This story is by Jennifer L. Willett and was part of our 2023 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The North Star
The evening sky would cover the planet in a cloak of ultimate darkness making movement impossible and dangerous, if not for Moon, her family. and their powers of light. Hanging proudly in the highest point of the dark raven-black sky, the giant Moon shines brightly on the planet along with all of the stars she’d watched grow into the twinkling stars they are! The stars, in sizes big and small, hang strong with Moon but unlike Moon who can be seen during the day can only been seen at night against the black sky. The stars twinkle against the black curtain-like background behind them. Some of the more famous stars are hanging in patterns for those below who look up to them for reference. It is a great responsibility being a star and twinkling in the skies for those below. One day, Belexu, a star of merely 70 odd years was watching his grandfather Vicolapre hanging in the sky like he always did when he noticed his grandfather’s bright lighting seemed to be fading in and out. He had never seen a star fade before and it frightened him, as he had lost his father the year before. His little heart began to beat faster and faster, and his own light started flashing, and he got an icky feeling in his gut that made him queasy. Worried about his grandpa, the tears started to roll down his face and so he raced through the sky zipping in and around all the other stars trying not to clip one as he headed to see the Great Moon, who knew everything. She would know what was going on, she had to know, she always did.
Moon accepted his request to see her, bewildered by the young star’s ramblings. Belexu spat his story out in a jumble of confused words and tears. He couldn’t hold back his emotions as his fear of losing his grandpa increased with every second. The mighty Moon calmed him down and asked him what made him so sad. Belexu told of seeing his grandfather’s light fade in and out and how it frightened him. Moon in her infinite wisdom realized it was time to tell Belexu the truth about the lifespan of the stars. “Come close and sit beside me Belexu and I will tell you the story of The North Star.” Belexu sat beside Moon anxiously waiting to hear about his grandfather’s condition.
Moon started her story, “The one called the North Star like all the other stars shone brightly in the dark sky alongside me and the other stars, but he shone brighter than the rest. And he would become the famous North Star and not only up here in the sky amongst his peers, but also down there on the planet, for he would become the star they would turn to so as not to get lost as he shone the brightest and twinkled the most of all the stars. Pirates and sailors in the waters way below would navigate their way using the North Star,” Belexu’s eyes widened with anticipation as he eagerly listened to every word the wise Moon said. “Now Belexu,” her voice changing into what Belexu thought to be a more serious voice said “you already know that stars can live a long time but even stars have to die, and the North Star died. He began to fade in and out after centuries of being the best but once the light goes out, a star is no more, and he loses his balance and cannot stay up in the sky and falls towards the planet in a ray of twinkles fading out one last time. As he knew he didn’t have much time left – he named another star, a younger star, but just as bright as himself as the new North Star. The young Star would hang in his position taking his place as the new North Star. There have been many North Stars over the centuries but only one at a time. The first North Star knew how many counted on his beaming light so far away high in the sky and so sent a message through an angel to a man on earth who would spread the story – that if you see a falling star – make a wish. This would be his legacy – leaving hope for mankind as he faded and finally lost his balance in the sky falling towards the earth.
The night he lost his balance in the sky, we all heard several voices making wishes as he left a trail of tiny twinkles behind him as he fell out of the sky. That is when we realized the true power of the North Star. And so, you see Belexu that is why we can hear people making wishes, it only happens when one of the stars loses their balance and falls. Sometimes these wishes come true and sometimes they don’t but what is so special about the North Star’s falling wishes, is that they carry possibilities and that little one, is why the North Star is so important, those way down there on that planet need him to find their way and they need him to believe in possibilities. Your grandfather Vicolapre is beginning to fade, but this is not a time to be sad, it is a time to be proud of him, for he has shone brightly as the most recent North Star for centuries now. And your grandpa will like those before him take the final fall tomorrow night and wishes will be made all over that planet down there because of him.”
Belexu looked up at Moon, his eyes filling with tears as he asked, “Who will replace him as the North Star?” Moon wiped away his tears before answering; “It would have been your father had he not been caught in the comet’s wrath last year, but we all discussed it and you are ready Belexu, you will take your place as the all-shining North Star as soon as your grandpa loses his balance. You will hang in his place, and you will shine just as brightly, and help men find their way and light up the sky for centuries to come until one day you too will fade and take the journey of falling.”
Belexu now understood …. he would go and tell his grandpa how proud of him he was, and he would spend one last night hanging with his grandfather before he, little Belexu, would take his place as the next North Star and when his time would come, he too would be the reason for possibilities for those down there.