The Launch: An Unfinished Short Story (Help!)

*I wrote this story the other day, and can’t think of a good non-cliche way to end it. Any ideas?*

The Launch

On one unextraordinary day in June, three bottle rockets sat side by side on the banks of the big red river.

One was red with bold white stripes wrapping all the way around its body, and a long red tail like a mouse. The middle one was black, with little white sunbursts. The last one was yellow, with black stripes and a long black tail. The were all the same size, and had all been packaged together in the same cardboard box from the same factory somewhere in the desert of Arizona.

But today, was the day they had all been waiting for. Today, was the day they would be launched. And no one was prouder of this day than the little yellow rocket, who had once fallen out of a box, and onto the factory floor, and almost didn’t make it into a package. Now look, she thought. I have made it to launch day.

She turned to the red rocket. “Where will you go?” she asked.

He smiled a pleasant smile, “I’m going to the black hills of Montana,” he said. “I’ve heard there’s gold there. Plus, I want to see the mountains. I’ve never seen the mountains. I imagine they are like a purple fog, rising on the horizon, so close you think you can touch them. I would love to see the mountains.”
The yellow rocket thought about this. Gold in the black hills of Montana certainly sounded adventurous, and she had never seen a mountain either. But, all in all, it wasn’t the same adventure she had in mind. But, she commended his good taste.

She turned to the black rocket. “Where are you going?” she asked.

The black rocket primly wiped the dust off her pristine white starbursts. She nodded to the big oak tree on the other side of the river.

“I’m going to the other side of the river,” she said. “I hear there’s a grassy field with flowers and a big oak tree where children like to play. And I do love children.”

The yellow rocket smirked. Only to the other side of the river?! Rockets were powerful instruments, made for speed and created for the thrill of flight. According to the marketing material on the side of their box, they were made of the highest quality materials, and capable of unparalleled speed and distance. Now she only wanted to go to the other side of the river? The yellow rocket shook her head. What a waste! But the red rocket turned to the black rocket.

“That sounds delightful,” he said. “Best of luck to you.”

The two rockets chatted of oak trees, and mountains and black hills. Finally, they heard the din of human voices approaching and they all sat up straighter with the sound of a striking match. It was then that the black rocket turned to the yellow rocket.

“Where will you go?” she asked.

The yellow rocket grinned as wide as her little mouth could grin. She could almost feel her own eyes twinkling, and she looked up at the big blue sky.

“The moon,” she answered. “I’m going to the moon.”
Her two friends followed her gaze and pondered the great expanse above them. They looked at the yellow rocket with the greatest of admiration.
“The moon,” they repeated.
“What’s up there?” asked the red rocket.
The yellow rocket’s eyes brimmed with tears of anticipation.
“I don’t know,” she said. “But I’m going to find out.”

The human voices got louder, and silence fell upon the rockets as they saw the orange light of a match approach them. One by one, their fuses lit, and they glanced at each other one last time. And then, with a loud boom, the red rocket exploded into a fantastic array of color and sound. He shot into the air and kept going and going until he was out of sight. Good for him, the yellow rocket thought. But, she was still so anxious to begin her own flight.

Next, with another boom, the black rocket soared into the air, and with a graceful, proper flight, danced to the other side of the river, near the big oak tree. She was found by a little boy, who thought he had found the most wondrous of all toys.

Finally, the yellow rocket felt the heat of her own fuse lit. She closed her eyes and could barely contain the anticipation.
“To the moon,” she whispered and she squeezed her eyelids so tight they hurt.

She pictured the moon, and imagined herself soaring in the big blue sky, passing cotton candy clouds and into the dark unknown, the earth a big blue ball behind her. She imagined floating past blazing stars and flaming comets, and wondered if it was really everything she read. Then she heard a peculiar pop. She opened her eyes and found she had never left the banks of the big red river.

“Must be a dud,” they said. “What a bust!”
“Oh, well, we’ve got more.”

The people on the river banks grabbed another bag, and set up other rockets and sent them into launch. All day long, the yellow rocket watched rocket after rocket leap into the air, fizzle and explode into the atmosphere. Some settled in the grassy field across the river, and others disappeared never to be seen again.

The little yellow rocket sat on the grass of the big red river and felt very useless and forgotten. She watched across the river where the black rocket had landed, and wished she could at least go there. She began to feel foolish that she had ever presumed she could go to the moon. She wondered if the red rocket had made it to Montana and imagined what it must be like. …..


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