Ever since he was a kit, Little dreamed of space travel.
“Space isn’t for beavers”, Mama Beaver squeaked. She nestled all her pups together to hush the subject.
But when Little saw stars for the first time, he knew he was different.
As Little grew, he noticed that his brothers and sisters never looked up like he did. All they wanted to do was trail after Mama and Papa Beaver. They liked to play, too. When Little looked up at the sky, they hopped on him in playful ambush.
Papa Beaver was the top engineer in the whole entire pond. He dug out secret underwater tunnels for swimming in and out of their beaver lodge. Little’s family could escape if predators got too close. All the neighbors were jealous of Little’s home. They closed their eyes and imagined living in such a beautiful dam.
But when Little closed his eyes, he didn’t see their dam. He saw the stars.
There were many reasons why a beaver could thrive in space. The entire list of reasons was so long it would take hours to read.
First, beavers can hold their breath underwater for about 15 minutes at a time. Little still had small beaver lungs, but he practiced by holding his breath in the tunnels.
Second, beavers mate for life. Instead of finding another beaver, Little held his dream of space travel closest to his heart.
Third, beavers design their own habitats. Little knew he could learn to build his own space lodge.
“Our lodge is our territory,” Papa Beaver scolded. “It’s for feeding and snuggling. Not space travel.” He sighed as Little gathered twigs to add a rocket propeller to the backside of their dam.
Papa Beaver used to look up at the stars, too.
But beavers shouldn’t go to space. Instead, they should learn a practical job to help the pond ecosystem. One day, Little would see. Maybe when Little collected enough mud, stones and timber for his own dam, he would be happy.
So Papa Beaver did the right thing. He smashed his strong tail down onto Little’s rocket propeller.
Love, even with the best of intentions, can be crushing.
Little left their pond for the first time ever that day. He took one of the secret tunnels that led to a downhill river. The river flowed so strong. It twisted and turned and zigged and zagged and upped and downed. Finally, a new watering hole plopped up at the end of the river. Little rested there.
He thought about trying to find his family, but couldn’t bring himself to trudge back up the river. Little still loved them, but his heart was broken.
Without his family, Little had no home. He was exhausted from his long river journey. All he wanted was to be close to the stars.
He saw a huge rock up ahead of him. It was so vertical. There was a pointy tip on the top that almost touched the moon. By the time Little clambered up the rock, he noticed a problem.
Exactly at the apex of the rock, there was a hole. It was unnoticeable to the untrained eye. But Little was an engineer. He knew exactly what to do.
He scrambled down the rock as fast as he could. The scrambling really turned into sliding because the thing was so slippery. Then, Little gathered the best materials he could find: the stickiest mud from the bottom of the river and the sturdiest sticks. Even though his first rocket propeller was gone, it still taught him the important lesson of fixing a design.
When the hole was finally secured, Little snuggled up inside. He had his favorite twigs nestled all around him. The top of the rock had the best views of the stars that Little had ever seen. He snoozed safely in his warm new lodge.
That was until the rock moved.
Little awoke from his nap in a burst. He tipped his head over the side of the rock, and saw the ground growing farther and farther away. Little realized that he wasn’t on a rock at all, but a space shuttle!
Luckily, he had his sticky mud, so he rubbed his back against it in desperate fear. His fur stuck into the mud as he taped himself down on the repaired hole. He closed his eyes and tried not to panic.
When he finally cracked open an eye, Little saw the stars were all around him. They were bigger and more brilliant than he ever imagined. Little was in space.
Little had been practicing his whole life for this moment. Every one of Little’s pains and struggles brought him exactly where he was meant to be. Even when he was in the middle of feeling sad, he was right where he belonged on his journey.
While Little contemplated the meaning of beaver existence, his air time ticked away. He hadn’t really thought that one through. From practicing, he could hold his breath for about 13 minutes at a time. He wondered how long space travel lasted?
In the midst of this dilemma, Little realized a space predator was floating by. He squeaked in fear, which totally was the wrong reaction because the space alien heard him.
The alien was glowing white, and moving closer. Little tried to scamper away, which again was a bad plan because a) he was taped to the side of the spaceship in sticky mud and b) if he un-taped himself, he would drift away like a floating bug down the river.
So when the alien gingerly removed him from the side of the spaceship, there was nothing for Little to do but shake in absolute terror. He was running out of oxygen anyway, so Little knew it would be over soon. He curled up in the tightest ball he could and waited nervously. He heard a blurp beep whoosh that sounded like a portal opening, but he couldn’t be sure with his eyes closed and all.
All of a sudden, there was air! Little stuck his nose spout up and danced around happily. The predator had carried him inside the spaceship. The alien said some garbled words like “hole in the ship” and “this beaver saved us.” Little didn’t speak alien so he didn’t understand any of it.
And that’s the story of the space beaver.
Thank you to Elise Levy for bringing Little to life with your beautiful artwork! For art inquiries, contact Elise at firstname.lastname@example.org
What did you think of my first short story on the blog? Leave a reply to let me know! Even constructive criticism is welcome 🙂
Until next time- Saludos!