Damien had become obsessed with the sky, but couldn’t figure out how to get there. When he asked his friends, Kilo and Bronte, for their thoughts during recess one day, they rattled on about some people out of town who had attempted flying once or twice, but no-one was remotely capable of reaching as high as Damien wanted to go. One evening, Damien was watching his younger sister, Olivia, use her toy blocks to create a small village. He noticed how she was able to stack the blocks on top of one another quite tall without them falling over. He sat on the carpet beside her, pretending to play but actually doing research. After half an hour of investigations, failures and lessons, Damien knew what he would have to do to reach the sky.
Three weeks earlier, Damien had been walking home from a particularly difficult day at school. Not only did his science teacher tell him that he wasn’t allowed to discuss the stars for his science project, but his fifth grade supervising teacher told him that they didn’t have any positions left for him to perform his dance in Greenvale School’s talent contest. This was one too many knock backs for Damien, so he decided to clear his head and spend some time lying on the soft, green grass in the park. He lay on his back, looking up at the drifting clouds, wondering why he wasn’t allowed to have the opportunities to share his knowledge and talents. While drifting in and out of brief sleeps, Damien realised that, if he wanted things to change, he would have to live somewhere where he could make the rules.
Sourcing the materials was not that difficult, plenty of people were willing to give up old bits of wood or pipe in exchange for Damien’s offer to remove it for them. Every afternoon after school, Damien would visit the people who responded to the ads he had placed in their letter box and built up his stock of supplies so fast that, after one week, Damien’s shed was full. He started storing his supplies around the shed itself and, by the end of the second week, he was ready to start building.
There was a lot of work involved in preparing the site and getting his tools and materials ready. Far more work than writing a science project or perfecting a dance. Damien liked to think that he was learning more than being at school as well. The amount of work didn’t really bother Damien that much, he wanted what he wanted and he was willing to put in the effort to get there. What bothered him was that no one was supportive of his endeavour. Having found a clearing on the outskirts of town, Damien started moving his building materials and began laying the foundations for his tower. Kids laughed at him and the shopkeepers stood in the doorways of their shops, whispering with the customers while pointing in his direction. Even his parents would come and visit and mockingly suggest to him that his dinner would still be warm by the time he decided to come home.
But, he didn’t come home. He continued working on his tower. Every day and most of the night. His parents started bringing his dinner to him, though it wasn’t long before Damien needed to invent a pulley system just to get his meal high enough. He would sometimes write letters to them and deliver them in the same basket the used for his dinner and they would reply. After three weeks and four days of relentless hammering, sawing, drilling and measuring, Damien touched his first cloud.
Life above the clouds was exactly as Damien dreamt it would be. The air was fresh and there was no one to tell him what to do. Of course, this meant that there was no one to watch him dance and no one there to discuss the stars, either. But, then it really wasn’t all that different to life on the ground. This time, however, he could start to build a world where at least he was in charge of himself, and this new journey started with a plan to build a stage in the sky.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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