Whispering Stars and the Lonely bat

I once knew a lonely little bat.

This little bat was lonely because he lived in a cave all by himself next to a beach.  All day long he turned his excellent ears and listened to people playing in the sun.  He heard laughter and the screaming giggles of people splashing at the shore. He thought it would be lovely to join them on the beach.

One day, when he heard the noise from the beach, the lonely bat climbed along the wall of his cave toward the sunshine. Maybe he could fly around with them for a little while. But the closer he got, the worse the sun hurt his eyes. He crept back into his cave and said to himself, "At least I can still listen to them until the sun goes down. Maybe someone will still be here at dark. Maybe I can still make a friend." But after the sun went down, everyone went away. They stayed on the beach, but they were close to the city with all the bright lights. He didn't belong with them.

Another day he was lucky.  A woman came in from the beach. "I bet there's something wonderful in here," she said, looking in his cave. 
When she came to the darkest corner she drifted so close he could smell the sunscreen on her face. She squinched her eyebrows together and looked at him.
Humans don't have very good sight, everyone knows that. He climbed along the rock to show himself to her, hissing a greeting as he went.
Apparently, he was not wonderful, because she ran away. Maybe he didn't belong with her.

Later that night, he flew out above the beach,  catching sand fleas beside the surf.  The tall waves crashed against the shore, with shushing much louder than any conversation. "Well that's just fine," he said. "I don't want to hear anyone anymore. I don't need a friend." He dipped a claw into the sand, sending a pebble skittering. 

There was a tall rock that stood in the ocean. The lonely little bat flew high into the air. 
"Maybe," he said, "I can find a place to hide up here.  Someplace no one will find me, or run from me when I say hello."

He glided over the dark water until he came near the great big rock. He flew to the tippy top where he found a crack in the basalt and slid inside.  The night sky, shattered with stars and lit by a soft silver moon, seemed happy he had come close. 

The next day when the sun had warmed then began to cool again, he woke up and turned his ear toward the beach. He heard no laughter. He heard no giggles. All he heard was the surf in the distance. When there is nothing to hear, often there is too much to think. He didn't care as much for the thinking as he had the listening, but it was probably good for him because he realized he was happy here. Even in the quiet, even without a friend. He was not as lonely as he had been. 

The sun began to set. "Maybe," he said to himself, "I just haven't found them yet. Maybe there is a friend out there for me. I'm sure I'll find them in time."

The silver moon rose in the sky, as the little bat happily watched. Bright stars prickled across the sky, one by one. The little bat stared at them and crept closer to the sky so he could see more.

Then he heard a whisper, almost like a laugh, but full of too much wind. It was wilder than the surf and closer.  He poked his nose out into the starlight and widened his eyes at what he saw.  
Dozens of bats swarmed around the big rock. Big gray bats, bats with big ears, little brown bats like him, bats with orange fur and funny noses all swirled around the sky. Their wings swooshed, churning the air currents around him into the wind whispered laughter.

He rocketed out of his crack in the basalt to join them. "Hello," he hissed. "What's going on?" 

"Hey!" one little brown bat said to him. 
"Nice to meet you," said another who had an orange mane.
"It's a party!" one with a big round nose told him.
"Come with us," said an old gray bat.

I can't tell you what happened to the lonely bat after that, but I like to think that he figured out where he belonged. I lost track of him when he disappeared into the swarm as they laughed, gliding above the surf. 

If you want to keep reading you can check out some of my other short stories in this series:

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