by Teresa DiNicola -
“Want to play space tag, Mumby?” Zora blurted out, wiggling her tentacles.
“Shhh. You’ll wake your baby brother,” Mumby whispered, rocking Nog in his hover-crib.
“It’s always ‘Nog this’ or ‘Nog that.’” Zora’s heart sank. “I wanted a brother, but now that he’s here, he takes up all your time.”
Nog woke up and started crying. Mumby frowned.
Zora bolted out the door and glided to the docking bay in the spaceship yard. “I’ll show them,” she said. “I’ll zoom away from planet Zot forever in my mini-rocket pod.” Silver tears slid down her cheeks like shooting stars. “Mumby probably won’t even notice I’m gone.”
Zora strapped herself into the rocket and put on her space helmet. She flipped the control switches and prepared for takeoff. “Three…two…one…lift off!” she shouted.
WHOOOSHHH! The rocket warped into space. Meteors whizzed past as Zora peered out the sneakapeek screen. She saw Zot and the only life she knew slowly fading away.
One of Zora’s bellies rumbled. Since I’m zooming away forever, I should have packed a snack, she thought. Bet Mumby’s making yummy barbecued spiders with the food replicator right now.
Straight ahead, Zora saw Zot’s first moon. She remembered the last time there was a full moon. She and Mumby glided up the docking bay rooftop and had a picnic under the light of this moon. Now, she felt very much alone.
Move it!” Zora hollered at the cluster of crimson-colored clouds floating across the violet stratosphere. Crimson like Mumby’s skin, she thought. Violet like Nog’s third eye.
Then Zora remembered. Baby zotlings need to have their tentacles stretched every night until they’re strong enough to glide on their own. Who would help Mumby stretch Nog?
Zora made a decision. VROOM. She turned the pod around to race back home. OOPS! She yanked the throttle too fast, and the docking coordinate panel blew a circuit. With a boom and a zoom, the rocket shook, rattled and rolled! Lights blinked! Computers beeped!