“Goodbye?” I cry. “You’re leaving the sky?”
The moon replies, I’m seriously considering it.
“But, the night!” I protest.
Can get along without me. There are still the stars, after all.
“But, the tides!”
I’ll find a replacement satellite. Your planet’s waters won’t know the difference.
“But… but…!” I’m running low on arguments. “What about me?”
The moon’s song turns sad. I know it will be hard…
“Not hard,” I say. “Impossible. Some days, you’re my only light in the darkness. Some days, yours is the only beauty that can reach me. Without that… without you…” Tears ambush my eyes. “How can I last the night?
“Look. I get it. Burnout is a thing – even lunar burnout, apparently. Maybe the rhythm of the heavens is no better than the human rat race. Maybe you need a vacation. And you’re welcome to it! Hideout for a cycle or two. Make my attic your rehab retreat. But it can’t be forever. Please.”
Bawling seems a little more dramatic than I’d planned, but here we are. Blame it on the lateness of the hour. Everything’s awful at two a.m.
The moon’s soft light is like a stroking hand, attempting to soothe. Its music is all shushes and coos.
Suppose, it says at last, we can reach a compromise?
Compromise. Noun. That thing where nobody wins.
Suppose I leave the sky, it muses on, but not your sight?
I sniffle back another sob. “How would that even work?”
Open your eyes.
I do, and move to swipe the tears away, but the moon’s light stops me. It’s brighter than ever. Insistently so. More tears well up against the glare, but never get a chance to fall. The light is pushing back. Pushing… in.
“Personal spaaace!” I wail. “What are you doing?!”
I don’t get an answer. I rub at my eyes, and the huge glowing crescent is gone. Yet, the nighttime attic around me hasn’t dimmed.
A whisper inside says, Look in the window.
Not out the window. In.
There in the glass, my ghostly reflection. And there in my eyes…
To carry with you, says the whisper, through the dark. I will not leave you, my child.
“Wow,” I say, because wow. “But… what about finding that replacement satellite?”
The whisper sounds like some extraterrestrial cuss. Maybe it’s not too late to get a message to Pluto and Charon. Up on the roof, love, and blink exactly as I tell you…
For the end of the story, this seems an awful lot like an incredible beginning.
Enjoyed what I wrote? There’s loads more where that came from! Browse the DEShipley catalogue, why dontcha – including my latest release, “The Marriage of Allyn-a-Dale (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book 2)”. Already read it? I’d greatly appreciate your review!