By CL Bledsoe & E
Cleo was a little girl who lived with her father, the King of the Day, and her cat, Joan. Cleo didn’t have a mother, but she used to. Her mother had disappeared when Cleo was a little girl. Cleo was bored because all she did was go to school and come home and do chores. She had to go to bed early and wake up early. All she wanted to do was play, but she couldn’t.
One night, Cleo woke up because her room was full of light. It was coming from the window. She got out of bed and looked and saw that a moonbeam was shining right through her window. It was so bright, she touched it, and she could actually feel it. She poked it, and it felt solid. She was afraid to touch it again, but her cat, Joan, jumped right on it and started climbing up it, through the window, and up into the sky.
“Come back, Joan!” Cleo called, but her cat only looked back at her, as if to say, what are you waiting for? So Cleo, against her better judgement, climbed on the moonbeam and followed Joan up through the sky and all the way to the moon.
When they got to the moon, they found a giant castle.
“Let’s go back home,” Cleo said, but Joan hopped down to the moon’s surface and ran inside the castle. Cleo had no choice but to follow her, unless she wanted her cat to be stuck on the moon.
The castle was huge and seemed to be empty. It was decorated with all these warm and soft colors, fuzzy blankets on couches, and things that made Cleo feel safe. She called out for Joan, and went deeper and deeper into the castle, but couldn’t find her. Room after room, the castle looked cozy and warm but totally empty.
Finally, she heard a meow. She ran into the next room, and there was Joan. But she wasn’t alone. A strange woman was holding her. She was beautiful with dark hair and pale skin, and she was smiling.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Cleo said. “I didn’t know anyone was here.”
“It’s just me. I’m alone, here,” the woman said.
“Well, I’ll take my cat and go,” Cleo said. “I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
“No, wait,” the woman said. “Please don’t go. It’s lonely here. I haven’t seen anyone since I came here. I had a little girl. She would be about your age.”
“Why did you come here?” Cleo asked.
“I followed a moonbeam, but I couldn’t go back. I stayed too long, and the moonbeam went away in the daylight.”
“I don’t want that to happen to me,” Cleo said.
“You’ll be safe as long as you don’t stay until dawn,” the woman said.
“Okay,” Cleo said. “I guess I can stay a little while.”
“Do you want to play? I used to love playing with my daughter. You must play with your mother all the time,” the woman said.
“I don’t know my mother,” Cleo said. “She disappeared when I was a little girl.”
The woman looked at Cleo. “Tell me about your father,” she said.
“He’s the King of the Day,” she said. “He works all the time. I hardly ever see him.”
The woman started crying and threw her arms around Cleo. “I’m your mother!” she said.
Cleo was so happy. She stayed with the woman and played all night, but she was sure to leave back down the moonbeam before dawn came.
“Will you come back tomorrow night?” The woman asked. “And visit me again?”
“Sure,” Cleo said. And she climbed back down with Joan and curled up to sleep. In the morning, her father woke her.
“You sure look tired,” he said. “Didn’t you get enough sleep?”
“I have to tell you the best news! I found mother! She lives on the moon!” Cleo said. “I’m going back tomorrow night to visit her, and you can come with me!”
Her father looked very sad. “I wish I could come,” he said. “But I’m a grownup. If I go to the moon, I’ll get stuck there. But you can go and visit. And I’m glad your mother’s all right.”
So, the very next night, Cleo went to bed extra early, and she woke up when the moon was shining bright and crawled up a moonbeam to play.