(Background:  a private individual has created a craft that will fly twelve passengers to the moon and back within 24 hours.  This story is about what happened to the one child aboard the craft when …well, you’ll read about it)



When I was about ten, it happened:  one of the private individuals who had decided to beat NASA into space actually created a type of extremely futuristic-looking craft that had the ability to travel to the moon. Of course my parents eagerly plunked down their money for all three of us to get there.  I was eleven when the ship actually took off….


Soon we were in the ionosphere, one step away from actual space.  There was a slight bump, and then it felt like we were floating freely, drifting towards anyplace we wanted to go.  I looked across my mother out of the window to the earth below.  It was becoming gradually smaller as I stared.  We seemed to circle it once, but maybe that was an illusion, because the planet never seemed to quite make one full gyration.  We also got a good view of the space station as we flew about a mile from it. I wondered what the astronauts inside thought of our venture. But mine was not to do or die, mine was to exalt in the history being made today.  What a tale I’d have to tell my classmates, I thought. 


The trip to the moon took eleven and a half hours.   We circled it twice, the second time very close to the surface, rising up over the mountains as if we were two magnets with opposite attraction.  Cameras snapped like crazy, including mine.  What pictures!  My classmates would be so jealous! 


Suddenly the captain came on the air with an urgent message:  “Everybody in your seats, now!  Oh, no! We’re going to—“ 


A large jolt knocked several people to the floor.  The ship felt as if it were straining hard to move, but we were stuck in one spot; temporarily, as it turned out.  The left engine began to hum loudly, as if it were trying hard to do something, and the craft started moving sideways away from the moon.  It picked up speed as it turned, but we were spinning, and not around the little satellite.  We spun faster and then almost catapulted into space.  We slowed quickly to a drift, turning yet very slowly, but definitely moving away from our home.  No one spoke.  They watched out of whatever window they were near, trying to grasp the reality of our situation.  What started out as a fun, exciting day had now turned into the reality of our starving to death thousands of miles from Earth.  Yes, there was food and drink aboard the craft, but how long could it last for fourteen people?  There were probably forty-eight meals and maybe twice that many drinks, and then what?