By Arran J Middleton
How we mammals have always dreamed
Of the purest simplest freedom at hand
To soar across the earth and sky
The stars at our backs and the clouds ahead.
For so long the birds have flown
Gazing upon us in pity or pride
Until one mammal wished to fly
Stronger and higher than any other.
With rodent features and wings of flesh
Strewn under spindly arms
He tried again and again to take flight
Failing over the course of centuries.
And yet his descendants carried his spirit
Trying to fly, dying for freedom.
Until one day at last they rejoiced
When the first one flew high with pride.
The birds at first denied their presence
But were forced to accept their shining spirit
Learning instead their own ways of flight
With a voice to hunt instead of their eyes.
You would think that after achieving
The first and only dream of their kind
They would be happy merely to skim clouds
But alas, not all were so humble.
Some could only ever dream bigger
Higher than the birds themselves ever did
To gaze upon the stars above and ask themselves
"Why touch the clouds, when I can touch the stars?"
And so the spirit of adventure awoke anew
When the bats made promises to only fly at night
So they could see their destination
Not ahead but upwards into the galaxy.
None of them could reach high enough
And the birds mocked them so.
"Not even we can reach the stars", they said
"So how can YOU of all beasts even try???"
"We were once without wings and dreamed to have them
So if we can achieve that, then we can achieve anything!"
One voice in particular was more fiercer than the rest
A creature who had a destiny he'd never know.
One day through the nightly flight
This little bat became tired for no reason
Though to say tired is not the right word,
Perhaps it is better to say, he felt resigned.
Flying among the human lands
He noticed something shining near.
A monolith of white and orange
Pointing upwards to the stars themselves.
There were clouds striking all around it
With such a thunderous roar
He thought it was a machine that made thunder
But soon realised the clouds were not soft.
With a spark of inspiration he flew towards it
The strange metal thing roared with determination
And somehow the bat in his tiny heart understood
That it was trying to achieve, just like him.
The way it gleamed upwards at the stars
Made him realise it wanted to fly like him.
A thing whose wings were so poorly stiff
That he felt sympathy for.
He latched upon the softest part and crooned:
"Fear not my fellow dreamer
For you may not be a creature like me
But your heart is that of mine!"
"If you can dream to reach the stars like me
I want to help you touch them.
Come, beast of man, let us fly together
With our hearts as one above the world!"
And so he felt the world sparkle
The roar deafening him as he screamed with it
Feeling the machine's heart burn so bright
He felt his own body burst aflame.
He realised there and then his fatal error
But he knew he could not give up
Not when so near the stars themselves
And especially when so close to death.
He clinged with deathly grip onto the beast
As he soon heard nothing all around him
His body turned lifeless, floating anew
Able to stay in the air without a single flutter.
He knew he had died, for his lungs had stopped
And his heart followed after, but he did not care
For he finally saw with his eyes still open
Stars everywhere, blinding him so.
Every star twinkled with surprise
At this mortal beast floating near death
And yet within the realm of his imagination
That had passed down through his bloodline.
With the last of his breath he shrieked to the stars
Proclaiming his triumph with all of his spirit
It shattered the heavens and the stars crackled
When his heart finally stopped but his spirit remained.
But his spirit soon felt his body being caressed
By unseen forces invisible amongst starlight.
"Who dares disturb the slumber of the Gods
Of the Stars themselves?" said the voice of the forces.
"I am the Spacebat," spoke the mortal spirit
"I dared to go where my ancestors have dreamed
And though I am now nothing but flesh and soul
I have a heart as bright as the stars themselves!"
"But what makes you," challenged the Gods
"A wisp of mortality so special amongst eternity?"
And the Spacebat then said:
"I am the embodiment of my ancestors' dreams."