at the glowing, shifting curtain of bright light always fascinated at the sight, then looked up again with expectant eyes. Eera was still up there, waning to a thinner blue crescent as time went by. How much longer before his moonstones hit home?, he wondered. Then he heard it: the first tinny ziing scratched through the fabric of space, then another one followed suit, and another one after that.
There! That was the signal he had been waiting for, yet he did not rejoice at the amazing feat, but kept on staring doggedly at Eera in the sky, waiting... waiting... waiting for another, a different sign. He wished someone up on Eera caught one of his stones, understood where he was, and threw it back. There was no way people up on Eera could ignore rocks falling from the sky, he thought. He had thrown so many, that in some places there must be piles several steps high now. Surely people ought to ask themselves some questions at this point. Then why wasn't anybody throwing any moonstones back to him?
As motionless as the moonboulders that stood gray and dead sprawled in the vast silence where he sat, Aarvo waited as light slowly slipped away from Eera's face and advanced deeper and deeper through the vast expanses of the moon. With the fine feelers in his nose, he searched the void and found the scent of the infinitely small and rare particles of the blue planet that somehow made it all the way to the shores of his far home. Even from that distance, she smelled so alive!
That scent of life ground with a wrenching longing against his heart, as the inevitable blade of daylight finally caught up with him, and hit him like a slap. The scorching wave sent the sand flying in ripples all around him, scratching his rocky skin with a sizzling hiss, then flew past, laving him all alone in the dust.
Have you ever felt so lonely or stuck that it seemed you were the only being left in Universe?
Has reaching out ever felt like throwing stones to another planet?
Let me know.
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