Lighthouse: Ever Welcome


When we got home, Sept and Elui slipped out of their disguises and stood before each other in true form.

Leaving them to their reunion, I ran upstairs to greet Mojo. I hadn’t seen him since early that morning, and he misses me when I’ve been away.


Besides, I wanted to give them privacy. For Sept to meet again with someone who’d been on the ship that had brought them here when they were young children, the ship that crashed in the desert, that was a significant event that I didn’t want to intrude upon.


I asked Sept later if they remembered each other. He said they did. They used to play together on the ship, during the passage over here.


“What was it like to see him again?” I asked Sept.

“It’s like activating a postsynaptic receptor,” he said, “the completion of a circuit.”

He has receptors for each of the gotogo who were on the ship. Until he connects with them, something in him feels disconnected. It’s a hole through which a longing escapes, and when he meets them, that opening closes in connection.

“It will be easier for me to be in touch with him now,” he said.

I looked down at them through the upstairs window. They were talking earnestly.


I remembered the letters his dad had written about their early years, when Sept woke crying, full of longing. It was his strongest desire, then, to reunite with the other kids that survived the crash.

“Once I started singing to them,” he said, “and they started singing back–or even if they didn’t sing back, but I felt them receive my songs–it felt less lonely. But this is better. Meeting them is best.”

I asked him what he and Elui talked about.

“Words are so clumsy,” he said. “We spoke some Vingihoplo, but Elui, since he had so much to communicate, used the short-cut.”

“The download?” I asked.

Sept nodded.


“What did you learn?”

“A lot,” Sept said.

I know, by now, that it’s hard to verbalize the telepathic transmissions of data dumps. Translating the pulses of feeling, emotion, and knowledge into words is a long and arduous process.


Elui joined me at the kitchen table. I’d made a fresh pot of tea and set a pot of Sept’s spaghetti sauce to simmer on the stove, filling the kitchen with the aroma of rosemary, basil, and garlic.

I tried to think of an appropriate welcome. What do I say to this stranger who shares so much with Sept?


Sometimes, in those days, when my current reality colided with my pre-Sept reality, the cognitive dissonance toppled me.

This was me, sitting at a kitchen table with an extra-terrestrial, the same Mallory Kraft who half a year before had cracked “alien” jokes, convinced that someone not-from-here would have no comprehension of what it means to be a person on this planet, that someone like that would have nothing to say that would be worth my while to listen to.

I got whiplash from the cataclysm of my old worldview.


Elui began to laugh.

“What’s so funny?” I asked, returning to the present.


“You!” he said. “There you are, trying to figure it all out. It’s humorous!”

He was right, of course. I knew it then, and I’ve known it every time in the decades since, when I’ve found myself stuck in the in-between.


“I’m experienced with shifts and travels. Look,” he said. “Here’s a quick way. May I?”

I consented, and he downloaded it all to me.


He had been looking for… himself. He had been traveling to find himself, and his travels had taken him to the Mainstreamers, and he had done there what had needed to be done so he could come into existence now, in this incarnation, and now he was looking for David. And when he found David, he would find himself.

“But what do the Cookie Store have to do with it?” I asked. “And how can we help? And are we even safe? Did they track you?”


He laughed. “They didn’t track me. I’m the elusive Elui! You’re safe. All I need is a place to rest for a little bit, to do some research, and then I’ll be on my way again.”

Sept joined us while I washed the dishes.

“This spaghetti is amazing,” he said, “even if I did make it myself! Tomatoes! Who would have thought?”

“I have had a lifetime of potatoes and carrots. You can have the veggies, thank you very much. I like the tea,” Elui replied.


“Tea it is,” Sept said. “Help yourself!”

“Tea keeps me sharp,” he said. “And I need to be able to concentrate.”


“How can we help?” Sept asked.

“You’re already helping,” said Elui.

Mojo welcomed him as if they were old friends. Maybe he recognized Elui’s far-away feeling. Maybe he felt like Sept.


Next, Mojo ran to Sept and danced with him, too.

“You are such a good friend,” Sept said to Mojo.

Sept often talks of “the individual.”

“An individual can be a person, a dog, a cat, a goldfinch–”

“A tree?” I might ask.

“Very much a tree!” Sept will reply. “And a home is a place where an individual can be.”


Elui stood on the yoga mat, hands clasped in anjali mudra. Sept, Mojo, and I walked down to the dock to give Elui space and silence, so that he could do what he needed to do, centering himself to continue his search for his missing piece of himself.


Sept stopped at the end of the dock. He gazed past the lighthouse, then closed his eyes.

I’d come to recognize this stance as Sept’s singing, reaching out past the horizon to his gotogo.


I don’t have the ability to hear those songs, though I’ve tried. But I can feel the feelings, the love, the connection, the solace of the songs.


When he finished, he asked me if I wanted to hear what he’d sung. I did.

He sang to me in Vingihoplo, his flutey falsetto echoing into its own harmonies.

Sala dastaliyu
Sala daspaliyu

Vendrufī gopan
Vendrufī goxan
Sanghi gotukoda
Mokiya gotukoda

Baliyu daschavendru
Baliyu byuvendru

Sala dastaliyu
Sala daspaliyu


And then he translated for me:

Some day
Some night

Come when
Come where
To our safe home
Our joyful home

Ever welcome
Ever sweet, come.

Some day
Some night


He looked so happy, reaching out to all the others, welcoming them to our home. I let myself fall into the cataclysm. This was my new life.

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Author’s note: Who is David? What does Elui mean that he’s looking for David? Take a look at Potatoes and Carrots by Xantheanmar to find out! Thanks to Xan for writing this with me!

Septemus 33


Dear Sept,

What a week. I bought you a chemistry set. You’re so smart and curious. I honestly thought that it would be a good idea.


And it was, at first. You were taking measurements, mixing ingredients, writing down everything in your notebook.

I should have supervised you more carefully. I can’t believe I left you out there alone, with vials of acetone, benzene, and ethanol.

What was I thinking?


I smelled the smoke first, and when I got outside, you were calmly walking away from the fire. I panicked.


Once you were safe, your panic kicked in, and you ran screaming towards the street.

Hearing your screams forced me to focus. I grabbed the extinguisher from the porch and went at it.

“Wait on the sidewalk!” I yelled.

“Come with me, Pops!” you yelled back.

“I can’t! Just go!”


At last the fire was out.

We were both OK.


The house was OK, too, surprisingly.

The chemistry set was ruined. I’m not getting a new one.

You seemed OK. I was worried that the fire might trigger old traumas, but you calmed down pretty quickly. I was the one who was tense.

The next day, you played at the dollhouse, eyes closed and singing, like you do:

Star brother, brother-star.
Listen brother-star,
My house was on fire!


“Hear me brother-star,
I have a new house.”

“Is that a new song?” I asked you.

“No,” you replied. “It’s an old one. It’s Manny’s song. He had a fire, too, and he had to get a new house. Will we get a new house, Pops?”

“No,” I replied. “We’re staying here.”

“Good,” you said. “I like it here.”

Me, too.

I don’t know who Manny is, if he’s one of your imaginary friends or one of those that you somehow talk to when your eyes are closed.

Either way, his song brought you peace.

Sometimes I feel that we’ve got invisible helpers spread through the universe, bringing us strength when we need it–courage, comfort, resilience.

Maybe that’s who Panda, Rocket, and Manny are–some sort of connection to your first home, in a way I might never understand.


Keep being a mystery, son. You really are a star boy.


Your pops

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Author’s Note: Whose song is that? Why, it’s Manny’s, from Allysimbuilds’ Alienated!  You can hear him sing this song to Septemus in “Burn.” Thanks, Ally, for the song and for the singing!

Septemus 31


Dear Sept,

You’ve developed a funny habit of checking the sinks. Fortunately, we’ve only got two, the kitchen and bathroom. You will stop what you’re doing–even if you’re deep in concentration. Then you head to the sink.

“OK! All good!” you say, when you see that the faucets are off.

“You don’t have to check them all the time, son,” I said.

“I know, Pops,” you said. “I’m just making sure.”

All right. It’s not a big thing. No cause for concern. And likely, you’ll grow out of it. And even if not, there are all sorts of people, all over the world, who check that the faucets are shut off. I bet half of them haven’t even been through anything close to what you’ve been through. So, one little quirk. It’s not such a big deal.

You also keep singing other people’s songs. Some of them are heartbreaking.


Mum is hurting, don’t know why~
Come back, come back.


“Don’t leave me.
Not alone. Not you, too.
Come back, come back.
Stay with me.”

“Whose song is that?” I asked you. While you were singing, I saw a flash of a little indigo girl.

“It’s Panda,” you answered.

“Is she? She’s not… is she imaginary?” I asked.


“Of course not!” you answered. “She’s my sister. What makes her mom sick, Pops? Do you know? If something happens to her mom, can she come live with us?”

Oh, man. We’ve got such a little house. I’m not sure if the agency would approve of our taking in anyone else. I’m sure they’ve got their reasons for spreading out all you kids, keeping you all separate. I know they had their reasons for not giving me the contact info for the other parents.


But what if something happened to me?

Where would you go?

I wouldn’t want you to go back to the agency. I’d want you to be with someone else who knew about you kids, who understood you, who would be patient with you and let you be yourself, without interfering.


“Sure, son,” I said. “If something happens to Panda’s mom, or to any of your brothers’ or sisters’ parents, we can take them in.”

I could talk to Geoffrey. I’m sure he’d see my point.

“Oh, squeegee,” you said. “And anyway, she’ll be OK, right? Panda’s mom?”

You started singing softly, so I could barely hear.

“It’s safe, it’s safe now.
There’s time and wolfbane!
There’s tea and tisane…


“For little girls
and Mamas
And sisters
and Papas.

“Don’t worry
little Pandas.
It’s safe. It’s safe.”

Oh, I will do all I can. That’s for sure.

Love you,

Your pops.

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Author’s note: Panda’s song was written by Thymeless. And what’s happening with Panda’s mum? Read Pandora’s Box to find out!

Septemus 30


Dear Sept,

I’m jotting down all your songs. I’ve got feeling you might not remember them, since you sing them different each time.

Maybe when you’re older, and you read this, you’ll enjoy knowing what you sang about when you were a boy.

I think this one might be my favorite.

Moonshine! Moonlight.
Smile shine. Smile bright.

It’s far. We’re near.
It’s dark. We’re clear.


Eat your spaghetti! Don’t forget grilled cheese!
Happy with tofu! How about taco?
Let’s play with dolls now.
We’ll build a rocket.
Come and ride Kizuu,
We’re going so far…. to….


Moonshine. Moonlight.
Will you come with me?

It’s far. We’re here.
Let’s go. Have no fear.

I’ll see you in my dream
You’ll see me in yours.
And when worlds turn and stars burn
We’ll find where our home is…
By the far star…


You’re dramatic when you sing. It’s not showing off, or a Sinatra act, though it looks like one; you do them same even when you think I’m not watching you.

I hope you keep that lack of self-consciousness when you get older. You get so immersed in everything you do.


After breakfast, I heard you sing a song that was different from the other ones you sing. Most of your songs are sort of mournful and filled with longing. They remind me of something that Kermit might sing.

This new one was downright cheerful:

What if the moon were made of cheese?

Would the man on the moon sneeze?



I asked you about it.

“It’s a Rocket song,” you said.

I wasn’t sure what you meant. “Is there more that I didn’t hear that is the rocket part?”

“There’s more–heydiddlestuff–it’s not about a rocket. It’s by Rocket.”

I never know what’s going on in the world of your imagination, son.

“Now I can hear him sing, too!” you said.


Sometimes I wonder just how many imaginary friends you’ve got, singing and whispering to you. More than I can keep track of, that’s for sure!

Just keep on singing, and I’ll keep listening.

Your pops

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Author’s Note: Who else is singing? To find out, you’ll need to read Rainy Dayz’ Alien Adoption Challenge! Many thanks to Rainy for the Grilled Cheese Song! 🙂