Alison was thrilled that the wedding had gone so well and she couldn’t help feeling relieved that all the drama that had surrounded it was now going to be over. So she was surprised when she got back to her room after the reception to find an outfit laid out for her and a note that said ‘come upstairs’.
She found Jonathan and Josefina-who-is-also-Luciana Vega at a table.
“What’s all this?” she asked them.
“We’re finally going to the moon! I’ve been waiting for this for three whole years!” Jonathan said.
“You’re going to the moon!?? Wow! How are you going to get there?” she asked.
“No…” Jonathan shook his head, “WE are going to the moon! It’s why I ‘married’ you! It’s our honeymoon.”
“Our honey….moon…oh my!” Alison wasn’t sure how she was feeling about this. She had never had any kind of desire to go to the moon but the thought of a new adventure seemed awfully exciting. But the moon! That was an awfully far away adventure. She had never been that far away from home before.
“When are we….leaving?” Alison asked.
“Jonathan’s passport just came in and yours is on the way so I’d say in about three weeks! And in the meantime, you can read all about traveling in space. I picked all these things up when I went to Paradisios.”
“Oh, yeah! I almost forgot you’ve been the only doll to travel through space so far!”
“Yes! It was wonderful and scary!” Luciana said, “But since I now have experience launching a space shuttle, I’ll be taking you both to the moon.”
“Just think!” Jonathan cried with the greatest anticipation, “We’ll get to see what’s on the other side of the moon!”
For the next three weeks, Alison went back and forth with great excitement and anticipation (What was on the other side of the moon?) and great fear (What if they died trying to get there?). Sometimes she felt like she only had three weeks left to live, because after that, her life would fall into the Black Chasm of the Unknown. Every time her mind wandered near that chasm of suspense, she’d have to take a deep breath and gulp, and refocus her mind on whatever she was doing at the time.
All too soon, the day arrived. She hugged and kissed her friends goodbye and followed Luciana and Jonathan down, down, down the stairs to the basement. It’s odd that we’re going below the ground for something that’s going to take us up passed the air, she thought.
Luciana opened a door that brought them to the bottom of the basement where the spaceship stood. It was a huge white capsule shuttle.
“Here’s where we’re going to be living for about three days,” Luciana swung the door opened and leapt inside the ship.
“Wow!! Three whole days! This is so awesome!” Jonathan went in right after her and gazed around the bright interior. “This is great! This is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of!”
Alison went much more hesitantly. Her feet felt so very secure on the floor right now. Like roots or rocks that did not want to move.
Her heart pounded and she had to keep telling herself to breathe as she reached for Jonathan’s helping hand to lift her in.
Then before she had any time to process any more of her emotions, she was inside and Luciana was buckling them in, shutting the door, pressing all sorts of buttons and levers, checking each of their oxygen and gear, and doing a countdown.
Maybe something wouldn’t work. Maybe nothing was going to happen and Luciana would say, “Sorry! That’s all folks!” and they’d get off and Alison could keep her life…..
But no, she could feel the engine revving up. It was so powerful she could feel it inside her very bones.
5…..4…..3…..2….1….she felt herself lurch forward and then BOOOOOMMMFFFSSSSHHHHHH!!!
She had been on a roller coaster that took you from 0 – 50 miles an hour, but this was three times that feeling. Her whole body was plastered to the wall. She was a helpless ragdoll inside this thing.
And she could feel herself….leaving. Her home was already long gone even before her mind had fully realized she’d left. And she still didn’t have time to contemplate that either because the shuttle was shaking and shuttering trying to escape from the earth’s atmosphere. She knew now they were coming to the real moment of ‘will this work or will we die’.
The pressure of the g forces were so intense she thought her head might explode and the skeleton of her body would crumple into a pile because too many bricks of g forces were heaped on herself.
Suddenly there was a ‘BAM, BAM!!’ as the fuel tank cut away, the engines turned off too and it was suddenly totally silent. After the forces and feelings and frightful noise, this silence was itself deafening.
“WHOOHOO!” Luciana cried.
Alison gaped at her. How could she be ‘woohoo’ing’ when it hadn’t worked. They had totally stopped. They weren’t going anywhere. Nothing was moving, the engines were dead. But….she wasn’t dead. How could she not be dead? That means….it must have worked!
“Are we….in….space?” she managed to ask.
“Yes indeed! Welcome to the world of no gravity!”
“Are you…able to breathe?” Jonathan gasped.
“Oh!” Luciana pushed a button and a fan turned on, “that’s going to move the air around so we can breathe. Otherwise we’re breathing in our own carbon dioxide.”
Alison found that it wasn’t just breathing that was complicated. Everything was complicated. She had to spit in a bag after she brushed her teeth or her saliva would go all over in the air, she couldn’t just plop food on a plate like she always did because the food wouldn’t stay there, so she had to eat and drink out of a bag. She had to strap herself in to go to the bathroom, to work out, to sleep. It was the most bizarre thing in the world.
After three days of this, they landed. It was nothing like the take off, in fact, Alison might have even missed the landing if Luciana hadn’t confirmed it with them. Luciana opened the capsule door and looked out into the gray landscape that was so bright gray, parts of it seemed white.
They had landed right in front of Moon Mountain.
“Whoa. We’re going to climb this?” Alison asked.
“Yes, if you want to see what’s on the other side!” Jonathan said.
“Hey, do you see that red…thing….there?” Luciana pointed a third up the mountain.
The dolls started climbing toward it. The ground was odd. It was powdery soft and very bouncy with no gravity. It was difficult to get a foothold to climb the mountain. The dolls used their watches that released a cord which secured them to the mountain so they wouldn’t just float away.
“What IS that red thing?” Alison still couldn’t tell what it was even though they now much closer to it. It was almost translucent. A little red jellyfish type thing that was resting on the side of the mountain.
Alison reached inside and took it. It was a necklace. But it wasn’t just any necklace.
Alison slipped the necklace into her pocket and continued climbing. Up and up they went until the reached the other side. And everything went dark.
“Whoa! What just happened?” Jonathan asked.
“We’re on the other side of the moon mountain and it’s dark because the sun doesn’t shine on this side,” Luciana explained.
“Great…well how are we supposed to see anything then?” Jonathan grumbled.
“Why don’t you take out your moonstone, Alison.”
As soon as Alison took the necklace out of her pocket, a glow surrounded them.
“Whoa! What is this?”
“Light is a form of energy, and this stone happens to contain some of the moon’s light. So now we can see more.”
And indeed, they could see more. The horizon was dizzying. It almost seemed like an illusion: strange things that looked like boiling trees bubbled and frothed and turned in on themselves over and over again.
The more they watched, the faster it seemed to go until it got so disorienting, Alison asked to leave.
“We have to get back to the spaceship anyway because our oxygen is going to run out.”
“We’ll collect the moonstone and study it at home.”
“Wow! What an incredible experience this was!” Alison said.
“Yeah! I wonder what those boiling trees are!” Jonathan said.
“It’ll have to stay a moonful mystery for now. We have to go back into the spaceship and celebrate by eating honey!”
“Honey!?” Alison said.
“Of course! For your honeymoon!”
Behind the Scenes:
Thank you for using your imaginations a bunch reading this! When my landlords bought that washer my very first thought was, “Awesome! Now my dolls can go to the moon!”
I am too poor to buy Luciana’s space suit so your imaginational powers for them to be able to breathe without it is muchly needed! The real moon mountain was this tall pile of mud and cement at a construction site near my house. I ended up climbing it so many times that a couple across the street shouted at me, “What are you DOING!?!” and thought it was a total hoot when I told them.
I”ve felt that Black Chasm of Unknown that Alison felt when I traveled to Europe for the first time when I was in high school and I went without my parents. Because I didn’t know what to expect I was so terrified until it actually happened and then I had the best time!
Thanks to Mike Massimito who wrote a fascinating book about being launched into space that helped me write this post.