Jake found the little orange star washed up on the shoreline on a winter’s afternoon out walking with Mum. The star was no bigger than his small hand. It didn’t glow, twinkle or shine like normal stars but he decided it must have fallen from the sky.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Jake. ‘I’ll help you get home.’
He threw the star as high as he could into the air, but it tumbled back down and he caught it. He tried again and again….
‘You were too low anyway,’ Jake said to the little star. ‘Seagulls would have bumped into you.’
When Mum said it was time to go, Jake put the star in his pocket. They walked through the town and saw two fishermen decorating a Christmas tree next to the lifeboat station. A glittery star perched on the very top of the tree. It gave Jake an idea.
He persuaded his mum to stop off at the park, just for a few minutes. He left her on a bench with a takeaway coffee and ran over to the tallest tree.
‘You’ll be very high when I reach the top,’ Jake said as he started climbing.
He stepped onto some branches and pulled himself up onto others. Normally, Jake wasn’t brave enough to climb more than a few feet off the ground but today he didn’t allow himself to look down and kept going.
When he ran out of branches thick enough to take his weight, he took the star out of his pocket and reached up and placed it on top of the tree. But when he let go, it toppled over and fell to the bottom.
Jake quickly climbed down after it. He picked it up; it didn’t seem to be hurt, although it looked very pale. ‘Don’t be sad. I promise I’ll get you home for Christmas.’
There was only one thing for it ─ he’d have to take the star back himself.
At home he headed straight into his dad’s garage and built a spaceship from lots of different cardboard boxes, using masking tape to join them. He collected a few things from the house for the journey: a packet of cheese and onion crisps, a torch for when it grew dark and his favourite teddy to be co-pilot, and then dragged the spaceship onto their driveway and climbed in. There was only one rubber ring to sit on, so teddy and the little star perched on his legs.
‘Three, two, one… We have lift off!’ he said.
The spaceship shot into the sky above their seaside town and kept rising until the houses looked no bigger than those on a Monopoly board. Jake ate his crisps and switched on the torch as the sky turned inky-blue and then black. Millions of bright stars appeared in the darkness, and Jake lifted the little star so it could see that it was back home. But it still didn’t shine.
‘Can’t you see your family?’ Jake chewed his bottom lip, knowing the answer. With so many stars in the sky, it might take years to find the star’s parents.
He needed help. So, he touched down on the surface of the moon and climbed out.
‘Excuse me, have you seen any stars like this one?’ He showed the moon the little star.
The moon smiled and replied, ‘Oh, yes. Down there.’
Jake followed his gaze. He was looking towards Planet Earth at the ocean, where a cluster of tiny orange stars shone in the dark water.
‘He’s a sea star,’ said the moon.
‘I did find him on the beach,’ said Jake. ‘Thank you for your help!’
He climbed back into his spaceship and they took off once again, this time flying back to Earth and low over the ocean until he spotted some sea stars. It was like the world had turned upside down and the sky was beneath him.
‘You’re home now,’ said Jake and he dropped the little sea star into the water.
It sank down and down until it reached the sea floor.
And then it began to glow.
Story by Kim Donovan. All rights reserved. Image: Pixabay.
A note about Sea Stars
I have wanted to write about sea stars (starfish) glowing, like stars in the night sky, ever since I read A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman. The truth is only a few sea stars shine as a result of bioluminescence, not all of them. But it makes a nice story!