Hello, my friends. I believe that nature and our galaxy have healing powers. By enjoying them they can give us the strength and courage to grow and overcome the things that are troubling us. Meet Callisto and she will show you how.”
I’m delighted to share this one for Fandango’s Flashback Friday
Callisto’s Celestial Plan
Dusk had fallen on the Marin household. The youngest member of the family was curled in the bay window of her bedroom. She was watching the stars emerge one by one in the ever-darkening velveteen sky. Even if just twelve-years-old, she loved the stars, the planets – she dreamed of being an astronaut one day. Her mother Juliet must have known she’d be a cosmic girl having named her Callisto. The little girl knew Callisto was the third-largest moon in the solar system and the second-largest of the Jovian moons of Jupiter. The knowledge made her proud of her name.
“There’s Polaris the NorthStar so the Big Dipper or Plough constellation is going to appear there tonight.” Callisto spun her globe star chart and found the Ursa Major constellation. With a smile, she refocused on the now indigo to midnight-blue sky, imagining piloting a starship visiting the planets.
It was then the front door slammed and something smashed within the house. The ruckus was followed by a fleshy thud and a feminine groan of pain.
Callisto squeezed her eyes shut as tears fell on her cheeks. She knew her daddy Leroy have returned from work and he was drunk. She wished it was an aberration, an unusual event but it wasn’t. Most nights he’d come home in a blind rage, he’d break things and worse he’d hurt her mother.
“Where’s mah dinner, yer worthless wench!” he slurred loudly as something else was smashed.
Juliet whimpered in pain. “It’s coming, please stop hurting me!”
Callisto unfurled herself from the bay window and took off her dressing gown. She’d allowed her mum to think, she’d showered and undressed for the night. But Callisto wasn’t sleeping here tonight, she couldn’t bare her daddy’s violence anymore. Standing in her favourite, warm blue dress and loafers, she was determined to change things for the better. “I’ll show you, daddy,” she said whilst wiping her eyes and leaving her room with a cloth bag in hand. Looking back at the star globe, she let out a saddened sniff. It was a shame to leave it but it wouldn’t fit in the bag. Heading downstairs, she unlocked and opened the front door and turned off the light switch. Leaving her bag on the doorstep, she flinched as the shouting returned.
“I’ve been working mah arse off all day, woman. Look at yer, ya done nothin, – sod all. No cleanin done, no laundry, mah dinner isn’t even ready. You’re a worthless disgusting mess!”
Callisto clenched her fists, infuriated by her daddy’s words. She marched into the lounge and gasped. The room has been clean before, she knew her mummy had been doing housework all day. Now, he’d come home and wrecked everything as usual. All the mums ironing was strewn about the floor. A dog ornament was smashed in the fireplace. Callisto let out a sob as her foot scrunched a piece of crumpled paper. She’d painted a lovely picture of the house with stars and planets above it this afternoon. Her daddy had torn it to bits and chucked it around the room.
“I did all the housework you ungrateful, git! You’re drunk! You ruined everything! I’ll do—” Juliet screamed her voice trailed off with a gurgle.
Callisto dared to enter the kitchen, she saw her daddy holding her mum by the throat. His veins and muscles were bulging with anger around his blue work trousers and shirt. His eyes were bloodshot and his blonde hair a mess. It terrified her, but she had to provoke him, “I hate you, Daddy. I’ll make sure you don’t hurt Mummy a—”
Leroy hurled Juliet into the sink unit causing her to cry out in pain. He rounded on his daughter and cracked her across the face with the back of his hand. She fell back into the lounge. He cursed and stalked after her. “I’m yer daddy, Callie. You’ll do as I say!” he grunted, his alcohol breath fouling the room.
Callisto glared at him as she backpedalled across the room with a bruise forming on her cheek and blood oozing from a nostril. “You’re not my daddy. Daddies are nice and you’re a nasty, rotten drunk!”
“I will make you take that back you little witch.” Leroy lunged for his daughter.
She was ready for him. The little girl slammed her trainer deep into his groin with a satisfying thud.
Pain and his drunken stupor caused him to stagger around and fall over the coffee table.
Callisto leapt to her feet, grabbed her bag, and fled the house. She had to smile at the sight of her daddy falling over the table – it was good revenge. Her mirth faded fast though. She knew she could never return home so long as he lived there now. Running beneath the starry sky as fast as her legs will carry her, she focused on her plan. Time to hide and wait for daddy to catch himself.
The little girl enjoyed her small town by the sea. Light pollution was low allowing her to see billions of stars stretching away to the horizon over the North Sea. She slowed to a walk and wandered along a sandy path amid the marram grasses and dunes. The whole way her eyes remained glued to the starscape. She picked out the constellations Orion, Ophiuchus, Hercules, Ursa Minor and Major among others. Close to the horizon, she could see the red glow of a familiar planet.
“One day I’ll find a way to reach you, Mars. First I have to you make sure my daddy doesn’t kill me or mummy.” Callisto wiped her eyes as she scanned the sky. She began to imagine the planets aligned in the sky above her. In her mind, she could use moonbeams as shining ropes and lasso the planets. They become the most magical of balloons a carry her to a far-off and safe world.
Lost in her galactic thoughts, Callisto’s feet carried onto the beach. She headed away from town and kept going until the sand became rocky and the dunes gave way to cliffs. She’d found ammonite and Belemnite fossils in the rock pools here in the not-too-distant past. Daddy used to be nice then. He’d take her out for days, they’d share ice cream and go on fairground rides. He’d even take her to the zoo in the next town. She knew that daddy was long gone. The demons in the alcohol had ensured he never come back. Callisto couldn’t help it, those thoughts left her crying as she hugged herself and walked on.
The blue flickering lights of a police car raced along the seafront. By the direction they took, Callisto felt they might be going to her home. She climbed over some rocks and tucked herself into a cave within the cliff. It was a particularly deep cave but it gave a little roof and shelter. Callisto had wandered in here on nights before and proclaimed it the NorthStar Cave. It was the perfect name, Polaris sat in the sky right in the middle of the opening as she looked out. Discovering this cave had given her the courage to put her plan of action.
Callisto had learned lots from her daddy when he was nice. She collected a little driftwood and using his Flint and striker soon had a little fire started. Taking a deep breath, she began to relax within the crackling warmth of the glowing flames. Reaching into her bag, she took out a bar of chocolate. “Daddy will be furious when he realises I’ve eaten you.” The little girl chuckled as she tore off the brown wrapper and put the first chunk in her mouth. Allowing it to melt slowly, she savoured the rich, creamy, slightly bitter notes of chocolate. Using her bag as a pillow, she laid down and continued to enjoy the confection whilst watching the fire.
The first her thoughts were of home. Was her mummy okay? What else had her daddy done? What would he do to her if he caught her? Soon tiredness crept in as the flickering flames lulled him to sleep. As if by magic she was floating beneath her planetary balloons. She giggled as she flew over Orion’s belt, splashed her feet in the waters of Neptune, and passed through the rings of Saturn. Then she was on the surface of Mars. Martian’s did live here. They weren’t green or grey, but quite regular as humans go. They called themselves the Anunnaki as they proudly showed her around. They revealed Mars used to be like Earth until it moved away from the sun. Callisto had just entered a crater home belonging to an Anunnaki family when everything began to shake.
“Callie! Callie? Are you alright?” said a voice as somebody shook her shoulder. “I’m a police lady called, Lucy.”
“Lucy?” Callisto returned to Earth and opened her eyes with a groan. That had been such a good dream. “My face hurts but I’m okay, thank you,” she replied as she took in the uniform of a friendly, smiling policewoman with a bun of blonde hair. Beyond her was another policeman looking pleased to see her.
“That’s a relief! It’s good to see you, Callie.” the policewoman took up her radio. “Officer Lucy Green to dispatch. We have Callie safe and sound.”
“It’s Callisto. I’m named after Jupiter’s second moon.” said the little girl standing up.
“Oh really? Why not the first moon then?” asked Lucy looking interested.
Callisto giggled, “Because Ganymede makes a terrible name.”
“No kidding! That sounds horrible.” Lucy chuckled, put an arm around her and helped her emerge from the cave.
“Please don’t take me home. Daddy will kill me. He was going to kill Mummy tonight.” Callisto felt her fears return as the policeman shone his torch toward her. He gently touched the bruising on her face causing her to flinch in pain.
“Did your Daddy do this?” he asked.
Callisto nodded and moved her face away from his hand. She couldn’t stop her tears flowing down her face, knowing she had to face her dad soon.
“Hey, don’t worry it’s going to be okay now. Your mummy will be okay. Your daddy has been arrested for assaulting her. He is going to be arrested for hitting you too. The judge will punish and ensure he cannot come near or do anything to either of you again.”
“Really? That’ll be great.”
“Really,” said Lucy giving her a grin. Let’s go and see the paramedic and make sure you’re okay. Then get you back to your mummy, okay?”
“Thank you.” Callisto smiled, her plan had worked. She knew if she ran away and disappeared long enough. The police would have to get involved. If they did so they’d learn what her daddy did and punish him for it. Now that was happening, Callisto knew, she and her mummy could enjoy life and stargaze together in happiness.
Have a great day.