‘In a land far away, in a sea not so far, lived a little girl called Petra. She was the most beautiful little thing anyone had ever seen. She had long dark hair and her skin was the sort of brown that made you think of milk chocolate. Petra was a very nice girl and played and laughed with everyone.
She lived with her mother and father and little baby brother who turns 5 tomorrow! Petra was excited about this and really wanted to find her brother the very best gift she could.
She heard a sound from the window and immediately knew who it was. Mujo had come to play. Mujo was her friend from ‘over the fence.’ The creatures who lived there were different from her mum and dad, her little brother and everyone in the village.
They all had funny shapes and no two were alike. Some had big heads and small bodies; some big bodies and small heads. Others had large feet and long ears and some had big hands and sharp teeth. Mujo, her favourite friend, was taller than her with big hands and long legs and hairy all over. He had a big nose and an even bigger mouth when he smiled. She really liked Mujo’s smile and always looked forward to playing with him.
The night before, she and Mujo agreed that they would meet before the sun rose over the Shezka Mountains to look for her little brother’s present. So when the sound came from the window, she knew Mujo had come as promised. She quickly got out of bed and ran out to get her brother the best gift ever.
‘Good morning Mujo!’ Petra whispered loudly with the biggest smile on her face. She couldn’t wait to start looking.
Mujo smiled back and grunted. He couldn’t talk like she could but they understood each other perfectly. They held hands and walked down the footpath leading to the river. The entire time Petra was telling him about her dream and anything she could think of. She liked to talk and he always listened.
They walked for a short while and finally arrived by the river bank. There it was, the present she wanted to get for her brother. Around this time the ‘supsu’ still shone in the water. They were tiny little creatures that looked like fairies. They twinkled in the water when the skies were dark. At least that’s what her mommy said but Petra knew better. They were obviously fallen stars and she was going to put them inside the jar she brought along from home.
She had already tried catching them before and every time she’d come home empty handed and soaked through. She found out later that the ‘supsu’ disappeared if you made too much noise in the water. Petra knew she couldn’t get them alone because she always fell over. So she had agreed to bring the jar and Mujo would silently get her the stars in the water.
It took a few tries but they had finally managed to get them. The ‘supsu’ shone brightly every time she shook the jar. They twinkled just like the stars above. She was sure her brother was going to love it. Mujo was soaked from trying to get the ‘supsu’ but he was happy that Petra was smiling so he didn’t mind it much.
‘Time to go home Mujo, I want to wrap it so he gets a surprise when he wakes up.’
Mujo grunted his agreement and he and Petra began to make their way back to the house. They weren’t far off when they heard a loud cry from far away. They turned round to see who it was but there was nothing on the ground. The cry came again and this time they looked up and saw where it came from. Creatures that looked like big birds were flying from over the Shezka Mountain. They flew very fast.
They were grey all over with large wings and scary, angry faces. Next thing she knew the earth shook and fire fell from the sky blinding her. Mujo held her.
‘Mission is complete mission command, over.’
‘Roger FF320-11. Return to base.’
The pilot disconnected from the com-link and exhaled
‘Whew. That was an easy one this time. Right kid?’
‘Sir….the radar. Those were civilians in the area!’
‘Sir….the little girl….she wasn’t…she couldn’t be a part..’
‘Kid, we had a mission. We did it. Mission complete. We go home.’
‘And they don’t?!’
‘Not this time’
The fighter jet flew off due west leaving the ruined village behind it.
*A round of applause erupted in the hall*
‘Thank you for coming today ladies and gentlemen. ‘The Dragons Are Coming’ will be available in bookstores all over the country next week. Make sure you get a copy. Once again, thank you all.’
The room emptied except for the author and his assistant. The man at the podium, Sherams Patek, closed the book and smiled at it sadly. Hello Petra.
It had been 17 years since he found Petra’s body after she had been killed by the air raid back home. It still hurt. He still wondered what she’d say by now, what she’d look like. She always had amazing stories to tell everyone. About things she’d seen and heard, about her friends from ‘over the fence’. They were all true, at least to her. She had a rare condition where she actually saw the creatures she spoke about. Her world was always so beautiful.
He really wished she were still here. The therapist had suggested he write a letter to her to help cope with the loss of his sister. Instead he decided to remember what she’d told him and people from the village and turned it into a book. Her world really was beautiful.
He remembered hearing something about the raid on the news years later but it didn’t matter. It changed absolutely nothing. Petra was never coming back. The scars he carried reminded him of that.
‘Help me, please, Mr Ragha.’
He didn’t speak a lot and gave a slight grunt instead to acknowledge the request. That reminded him of Mujo.
He didn’t have the strength to walk today so he took off his prosthetic leg as Mr Ragha helped him into his wheelchair.