Chapter 1

Theo was a typical nine-year-old kid. He liked to read, liked coming home from school, and liked to play soccer. But Theo had a problem: he didn’t have any friends. 

One night, when the sky was black and the stars were bright, he looked out his window, as he normally did before bedtime. And to his wonder, he saw a ball of fire falling from the sky. He popped up off the stool he sat on and pressed his forehead against the window. The ball of fire got bigger and closer as it fell. 

Finally, it fell into a patch of trees only a few streets from Theo’s house. He looked to the left and then to the right. The street he lived on was very quiet. But Theo knew someone must have seen it as well! Being a boy of great curiosity, he wanted to beat anyone else to that patch of trees and see what had fallen from the sky. 

Theo quickly ran downstairs. 

“Dad! Dad!”  

“Yes, Theo?” Dad asked.  

“I saw a ball of fire fall from the sky! It landed in the forest!” 

“You don’t say?” Dad said with a chuckle. 

“I do! I do! Can we go see it?” Theo pleaded. 

“It’s getting late, Theo,” Dad said.  

“I know. But it’s so close.” 

Dad was sitting on the couch. He looked at Mom for approval. Mom nodded and with that, Theo and Dad were off to see what had landed in the forest. 

“Thirty minutes until bedtime you two,” Mom said. 

“Got it, Mom!” Theo said as he ran out the door. It was the month of May so even the evenings were warm enough for Theo and Dad to walk outside in sandals and their t-shirts.  

Theo didn’t do much walking. He ran down the sidewalks on the way to the forest. Dad did his best to keep up, jogging behind Theo.  

And at last, five minutes later, Theo and Dad came upon the patch of trees. A cloud of smoke rose from behind the trees that Dad could see as they approached.  

“You weren’t kidding, were you, Theo?” 

“No…” Theo replied quietly as he gazed at the tree line. There were thick bushes and tall trees but between all of it, Theo could see the slight flicker of a fire.  

Theo started walking forward. Dad quickly grabbed his shoulder. “It’s probably best if we don’t go in,” Dad said.  

“But it came from the sky!” Theo shouted.  

“Yes, and it could be an expensive satellite or could carry some kind of… space… germs,” Dad suggested.  

“Space germs?” Theo questioned. 

“Nonetheless, we should get to bed. Come on, Theo. Let’s go home,” Dad said.  

“But Dad!” 

“I tell you what, Theo. I’m going to call the police and tell them about this. And then tomorrow you and I will come by and check up on how they are doing. Okay?” 

Theo knew he wasn’t going to get his way. He really wanted to see what was on the other side of those trees. But he’d have to wait. And most things in life that are amazing require waiting. 


Theo had to go to school the next day. His town was pretty small so all of the kids in his neighbourhood walked to school every day. However, that day, the kids had to take a longer route. You see, on a normal day, Theo would have to pass the forest that he had seen the fireball fall into on the way to school. But the whole street was taped off by yellow tape and adults, wearing blue coats with the big yellow letters “CIA,” were walking in and out of the forest. Theo tried his best to look down the street and see through the trees but he was too far away. 

The quarantine of the forest lasted a week. It was a very, very long week for Theo. All he could think about, whether at soccer practice, math class or at night, was wandering into that patch of trees and finding out what fell from the sky. At last, the people with the CIA jackets left. 

Theo was walking home from soccer practice after school. It was close to suppertime. He finally was able to take his regular route home: past the forest. He quietly crept into the trees and through the bushes. After a few moments, he entered a clearing where the number of trees lessened and Theo was able to see clearly what was in the forest. A creek ran through the middle. 

Theo couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. He looked and looked but there were almost no signs of a fireball landing there. The twiggy ground seemed to be freshly combed. Lots of trees were missing branches, but you couldn’t tell they had been burning. The scene was no different from how it looked before the night Theo saw the fireball fall from the sky. 

A little discouraged, Theo walked toward the creek and looked into the water. It was probably as deep as he was tall. He looked at the rocks and branches that comfortably sat at the bottom of the creek, unbothered by the slow flow of water. And then Theo saw it… The Orb. 

It was sitting at the bottom of the creek peacefully hidden. At first, it just looked like a larger rock to Theo, but then he saw that it was a perfect circle. Curious, he took off his backpack and his shoes and waded into the water. Soon he was up to his chest in water. He quickly took a breath and then sat down, submerging himself in the cool stream. Theo couldn’t open his eyes underwater yet so he felt around for the Orb. No luck. He stood again. He caught his breath and let the water calm down again. There it was! He thought he had stood right over it, but now the Orb was a few feet away. He walked toward it and quickly dunked himself again. This time he was determined to take hold of it. And he did. He stood and lifted the Orb out of the water. It was as light as a feather. He walked out of the creek and stared at his discovery. 

The Orb was colourless, not grey or black or even clear! No matter which way Theo turned it, the Orb perfectly reflected its surroundings like a mirror. Theo looked closely at himself. His face was distorted from the Orb’s reflective surface. His nose was massive while his chin and forehead were small. Theo chuckled a bit. His body was really small too. He was wearing a green t-shirt with a picture of a soccer ball and black shorts. 

Suddenly, the Orb changed. It had rings of colours quickly flow across its surface. First yellow, then red, then blue, and then green. The Orb stayed the colour green and it glowed. It got really heavy too! Theo struggled to hold the Orb up. He started to bend over from the weight. And then something amazing happened. The Orb started to float. Theo wasn’t expecting this so he fell forward and hit his head on the Orb. The Orb was sent floating backwards and Theo fell over and landed on his back. The Orb started to hum and it shot forward and hovered right over Theo, its colour turning red. Theo crawled backward in fear as the Orb threatened him. 

But then the Orb stopped and seemed like it was staring at Theo. As it noticed Theo’s fear, its red surface slowly turned back to green. It looked like a coloured glass ball but with smoke inside. Or steam or maybe a cloud

Theo stood up and reached out his hand to touch the Orb. The Orb stayed still, floating in the middle of the forest clearing, its green light was faded and dim. As Theo’s hand approached the Orb, it started to turn yellow. Theo pulled his hand away and the Orb went back to green. 

“Hello?” Theo said.

It almost seemed like the Orb was reacting to what Theo did. As if it could feel. The Orb started to spin slowly. It came closer and looked at Theo’s shirt. The Orb turned a slight shade of blue but still kept its usual green colour. 

“You’re amazing…” Theo said. “Do you want to come home with me?” Theo asked with great excitement. 

The Orb swirled a little bit and then bobbed up and down. Theo thought it looked like a nod. With that, Theo ran out onto the sidewalk. He turned back and saw the Orb, who had dimmed its green glow, waiting in the bushes.

“Come on,” Theo said. The Orb turned to both sides quickly. Theo thought it looked like someone shaking their head.  

“No?” Theo asked. The Orb bobbed up and down. Theo laughed. “Come on, silly. You can trust me. 

Theo held out his fist. The Orb just floated there in the bushes. “Pound it,” Theo said. He put his two fists together to show the Orb.  

The Orb slowly floated forward. Theo noticed it wasn’t green anymore but had the same colourless, reflecting, mirror-like look to it as when he had first seen the Orb. As the sun was slowly starting to set, Theo could hardly tell the Orb was there. 

The Orb gently bumped Theo’s fist. He chuckled. “Awesome!” he yelled. “Come on!”  

Theo ran home, full of excitement. 

“Here,” Theo said as he turned around on his front steps. “Let me hold you. I want to show you to Mom and Dad.”  

The Orb made a little screeching sound and sunk to the ground. “No, no, it’s OK. You can trust them. They’re my parents.” Theo couldn’t lift up the Orb but eventually, the Orb became lighter and Theo was able to hold it.  

Theo ran inside. “Mom! Dad! Look what I found!” 

“I was wondering what took you so long,” Mom said.  

“A soccer ball! You’re soaked, son!” Dad exclaimed. 

What? A soccer ball? Theo looked down at the Orb in his hands. It had changed its colour to look exactly like the soccer ball it had seen on Theo’s shirt. 

“No, it’s not. It can float! Look!” 

He threw it up into the air. Only to watch the Orb fall to the floor with a thud. 

“It sure does sound flat,” Dad said. “Should we pump it with some air after supper?” 

“Hmm…” Theo said. “No. That’s okay.”

“How about you get in some dry clothes before supper,” Dad said.

He walked past the Orb toward the linen closet to get a towel. He quickly turned back to see what the Orb would be doing, but it just sat there. Still. Like a soccer ball. 


After supper, Theo brought the Orb up to his room. He closed the door and set the Orb down on his bed.  

“Am I crazy?” he asked himself.  

The Orb hummed and started to float. It changed back to the colour green.  

“Hey! Why were you hiding?” 

The Orb turned yellow.  

“What’s that?” Theo asked.  

The Orb floated around the room for a bit. And then it turned red and lunges forward at Theo.  

“Ah!” Theo yelled. He stumbled backwards but then the Orb stopped and turned back to yellow.  

“Scared?” Theo asked. “Were you scared?” 

The Orb bobbed up and down. 

“Is everything alright in there?” Mom yelled from downstairs.  

“Yes! I’m good!” Theo replied. He steadied himself and walked up to the Orb. He put his hand on its right side. 

“You don’t have to be afraid of Mom and Dad. They’re safe.”  

The Orb turned to the left and right again as if shaking its head. 

“OK, well… I guess you can hide out with me for a little bit while you get to know them.” 

The Orb hummed loudly in a high-pitched town.  

Theo laughed. “You’re funny, floaty ball-thing.” 


The next day, Theo told the Orb to stay in his room while he went to school. But the Orb didn’t like this idea.  

Theo walked down the sidewalk while the Orb floated slowly behind him, reflecting what was around him. 

Theo looked across the street and saw a girl on the other side. But it wasn’t just any girl: it was Carlee. The girl Theo always saw but never said hi to. 

When Theo saw her, he stopped walking suddenly.  

The Orb had looked over too but didn’t notice Theo had stopped walking. The Orb bumped into the back of Theo’s head. 

“Ow!” Theo quickly turned around and saw the Orb, who had briefly turned back to green.  

“Hey!” Theo quickly jumped up and grabbed the Orb and held it against his stomach. “Someone’s gonna see you,” he whispered.  

The Orb floated upward, lifting Theo off the ground.  

“Put me down!” Theo yelled in a brief moment of panic.  

Carlee looked over at the two of them. “Woah!” she yelled.  

The Orb quickly let Theo down and hid behind him. 

“Uhh… hi,” Theo said anxiously. 

“You were just floating!” Carlee shouted. 

“Shhh!” Theo quickly looked both ways and then ran across the street towards Carlee. The Orb followed closely behind. 

“You can’t say anything to anyone!” Theo said. 

“What are you?” Carlee asked. 

“Me? I’m a person!” 

“Well yeah, but most people don’t float, silly,” Carlee replied. 

“Shh! I’ll tell you later, at recess, okay?” Theo started walking.  

“Okay,” Carlee said as she walked next to him.  

The Orb floated next to Theo, on the opposite side of Carlee, so she wouldn’t see.  

The Orb intentionally bumped into Theo causing his arm to nudge Carlee’s. 

“Hey,” she said.  

“Sorry,” Theo replied. He looked at the Orb and shook his head. The Orb bobbed upwards toward Carlee. 

Theo mouthed the word “okay” to the Orb.  

“I’m, uh, Theo,” he said nervously.” 

“I know,” she said. “I’m Carlee.” 

“I know,” Theo replied.  

“Why haven’t you ever said hello before?” Carlee asked.  

“Um,” Theo began, “I don’t know. I’m not good at making friends.” 

“Okay.” Carlee laughed. “So,” she whispered, “how do you float?” 

“It’s not me… it’s a friend,” Theo said. 

“I thought you couldn’t make friends?” Carlee asked. 

“This one’s different,” Theo said as he looked at the almost invisible Orb floating next to him. They were almost at school and he wondered how the Orb was going to hide. 

“I can be different too,” Carlee said.  

Theo looked up at her with his eyes wide.  

“Especially if you teach me how to float!” She giggled and then ran into their school. 

Theo stopped and watched her run, thinking about what she said. And how he wouldn’t have had that conversation if the Orb hadn’t pushed him to introduce himself. Maybe Carlee could be his friend after all. 

Theo quickly hid behind a bush on the school grounds. He made sure no one was looked.  

“Okay, ball,” he said as he looked at the Orb. “It’s going to be a boring day for you because you have to stay in my backpack, okay? People can’t see you.” 

The Orb said “no” by shaking its head again. 

“Oh, come on. Remember the yellow thing? Afraid? Well, I’m afraid the teachers will take you away from me if they find out,” Theo said. 

The Orb slowly bobbed up and down.  

“Cool?” Theo held out his fist. The Orb floated forward and bumped against his fist. 

“Alright, now get in.” Theo took off his backpack and unzipped it. He had a bag of school supplies and a couple of books that he took out to make room. The Orb fit snuggly inside but Theo wasn’t able to zip it closed. 

The first hour made Theo really nervous. He had his lumpy backpack on his back as he walked through the halls, carrying all of his supplies in his arms. And in class, he hid his backpack under his desk so no one would wonder why it looked that shape. The Orb would probably make itself look like a soccer ball if seen, but Theo didn’t want to lie. 

When it came time for recess, Carlee marched up to Theo and his backpack.  

“So, Theo. We had a deal,” she said. 

“Yeah, okay… follow me,” Theo said. He led Carlee to a patch of trees that sat at the back of the school property. 

“Okay, bud,” he whispered to his backpack. “Show her what you can do.” 

Carlee looked at Theo oddly. But then the Orb floated out of his backpack and turned its usual colour green. 

“Woah!” Carlee yelled. 

“Shhh!” Theo whispered. 

“What is it?” Carlee asked.  

“I don’t really know,” Theo began. “I found it in the forest.” 

“Wait. The forest where the meteorite landed?” Carlee asked.

“What? You saw it too?” Theo asked.

“Yeah, I did! I wanted so badly to go check it out but by the time morning rolled around, the CIA was all over that place.” 

“What is the CIA?” Theo asked.  

“’Government people,’ Daddy says. Do you think they’re looking for this… Orb?” she asked. 

“I don’t know,” Theo replied. “I hope not. I kind of like it.” 

The Orb floated next to Carlee and turned orange to mimic her shoulder-length natural red hair. The Orb spun slowly, almost as if it were stroking her hair. 

“I think it likes you,” Theo said. 

Carlee smiled widely as she reached out and put her hand against the side of the Orb. She was two grades above Theo but they lived so close to each other that they usually were walking to school at the same time. 

Suddenly, the bell rang, ending recess. 

“Can we hang out at lunch?” Carlee asked. 

Theo was surprised. He had never been asked that before.  

“So I can see the Orb again,” Carlee said.

“Yeah, sure!” Theo said with excitement. 

The Orb found its place in Theo’s backpack again. The rest of the school day was uneventful.  

Carlee and Theo met up at lunch and Carlee spent the whole time interacting with the Orb, which was orange for most of it. Theo sat watching the two of them: his friends. 


After school, Theo had soccer practice again. His team met three times a week to prepare for the finals. 

Carlee wanted to come to practice so she could spend time with the Orb but she had to go home for a family dinner with her Grandma and Grandpa. Theo made her promise not to tell anyone yet. He still didn’t know what people would say or do. Carlee liked having a secret to keep.  

The Orb sat inside Theo’s backpack, which leaned against a bench on the side of the field. It watched the practice game of soccer very closely. 

But then, Theo was knocked down by one of his teammates, who, at the time, was on the other team. It was a penalty and Theo was given the opportunity to have a penalty kick.  

He stood with his team behind him and the goalie in front of him. He charged to kick the ball, but just before he kicked the ball, it flew forward. Theo tripped and fell to the ground. But the ball soared through the air toward the net. The goalie dove to stop it but then the ball turned in mid-air and flew past the other side of the goalie, scoring.  

Theo’s side of the team cheered but Theo stared at the ball closely. 

Somehow, the Orb had switched places with the real ball and helped Theo score!  

Theo didn’t like this, however. He felt like he had cheated. 

The game soon ended and practice was over. On the way home, Theo marched into the patch of trees he had first found the Orb in. 

“You can’t do that!” he yelled. 

The Orb turned yellow. 

“You cheated!” 

The Orb floated still. The Orb turned green again and lunged upward, imitating the soccer players cheering by making a whooping sound. 

“I know we scored, but not fairly. Don’t you know what it means to earn something? Sometimes you get the goal, sometimes you don’t. It’s a part of the training. Dad taught me that,” Theo said.  

The Orb stooped down and turned blue. It cooed and then floated a couple of feet away from Theo.  

“Where do you come from, Orb?” Theo asked taking note of its sadness.  

The Orb twirled around and turned yellow. 

“You’re afraid of where you’re from?” Theo asked. 

The Orb nodded.  

“And where is that?” Theo asked again.  

The Orb rotated upward, looking at the sky.  

“The meteorite Carlee and I saw… was you?” 

The Orb nodded again.  

“You are from space!” 

The Orb quickly turned invisible and hid behind Theo. Someone was coming.  

“Who’s from space?” a boy asked as he stomped through the bushes with a few friends. They were on Theo’s soccer team. 

“Nobody, Chuck,” Theo said hanging his head. “I was just playing.” Chuck was the team goalie. 

“By yourself? Sounds about right,” Chuck said while his friends laughed.  

“That was a ridiculous shot, Theo. I know you cheated. I just can’t figure out how,” Chuck said as he walked toward Theo.  

“I-I’m sorry, Chuck,” Theo said.  

“Oh, you’re gonna be,” Chuck said. 

“Hey!” Carlee yelled as she entered the clearing.  

“Are you boys bothering my friend?” she asked sternly. 

“Chuck, she’s a sixth-grader,” one of Chuck’s friends said.  

“See you around, Theo,” Chuck said as he and his friends left the forest. 

“Hey, Carlee,” Theo said. The Orb swirled around and floated toward Carlee and greeted her by brushing against her hair.  

“Does that happen often?” Carlee asked. 

“It’s not too bad,” Theo said timidly. 

“I’m sure the Orb would have looked out for you, had I not shown up.” She rubbed the bottom of the Orb with both her hands. Something she noticed it liked when she was on lunch.  

“He’s an alien, Carlee. Told me he’s from space,” Theo said. 

“Well, that part’s obvious! But how do you know it’s a he?” Carlee asked with a smile.  

“He doesn’t play with my hair,” Theo said with a chuckle. “Hey, didn’t you have a family thing tonight?”  

“Yeah, they were running late so I thought I’d come see the place where our alien friend landed. I should probably get going though. Bye Orb,” Carlee said as she hugged the Orb. 

“Tomorrow is Saturday,” Carlee said as she looked at Theo. “You up to anything?” 

“Um, I don’t know,” Theo said. 

“Well, I’ll probably be in here reading or in town at the ice cream shop. You should come find me if you get bored.” Carlee smiled and then walked away. 

“Come on, Orb,” Theo said. “We should be getting home soon too!” 

The two of them hurried home and Theo joined Mom and Dad for supper while Orb floated up to Theo’s room.  

That evening a man came and knocked on the door.  

Theo was in his room listening in on the conversation.  

Dad opened the door. 

“Hi there. My name is Hank Debois, I’m with the Central Intelligence Agency. We recently conducted a survey of a nearby forest. We are wondering if you, or anyone you know, maybe have gone into that forest within the past two weeks and if they may have found anything.” 

“Well, my son and I went to look at the forest a little over a week ago,” Dad began. “He thought he saw something fall from the sky. We didn’t go inside though. As soon as I saw that something had happened, I called the police.” 

“Thank you. A small meteorite fell there. It’s important that anything related to that meteorite is quarantined. Are you sure you have not come into contact with anything related to this event?” 

“No, sir. Everything has been normal,” Dad said. 

“Thank you for your cooperation. Here’s my card. We’ll be in contact should we have any further questions,” Hank said as he walked away from the house.  

Dad closed the door. 

Theo stood at the top of the stairs. 

“Mom, Dad,” he said. 

“Yes, Theo?” Mom said.  

“I did find something in the forest.” Theo held out the Orb who had disguised itself as a soccer ball again.  

“You found that soccer ball in there?” Dad asked.  

“It’s probably not worth mentioning,” Mom said. 

“That’s just it,” Theo said. “This isn’t a soccer ball.”