Jaxon and the Jaxonites
Chapter 1 | The Arrival (Junior Fiction)
Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. But Jaxon wasn’t in space, nor was he dreaming, and his scream was loud and shrill.
The sound didn’t phase the little creature, and she dooted Jaxon on the nose again.
A quick double tap. Doot-doot.
Her antenna flicked back and forth rapidly. Her eyestalks bulged as they looked Jaxon up and down. The other two creatures grabbed her, and they all stepped back, blending into the shadows.
Jaxon’s mum opened his bedroom door, “Everything okay, love?”
Jaxon pointed towards the shadows of his open closet door. In a shaky voice, he whispered, “Aliens.”
His mum shook his head. “You’ve been playing too many space invader games.”
She flicked on the light. As the shadows vanished, Jaxon peered at the spot where he’d seen the little creatures. There was nothing there. Had he imagined it? Maybe it was a bad dream.
“Sorry, Mum,” Jaxon snuggled back under the covers.
“Well, at least you didn’t wake your brothers. Do you want me to leave the door open?”
Jaxon shook his head. Leaving the door open was for little kids scared of the dark, like the Things. Jaxon wasn’t afraid of anything. He was a big brother; big brothers are brave and tough.
His mum smiled, flicked the light off, and closed the door behind her. Jaxon was slowly drifting into sleep again when he felt something doot his nose. His eyes snapped open. The creatures were back. This wasn’t a dream.
Jaxon took a deep breath and reminded himself that he was brave. The first thing that popped into his head was, “No one will believe me. I’ve got to take a photo!”
All three creatures dropped to the floor. Their arms and eyestalks bowed down while their antennas stood to attention.
“All hail, Jaxon, our overlord and master.” The three chanted in unison as they did their best to bow and scape over their jelly bellies.
“Huh?” Jaxon’s jaw dropped. Overlord and master? Him? “I think there’s been a mistake.”
The creature with the roundest belly stood up. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Sir Jaxon. I am Xuuds, your Jaxonite ambassador. This is my wife, Yumer, and my daughter, Qits.”
The creature who’d dooted Jaxon’s nose, stood first.
“We had to learn all about you at school. When Dad was voted in as the official Jaxonite ambassador, I begged to be allowed to come along on his first mission. Everyone at school is going to be soooooo jealous.”
“You studied me at school?” That seemed weird and slightly creepy.
Xuuds said, “Ever since the announcement, we’ve been learning Earth culture and English. It’s really changed our way of life on Jaxon.”
“On Jaxon. As in you came from me?” Jaxon shivered. Was this like having a nasty case of tapeworm? Except the tapeworm grew eyestalks and had jelly bellies?
“No, not on you,” Xuuds said, “The planet formerly known as TRAPPIST-1e, now Jaxon.”
TRAPPIST-1e — that name felt familiar. Where had he seen it before … Jaxon rubbed his head, thinking.
Aunt Sally’s birthday present!
Jaxon jumped out of bed and turned on his lamp. He rummaged through his desk drawer, eventually pulling out a crumpled piece of paper.
He’d heard of people getting the naming rights to stars. While it might not have been funny, he supposed it would be cool to look up at the stars and find the one named after you. But this?
Planet TRAPPIST-1e, orbiting 2MASS J23062928-0502285, Aquarius constellation, has been renamed “Jaxon” in your honour.
Jaxon waved the piece of paper, “This is real? You’re from this planet TRAPPIST-1e?”
Qits’s antenna bounced up and down. “Except TRAPPIST-1e is called Jaxon now. And we are the Jaxonites.”
“If you’re the Jaxonites, and I am your overlord and master, do you have to obey me?”
All three Jaxonites nodded their antennas.
“Everything I say?”
All three antennas bobbed up and down.
Perhaps this planet naming business wasn’t such a bad present after all.
Jaxon rubbed his hands together. “First, no one else can know you’re here. You’ll have to hide if someone is coming.”
“That’s no problem, Sir Jaxon. We have stealth cloaking technology.”
“It’s essential that my brothers, the Things, don’t see you.”
“Things?” Xuuds’ extreme left eyestalk peered about.
“Family joke,” explained Jaxon. “My Aunt Sally loves jokes. When my twin brothers were born, Aunt Sally showed me Tom wrapped up in a blanket, howling in protest. ‘Thing 1,’ she’d announced.”
Qits giggled. “Ohh, I just looked that up in my Jaxonite to English dictionary. That’s funny.”
“Yeah,” said Jaxon. “For a long time, I thought Thing 1 and Thing 2 were their real names. It was much later I realised it was a joke and they had actual names. But somehow, the joke stuck. It’s an awesome way to tell them apart, especially when they pretend to be each other. Tom hates being called Thing 2 because he’s the ‘oldest’” Jaxon did air quotes with his fingers when he said ‘oldest’.
Xuuds nodded his antenna.
“Anyway, they’ll dob for sure. The Things are too little to understand,” Jaxon continued. “And Declan next door is my arch-nemesis. He’s a science fiction nut. He’ll call in the government. Then they’ll turn you into lab specimens for sure. Like ET.”
Xuuds and Yummer turned to Qits. Her middle right eyestalk looked like it was going to pop out of its socket. “They dissect lab specimens,” she said, her whole body quivering.
All twelve eyestalks shrivelled a little. The Jaxonites seemed a little scared, but that was a good thing, right? It would help keep them safe.
Jaxon smiled. This was brilliant. He was never going to have to do chores or homework again. Not now he had the Jaxonites.
After all, what could go wrong?
Sandi Parsons is an award-winning school librarian with over 20 years experience working in educational libraries. She lives with her favorite husband and two problem puppies. Her middle grade novel, Salty, will be published by Dixi Books in 2023.
About the author
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters