Tiny and Penny-dog waved to Mother-the-Moon as she floated high into the coal-black sky, sending streaks of silvery light across the night ceiling.
“Let’s go for a midnight stroll,” said Tiny, “we can visit Mother-the-Moon!”
Penny-dog gave a twirl; she was always ready for a walk.
But as Tiny and Penny-dog turned onto Orange Blossom Lane, they fell into a pocket of shadows, and Tiny felt a shiver shoot down her spine. The air felt heavy, the silence deafening, and a pair of glowing eyes pierced through the darkness. They were not alone.
Two eyes turned into six, then eight, then twelve. Something hissed; someone growled.
Penny-dog’s ears fell back, and her eyes grew large. She could bear it no longer. “Go away,” she yelped into the darkness. “Nobody wants you here!”
In that moment, the clouds parted, and Mother-the Moon’s face flooded the clearing with light.
Tiny stifled a scream—they were surrounded by weasels, rats, snakes, and fisher-cats. There were no cute and cuddly creatures here—only the ugly, the snaggletoothed, the slobbering, and the unloved.
Mother-the-Moon hovered overhead, and stroked Penny-dog’s face with a strand of moonlight. “My dear Penny-dog, be kind. You are loved. Find a place in your heart for those less fortunate.”
Penny-dog bowed her head in shame, and Mother-the-Moon’s voice softened. “All of these beings are my moon-children. You and Tiny too. You all have a place here.”
At once the creatures parted, and Tiny padded into the silent crowd, with Penny-dog following closely behind.
Tiny took a deep breath, and looked at each of the animals in the eye. She started to notice new things. Some creatures were trembling, others looked unhappy, and many looked like they needed a friend.
Tiny felt a wave of guilt wash over her. “I’m sorry,” she stuttered. “Welcome, friends.”
The animals grunted, shrugged, and one by one, melted into the shadows.
Tiny placed an arm around her best friend’s neck, and gave her a squeeze. “Let’s go, Penny-dog. I’ll tell you a story on the way back.”
As Mother-the-Moon turned to leave, she gave a last wave, and sent down a moonbeam to light the way home.