As he fell asleep, Genji talked to the huge tabby cat that sat beside his bed. It reminded him of Digal.
And, like the warm, comforting Digal, it talked to him.
Every night that bright globe in his dream sky smiled down.
‘What would it be like to live on that silver moon?’
‘You could float over its pale, cream craters and talk to the hare that lives there,’ the tabby mewed.
‘Why does the hare live in the moon?’
‘She watches over the creatures on her sister world.’
‘While they sleep?’
‘So do the cats there. They curl up on sleepers’ beds and talk to the hare as they dream.’
‘I’m dreaming. Can I talk to the hare in the moon?’
‘Just call to her with your thoughts. The cats will show you how.’
Genji pushed his dream into the indigo lagoon of the night.
The cats sang to him with gentle mewing as their velvet paws patted him into the sparkling night sky. From there he gazed down on the lantern of the moon and the silver hare, this beautiful blue world’s watchful guardian. Forever together, sharing their substance and very existence, the planet and moon were sisters, born of the same ancient cataclysm.
Genji liked it here, suspended between two worlds, yet belonging to neither. He was drifting free with satellites, their golden solar panels gleaming in the sun’s rays, peering into a space station busy with astronauts, and touching tiny meteors which sparked at his touch. Further and further out until he could see the moon and blue world in their cosmic dance, the planet’s bright corona gleaming like an illuminated balloon.
The hare in the moon was suddenly alert.
‘What's wrong?’ asked Genji. ‘The cats have stopped mewing.’
The hare’s reply filled his thoughts. ‘My sister is in pain. All life there is dying.’
Genji was horrified. ‘No, no, no...’ he cried. ‘How can it be dying?’
‘You must go little one. You do not belong here.’
‘This beautiful planet is my friend. I cannot leave. Why is everything on my friend dying?’
‘The corona of an exploding star is engulfing her. Nothing there can survive.’
The dreamer woke with a scream which alerted his guardian.
Genji leapt up to open the shutters and see the benign magenta sky he was so familiar with. Everything was quiet apart from the padding paws of Digal, his kindly guardian.
‘Pretty paws, what an awful sound! Did you have another dream?’
‘Everything on my beautiful dream world is dead, Digal! The hare in the moon and me watched every living thing die.’
‘Oh dear no! Not that beautiful blue planet? We knew that the cosmic wake of an exploding star was rushing towards it, but there was nothing to be done, no way its inhabitants could be saved. The Aaron atmosphere would have killed them.’
Genji was not consoled. ‘But it is not fair!’
‘Of course it isn’t, pretty paws. This is your first lesson in the way nothing remains the same.’