... a short story for children of all ages ...
by Jenny Worstall, UK
‘Open the door! Let me out!’
Pulling at the handle, I glance out of the window. The spaceship’s taken off with me on board! I only stayed behind for a few extra minutes – how was I to know my teacher and the rest of the class would leave without me?
‘Weren’t you in that school party who were looking round?’
‘You shouldn’t be here.’
‘Come and see the captain with us – immediately.’
Argh! Was I in a whole heap of trouble or what?
Long story short, they couldn’t turn back; they just had to get over themselves and make the most of having a seven year old on board for the first manned flight to Mars.
It’s so exciting I can hardly believe it – I’m hurtling through deep dark space, on my way to another planet. I’ll do the best ever ‘show and tell’ in class when I get back.
We’re walking on the surface of Mars now. I’m doing my alien impersonation – waving my hands like antennae, while rolling my eyes. I tried this at a birthday party last week and everyone laughed their heads off. The captain’s joining in, bending his knees and swaying from side to side, arms above his head.
He’s going off to look for rock samples to take back, and I decide to go on a mystery tour. I run over the dusty surface, skipping and twirling, then lean against a strange boulder.
‘Delighted to make your acquaintance.’
It turns out the boulder is alive.
‘Did you expect me to be green?’ The alien chortles. ‘Don’t be afraid.’
‘As if,’ I say.
‘The grown-ups can’t hear me,’ the alien observes. ‘They’ve forgotten how to listen – shame because I’ve a lot to pass on.’
I jump up and down. ‘Tell me and I’ll share it.’
‘I’ll do more than just tell you about it – I’ll show you,’ the alien says.
Suddenly, high above us, I can see a vision of earth in the future – forests on fire, oceans full of plastic, ice caps melting, terrible floods, a filthy fog over vast polluted cities, starving creatures, sounds of suffering, the planet calling out in agony…
‘The earth’s dying,’ I cry.
‘It will die if nothing changes,’ the alien observes.
‘We have no future. Can I stay here with you on Mars?’
‘You are the future,’ the alien says, ‘and it’s not too late to change things. You must return to Earth and make everyone listen. As for living on Mars – well, maybe one day.’
TV studio time – the captain and crew are being interviewed – but no one’s asking for my thoughts. I’m just a kid.
I grab the microphone, leap onto the news desk and blast off with full details of the horrific vision the alien showed me.
‘We can stop this if we work together,’ I yell. ‘Are you with me?’
Cameras flash and my audience erupts.
‘Pack of lies!’
‘What do you expect us to do about it?’
‘Shut that kid up! He’s getting annoying!’
‘Shouldn’t he be in school?’
The earth shudders and thunder rends the heavens. The people in the TV studio fall silent and begin to tremble. I can hear a high pitched chattering, like a flock of migrating birds; it grows and grows until all over the world there is a chorus alive with energy and purpose.
‘We believe you!’
‘Let’s join forces.’
‘There’s still time!’
‘Together we can beat this.’
‘We’re with you!’
It’s the children of the planet earth – the children of all ages. Together, we can change the world. Are you with me?