Moon Marooned

Lum woke up and saw his dog standing in the curved horizon. The four-legged pal, which Lum named Mlem, was barking incessantly. That was weird, thought the kid. Usually, the dog would be howling at the Sun, not barking.

Before you think Mlem is blind or crazy, let me tell you that where they lived the Sun was tiny and weak. A very ancient and old Sun illuminated like a strong bonfire. And Mlem was mad about the dwarf sun’s mystical eye-like shape.

The kid stood up, slightly numb from his long nap. He stretched with arms up high until the tension his muscles finally woke him up. A second later he ran towards Mlem.

“What’s up boy?” he laughed.

Immediately, the dog ran away from him. He wasn’t barking at the dwarf sun; he was warning him about something. Lum followed Mlem and soon he could see why the dog was worrying. The horizon turned yellow or green, he couldn’t tell. A mist of lemon colors was covering the land at a distance. They kept running. Lum was worried that something had happened to the Furnaces. He instantly remembered what Fox had told him.

“The Furnaces are the engine of our atmosphere. If the Furnaces go cold or stop in any way, you will lose your air, you will go breathless, and die.”

They ran and ran, going straight to the green cloud. They didn’t care if there was a path or not, they ran as fast as they could. Lum and Mlem had taken care of the flower fields, it was their main and only duty; but now they ran desperately through the field, ripping some of the flowers apart. They were terrified.

When they got there, Lum was disconcerted. It was not what he expected, that is for sure. He saw the Furnaces emitting the bubbles of air, working as intended. The furnaces looked like a mud oven, perfectly round like an iglu. As he relaxed about the safety of these machines, he found another reason to panic.

The green cloud came from behind a weird spaceship that had landed beside the Furnaces.

“A spaceship?” said Lum. It’s shape and materials gave the spacecraft away. “But what is that on top of it? Is that a hat? A Santa hat?” asked Lum.

“Bark.”

They walked now, amazed by the new arrival. After a few seconds a humanoid came out of the spaceship. As they saw the intelligent being, they noticed there were several of them. And they were settling their stuff around. Lum saw two of them contemplating the green mist in the atmosphere.

“I can’t believe this!” said Lum to his dog. “What are those creatures doing to our home!?”

If you would now stand beside Lum and the doggie, without knowing anything else, you would see people miles away moving around. But if you stood from their perspective and think that, then you would be wrong. This was an optical illusion; the mind boggled by abnormal sizes. As you may have figured out so far, the child and the dog lived in a small planetoid, which they called Moon. The people working around the spaceship were merely yards away. The small spacecraft was the size of the boy, and the tinier crewmen working around were about the size of a soda can.

Lum and Mlem were both concerned about the green gas over the planetoid. So, they approach the little men and their spaceship.

“Hey! What are you doing, Mister?” said Lum to the humanoid that came out of the ship.

“Bark bark!” Mlem said, supporting his best friend’s question. Then he proceeded to lick his upper lip.

“Woh-bo-bip, Woh!” said the tiny humanoid.

Lum kneeled beside the little astronaut. The other tiny men around them were paying attention now. The two that contemplated the green gas in the atmosphere were glaring at them in surprise.

“I like your spaceship.” said the boy.

“Woop.” Replied the mini mister, and Lum giggled. Then, in an impressive act of coordination, all the others came running and whooping with the same musical tone repeated over and over. “Woop. Woop. Woop. Woop.”

Lum was delighted with the funny tone of the astronauts. Very quickly, though, things took a turn. The misters and madams were putting their arms over the one they approached. They took him away, and some of them looked back and frowned at Lum.

“Bark!”

“No-no. Its good, boy. We don’t mean any harm.” Lum stood up. They stayed looking at the little people until all of them were inside the ship.

Nothing happened for a while, but the green mist was now approaching. It smelled terrible, like a rotten bologna with buttery spaghettis. Lum coughed and Mlem sneezed, both with a stingy pain, like something burning inside them. Before they could do anything, they…

Lum woke up and saw his dog standing in the curved horizon. The four-legged pal was howling at the dwarf sun, as usual. The acid green atmosphere didn’t scare nor hurt the boy, nor his best friend. Lum wasn’t scared because he remembered what happened after they blacked out. Mister Don, the name Lum gave to the director of the tiny astronauts, told him that unfortunately this planetoid would be Bologna-formed. Bologna-formation consisted of changing the atmosphere of the planet so that the Bolognians could live there. They couldn’t talk long with the leader of the tiny people, as the thought-translator’s battery ran out in a few hours. But it was enough to get to an understanding. The Bolognians would protect the kid and the dog. They would take them to their home planet, so they could live fully within a community. They also gave them face devices to breathe freely in the acid atmosphere. The tiny astronaut also managed to teach Lum some basic words and communication tricks. After the battery had run out, the boy and the dog went back to the dark side of the planetoid; they needed some time alone to rest and prepare.

Mlem was howling at the sun once again. Lum let him, they wouldn’t spend too much longer under a dwarf sun. He was excited for their new life. Lum had a lot to learn now. One of the first wonders he was extremely excited about was his mask. It was the coolest thing he had ever seen; he had chosen the design himself. A dragon mask! So, a dragon faced Lum spent his last moments in their home tending the flowers. It wouldn’t be for the last time though; he would take several flowers to Bologna. As he worked on the field, a tiny astronaut appeared on the horizon calling them. Mlem came beside him, and both of them ran towards their new adventure.

“No more Moon maroons, Mlem. What do you say about that, eh?”

“Bark!”

Lum laughed. “Yes!” he said as he reacted skipping with one leg. “I also think our new home is going to be very Woop-be-doop.”

Illustration by proserpines

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