Up There so High

What do you get when you have a space fanatic, a runaway princess and a bunch of miscreants? Well, you get the three E's; Explosions, Expletives and Enemies.
You may not laugh along with this story but you may sing (because the main space man is very much fond of that).


27. The Visitor


~The Visitor~



It was only when Skylar was sweaty and throbbing off the instrument that she thought of what they could want to know. She wasn’t sure if it was exact. But it was certainly something she pushed into one of the smallest boxes at the back of her mind.

One day a man came in a spaceship and crashed into their back garden. The Visitor did not give a name but he told her of a new world, a world in a different galaxy to theirs that he was going to next. She called him The Man and he had laughed at the nickname.

The strangeness of the time they spent together was enough to warrant the curiosity from The Miracle, whatever the Miracle actually was.

Skylar must have only been about four at the time, barely a child, barely old enough for memories to stick so firmly in her brain. But this one did so fondly and accurately she thought that maybe she was a bit older than she actually was at the time.

One night there was an almighty bang, something that sounded like the sky had split in two. Maybe it had. For when her and her parents made their way to investigate the noise, a blue spaceship was in their back garden, with wrecked tail fins. Half of it lay like crumpled paper and hesitantly a man emerged from the wreckage. Skylar was small at the time and hiding behind her father’s legs, this had been before the time her mother had been chosen, but besides her small size she could still see the man.

The man was somewhat too tall for his build; were he a few inches shorter he would have been all the more handsome for it. It was as if he stopped growing only to be stretched further by a machine a half-foot more. His face was mostly obscured by a red scraggly beard that clung to his skin like winter ravaged ivy tendrils. And his hair matched the colour. All in all he looked like an unshorn sheep. Skylar had never seen a red sheep though so she had nothing to compare the man to exactly. His eyes had too much white in them and they were two different colours, one eye was green, the other blue. His neck was too short, his skin a shade too dark, freckles marred the skin or maybe they were moles. He was like nothing Skylar had seen before. No Zeldian had freckles or moles that large, mostly they were tiny, tiny, dots like full stops in a sentence.

“It appears I’ve ran into a spot of trouble,” the man chuckled to himself as he made his way towards them, “Do you mind if you help me?”

The Man lived in the attic under the conditions that he would fix his ship and then be on his way. He was polite and kind, and loved to play with Skylar when her parents left her alone much too often.

He told her stories, stories which she thought were made up at first, but ones she come to learn were real. He told her his first secret the first month he stayed with them, “The ship is fixed enough to make one stop there and back. Want to come on an adventure with me?”

He Okayed it with her parents and he charted their journey in ways she didn’t thought possible. But she only had a four year olds brain back then so everything didn’t seem possible. He took her to a beach, to which beach she did not know. It was shrouded in the shadow of a cave and the waves did not stretch on forever, not in the way that he told her.

He told her how he once went to a planet and watched as it began, only to leave and vow to himself that he would not interfere with it. He told her how his species were a delicate one, there wasn’t many of them anymore. He was sad about that. But he lost his sadness in the sand and water.

Skylar had held tight to his hand, her knuckles white. Dressed in a squall parka made from her mother’s hands she leant into the gale to feel the white salt spray that came crashing right over the sea wall. Through squinting eyes she drank in the sight of the waves, the foam reflecting the garish lights of the crystals on the roof of the cave. The roaring and pounding obliterated all other sounds and her mind had been awash with exhilaration. A layer of salt soon burrowed itself under her fingernails and into her skin. She whooped and hollered to the tempestuous sea as if it's raw power was seeping into her every pore. Maybe it had been. Then came the big one she'd been hoping for, she braced herself for impact. But then the water shrank back down the beach. Her muscles had frozen in place, there was no running away. In that frozen moment she faced the black wall of water, and she let it come over her. It soaked her, her parka melting against her skin. Everything felt cold and yet refreshing. The Man came towards her, panic written in his cheeks, and he asked if she was okay.

“Brilliant,” she managed to say and a smile came over her.

It was her happiest memory. The one she remembered in the most clarity. It almost seemed wrong that the sea salt smell invaded this place instead of the beach. It made her memories feel corrupted and awful. It shouldn’t have been that way, not at all.

That night, the night on the beach, the man told her his apprehension at going back to his planet the one his brother himself named. The Man laughed at his brother’s reasoning, “He named it after an element, one of the four, his favourite he said. Earth.” He laughed into the night as he brought her back home.

She didn’t want The Man to leave but he had to. He said that he was putting off going home, and he had to go home eventually. On his last night on Zeld he told her all about how his family found their home and how they were forced to scatter once more. How they died in battle and how he searched the universe for an escape.

“The only escape is home,” he had said and then kissed both of her cheeks in goodbye. “You will make a fine lady one day, Miss Skylar,” he whispered into her ear, “Remember our promise.”

The promise not to tell a soul of their stories.

Skylar watched as The Man thanked her parents, telling her mother that she was destined for great things, telling her father that he was a great strategist and protector. He then departed in his spaceship, the one that used to be wrecked and broken, and disappeared like a speck of dust.

In Skylar’s childish brain he was a star finally taking flight. In her elder brain she knew that it was speed and intelligence that made him disappear so fast.

He had stayed with them just over a year. A year of fun and memories for the now five year old Skylar.

The next month the whole world flocked to Zeldor for the Pantheon’s choosing. When King Elred got ten visions from the Pantheon itself and invited the ten people he saw onto his balcony, her mother had been one of them. Then the Pantheon had floated into her hands, a small miracle. And the crown was handed over onto her head, the King giving it over with a tired smile.

Skylar the five year old girl became a princess that day to the humbled new Queen who held the Pantheon for the first time that day.

Maybe The Man had something to do with it. Maybe he didn’t. But Skylar knew, more than she ever had done before, that the promise she made was sacred. No one would know about it and that meant that The Miracle was the worst person possible to know this information.

It was then that although she knew what The Miracle wanted, she was adamant that she would die before they got their dirty hands wrapped around it.



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