© 2018 by Ilaria Vigilante.

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  • Ilaria Vigilante

Upside Down

Updated: Aug 14, 2018

Try to imagine something very usual, and then ask yourself what if the usual would be something completely opposite to that!

Like... What if the earth was up and the sky was down?

What if the earth was up and the sky was down?

It was a nice, bright day, and the sky sphere was of a clear, pristine blue, streaked occasionally by stripes of white clouds. The children were having fun, twirling around the sun before the arrival of noon, when the sun became so hot it was impossible to get any closer. But that was the game they liked most; any one of them had dared at least once to get as close as possibile, challenging the scold of their parents - the same parents who, when they were sure their kids weren't looking at them, allowed themselves a little, happy smile, recognizing the same game of their own childhood.

It was a world of clean air, of cool, light wind and of shining light.

But why, then, he kept looking upwards?

A lonely child sat aside, without laughing, without playing. He just sat, observing the earth looming from above. That wide, huge, solid something which surrounded the celestial sphere. The kids were scared of staring at it, and even the adults felt a sense of concern about it. So, better not to think about it at all. Don't go looking upwards to that thing, if it scares you so much, they used to say. Look at the sun under your feet, instead, and be glad of the crispy air around you, but don't lift your eyes, not towards something you don't know. This is what they were taught, or what they learned, unconsciously.

Don't look.

But the lonely child flouted all conventions and kept watching the earth, interested. His dark brown eyes were deep, so similar to the colour of the earth above, and full of questions. Maybe he asked himself "What is there, up on the earth? Why no one ever wonders? Is someone living on the earth?". Maybe he imagined people walking on their hands, gripping on the dark soil, with their feet oriented to the sun, just like his and his people's. Still, he couldn't see them. He could see greenish lumps, unfocused clumps of different colours, of different shades; if he narrowed his eyes, he could also see streaks of light blue, just like the sky, and he asked himself what those might be. He asked himself if he'd ever find out.

Maybe. Maybe not.

What he was sure of, was that no one drew near him. He was, after all, a strange child, with dark deep eyes so different from the clear blue everyone had, with paler skin, because he often stayed far from the sun; a child who seldom laughed like the others, who never played with them, who sat all day there, in the furthest place his little wings could take him, to watch the earth. Sometimes he tried and flew further, or moved along that imaginary perimeter, following something that only his distant eyes could catch.

So, that nice bright day, he did not care how bright nor how clear the sky was, and did not think much about the warmth of the sun on his back, because that day he had decided to get up there.

No one realized he got away, since no one really cared about that weird kid who never laughed. When he was already so far that even the most piercing sight could not have spotted him, he started wondering how actually to climb the high skywall. How much was it high? Six meters? Ten? A hundred? Maybe he could jump from a cloud to another, but they seemed so thin that morning he doubted they could hold up his tiny weight. The earth looked so close, though! So close, and so beyond any kind of venture. He felt his eyes fill with tears, while he figured out that his greatest dream could not be fulfilled. When the tears started streaking his cheeks, he had no one to comfort him, because he was a lonely, weird child. Sobs began to shake his small chest, angry, sad sobs; he didn't care about the sun, he didn't care about the sky, about the crispy air, he didn't care about all those things he had always known. What news did they bring? Was he weird just because he dreamed of something unknown, because he dreamed of reaching the earth? He tried to brush away the tears, even if they kept falling and clouded his eyes.

It was a while before he realized that there was something drawing nearer and nearer, from above. He saw it first dangling in front of his nose, thin, gray.

Unsure and frightened, he stretched his hand out, touching the rough thing. It felt as if it were woven in hundreds and hundreds of smaller threads; it was a rope, but he had never seen a rope before. Forgetting his fear, he grabbed the rope in both his hands, amazed, and lifted again his head towards the earth. The rope climbed on and on, it seemed very long indeed, as it seemed to grow smaller and smaller as it got further from the sky. The child, however, wasn't afraid anymore. He was cheerful, and excited, because his wish now could be fulfilled. As he began to climb, on the face of the weird, strange, lonely and serious child, for the first time, a wonderful smile appeared among clear tears of joy.

Now it's your turn!

What can you imagine that could be the opposite of what we're used to? Let me know in the comments! Remember to subscribe to the newsletter, if you want to be next writing prompt's winner!