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Yasmin took in the terrain. Expansive. Empty. Nothing could live here. On earth, everyone thought her planned hunt for extraterrestrial life delusional, a waste of mission time which would be better spent gathering rock samples or doing maths. But here, finally, on the moon, “everyone” was three people and “everyone” could afford her some leeway. She sucked in her cheeks, narrowed her mouth and made a slow astronaut rasp at the the top of her throat.

Nobody told you you got lovely sunny days like this one on the moon. She should make a note. Yasmin's Dad wasn't far behind, his movements a slow-mo ballet. He had a hamper.
“Houston, we have lift off,” said Mum as she successfully opened the landing module. The landing module was a parasol.
The council had spruced up the beach with a white and red plastic rocket. The rocket doubled as a sun-dial and holidaymakers spent their visit moving towels out of the way of its shadow. There was a motto written on the base. It read: “Blast Of!” It was Yasmin's favourite beach.
“Copy that,” said Yasmin, “hhhhhh … ghhoooo”. She wafted back to base so that Mum could rub moon cream on the hard to reach bits of her back. Factor thirty moon cream.
There was a car parky slamming of doors and three figures bickered into view.
Daisy lived next door. She was two years older which had seemed very grown up to Yasmin until she'd actually spoken to her.
“Daisy, take that off now.”
Parents assume that proximity breeds friendship. They are wrong.
“Daisy, give me your phone. Give me your phone!”
On the moonrizon, clouds gathered.
Daisy gave her mother her phone. Or rather she shoved it in her mother's bag while making a noise like she was competing at Wimbledon. She kept the headphones in her ears, the cable nestled and forlorn in the pit of her hand.
“Hi,” she said to Yasmin's Mum and dropped onto all the towels, face down. The parents sat on the sand and said things like: “What a lovely day” and “I know, isn't it?” and “Are you going in, Daisy? Daisy? Are you going in, Daisy? Daisy? Daisy? Daisy.” and “It is a lovely day, isn't it?” and “Yes.”
Yasmin walked near the water to better leave footprints in the lunar sands. Her ship had been invaded, the rest of the crew must be left for dead, very sad, what a waste. A breeze was picking up and moving the clouds with it. The moon had clouds! She stopped to feel the sides of her helmet (which had in a previous life been part of a bucket-and-spade set). Unscrewed it. Tasted the air. Oxygen atmosphere. Astounding! Salty. The tang of storms. She must write it all down. But how would they find out on Earth? She took stock of the horizon, willing her home planet to rise majestically from the waves. If it did, she would jump up and down in the hope that someone might see her in a telescope. Nothing. The Earth must still be on the other side.
It began to rain. Plip. Plip. Moon rain! She was walking now on long, black stones worn flat by the lunar sea. Plip. They were piled up and filled with small pools of water. Plop.
Wait, was that-?
It couldn't be.
Plop. Plop. Scritch. Plop plop.
… life?
An alien danced in a small pool. Too small to be intelligent but still, life! It was grey with a shell the size of her hand. A ledge jutted over part of the pool and it swam in and out. Yasmin knelt, reached in, helmet ready for gathering. She adjusted her footing. Stretched but couldn't quite get it. Adjusted her footing again. Felt the rain on her back, on her neck, running down her face. Streeeeetched. It was getting in her eyes now. Her fingertips brushed the shell and... yes!
As quickly as the clouds had covered the beach, so the rain had intensified to a torrent. Yasmin slipped, shrieked, skidded down the rocks. For a moment, everything was very still. She lay face down in wet sand.
“I've found her!”
What little of the lunar landscape she could see was filled with Daisy. The invasive weed grabbed her elbow, hauled her up and whispered in her ear: “You're in so much trouble.”
Yasmin began to cry. Rain and tears dribbled to the sand as her parents caught up and made it clear how panicked they had been, how thoughtless she was and that she should never wonder off again. Dad was still holding the hamper.
Back in the car, the rain pattered on the roof. Mum was driving. They rode in silence for a while and Yasmin watched the sea until the car turned onto the motorway. There she watched the Seats.
“How are you feeling, Yaz?” came Dad's voice.
“Nasty scrape.”
Yasmin had grazed her knees. They hurt. She thought about ignoring him. She decided against. “Yeah.”
The rain was easing off. Mum turned on the radio but not very loud. She liked the idea of it more than the content. They were caught in traffic and it didn't look like it was going anywhere so she took the opportunity to take off her jacket, turn around in her seat and tell her daughter: “I don't think Daisy is very nice.”
Yasmin shook her head vociferously. The sun broke through the clouds. Yasmin opened the window.
And in the boot, hidden between the towels and the parasol and the hamper, something reached a grey leg out of the bucket.

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