How do you find a planet? I know it’s all relative, but I have to imagine it’s in relation to other planets and stars. Like reading a map. You just need a reference point.
But this all assumes I even know where things are! If you point out Orion’s Belt, I could maybe orient myself to have a 50/50 chance of flying in the right direction of Earth. Assuming I’m not off by a few degrees.
“UGH! This is impossible!” I scream out.
Luna floats into view, upside down from my perspective, as I sit on my little plot of nothing.
“You’re really boring, you know that?” is all she says. Some help she is. For a celestial god, she’s really worthless.
“I’d be less boring if I had a clue on where to go. This is like finding a needle in a haystack. Or a specific screw in a skyscraper.”
She reorients herself, floating down to right in front of my face.
“Yes, but you’re forgetting something. It’s possible to find that screw. How would you do it?”
What? How am I supposed to know that? I mean, maybe with completed plans of the building, I’d have a shot. A map?
“I could consult the plans? You happen to keep a map of reality on you?”
She shakes her head.
“No! Let’s try this again. How would you find a screw on a building you didn’t design?”
“Um, I’d ask whoever drew up the plans for help?”
She smiles, like a proud teacher.
“You’ve almost got it. Say again, but slower.”
“What?” This is a weird game, isn’t it? “I’d ask the-“
I snap my mouth shut, unsure what she was getting at. This doesn’t please her, as she sighs and shakes her head.
“Try to use more than two brain cells, mortal.”
What is she getting at?
“Bingo! Took you long enough.”
“I’d ask” I repeat, slightly more confident. Is it really so simple.
“I jove, I do believe he’s got it.”
“Luna, will you please take me to earth?”
She almost giggles as she responds.
She raises a hand and snaps her fingers. In the flash of a cosmic loading screen, we’re in orbit around a familiar blue marble.
The oceans gently move beneath me, as the cloud swirl over familiar continents. Somewhere on that planet is home. If I can’t find a way to get back in my body, I’ll have to remember this way back to this place.
“So… can I have the key now?”
“Don’t be so shy. You earned it. Here.” She holds out her hand and in it, I see a small key.
It’s shaped similarly to the one that brought me here, but instead of being gold, the key looked like a reflection of the room around us. The same darkness with twinkling diamonds. As the key moves, the stars within move unnaturally.
I reach out my own hand and take hold of the key.
“Having fun? I know it’s mesmerizing but snap out of it. You have a problem.”
What is she referring to? I look around trying to figure out what’s going on. It takes longer than I’d like to admit to realize what she was talking about.
“Oh. I’m nowhere near the door, am I? I don’t suppose you’d be willing to take me back there?”
She smiles and floats around me. I’m glad my daughters never had the ability to fly. Would have made managing them so much more difficult.
“Heehee, sure thing. In exchange for the keys of Death.”
She holds out her hand, like a child asking for money.
“Oh sure. Now you’ll take those.”
“If I took them before, you never would have learned anything. Besides, there are some things mortals are not meant to possess. I had to take them at some point.”
I look down and put my hand in my pocket but stop before pulling it out. Is this a fair trade? Why does she want these so badly? Could one of these keys help me?
“You could always stay here with no way to use those keys,” she threatens. “You should feel glad I’m giving you a pass on the door keys.”
Maybe it’s because I don’t like being told what to do. Maybe after all the games she played on me, I felt like it was my turn. All I know is I unlatched the key ring and let a few keys slide off into my pocket. I release it, the ring re-latching itself and pull it out of my pocket.
“Here. They’re no good to me anyway. My plan is to stay as far away from Death as possible.”
“You can only do that for so long. In the end, of course, you will meet him again.”
“For one who doesn’t like people to know what’s going to happen, his endings aren’t a surprise, are they?”
“Fate? Yes, he has his reasons for his secrecy. Still better company than Death.”
She holds out her hand. I drop the keys to her. No sooner do the keys hit her hand do we vanish, reappearing back by the door.
Looking at it now, it feels so much more ominous. Before I was just looking to escape. I didn’t have time to think about where it might lead me, but now I know this could take me anywhere.
“If you’re going to stand there all day, I’m going to ask for my key back.”
“I’m going. It’s just, well, where does this key take me?”
“Stop questioning it! Just go on and be surprised. That’s what an adventure is all about, right?”
I smile. This little girl, this all powerful god won’t let me back down. Powerful being and wise beyond anyone I’ve met.
“Thank you, Luna.
I turn and step toward the door and unlock it. The last thing I hear before stepping through the door is the giggle of a little girl.