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Catch a Falling Star

Sandy and Derek Drake walked slowly along the shore. Each of them looked closely at the sand, watching for shells and driftwood that the tide had washed in. For months they had come to the beach nearly every day and sometimes in the evening, too. The young beachcombers brought their collections to the gift shop in the town, where tourists often came.

Sandy and Derek were saving their money. Just another month of beach- combing and the twins would have enough to buy a boat.

Suddenly there was a flash of light in the sky. "Hey!" Derek pointed. "There's a shooting star. Make a wish, quick!"

The meteor streaked across the sky and downward, out over the water. Then there was a blinding flash. It seemed to explode on a small island off the shore.

"I wish we had the boat now so we could row out there," Sandy sighed. "We could pick up the meteorite and sell it to a museum."

The twins got their boat just five weeks later. After trying it out for a day or two, they made plans to row out to the island to look for the meteorite. Their mother packed a picnic lunch for them on Friday night.

Early the next morning, Derek and Sandy set out for the island. It took them nearly half an hour to get there, "Hey!" Derek exclaimed as he hopped off the boat onto the island. "Did you ever see purple grass before?"

"It comes right down to the water," Sandy said. She bent down to feel it. "This isn't grass. It feels like -- velvet."

"Look at me!" Derek shouted, bouncing high up into the air. "This stuff sure is springy. I bet I could bounce up higher than the trees."

After playing on the velvet "grass" for a while, the twins decided to explore the island. Everything seemed strange and different. The rocks shimmered with a rainbow of colors. They came to a clearing filled with plants. These plants were not like any Sandy and Derek had ever seen before. Except for the trees at the edge of the field, most of the plants were only an inch or two high, with tiny leaves. It was strange -- they all seemed to be growing in neat rows, spaced close together. It was as though they had been purposely planted that way.

"I don't see any of the meteorite yet," Derek called" back to Sandy. She had knelt down at the edge of the field to look at the strange plants more closely.

Derek raced ahead through the field to the trees on the other side. "Hey, look what I found!" Derek shouted as he spotted a shiny object about the size and shape of a beach ball.

"Yow! Ouch!" he yelled suddenly in pain. Tiny flashes of light streaked out from the underbrush just ahead of him. They struck Derek in the arms and legs. He crashed down to the ground. He could not move at all.

Sandy dashed across the field. She stopped suddenly and stared ahead. Through the trees, not twenty feet ahead, she saw her brother lying on the ground. Walking around him were tiny creatures. She counted four. The largest was only about six inches tall. They looked almost like tiny people. And yet they were different. Their skin was a velvety purple and they had large, shining eyes. The largest creature was holding a weapon that looked like a gun. He was pointing it straight at Derek.

All at once, Sandy saw a snake gliding out from under a pile of dead leaves, heading toward her brother and the alien creatures. At first they did not notice the snake. Then, with a hiss, it darted its head forward and snapped its jaws closed around the creature holding the gun. The other three aliens whirled around and screamed. The larger one dropped his gun as he struggled in the snake's grasp. The snake began to slither slowly off into the brush.

Without stopping to think, Sandy snatched up a broken branch and whacked the snake. It let go of the alien creature. Sandy bent down and picked him up.

As she touched his velvety skin, there seemed to be a curious feeling inside her head, as though something was touching her mind. It quickly explored her mind and found that she meant no harm. Then pictures appeared in Sandy's mind. And she knew that these were creatures from another world. They had come here to start a new life.

She put the alien down gently, and he ran over to touch Derek. Derek sat up and rubbed his head. Now he too knew the aliens' story.

Late that afternoon, Derek and Sandy rowed back across the water toward home. They would keep the secret of the aliens. But they would come back to the island often.

"Did you have a good time?" their mother asked.

"It was out of this world!" Sandy smiled.




©1973, 2013 The Silversteins