‘Where’re we going?’ Mica asked, his voice vibrating slightly from the sheer speed they were whizzing through the cosmos.
‘To work,’ the Scientist replied as she frantically pulled on hanging chords, tapped on her handheld device and toyed with loose wires, all at once.
They were travelling in the light bulb balloon at a near-impossible speed, but given everything that had happened to Mica so far this evening, he decided to stop questioning the impossible, if only for a moment. Just as Mica became worried that he might need to throw-up some of his dinner again, the bright, astral balloon came to a slow halt, in what Mica thought to be another nondescript part of space.
‘Oh no.’ The Scientist expressed with a degree of sadness. Her voice cracked in a way that Mica had only experienced when listening to his Dad talk about his mother. ‘It’s gone out, something’s not right.’
‘What? What’s gone out?’ Mica started to become frustrated that he was missing out on something important, as any child would.
‘Here.’ The Scientist gently took a hold of Mica’s arm and extended his forefinger into a pointing gesture. She then moved his arm to the left and pointed it outward, into a specific direction, ‘Look closely, squint a little if you have to.’
At first, Mica still couldn’t see anything other than the blackness of space and thousands of stars, light years in the distance. Then, he squinted, and he saw it. Around one-hundred metres from the point they were floating in space, was another lightbulb. This bulb was not attached to a basket, and looked to be entirely stationary. Mica focused his eyes some more and could just about make-out a giant chord (or cable) emanating from the top of the bulb, this chord (or cable, he really wasn’t sure) reached infinitely into the space above, as though the bulb itself dangled from the roof of the heavens. Most importantly though, the bulb was switched off.
‘Should it be dark like that?’ Mica asked, without shifting his gaze from the broken bulb.
‘No. No it should not. We need to take a closer look.’ The Scientist pulled on a few of the chords that hung from her own bulb, gently this time. In doing so, they softly glided forwards, towards the extinguished lightsource.
‘Is that another one of your balloons?’ Mica asked, a perfectly reasonable question given his experiences so far.
‘Not quite. I suppose my balloon is more like one of these. If we’re being accurate.’
‘So what is it then?’
The Scientist responded at the moment they found themselves within touching distance of the giant hanging bulb, ‘This Mica, is a star.’
Mica finally looked away from the “star” and made direct eye-contact with the Scientist, his expression was filled with doubt and knowitallism. ‘Okay. That’s not a star. Stars are giant balls of gas, they’re hot. No, actually they’re very hot! The surface temperature of our sun alone is-’
‘-Nine-thousand nine-hundred and forty-one degrees fahrenheit. Yes, I know.’ Mica became visibly unhappy with the Scientist’s interruption. ‘Things aren’t always as they appear though Mica. Something can look one way from a distance, but up-close, it can be entirely different.’
‘That’s stupid!’ Mica began to sulk, as the pages of his long-held textbook knowledge were being called into question.
‘Is it? Or is it just a different kind of clever?’
‘It’s stupid. Stars aren’t light bulbs.’
‘And yet here you are, in space, being told by a Scientist in a balloon that light bulbs are in fact stars.’
Mica thought for a moment, he was trying to prepare a perfect counter-argument in his head, before he spoke next. The issue he was having was that this was all nonsense, and arguing with nonsense is often an impossibility. Eventually he landed on the only card he felt he could play, ‘But what about telescopes and- and satellites! They’ve taken lots of pictures of the stars, and none of them look like this.’
The Scientist sighed, ‘I thought you kids were supposed to have strong imaginations.’
‘My Dad says I’m not like most kids,’ said Mica, bluntly.
The Scientist rolled her eyes and muttered, ‘Yeah, he’s got that right.’ She could see that this had all become too much for Mica, and in his eyes she could see the cogs and gears of his mind spinning away, as though he were desperately searching for an answer in the wrong place. ‘Look Mica, I’m sorry if this is all a little strange, but this is how it is. In America, on Earth, you have one explanation for the way things are, and nobody is saying that explanation is wrong. But here, in my world, this is how things work,’ she gestured to the light-bulb in front of them before continuing, ‘It might not make sense to you, but it makes perfect sense to me. If a star were a giant ball of gas, how would I even begin to do my job?’
Mica stopped thinking so hard and muttered ‘What’s your job then?’
‘I make sure all of the lights stay on.’ She smiled at him, but then a fresh wave of concern hit her hard, ‘So this right here. This extinguished star. It’s a bit of a problem.’
The Scientist began to gently tap the glass of the bulb, before pressing her ear against the surface. This bulb was a lot bigger than the one the Scientist used for transport, around four times the size, Mica suspected, but it was difficult to tell. For several minutes, they slowly orbited the bulb, and the Scientist inspected every inch. Mica had a thousand more questions for her, but the way she focused on her job led him to believe that he probably shouldn’t interrupt. He thought about how impossible all of this had been, he had no other word for it, all he could think about was the impossibility of it all. Whilst the Scientist was busy with her inspections, he pinched himself tightly on the arm, just to be sure this wasn’t some kind of fantastical dream. It wasn’t, it hurt.
‘No, no, no!’ The Scientist exclaimed in a panic. ‘This can’t be right.’ They were now floating directly in-front of the bulb. She pointed to the very centre of the star ‘Look there Mica. Inside.’
Mica looked inside and saw nothing. ‘It’s empty.’
‘Exactly. The filament is missing.’ The bulb above their heads buzzed and flickered a little. The Scientist glanced upward, ‘Don’t worry old friend! I’m not going to take yours. Not again.’ The bulb seemed to let-out a sigh, in light form.
‘Did- Is your balloon alive?’ Mica asked.
‘Not alive like you-and-I alive, but alive in way, yes.’
‘Sure. Why not.’ Mica shrugged at this now-minor impossibility in the grand scheme of impossibilities he had experienced so far that night. ‘So what do we do about a missing filament?’
‘Panic. Worry. Run away and hide at the edge of the universe because I’ve failed at my job.’ The Scientist was flustered, but she continued to inspect the star as she spoke. ‘It looks as though someone has unscrewed the bulb and removed the filament by hand, but that would be-’
‘-Impossible?’ Mica interrupted. ‘I think I’m starting to get the hang of things up here.’
The Scientist took one last look at the bulb before sitting down crossed-legged in the basket, she closed her eyes.
‘What’re you doing?’ Mica asked.
She hushed and asked him politely to sit down as well, declaring that she needed some time to think. The Scientist closed her eyes and thought out-loud. She spoke rapidly, as though every one of her words were attempting to escape her mouth in a hurry.
‘Okay, so- nothing I know of is capable of unscrewing the stars, other than myself. Did I drink too much last night and do this? No, I haven’t let myself go on Mercury in quite some time. So it can’t be that. Did the council hire a new Starlighter and not tell me? No, they wouldn’t do that, they’d give me some notice. It’s almost as though the most likely explanation is that the filament vanished into thin-air, from inside the star. But that also doesn’t make any sense. Shh Mica! I’m trying to think.’
Mica looked around the basket in shock, ‘I didn’t say anything!’
‘You were thinking about saying something, and that’s distracting enough.’ The Scientist continued, her eyes still closed shut. ‘So, if we don’t know how this happened, all we can do is fix it, and hope that it’s just a freak, inexplicable act of chaos. Yep. That’s what I’m going with.’
The Scientist opened her eyes wide and leapt to her feet. ‘Tell me Mica, how many American boys does it take to change a lightbulb?’
Mica sighed and played along, ‘I don’t know, how many?’
‘Only one. As long as he has a universally acclaimed Starlighter with him. Let’s go!’ The Scientist cried, as she began tinkering with her handheld navigation device.
‘Where’re we going now?’ Mica asked, with a slight hint of tiredness in his voice.
‘You’re not getting bored are you? You know I could take you home if-’
‘-No!’ Mica blurted out his response faster than the Scientist could ask her question. ‘I mean, I want to go. I want to help.’
An excitable smile swam over the face of the Scientist. ‘I was hoping you would say that.’ She altered the direction of the balloon as they started to pick up speed. ‘We’re going to visit my homeworld. At least, the place I’ve set-up shop anyway.’
‘Do you have spare parts there or something?’
‘Something like that. We’re going to the Filament Forests. It’s a dense jungle like nothing you’ve ever seen before in your life, where starlight literally grows on trees.’
‘If it’s a jungle, why do you call it the Filament Forests?’ Mica asked, with a lot of emphasis on that final word.
‘The alliteration is just catchier, you know? Easier to brand at business meetings.’ She smiled at Mica, who reciprocated the expression. Before long they were hurtling through space as fast as the lightbulb balloon could carry them.
Now, the Scientist had, unfortunately, been painfully incorrect in one aspect of her analysis of the situation; this was not a random act of chaos, it was a controlled act of destruction. As the balloon disappeared from the vicinity of the star, a group of shadows emerged from behind the bulb. They each took the outline-form of a man, but that was the only remotely human aspect of their appearance. There were four of them in total, they had been hiding and listening to every word spoken by our pair in the balloon, specifically those of the Scientist.
The only facial feature that each shade possessed was a bright-white and toothy smile, similar to that of a fictional cat in a land filled with much more wonder than these creatures have ever occupied. Other than their sinister smiles, they were simply shadows. Ethereal wisps of black smoke danced around the outlines of their shadowy form, and when they spoke it sounded like a deep-whisper that could penetrate the inner-fears of any carbon life-form. It was a sound that a human could only replicate if they extended their lower-jaw and whispered at the deepest possible tone, whilst making each word last twice as long as it should. Perhaps worst of all, in the most haunting of ways, their visible grins did not move as they spoke.
‘Did you form a psychic link?’ One shade asked another.
‘Oh yes.’ Came the ghostly whisper of a response. ‘That child thinks so much, I could track him to the edge of infinity.’
‘Good.’ The first shade approved. ‘Soon we will have the lightsource. Soon, the darkness will belong to everyone.’ The shade pulled a glowing piece of wire from behind his ghostly torso, and danced it around his shadowy form, before dropping it into the darkness. ‘Child’s play. Let’s glide.’
The four shades whispered a maniacal cackle as they moved forward, in the same direction that the balloon had travelled. Then, they vanished, as quickly as they had appeared.
Mica came to the conclusion that entering an atmosphere was a lot less harrowing than leaving one, although the landing was not at all fun. The Scientist had described her landing as “perfect”, but it appeared as though her definition of such a landing was any that didn’t involve the balloon breaking and falling over. They hit the soft, earthy ground of the planet with a thud that knocked both of them off their feet. The Scientist climbed out of the basket first, and took a deep breath, inhaling through her nose. ‘Smell that clean air Mica, you won’t find a climate like this anywhere on Earth.’ She offered Mica her hand and he used it to support his weight as he climbed out of the vehicle.
Mica had been blown away by his views from space, but they were still views he recognised from his textbooks and movies. This planet was something different entirely. They had landed in the clearing of a jungle made out of electrical wires, that glowed in many different colours. Most of the wires shone with a bright yellow, in the same way the dominant colour in a jungle on Earth is green. Scattered amongst the yellow glows were flashes of red, pink, purple, blue and orange, along with any and all colours on the spectrum of light that fall between these. Some of the strips of light were no higher than Mica himself, others extended out into the cloudless purple sky, and were so high that Mica couldn’t make out the tops of them.
‘Isn’t it something?’ The Scientist asked Mica.
Mica had no words, he was too busy taking in his fantastical, alien surroundings. She had been right, the air was so clear and fresh, purer than that found circulating the Rocky Mountains. He reached down and touched the surface of the clearing, the ground was dusty and almost felt like sand, only without the fine coarseness. Upon closer inspection of the surface, Mica could see tiny shoots of filament growing like grass. He brushed the palm of his hand over these yellow blades and they tickled when he touched them, as though they were letting out tiny sparks of energy.
As he crouched, a tiny animal rushed from the clearing and approached the pair. It scurried along the ground like a squirrel, but when it stood on its hind-legs, it looked more like a mongoose. Once it was close enough to touch, Mica could see that it had short, prickly fur and its’ eyes glowed a bright orange. The creature seemed overly confident around people, especially when it started squeaking, as though it were yelling at Mica for touching the grass.
The Scientist held out her arm towards the ground and the little creature leapt up onto her, clambering up her body before sitting neatly on her shoulder. ‘Hey little guy!’ The Scientist expressed with glee, as she made the same noises anyone does when meeting a cute animal. ‘Oh don’t worry about him, he’s just a child, he won’t mess with your grass any longer, will you Mica?’
Mica stood up straight and looked back and forth between the Scientist and the creature, who were both staring at him, ‘Nope. I’ll leave it alone. Definitely.’ The critter squeaked and nodded in approval. ‘What is that thing?’ Mica asked, as the creature nuzzled into the Scientist, before leaping from her shoulder and running back towards the jungle.
‘They’re called Glowdents.’ The Scientist responded with some embarrassment.
‘Glowdents?’ Mica tried to contain his laughter as he spoke.
‘Well, that might not be what they call themselves, but I found them on this planet when I got here, so I had to name them something. I’m not a biologist.’
The Scientist consulted her device once more, using a navigational tool to send out an invisible pulse from their current position. After a second or two, her device began to emit a low-pitch beeping sound, similar to the tone you’d find on an old sonar device. ‘Jackpot. I knew this would be the right place to land.’ The Scientist said, with a hint of self-assured cockiness. ‘Nearest growth of the filament we need is five miles…’ she suddenly spun around, doing an almost one-hundred and eighty degree turn on her heels, ‘…That way!’ She pointed as an expedition leader would.
‘Five miles?!’ Mica groaned like a child who’d just been told that they weren’t quite there yet. ‘Why can’t we just fly the balloon closer?’
‘Because then you wouldn’t get to walk through this fantastical jungle. Just follow my lead.’
They both walked towards the edge of the clearing and the Scientist peered inside the thick growth. Had this been a jungle of purely organic plants, as on Earth, the path ahead would be extremely dark due to the lack of natural sunlight that could pierce the trees above. However, due to the fact that each and every plant let out some kind of glow, their path was well lit, and Mica could see more than fifty metres in front of his own face. Climbing into the thicket was difficult, but once they were inside he followed the Scientist’s footsteps, as she cleared the way for both of them. Most branches were easy enough to push aside, some of them even bent and folded into a different position, as an electrical cable might.
Occasionally, Mica would hear a soft squeak followed by a slight electrical hum. Quickly, he would dart is head in the direction of the noise, upon which he would see the tail of a Glowdent, running away in the opposite direction. He had to admit that they were pretty cute, although it was largely due to their great big glowing eyes. Mica couldn’t shake the idea that something was watching them, it gave him this unsettled feeling in the pit of his stomach, the sort he would get as bullies approached. Then, he would look over his shoulder, only to see a Glowdent smiling back at him and waving, from a nearby tree of lights.
Every minute or two, the Scientist consulted her device, as a way of checking they were still walking in the correct direction. The low-tone sonar bleeps and bloops were sounding off closer and closer together, they had to be nearer now, surely.
‘Did you have any plans back home for today?’ The Scientist asked Mica, breaking the long-held verbal silence.
‘Nope. My Dad will be working, I was just going to read.’
‘That’s good. I should have you back before he gets home from work.’
‘It’s daytime already?’ Mica sounded a little surprised.
‘It’s currently eleven in the AM, mountain time. Space travel doesn’t happen in an instant.’ She looked ahead and mumbled to herself, ‘At least not yet anyway.’
‘What if I’m not back in time? He’ll worry, probably send out a search party or something.’ Mica said, with a helping of concern.
‘Well, let’s get back in time then. What about your Mum, she going to be a problem?’
‘It’ll be tricky for her to be one.’ Mica’s tone became sombre, but in a rehearsed sort of way, it was clear he’d had the conversation about his lack of a mother several hundred times, ‘She’s dead.’
The Scientist stopped in her tracks and turned to Mica, ‘I’m sorry kid. I didn’t-’
‘-No, it’s fine, it happened when I was little.’
‘Littler than you are now?’ Her sass-filled question made Mica crack a smile.
‘Yeah, you know what I mean. I was three, so I only remember bits and pieces.’
The Scientist knew how to look sympathetic, but she didn’t seem to know what to do with her arms. Instead of hugging Mica, she sort-of patted him on the head like a dog and told him that everything was going to be okay. Then, she let out the statement ‘I never had any parents,’ entirely unprovoked.
After a long silence, she continued, ‘I mean, I had parents, biologically speaking. I just, I never knew them, you know? I grew up in an orphanage, I think that’s why they chose me, because nobody would miss me.’ She slumped down onto a nearby orange-tinted rock, Mica followed suit by sitting opposite her. ‘I still miss them though.’
‘Yeah, I always do too.’
‘It’s weird, I don’t know what they look like, even now with my vast knowledge and never-ending powers,’ she held up the device in her hands and made a small gesture to her tattered lab coat, ‘But I miss them. So much.’
Mica looked at the ground, he thought that if he made too much eye-contact with the Scientist he might cry, and he did not want to cry in front of her. Instead, he thought about something else she had let slip. ‘Who chose you?’
‘Sorry?’ The Scientist rubbed her eyes, she wasn’t crying, but they had started to redden.
‘You said that’s why they chose you. Who are they?’
‘Oh, that’s the council.’
Mica’s mind became filled with curiosity as he asked the questions he thought to be important, ‘Are they like a council of Scientists who govern the universe of something? Or, are they- they’re not gods, are they?’
‘No, neither. They’re the council; local government.’ Mica looked back at her blankly, perhaps for the first time. She sighed. ‘Okay, you know the people who organise your garbage collection? Or the people who fix your roads when they get potholes? Well, I work for the universal version of that. I change lightbulbs.’ She shrugged and stood to her feet.
‘So, you’re not a Scientist?’
‘Hey, Mica, that was your name for me. I didn’t say I was anything.’
The Scientist looked to Mica, she could tell that some of the childish wonder and excitement had left him, after this recent revelation regarding her job role. ‘Hey, look around you, you’re still on a planet that’s about fifteen solar systems east of your own. That’s pretty cool, right?’
‘It is. It definitely is. I guess- I just, I’ve never met a real Scientist before. And, I don’t know, it sounds stupid but they’re my heroes, you know? All the other kids at school look up to Superman or- or Batman, but my heroes are the clever people in white coats from my textbooks. And I thought I’d met a real-life superhero.’
‘Well I’m sorry to disappoint you with all of this wonder.’ The Scientist turned away and continued walking through the jungle of lights. Mica chased after her, trying to keep up with her increased pace.
‘You’re still great! And this really is amazing, I’m sorry.’ Mica attempted to find the right words to say, in order to return their mood to some kind of status-quo.
‘I’m sorry too. Sorry that I just work for the council, I thought I could show you things that would blow your mind.’
‘You did! You are! Hey, just, stop a second.’ Mica called out, in an almost panicked voice so that she definitely would slow down. The Scientist turned around to face Mica, she was almost crying, but not quite. ‘Look, my Dad doesn’t have the most impressive job in the world, he’s a mailman.’
‘Nothing wrong with mailmen.’
‘I know. Could you just- I’m trying to say something here.’
‘Sorry.’ The Scientist slowly moved her thumb and forefinger across her lips in a zipping motion. It was a jovial gesture, but without a hint of joy.
‘My Dad doesn’t like the fact that he’s a mailman, he doesn’t like to talk about his work, he thinks it’s boring. But work always looks boring, no matter what you do. A skydiving instructor still has to jump out of the same airplane fifty times a month. The point is, he thinks of his work in the wrong way. He sees it as walking the same streets, delivering similar packages to the same people, day-in and day-out. But, I don’t see it that way. I think he brings people joy, letters from loved ones, especially around the holiday seasons. Without him, people couldn’t send gifts to those they love, or find out if they’ve been accepted into college. I’m proud of the work he does, even if he isn’t, because he does it all for me, and that’s something to be proud of.’
The Scientist rubbed some moisture away from her left eye. ‘Did you just include a little brag about yourself at the end there?’
‘No.’ Mica declared defensively, ‘I just meant-’
‘-I know what you meant Mica. Thank you.’ She reached over and mussed his hair.
‘Just because your job sounds boring, doesn’t mean it is. I mean, look at this place. If you didn’t change light bulbs for a living, I’d never be able to see this.’ Mica leant on a nearby glow-tree that extended well above the jungle canopy. ‘Or those cute little things.’ He pointed to a group of Glowdents that seemed to be laughing in the distance.
The Scientist looked at her device, ‘Come on, we’re almost there. It’s just through here.’ She pushed some wiry branches aside, and Mica followed, as they both disappeared into the jungle. ‘You’re quite wise for a little boy.’
‘My Dad says I’m too wise for my own good.’
‘He sounds like a smart man…’
‘He wishes!’ The sounds of their combined laughter faded, as the forest continued to glow.
The bulb that carried the Scientist through space was much smaller than the bulbs that lit the night sky. Still, it was much larger than any bulb you’ve ever seen in your entire life, but small by comparison. It’s for this reason that the four shades managed to break it so easily.
They had landed in the clearing of the Filament Forests, in the same way that Mica and the Scientist had. Upon seeing her balloon they knew instantly what they had to do, each of them exchanging mischievous expressions between themselves, as they all covered ground to find the biggest rocks available. In appearance, they were ghostly shadows with ghoulish grins, but from a distance they looked like a gang of thugs attempting to vandalise property.
The smallest of the shades threw the first rock, it managed to strike the centre of the bulb, but it did not break. Not so much as a crack appeared on the glass surface, but it did wake the bulb up. Panicked flashes of white and red suddenly shone out from the inner-wiring, as the balloon let out a low electrical hum, similar to the sound it had made whilst being repaired in Mica’s back yard, only with a touch more fear.
‘You idiot.’ The largest of the shades hissed out in a whisper, ‘Put some force into it.’
One of the other shades launched their rock at the bulb, cracking the glass as the stone settled into the interior.
‘That’s more like it!’ The large shade smiled in the direction of the shade who had made the successful throw. ‘Yes! More! Smash it to pieces, a thousand million pieces!’
And so the three other shades repeatedly threw rocks at the bulb balloon, until shards of glass littered the basket and the ground below. The bulb continued to flash and scream, but its’ owner was nearly five miles West of the clearing, entirely out of eyesight and earshot.
Eventually, after a brutal, endless barrage of rock and stone, the large shade commanded the others to cease the destruction. ‘There,’ he hissed in his deepest whisper, ‘They’re not going anywhere now. We have them trapped.’
‘Look at this place boss, all of this light to snuff.’ The smallest shade said with a gleeful tone, for a ghoul.
‘Patience. First, we find the Starlighter. We need to silence her and the Earthchild.’
‘Can we at least snuff out some of these lights along the way?’ Asked a shade that had remained silent up until this point, his perfectly white grin was large and outstretched across his otherwise blank face.
The largest shade smiled in his direction, ‘Have your fill boys. Now, which way did they go?’
‘This way.’ The shade who had first cracked the balloon pointed in the same direction that Mica and The Scientist had travelled in.
‘Excellent.’ The foursome hovered across the clearing and disappeared into the glow-trees like spectres, extinguishing each and every light as they passed through.
Mica’s feet were starting to hurt, he was dreading the walk back to the balloon. He’d spent the last hour looking at the back of the Scientist’s head, as well as trying to avoid stepping on too many of the smaller glowing plants.
‘Are we nearly there?’ Mica asked.
‘Almost, just- through- here.’ The Scientist responded as she pushed some particularly large branches to the side, to reveal a glowing grove. ‘It’s here! A Lume Tree!’
Mica stepped out into the grove, the area was around the same size as the clearing they had landed in, only with much more active plant-life. Glowing blue vines extended along the ground like cables, as though they were snaking their way towards the tree in the centre of the grove. Each vine was thick, like a Boa Constrictor, and they weaved in and out of each other, before climbing up the trunk of the tree.
The “Lume Tree” itself was something else entirely. The accurate number of species of flora that Mica had seen so far that day numbered over two-thousand. This Lume Tree was the spectacle, the suspected centrepiece of the entire jungle. It stood tall, like an old oak tree. It had a thick, dark blue trunk that emitted a soft, pulsing glow. The branches extended up and out, forming the entire canopy for the grove they were now sheltered in. Each branch was a different shade of pink, purple, red or blue. Mica decided there and then that he had never seen anything so beautiful in his entire life. Subjectively, objectively or actually; he was correct, no matter how you looked at it.
The Scientist walked over the snaking blue vines, towards the Lume Tree. ‘Come on, we need to get inside.’
‘Inside the tree?!’ Mica asked with childish excitement.
‘Absolutely, the best filament for starlight is harvested from one of these beauties.’
‘You mean there’s more than one?’
‘Oh yeah, there’s thousands across the whole planet. My predecessors, the light-bulb changers who came before me, they planted them everywhere, to ensure there’d always be starlight.’
‘Shouldn’t they have planted some on other planets?’ Mica asked, a perfectly reasonable question.
The Scientist opened her mouth to answer, but couldn’t think of a logical response. She knew Mica was right, ‘Shall we go inside? It’s really cool.’
Mica smiled, ‘Sure.’
The duo made their way down the slight hill, towards the centre of the tree. The base of the trunk was around the size of a country cottage. As it reached up towards the sky, the trunk became thinner, but the base was large enough to house a family of four, if you chose to hollow it out in such a way. The Scientist entered first, shifting her body sideways to shimmy through the opening in the trunk. Mica pressed his hand against the Lume Tree, the bright surface shifted from blue to purple as he did so. He also felt a great sense of warmth and belonging, in the place inside that some refer to as the soul.
Mica disappeared into the tree, following his travelling companion. He left the exterior of the shimmering grove roughly ten seconds before over a thousand Glowdents came rushing from the jungle. They swarmed the way rats do when running through a sewer. As a collective, they were less cute and slightly ominous. They hurried over the thick, blue vines, and scurried in the direction of the Lume Tree. The tiny creatures had been running through the trees from miles away, trying to escape an oncoming shadow. Their homeworld was being slowly covered by a darkness, and they had rushed to the nearest major lightsource. They were, of course, entirely unaware of the fact that the darkness was heading in the very same direction, to snuff out the fire of a Starlighter, and the life of an Earthchild.
To be continued…