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 SIX: INDIA, 1968

After Emily arrived back on the Moon, she stared gloomily down at the ground. She thought about the Rabbit's disappearance into the black hole, and she also considered that she had just barely escaped from the black hole herself. Reassuringly, when the Star finished walking down the hill and came up to Emily, he gave her a light pat on the shoulder, robustly laughed outloud, and declared, "Marvelous, Emily! Just marvelous! To brazenly admonish a black hole, while actually inside of its whirlpool! Simply remarkable!"

The Star proceeded to chuckle and laugh so merrily that he had to balance himself by keeping one hand on Emily's shoulder, to keep from falling over from amusement. Soon, Emily found herself smiling a bit as well.

"Oh, that was rich!" the Star said. "One for the history books, my dear. You certainly have spirit, young lady. Colour me charmed."

"Thank you, Star," Emily said. "What about the Rabbit? Is he okay?"

"Oh, he'll be alright," comforted the Star. "Those black holes have an awful temper – as now you most certainly know. The worst they can do, however, is take you out of the dream. I just think of them as elevators with a nasty attitude. A black hole preys upon fear. So, we must be strong, Emily – as I know you will be.” The Star could see that Emily still looked a little glum and needed cheering up. "I have a nice surprise for you, Emily," said the Star. "This way, my dear." The Star pointed with his white cane toward a nearby crater, and he began to escort Emily over to it. Then, the Star paused for just a moment, and added, "By the way, Emily, I promise not to abandon you."

When Emily looked down into the ravine, her face brightened when she saw the rest of her pet animals, seated around the table. They were all sitting upright, with slightly human qualities, and they all wore fancy outfits. Each of them – the Bird, the Mouse, and Tilley Bean the Cat – had a friendly expression on its face.

The Mouse stood up first, wearing a white suit with a blue bow-tie. He motioned with his hand and said, "Please, Emily. Come join us."

Emily ran down into the crater and happily greeted the Mouse, the Bird, and the Cat, greeting each of them with an embrace.

"Thank you for being here with me, all of you," Emily told them.

"Of course, Emily," said the Bird, who was wearing a sky-blue suit, with his dark wings protruding out through the back. The Bird's eyes shone in appreciation, as he told Emily, "You've always been good to us. Now, it's our turn to support you."

The Star commented, "Your friends here have impressed me with their talents, Emily – each one of them." The Star strolled around the table, circling past the animals as he gave compliments to each of them: "The Mouse here is highly adaptable. He can outwit the most cunning opponents. Cheerful! -- even during times of peril. And, Tilley Bean the Cat is also gifted at cleverly finding means of escape when in great danger…"

" – and I always land on my feet!" added Tilley Bean, wearing a flowing yellow dress over her spotted tan fur.

"True," affirmed the Star. "And, naturally, the Bird here is accomplished in the art of long-distance travel, moving gracefully between worlds, visiting exotic realms with the utmost of ease."

" – which I've heard you've been getting pretty good at yourself, Emily," said the Bird encouragingly.

The Star told Emily about a golden jukebox, located next to the table where they were seated. The Star explained that the jukebox contains songs by the musicians Emily meets in each city. So, Emily looked at the song titles on the front of the jukebox. She selected a song with the word "regrette" in it, knowing it must be the song that the French singer performed in the café, about living without regret. Emily, her animal friends, and the Star listened to the song.

Then, the Star suggested a collaborative approach to overcoming the darkness of the black holes, from now on. The Star urged Emily to use her communicator so that he and her animal friends can help her outwit the black holes she encounters in the cities she visits.

The Star removed his white top hat and flung it toward the Earth, forming a new white staircase that stretched far away to the other side of the globe. The Star told Emily, "You'll be traveling quite far this time, Emily, to the continent of Asia. You'll meet a songwriter there who is near to the hearts of many."

Emily boarded the giant white escalator, which slowly carried her across to the other side of the Earth. Soon, the staircase began to descend toward South Asia, bringing her down into a quiet forest. After she stepped off the staircase, she turned around and saw the glowing white escalator disappear before her eyes. Admiring her surroundings in the forest, she saw dense clusters of towering trees all around her, like a dark green, rustic blanket that covered the majestic hills. Then, she heard the peaceful flow of a large stream, coming from somewhere nearby. She kept walking until she came to a cliff, overlooking a giant river. She noticed a man dressed in white, sitting reflectively at a table by the cliff, where he was peering down at the river below. He held a long, stringed musical instrument.

Emily approached the man and asked, “What kind of instrument are you playing?”

He said, "It's called a sitar. It dates back to the 18th Century, from the royal court of the Mughal Empire – which was based here, in Northern India."

Emily inquired, “How long did that empire last?”

"It ended 110 years ago, in 1858,” replied the man with the sitar.

Then, he made a comment about the beautiful Ganges River, flowing beneath the cliff. The man said that he and his band mates were having a peaceful, restful time, at this retreat in the city of Rishikesh. Now, Emily knew for sure that he was a musician. He picked up his sitar and gracefully played it, singing about the happiness that comes when you find love after a very long wait. After the musician finished playing, Emily asked him whether he and his band mates had written many songs during the retreat. He said that, thanks to all the relaxation, he and his band mates had been more creative than ever before. They had written enough songs for a double album, at the retreat. Emily felt glad for him.

“Creativity must be crucial for anyone who wants to write music,” Emily said.

“Oh, I definitely agree,” affirmed the musician. “For a musician, imagination is life.”

Instantly, Emily saw her crescent moon ring brightly flashing. Emily whispered, "That must be the second Key… Imagination."

Then, three other men, also dressed in white, emerged from the trees behind the musician, as sunlight shone brightly all around them. The three of them gestured for the musician to come join them. He grinned and told Emily that they are his band mates, and it's time for his birthday party. Emily thanked the musician for the visit. He gave Emily a light pat on the shoulder and wished her well. Then, he joined his three band mates and, right away, they all started laughing and walked away together.

Emily looked up toward the bright blue afternoon sky and spotted the Moon, glowing above her. Then, she heard a strange sound, coming from right beside her. She looked over at the ground nearby, and saw leaves rising up and circling in the air. An icy wind blew throughout the forest, causing leaves to snap off from their branches and fly up toward a darkness which loomed above the trees. Emily looked more closely at the darkness hovering over the trees, and realized she was staring at two dark swirling spirals. Quickly, Emily sprinted in the other direction, fleeing into the forest. She could hear the sound of a rustling wind, just behind her. As she ran through the trees, Emily could see a dark shadow falling over the trees all around her. The tree branches surrounding her were rapidly getting coated by a frozen layer of ice. The frosted trees right in front of Emily started to bend in her direction, leaning back toward the dark stars traveling behind her. Icy leaves blew off the branches and gusted in white fluttering clouds over Emily’s head. As she kept sprinting, Emily held up her communicator and cried out for help. The communicator projected a rectangular holographic screen in front of her, and the Bird appeared on the screen, saying, "Take flight, Emily! Just think of something wonderful!"

Emily knew she had to think of something wondrous, very quickly, if she wanted to escape from the black holes. With the forest getting colder by the second, Emily tried to think of something warm. While running through a clearing in the forest, she closed her eyes and remembered a recent time when sunlight broke through the clouds after a heavy downpour of rain over Newfoundland, one afternoon. With her eyes shut, she pictured the Moon within her soul – and there, on the lunar surface, she recalled this memory of sunrays pouring down from the sky through a light drizzle of rain that filled the air. The sunlight caused a giant multicoloured arc to come into view, stretching down from the clouds all the way to the ground. The arc shone in vibrant red on the outer edge, next to layers of orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and finally violet on the innermost edge. It was the biggest rainbow Emily had ever seen. As Emily rejoiced over her memory of the rainbow, she got encircled by glowing ribbons of white light, which entwined around her to form a shining cradle, lifting her up through the trees until the rising basket burst into a bright flash, disappearing from sight among the freshly ice-covered trees.

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