Sam has always wanted to be an astronaut. He says he even knew it when he was a baby and ironically, his first steps were actually more like ‘one giant leap’.
He’s 9 now. So that’s 9 years of longing. Nine years of dreaming and 8 years of eating packets of dehydrated space food (it wasn't available before he was 1).
Felix who lives next door, is the same age as Sam and just as mad about Space, but with a difference. Felix’s dad is an ACTUAL astronaut.
“So? Are you ready to see the spaceship today Felix?” asks his dad as they leave the house. “Dad, I was ready like weeks ago, when you first told me!! Hurry up, get in the car”. Felix’s dad laughed and waved over at Sam on his front step who had been listening to their chat. Sam nodded, waved at Felix, turned round and slowly climbed the stairs to his bedroom. He didn’t notice his dad by the window in the front room who had also heard the conversation.
His dad waits for Sam to disappear, then picks up his phone… “Hi Dad, it’s me……no he’s not ok...yeah Felix just left. Why couldn't I have been an astronaut Pop? All Sam gets is an unemployed joiner for a father! …… Bless him! He’s gutted …… what? …..answer the door? What do you mean?” There’s a knock at the door. It’s Granddad.
“My boy, it’s time to make Sam’s dream come true, would you give me a hand with something?”
Now Sam’s granddad is what you would call a quiet man, he’s never quite been the same since his grandma left for space a couple of years ago.
He used to work as an engineer designing fighter jets but now he just sits in his workshop and makes toy ones. “That’s it!” said Granddad, straining under the weight of this bulky object he was carrying under a dirty sheet. “Lovely! Just put that down there!”
“Now, you go get Sam, and meet me in the shed in 5 minutes” said Granddad as he dragged another dusty sheet over to join the pile”.
Sam’s dad knocked on his bedroom door…. “If you’re not Neil Armstrong, then I'm not coming out” said Sam in a quiet voice.
“How about if I said, you’re granddads here?” replied Dad. Sam ran to the door, opened it and shouted “Granddads heeeeerre? …Where?”
“He’s in the shed! ….. He’s got something for you!”
Sam’s legs couldn't carry him fast enough. He ran to the back garden towards the shed and bursts in through the doors! He stops dead in his tracks.
“So!” said Granddad, “Are you ready to see your spaceship?”
Granddad threw back the sheets ……..and even though he’s over done it with the smoke machine ….Sam could just make out the letters - ‘SATURN V MOON ROCKET’. Granddad’s hands were covered in plasters, and he had tears in his eyes. Sam knew why. He wanted to go to space too.
Entries for 500 Words 2018 have now closed. Thanks to everyone who submitted a story.
Let your imagination run wild
The Duchess of Cornwall
Check out the wonderful prizesthat you could win at the 500 Words Final, live on the Radio 2 Breakfast show on Friday 8th June.
Before submitting a story please read our FAQ and Rules pages. Please be aware that we are unable to send you a copy of any submitted stories, so make sure you keep one.
WHO CAN ENTER 500 WORDS?
500 Words is open to any child who is aged between 5 and 13 years old on 8th June 2018, and is a full time resident of the UK.
Chris Evans created the competition to celebrate imagination and creativity - not spelling and grammar! - so all children of all abilities are invited to enter.
HOW TO ENTER
We can only accept entries that have been submitted through our online form, using a registered 500 Words account. Parents, guardians or teachers can create a SUBMITTER ACCOUNT HERE
Entrants must follow steps 1-6 on the submission form to save their story as a draft, before submitting.
Please don't leave registration to the last minute! Entries are open NOW until 7pm on Thursday 22nd February.
Stories can be copied and pasted into the submission form within the account (please read our Rulesregarding this) or stories can be saved as drafts along the way.
Teachers can also save a whole class worth of drafts onto their account at once using our handy multiple uploader tool! Once happy, these can all be submitted simultaneously.
If you are submitting stories but would also like to apply to be a judge, it's best to register for a JUDGE ACCOUNT as this account will also allow you to submit entries.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Once stories have been submitted entrants will be able to download a 500 Words certificate to celebrate their achievement!
We'll be in touch in March to let submitters know whether their stories have made it through the first round of judging.
All entrants will be entered into a random ballot to receive tickets to attend the 500 Words Final at Hampton Court Palace on Friday 8th June!
Get writing, and good luck!
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