The Moon, She Sings

Daniel pried his son’s grip from the windowsill. “I told you to stay down,” he said. “It’s not safe.” Gnarled impressions of carpet pressed into Daniel’s bare calves beneath William’s weight. They sat on the floor, William in his lap, tucked in the shadows behind the sleeper sofa. The full moon’s light shone through the windows despite blinds, curtains, pillows, and furniture.

How many days? He’d lost track. More than twenty.

Daniel stroked his son’s soft black hair. William’s breaths were quick, shallow. Emerging from the basement was risky, but Daniel couldn’t see Susan from the basement. She’ll be back soon. His wife had run after Annabelle, who’d escaped. She promised.

William’s feverish, first-grader eyes looked up at Daniel, then kept rolling until white. “The moon wants to see me.” The boy jerked in a near-seizure, back locked in an arch.

“I know son,” Daniel said, embracing William tighter, biceps aching from days of restraint. “But the moon isn’t good for you.”

Isn’t good for anyone. What did they call it? Supramoon. Fucking thing wouldn’t set, wouldn’t dim, wouldn’t let the damn sun come out. Just shine and shine and—


Screams in the street.

Sometimes the screams cut short. Sometimes they didn’t. Daniel couldn’t help but listen to the woman’s long wail—a police siren from the throat blaring an emergency that couldn’t be undone. There were silvery-skinned prowlers in the streets—nightcrawlers snatching moon-fevered children who chased the sky. A week ago, Daniel saw the neighbor’s twins, Reggie and Regina, break through their living room bay windows and run into the streets, heedless of the blood pouring from their arms and faces. The nightcrawlers grabbed the children, whisked them away into the sky, lost in the light.

Daniel spied a dented, unopened can of Diet Coke on the lopsided IKEA coffee table. Snack-sized pretzels and overturned plasticware littered the carpet. They never did get to watch the Superbowl. Did the Seahawks win? They probably lost. Everything was lost. He wished Susan and Annabelle would come back.

No—no more wishes.

Wishes were dangerous. Wish upon a star. Never again.

William squirmed in his lap. Daniel quietly hummed William’s favorite song from Pinocchio. They sat together for a while, William struggling, Daniel humming and clinching until William finally settled, exhausted. But William wouldn’t sleep—couldn’t sleep now. The moon’s lure was too strong. Daniel didn’t dare sleep either. He stared at the Diet Coke. Diet. Susan and her fucking diets. He wanted sugar, but at least the soda had caffeine.

Daniel leaned slowly, carefully, arm outstretched, grasping. The can was just out of reach. He shifted, leaning on one hip. The can spun clockwise against his fingertips. So close.

William erupted violently, flailing elbows and knees. Off balance, Daniel fell backward. “William!” He managed to snag his son’s shirt, but William pulled away, ripping out of it and Daniel’s one-armed grasp.

Daniel froze.

William’s skin shined moonlight. The boy ripped the barricade aside and smashed the window, silver running from the cuts.

“William,” Daniel whispered, terrified.

William turned. In place of eyes, perfect visages of the moon stared at Daniel. Then the boy leaped out the window, squeaky voice singing the lullaby into the night.

Phillip E. Dixon is an English Professor from Las Vegas. He holds an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University, speaks lousy German to his two cats, and spends his rent money on coffee as a good addict should.

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