The moon is an island ...
The island of lovers, dreamers
Island, the island of poets ...
We meet up there, in the dream

- Carmen Gavrila

CHAPTER FOUR: THE STAR ON THE MOON

That night, when she got home, Emily went straight upstairs to her room. She turned on her record player, and put Liam's record, "The Magic of Dreams," on the turntable. Soon though, Emily discovered that she was too troubled to listen, even though she really wanted to. Before too long, she fell asleep. The music from the album was consoling, full of gently strummed guitar, occasional orchestral swells, and, sometimes, voices from a choir.

Just as Emily fell asleep, the record revolving on the turntable began to glow in a brilliant white light. Emily's bleary eyes opened. She looked over at her dresser, and saw the white glow coming from the record spinning on her turntable. When Emily got up from her bed, she noticed that her hands had become transparent – she could see right through them. She glanced down at her bed and discovered that she was actually looking down at herself, still asleep in her bed. She was dreaming, and she knew it. Somehow, everything seemed so real. She walked over to her dresser and looked at the album cover that was resting next to the turntable. She stared again at the title of the album: "The Magic of Dreams."

Then, through her bedroom window, Emily could see that the Moon was brighter than ever before. Emily put a dress on over her nightgown, slipped into some shoes, grabbed a flashlight from under her bed, hurried downstairs, and went outside, to get a clear view of the Moon. She wanted to savor the sight of the Moon's unusual brightness.

Once outside, she noticed that she no longer was transparent – she was unable to see through her hands any more. She walked along the sidewalk, holding the flashlight to illumine the way ahead of her, as she kept gazing up at the Moon. The tall trees that lined her street were blocking her view of the Moon as she strolled down the sidewalk. So, she decided to walk to the big local parking lot where the Junior Astronomer's Club had met, since there weren't any trees there, and she could have an unobstructed view of the Moon. Once she got to the deserted and empty carnival, she pointed her flashlight at the recreational games which were totally covered in shadows, with no one playing them. Then, she looked over at the empty parking lot, where she and Liam had their visit earlier that night, and where the Junior Astronomer's Club had gathered a few nights ago. After strolling over to the parking lot, she gazed up at the Moon, dazzling in its strong white light.

"I'd love to see the view of the Earth from up there tonight," Emily thought to herself, while staring up at the Moon. She put the flashlight down on the ground, shut her eyes tightly, and started to run – as fast as she could – across the empty parking lot. As she sprinted, she remembered the words of her Uncle Robert: "It's like finding a diamond there in the valley. You can hold up that jewel, admiring it from different angles. What could be more elevating than being awe-struck by a diamond you find in a valley of freezing mud?" Emily searched within her soul for an awe-inspiring memory from her past. She remembered when, as a small child, she accompanied her grandparents on a boat upon the sea, and she saw a group of dolphins swimming in the ocean, right beside their boat. As Emily dashed across the parking lot, with her eyes still closed, she pictured the giant white surface of the Moon within her soul. In her mind's eye, the Moon looked like a massive white canvass. Then, Emily projected a series of vibrant images upon this vision of the Moon within her soul. She saw a dolphin leaping high above the ocean's waves; then, two dolphins flying in unison above the waves; then, three dolphins sailing through the air over the rippling waters. In a thrilling montage, all these images of the dolphins got projected in quick succession upon this picture of the Moon which Emily had conjured within herself. Soon, Emily's inner slideshow displayed these images of the dolphins very rapidly upon her soul’s vision of the Moon. At once, a brilliant white light burst out from the center of the briskly cycling images. Just as Emily saw this shining brilliance, flaring from the Moon within her soul, a luminous brightness surrounded her as she raced across the parking lot. All of the brightness cascading around Emily engulfed her like a shimmering basket of light, lifting her up from the parking lot toward the nighttime sky.

Then, at once, Emily found herself standing still. When she opened her eyes and looked around, all she could see was a vast display of white hills and valleys. Then, she looked behind herself – and there, in its spacious blue-and-green vibrancy, like a giant watercolour painting suspended in space, was the Earth. Emily was on the Moon.

From somewhere nearby, Emily heard a voice calling out to her: "Emily! Up here! Come on, we have work to do!" It was a solitary figure, excitedly waving its arms, at the top of a tall white hill. Even though this person at the top of the hill was far away, Emily could tell that the individual was coloured entirely white and was shaped like a five-pointed star. Emily walked up the hill until she stood beside the Star. His facial expression was warm and cheerful. The Star's arms and legs were like slim white triangles. His legs culminated in white, rounded shoes, and each of his arms ended in a cushiony white glove. With his right-hand glove, he held onto a gleaming white cane. The fifth section of the Star rose straight up like a white triangular torso from the center of his body – and there was a jovial smile on his face, near the top of this vertical section. And, perched above his face, the Star wore a shiny, white top hat.

"A pleasure to meet you, my dear," the Star said to Emily.

"Thank you," Emily replied. She looked a little more closely at the Star’s face, and noticed that he had a white mustache, and he wore a slender pair of white-rimmed eye-glasses that made him look distinguished.

The Star said, "Delighted, Miss Emily. I've been expecting you." The Star removed his top hat and bent down slightly, making a courteous bow in front of Emily. Then, the Star straightened up, and put his hat back on. "Please, call me Star."

"Okay, I will," said Emily.

"Ha! Aren't dreams a kick in the pants?!" exclaimed the Star with a laugh. "Usually, I'm three hundred thousand times the mass of the Earth. And yet, here we are, visiting face-to-face, on the surface of the Moon, like a couple of old chums!"

"Pleased to meet you, Star," she replied.

"Wait 'til I tell you how I got here! Are you ready for a tall tale?"

"This tale is pretty tall already."

"It's about to get taller. I fell from the sky and toppled down to the Moon, because I felt so unhappy!"

"Well, you sure don't look unhappy."

"Yes, well, that's because I'm a star, my dear. Even when we're down, we're still rather up.”

The Star told Emily that he recently fell from the sky and toppled down to the Moon, because he felt so blue from looking down at the Earth for so long, seeing how poorly everybody treats each other. Emily was intrigued by the Star's claim that his compassion for people caused him so much grief that he fell down like ripe celestial fruit onto the lunar surface. She asked him how he thinks people could treat each other better. The Star told Emily with great eloquence about the plights of the world that concern him: refugees who took flight from their war-torn countries only to get turned away from foreign lands; under-funded schools where children use old tattered textbooks; and countless disheartening occasions when people don't treat their neighbors and friends and relatives with nearly enough fairness or kindness or understanding. Emily soon could tell that the Star was sincere.

Moved by the Star's genuine interest in humanity, she told him that she gets troubled too sometimes, not just by the news of the world but by the challenges in her own life as well. Emily opened up to the Star about her sorrows, how she felt forsaken by so many people. She was relieved to find that the Star never interrupted her, and he never lectured her. Instead, the Star simply listened, more patiently and attentively than anyone ever had before. Sometimes, the Star repeated certain phrases back to Emily in his own words, so that Emily would know that he was really listening.

When Emily was done talking, she felt a freedom she had never known. She told the Star how much better she felt, and how she understood things much more clearly now, simply because he listened to her with such warmth and understanding. She asked the Star if there might be something helpful she could do for him, in return.

"Well, there is one thing you could do for me," admitted the Star.

"What is it? Please tell me, Star. I would like to know."

"Well, as you know, Emily, I'm stuck here! Stranded. And, do you know what I miss most of all, from my home up there in the sky? It's the music."

"There's music up in the sky?"

"Absolutely. There's fantastic, heavenly music! We call it the Music of the Spheres. Ever since I fell to the Moon, I've forgotten what it sounds like! Emily, you can help me to remember. That is, if you're ready for an adventure."

"An adventure?"

"Indeed," confirmed the Star. "I know you enjoy music. Your quest would be to discover the Five Keys to Music, which you would locate, one by one, upon the Earth. You would find each key in a different city, during five different eras of music history."

The Star told Emily that, each time she found a Key to Music, he would slowly be able to remember the Music of the Spheres more and more, even while he is still stranded there on the Moon. The Star explained that the Five Keys to Music are not physical keys – they are concepts about how music works, the five essential things that go into any great music. Emily could find the keys just by talking with musicians, learning something important about music in every city she visits.

The Star gave Emily a white ring, with a white jewel on top in the shape of a crescent moon. The Star told Emily that, if she wore the crescent moon ring, then – from up there on the Moon -- he could listen to and watch her journey on a special holographic screen. He could light up her crescent moon ring each time she discovers a Key to Music during her conversations with musicians upon the Earth. Emily would need to return the crescent moon ring to him after she finds all five Keys, and then the quest would be completed – and the Star could return back to the sky.

The Star shared with Emily that a special guest had come to the Moon, to help her during her adventure. He escorted Emily to a crater, where, down at the bottom, a large Rabbit wearing a sophisticated green suit was busy cooking in a large outdoor kitchen. The Rabbit stood upright, just like a human being. As Emily drew closer to the Rabbit, she could see that he was stirring a large amount of rice in a big bowl. Then, the Rabbit put down his cooking utensils, and looked up at Emily.

As Emily kept looking at the Rabbit, she realized that he looked familiar. "Is it you?" Emily uttered. "Rabbit?"

"Yes. It's me, Emily," the Rabbit said, beginning to smile.

The Rabbit extended out his paw to Emily in a formal way, so he could shake her hand. In the Rabbit's other paw, he held up a white flower, offering it to her. Emily rushed over to the Rabbit and threw her arms around him joyfully. It was her own pet rabbit, but somehow he had become just as tall as Emily. In addition, the Rabbit had slightly human features now, and his paws looked a little like hands.

"It's so nice to see you here!" Emily exclaimed.

"I'm so glad to be here," the Rabbit said.

The Rabbit gave the white flower to Emily. Then, he served Emily and the Star some rice cakes that he had just finished baking. He poured a brightly coloured red drink into giant cups and said, "Please, join me in a drink. This is the elixir of life!"

"Elixir! Isn't that a mythical potion, Rabbit?" asked Emily.

"Yes, I jest," the Rabbit replied. "This is just ordinary guava juice."

The Star laughed aloud and said, "Since when is guava juice ordinary? Let's enjoy the Rabbit's provisions."

Emily, the Star, and the Rabbit sat down at the table and helped themselves to the rice cakes and the guava juice. The Rabbit informed Emily that the Star would soon give her a communicator, so she can stay in touch with them during her travels. She will be able to speak into the communicator whenever she might want to ask for help – and she will see a helpful holographic screen appear in the air, right above the communicator, whenever she uses it. Emily will see the Star and the Rabbit on the screen, and hear them too.

The Star told Emily that she will have some opponents to deal with, during her journeys. The Star explained that not every star in the universe is friendly. She will have some dark stars to contend with. They once were shining stars, up in the heavens, but they collapsed into a terrible darkness, by the weight of their own arrogance, greed, and ingratitude. Now, they no longer shine at all. Instead, they pull light into their darkness, and they even drag physical objects into their shadowy whirlpools. They are black holes. Emily asked the Star what would happen if one of the dark stars pulled her inside, and the Star said she would simply exit out from the dream. The Star went on to explain that a faint spiral rotates around a dark star. The spiral is a whirlpool called an ergosphere. Inside this whirlpool, the pull toward the center is strong. In fact, it is not possible to stand still, once you are inside a black hole’s swirling spiral. Most importantly, Emily must never cross beyond a black hole’s event horizon, which separates their swirling whirlpool from the darkness at their core. Once anything – or anyone – crosses that boundary into the central darkness, there is no escape. The Star also warned Emily that, if she entered a dark star's whirlpool, she could hear its voice. A black hole thrives on fear, weakening its victims through dread and despair. A black hole tells only lies, intending to destroy all hope. They have even been known to tell the Coldest Lie in the Universe – which the Star preferred not to utter on such a wondrous place as the Moon.

The Star told her, "You can be a great help to me, Emily, by finding all five of the Keys to Music. Then, I'll be able to go home, up to the sky, to join the rest of the stars again."

Emily smiled, stood up from her seat, and declared, “I’ll do it! I’ll go on this quest for you, Star! I’m thankful for you and I’d like to meet some great musicians.”

So, the Star introduced Emily to her means of travel – he took off his white top hat, looked over toward the Earth, and flung his hat in a powerful shining arc, sending the hat down to the Earth like a swift white rocket. The hat left a bright gleaming trail behind itself, connecting the Moon to the Earth in a giant curving bridge of white glowing light.

Emily walked closer to the luminous bridge and realized that it was a gigantic white escalator – a moving staircase, ready to carry her down to the Earth.

The Star boasted, “You’ll never find a longer staircase, Emily. This one stretches a quarter million miles down to the Earth below.”

“Where am I going first?” Emily asked.

“An enchanting city,” replied the Star.

“How can I return to the Moon?” she asked.

The Star grinned and answered, "The same way you got here."

As Emily walked toward the giant white staircase to start her adventure, the Star said, encouragingly, "We know you can do this, my dear. We believe in you."

Emily smiled in gratitude. Then, she turned toward the Earth and stepped onto the bright, shining staircase.

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