Hidden behind a blanket of stars lies the sister planet of Earth, a planet known only to Star Humans . . . . STARZONUS.

Chapter 1

LATE ONE FULL MOONLIT NIGHT, HIGH IN EARTH’Sstarry sky,eight light-blue, five-pointed stars, each barely twice the size of a ping-pong ball — known on Starzonus as the Teenies — slowly descended together, star-point to star-point, on a beam of radiant white light. The beam illuminated a wide front porch somewhere on Earth. Upon reaching the porch, the stars let go of the star-point hands of their friends and grabbed onto a link of the chain from which dangled a white porch swing. This wooden swing was attached underneath the overhang of the porch, which connected to a modest, white house with black shutters. Although very small, each Teenie has special talents and unique features.

A commanding voice came from the leader of the Teenies, the one with rosy cheeks, who announced, “This is the house.”

“Are you sure this time, Cruncher?” Mellow Maid asked, with a scowl on her face.

“I see the house number is 2314, but are we on the right street this time?” Weatherwise asked, closing the green umbrella he always carried.

Spy Eyes with his binocular vision spotted a post at a street corner and confirmed, “I see a street sign up ahead and it’s labeled 6th Street.”

“Do we have the right town?” Splasher asked quietly under his breath.

“Yes, this is 2314 — 6th Street, in Sun Meadow,” replied Cruncher, mildly embarrassed.

“How do we get inside?” asked Grandma Lily.

“As usual, we’ll just have to find an opening. Spy Eyes, do you see an opening anywhere?” Cruncher asked, as he floated backwards a little to get a frontal view of the house.

“As a matter of fact, I see a slightly open window right there,” Spy Eyes replied, having darted to one side of the house to get a different view, and now pointing one of his star-points to the opening.

“I’m glad you found a window this time. I hate going down chimneys and getting all sooty. I had a heck of a time cleaning all of you up last time,” Grandma Lily sighed, with relief in her voice.

The rest of the Teenies floated over to Spy Eyes and looked at the slightly open window themselves, then turned to look at their leader, Cruncher. Frowns of concern appeared on their star faces.

“Let’s go, and make sure you don’t bump into anything to wake up anybody,” Cruncher commanded, then led the Teenies to the window opening.

Of course, Cruncher went first. With a few grunts and groans, Cruncher tried repeatedly to get his round body through the narrow opening of the window.

“Cruncher, do you need some help?” Spy Eyes asked, nearly choking as he tried to hold back his giggles.

“He needs to lay off the Jungle Tree Bean candy,” Mellow Maid chuckled, trying to hold back her own giggles.

With a few more grunts and groans from Cruncher, the Teenies helped push him through the window opening. After getting Cruncher through, the other Teenies passed through easily one by one.

They entered a small bedroom, with a set of bunkbeds up against a light pink wall, and a single twin bed against the opposite wall, just below another window. The Teenies floated slowly and quietly, in a tight huddle, to the top bunkbed, and gazed upon a young girl with curly auburn hair and freckles on her small nose.

Floating together to the lower bunkbed, they saw another young girl with the same facial features, the same curly auburn hair and freckles. Seeing the puzzled expressions on his Teenies’ faces, Cruncher explained, “They are what Earth humans call identical twins.”

“We’ve never seen identical twins before,” Grandma Lily said excitedly.

Then, turning to the single bed, the Teenies floated, still huddled together, and found another little girl sound asleep. She had long, straight, brown hair and looked older than the twins.

Cruncher exclaimed, “Oh, my, all three are little girls!”

“How old do you think they are, Cruncher?” asked Splasher.

“I’d guess the twins look about three years old and the older one might be about five.”

“So, which little girl receives the pearl, Cruncher?” asked Dr. Royce.

“All three girls receive a pearl,” replied Cruncher calmly.

The Teenies were stunned. They had never brought more than one pearl to one child in one household before.

Turning to Paulie Socket, Cruncher asked, “Are you ready for the pearls, Paulie?”

“I’m ready,” replied Paulie Socket, as two of his star-points slowly turned into hands.

He reached down into a brown leather tool belt, which buckled around his waist, and pulled out a long, chrome, hollow tube which resembled a drinking straw.

“Ready when you are, Cruncher,” Paulie Socket reported, ready to start his task.

A star-shaped pocket appeared on Cruncher’s blue chest, just as two of his star-points turned into hands.

Out of Cruncher’s pocket floated three delicate, white, glistening pearls. Snatching the pearls in midair, Cruncher then handed one to Paulie Socket.

Curious, Spy Eyes floated toward Paulie Socket to examine the glistening pearl more closely.

“What an unusual-shaped pearl. And it has so many colors in it. Don’t you think so, Cruncher?” asked Spy Eyes, as he pushed his red-framed star-shaped glasses closer to his eyes.

“Yes, it is. As a matter of fact, all three pearls we place tonight have unusual shapes — and colors.”

Paulie Socket carefully placed the first pearl in the chrome tube and then slowly inserted the tube between the mattress and the pillow of the top bunkbed. Blowing into the tube with all his might, Paulie Socket blew the pearl to its desired spot close to the child’s head, where it would break open and its magical powers would be released and absorbed into the child.

Taking the second shimmering pearl from Cruncher’s star-hand, Paulie Socket repeated the same procedure at the bottom bunkbed.

“Two tasks are completed, Cruncher; that only leaves one more to do,” Grandma Lily said, as her red-and-white polka-dot apron appeared around her waist. She floated over to Spy Eyes and wiped off a spot of dirt from his glasses with her apron.

“I can’t believe we’re placing three Pearls of Life in one household tonight. Are you absolutely sure about this, Cruncher?” questioned Dr. Royce in his British accent.

“I don’t understand it myself, but my magic tablet wrote this address down to receive all three Pearls of Life on this night, and we do what it has written,” Cruncher replied, then pulled out his mystical red tablet to show Dr. Royce the writing in it.

Having taken the last shimmering pearl from Cruncher, Paulie Socket placed it, the largest of the pearls, inside the chrome tube. He took a very deep breath, and then blew with all his might into the tube. The Teenies heard the clattering of the pearl as it made its way down the tube to its resting place.

“All three pearls are in place, Cruncher,” Paulie Socket reported with a smile.

“Great job, Paulie! Now, let’s leave as quietly as we arrived,” Cruncher commanded.

“We’re coming back tomorrow night to pick up the pearl shells, aren’t we, Cruncher?” Splasher asked, as he buttoned up his tan trench coat.

“Yes, of course we will. I just hope the shells stick nicely to the back of the pillows, so we can retrieve them easily. You know how hard they are to find sometimes. Then I’ll take the shells to our Star Human Alchemist, standard procedure as always, Splasher.”

“What does the Star Human Alchemist do with the pearl shells, Cruncher?” Mellow Maid asked, as she tossed back a lock of her blonde, wavy hair.

“She does something with them in her very special oven,” Cruncher answered, as he tucked his magic red tablet back into his star pocket. The pocket then disappeared.

“And what an oven it is,” Paulie Socket said, as he floated with the other Teenies to the window opening.

Once again, with the help of the other Teenies, Cruncher squeezed through the small opening of the window.

Once outside, Cruncher commanded the Teenies, “Please take your single-file star-point positions.”

Paulie Socket’s and Cruncher’s hands turned back into star-points as they lined up with the rest of the Teenies.

“Spy Eyes, are you ready?” Cruncher asked, as he turned to make sure all the Teenies were accounted for.

The tiniest of the Teenies replied back, “Yes, sir, I’m ready.”

Touching star-point to star-point, the Teenies generated a beam of light beneath them that would carry them on their journey home.

Spy Eyes tapped the button on top of his glasses, causing them to magnify in power. His eyes, now big as saucers, looked from side to side and repeated the words twice for everyone to hear, “All is clear. All is clear.”

The eight Teenies continued to stream upward into the vast, starry night sky, and disappeared into billowy white clouds.


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