Nine was puzzled, but pleasantly puzzled. He had a distinct feeling of Joy and harmony at the same time, but he was billowed.
How could this feeling be, he pondered, as he gazed across the now, brilliant sky, glowing and new. Brilliant blue. A few minutes before he’d felt lost and hopeless.
He drifted silently watching, as Dawn escorted Day into position with her floating array of mystery. He was constantly in awe of her beauty. He saw Day, as usual, acknowledging Night, as he slipped away, his stars and starlets still twinkling, in tow. North was still as bright and powerful as ever, but now fading with the brightness of Day. All looked well.
And Moon, well he guessed he was still sleeping his woes away behind some wayward cloud, unseen. That was a good thing, he thought, perhaps Moon would be edging his way back slowly on the morrow and less sorrowful, as Moon’s are apt to do.
Such a commotion had never been witnessed before last night, he pondered. At least not in his cloud-line. There was such a deep and powerful feeling of despondency throughout the entire celestial body. So deeply felt and so strong that it must have shaken the universe, he concluded. Like ocean waves rising high and plummeting below into the depths of sorrow.
Something possessed him to take a good long look below. Something he’d been reluctant to do for years, he sighed. Unexpectedly, a deep, long awaited and joyful smile embraced him. It was no longer about what he saw but what he could see. A new Dawn. A new Day.
He looked inward, his dappled grey had transformed into an iridescent white. He was himself once again and he knew why.
In the blink of an eye and as an answer to their cries,
“Watcha talkin bout man! Watcha mean, ain’t never gonna be no moon again. That’s just dust! Shake it off brother!” taunted Sam.
“I’m tellin yah Bro! Listen up why doncha! Ain’t no dust on my billow. Check yourself out!” Grumbled Aadan.
“You bin listinin to them Starlettes agin? Man you got it bad!” jabbed Sam.
Aadan slowly drifted towards Sam, and looked straight into the centre of his cloud vapor.
“Mr. Sampson!” added Aadan, “ When my Dude Nine gets worried, I GET WORRIED! He ain’t no fluff! I got it right from the clouds mouth, Ok?”
“Hey you guys! Billow up! Here comes Nine!” whispered Aari anxiously.
“How is it that every time I see you puffs, you’re in a stratus?” He growled.
“Spread out! It’s already dark enough. We need to help North and the Stars shine through! Now, MOVE OUT!” Thundered Nine.
“Puffs!” he sighed, under his breath.
“Ok, where was I?” he pondered as he drifted slowly. “Ah yes, I am in a mess, I have to talk to Dawn, AND to top it off I am talking to myself.” He sighed.
Just then a long shadow slipped into view. He shivered and shifted, so did the shadow. He swayed and it followed. It enveloped him in a soothing kind of way.
“Can I help you?” he offered kindly.
“Are you lost?” he questioned softly.
Still no answer, yet an ever questioning silence brought a sense of sadness to the celestial night air.
“Do I know you?” he once again offered. He began to feel a terrible melancholy.
“Can I help you?” he pleaded.
No amount of kindness or platitude could get a response. As quickly as it came it slipped away, leaving him desperately hoping it would return. He felt a kind of loss and sadness tinged with a sense of hope. As he looked towards the horizon, he saw Dawn and felt peace. A lovely, bright sense of peace.
As the Starlettes streaked over to Nine, they could see Night encroaching slowly, but surely.
“Saige. That’s North with Night, right?” questioned Sally
“Yes, is sure is.” Confirmed Saige.
“I wonder where Moon is? Is looks pretty strange not seeing Moon with Night, doesn’t it.” concluded Sally
“Yes, it sure does.” confirmed Saige.
“Saige? Are you ok?” asked Sally with a concerned look.
“Yes, I sure am.” confirmed Saige.
“Saige! Wake up! What’s wrong with you? “
“Nothing and everything Sally. Nothing and everything.” Pondered Saige. “C’mon let’s get over to Nine.”
“Wait up! You guys!” puffed Sara, as she came streaking.
“Where were you?” questioned Sally
“Oh, I was just….”
“Nosing around, right?” Interrupted Saige
“Well, I wanted to….”
“Wanted to spy on Moon.” concluded Saige
“As a matter of fact, yes I was watching him. He’s almost fully eclipsed. No matter how often I see it, it, scares me Saige. I know it’s natural, but I still get a chill.” Whined Sara.
“Look Sara, Moon needs some time to rest and think.”
“Yah, I guess.” Agreed Sara, reluctantly “But!”
“No buts!” demanded Saige wisely.
“Shouldn’t you young’uns be taking your positions!” bellowed Nine, suddenly.
“OH! Yes sir! Yes! Sir.” They jumped to attention.
“Why, pray tell, are you scattered around like a bunch of dust particles!” DO TELL!” He thundered loudly.
“Uh, um, Saige? Why are we?” nudged Sara
“Well, SIR.” Said Saige politely
“We were just, sort of, um, thinking we might help you somehow, someway.” stuttered Saige.
“Oh, I see.” Said Nine. “It’s that obvious is it?” he grumbled.
“Well no! I mean Yes. I mean, well you’re looking just a little, um, unusual.” Reached Saige.
“Unusual, hmm. I like that. Unusual.” Softened Nine. “At least someone’s noticed.”
“Noticed?” shouted Sally “We’ve all noticed! Of course, we’ve noticed! Haven’t we all noticed guys?” said Sally looking for help.
“Oh yes! Yes!” said the chorus
“That’s fine girls, just fine and that puts a bright spot on my billow.” Smiled Nine warmly.
“I see Moon’s waning.’’ He added cautiously
“Yes, it’s so sad” cried Sara.
“I also see North’s taking a primary position in the heavens tonight.”
he continued, as they looked at him hopelessly.
“Well,” offered Nine “I still have my silver lining.”
“You do?” cried the Starlettes, hopefully.
“Yes, I do.” Confirmed Nine, confidently. “BUT!”
“But?” Saige asked carefully.
“But I’m afraid my Silver Lining may not still have the same effect it used to have on “Those Below”, he indicated, sadly. “Someone, somewhere, somehow is going to have to remind “Them”. Then perhaps things can change.” He added optimistically.
“You girls go spread what glow you have left, as hard as you can and I’ll try to stay out of your way. Be brighter than you ever been before tonight. Promise me.” directed Nine.
“We promise!” said the Starlettes, as they crossed their points.
“Now off you go quickly. I have some puffing up on my mind and some spring cleaning to do before Dawn arrives, then we’ll have a word or two.” Said Nine as he floated away a little more lightly.
“C’mon let’s go talk to Nine before Night comes. See what’s up with him.” Said Sally
“Think that would be wise?” asked Saige
“Wise Schmise!” spouted Sara. “ What do YOU think’s the matter with him? It’s pretty obvious, to me. Who’s been there for all of us since time immortal? People have been floating on his billows for years! They mention him all the time. Saying things like,
“I feel like I’m on cloud nine right now.” “I can’t do nothing except try to find cloud nine.”
“If you are on Cloud Nine, you are extremely happy because something very good has happened to you. I never expected to win, so I’m on Cloud Nine.” Quoted Sara.
“He used to love carrying the bliss.” Added Saige.
“It’s a wonder Nine’s still floating after all these years.” Sighed Sara
“Actually, I heard something I didn’t like, just yesterday. I wonder if Nine heard it too. They said, “I’m on cloud nine. I wouldn’t even say cloud nine, more like cloud ten… cloud nine is old news”
“OUCH!” cringed Saige.
“Yah OUCH!” cried Sally
“And,” added Sara. “Have you noticed his colour and wondered about that?” she questioned.
“I have.” Said Saige. “I’ve seen what they do down there,” as she pointed below. So much junk in the air it’s a wonder Cloud can handle it.”
“Yah.” Sighed Saige. “It’s a wonder how any of us can.”
The Starlettes, gathered noiselessly into their meeting which happened to be cloistered snuggly, behind Cloud Nine. Cloud Nine rarely, if ever was in attendance. This was important.
“Cloud nine never gets involved in things”, said Saige, as she leaned into Susan. “He’s looking a little drab and grey around the edges”
“I know!” offered Susan “Nine’s usually billowy and upbeat. He’s looking a little sad.”
“You got that right!” said Sara “He even looks a little mad. Looks like he’s been floating around in, um, garbage? He even smells bad.”
“Attention Please!” demanded the North Star. “WE, have a serious situation here. Miss Star has something very important to tell you, so please kindly give her your utmost attention. Miss Star will you please address this constellation.”
Star slowly and reluctantly moved to the platform, not looking her usual twinkley self, dull in fact.
“She looks like she’s gonna fall!” said Susan sadly
“Miss Star! Please proceed.” North prompted as gently as he could.
“Well” she said, as she lowered her points. “Moon is refusing to shine for Night tonight. He’s saying no one cares anymore. Night tried to convince him but Moon has lost his beams. He’s so dim, he’s almost fully waned. Unless someone can convince him it’s worthwhile, darkness will consume his light. Night blossoms won’t bloom, lovers won’t have moonlight, the waters will still and Earth will be very ill.” She sobbed.
A murmured silence filled the group. Questions flew round. What can we do? Who did this? How could this happen!
North Star, hushed the group. “For this Night I will shine the way. Let Moon eclipse for a day. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll find a way. Everyone go get into their heavenly places and pray.”