Snowball Wants to Go to Outer Space

Line Henriksen



Snowball wants to go to outer space.

“The stars,” it says, as Limping Lotta looks at the void opening at the tip of her toes. “They’re made of fire!”

“Won’t they burn you?” Lotta once asked.

“Dragons don’t burn!” Snowball scoffed at her. “Our scales are fire-proof.”

“But you’re made of plush,” Lotta said.

Later her father dabbed her scratched cheek with soap and water. “How did you get these?” he asked, but did not believe her when she told him. “Snowball is just a toy, Lotta. But if he scares you so much, I can take him to the charity shop tomorrow.”

Snowball was sitting right next to them.

Lotta shook her head.

“I’m sure he’s very sorry for what he did. Aren’t you, Snowball?”

“Sorry, Lotta,” Snowball said in her father’s best squeaky voice as he made its white snout nuzzle her bandaged chin.

Snowball was not sorry.

It was not sorry at all.

Snowball wants to go to outer space.

“Stars!” it says, as Limping Lotta leans forward, just a bit, her hands clasped tightly around a pole above her head. “They exploded a long time ago, but you can still see them. That’s how far away they are.”

The sun sinks a little deeper, bringing pink and purple to the clouds above and creeping shadows to the grass, the walkways, and the flowerbeds below. The sky is closer here, and Lotta lets go of the pole with one hand.

“How will you get there?” Limping Lotta once asked.

“I will fly, of course,” Snowball said. “Make me wings! These are too small for an astronaut dragon.” Snowball did not flap its tiny wings, for it rarely moved, but Lotta knew what it meant. For days she drew wings in her notebook and spread them out next to maps of the sky, pieces of cardboard and paper, sticks and plastic bottles. She glued and knotted, tied and hammered, and all the time Snowball watched from its place on the shelf, growing impatient, and in the living room her mother called the neighbours, yelling at them to get a grip on their bloody cat — Lotta could’ve lost an eye, for fuck’s sake!

Snowball wants to go to outer space, and it wants Limping Lotta to test the wings first. She is standing on the low concrete wall surrounding the roof terrace, but they still seem far away, the stars, the tiny exploding suns above.

“But why don’t you try them out?” Lotta asks.

“Because you’re a limper, that’s why. The ground has already given up on one of your feet — now make it give up on one more.”

Lotta’s hand lets go of the metal pole, and she feels the ground tugging at her, moving her towards the flowerbeds, and the walkways, and the patches of grass, all hidden in darkness below. She imagines how much better it would be to fly than to limp.

And so she falls into space.





LINE HENRIKSEN lives in the cold, deep dark of Denmark, where it rains a lot — except when it drizzles — and people generally avoid eye contact. Her work has appeared in, among others, The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix, freeze frame fiction and Pankhearst: Wherever you Roam.