Fellow Glass House Press author KristaLyn A. Vetovich and I have been embarking on a story swap journey lately, both of us alternating writing sections of the same story each week. It’s been a riot, playing off of each other’s segments as we built towards the ultimate conclusion.
This idea was inspired by the full moon on January 31st: as a full moon, a blue moon, a supermoon, and a lunar eclipse, we decided our imaginations couldn’t handle all the delight. We had to write a story about it.
Now, today, we’ve finally reached the conclusion. We both decided that it would be the most fun if we each wrote our own sections — concluding this journey in our own ways and getting to see what the other envisioned in it!
If you’ve missed the previous segments, please catch up on them right here:
Part One: Gasp! The beginning! The start! The liftoff!
Part Two: Intrigue begins… mwahahahah. (Also, annoying siblings.)
Part Three: Should we believe it? Can we believe it? Do we want to believe it?
Part Four: There’s… a party? And women doctors everywhere? A blood-red moon?
And now, here, you’ll find the conclusion — but only the one I wrote. You’ll have to jump to Kristalyn’s blog to be able to see her alternate ending (I’m so excited to read it oh my god!)!
Trevor woke up and managed to peel back his eyelids to stare at the ceiling. The sun shone through the window he’d forgotten to shut last night; it looked to be pretty late in the morning already.
There was a thunk, followed by muttering voices. That’s what had woken him, he thought.
He squeezed the bridge of his nose, trying to release the tension behind his eyelids. He wasn’t hungover, but he’d slept like crap. Vivid dreams he could barely remember.
Last night, they’d watched the eclipse, seen the moon turn red… then it’d slowly started turning white again. There was a pretty sizeable chunk of white visible by the time people started heading home or crashing on Sophia’s small living room floor. Trevor didn’t really remember going to bed. He’d been pretty exhausted.
Outside the small guest room he heard the front door open and close, then soft padding feet back to Sophia’s room – probably his sister herself.
He felt funny. Desperately needing water, for one.
With a groan, he rolled out of the bed and grimaced through a dizzy spell. Maybe he had drank too much…?
He cracked open the door and stared down the hall. There was some rustling. Nervous about accidentally stumbling upon someone trying to change clothes or something, he headed to the bathroom instead and drank from the faucet.
Wow, he was really thirsty. It seemed to take forever, and he only stopped because he wasn’t sure he could swallow more without becoming ill.
After rinsing his face in the sink, he looked into the mirror and paused.
His face looked different… gaunt, or something. Shaking his head, he left the bathroom, glancing down to see Sophia’s bedroom door open. He could see the bed through opening; his sister was lying on her back, arm thrown over her face.
He padded down the hallway. “You okay?”
“Yeah. Just feel like shit. You?”
Sophia lifted her arm and looked at him. She frowned, just as Trevor did the same, alarmed — her cheeks seemed sunken, the dark circles under eyes stark. Just like he did, in the mirror…
“We look like crap.”
Sophia nodded minutely. Something passed between them; a tingle that spread down Trevor’s spine. Something was wrong.
The feeling of wrongness only increased as time crept into afternoon. Sophia’s friends who’d slept at her place had left back to their own homes. All looking sick and much too tired. Trevor and Sophia spent the morning cleaning again, almost silently, finally collapsing on the couch.
“Netflix?” Trevor asked.
Sophia pursed her lips, then nodded. It took a few moments for Trevor to convince his legs to work and find the controller to start up Netflix on his sister’s PS3. It was his old one; all she really did on it was binge Netflix and maybe replay epic fantasy games she never finished.
It was hard to concentrate. Which was bizarre, because his brain felt like mush and it should’ve been easy. Instead he kept getting up from the couch with no idea why… pacing randomly… and then sitting down again.
It didn’t help Sophia was doing the same thing.
“You don’t have work today?”
“No, not till tomorrow.”
Trevor attempted to stop drumming his fingers against the armrest. “I’m going to get my phone,” he muttered.
“Oh, get mine too.”
Sighing loudly, he did as she asked, bringing back both devices. Sophia’s was fully charged, but Trevor had forgotten to plug his in last night and it was completely dead. He frowned at that. He was pretty sure he’d been at least half-charge before he’d gone to sleep.
“Think my phone is going shot.”
Sophia was frowning at hers. “Look at this…”
Trevor leaned over to see Sophia’s phone had dozens of messages on them.
“Popular.” He rolled his eyes.
“No, look.” She stabbed her finger on the date at the top of the phone.
It took a second for Trevor to comprehend what she was going on about. March 2nd, the phone read. Her messages were from her friends, alerting her of that fact.
“Isn’t it February 1st? What’s wrong with your phone?”
Trevor’s buzzed, alerting him it was turning back on. He waited patiently, unable to help but glance at the date on his phone too.
“It must be a cell tower screw up.”
Sophia didn’t answer. She was scrolling through her messages. The furrow between her brows deepened as she scrolled.
“Has something happened?”
Sophia pulled up her news app, and clicked on the latest broadcast. Trevor’s eyebrows went up at the title: “A month passes while we sleep.”
The news broadcaster’s voice erupted out of Sophia’s phone: “Scientists across the globe are now confirming that the planet has shifted forward an entire month’s time, leaving us all to wonder: what happened while we slept?”
Trevor snorted. “Wow, the news has really gone downhill.”
A new face appeared on screen, with astronomer’s credentials scrolling underneath his head: “We all noticed that the sun rose earlier and the weather seemed different, but we didn’t really put together what was going on until we noticed the stars. Their positions were completely off from the night before. We started looking at data, trying to figure out what happened… and it doesn’t make sense, but our telescopes have catalogued an entire month’s worth of data in a night.”
The news broadcaster appeared back on screen. Trevor noticed, with a shiver down his spine, that he looked a bit haggard too, even under all that makeup. “Astronomers aren’t the only ones noticing this phenomenon. Computer programmers and modelers at MIT left their machines on last night, and came back this morning to find an entire month’s worth of data had been processed and completed.”
“What the crap…” Trevor muttered.
Sophia abruptly locked her phone and set it down. She stared at the opposite wall while Trevor watched, seemingly without moving. Then she took a breath and seemed to relax.
“Yeah. There’s no way a month has passed, because we’d all be dead: the body cannot survive without food or water for that long. And our muscles would have started to atrophy.”
“You weren’t actually considering…”
“This is like some War of the Worlds crap. It’s a hoax.”
Trevor rolled his eyes. “Trust you to reference a ‘30s radio broadcast.”
“But what are we really thinkin’? Fairies?” Trevor made a dramatic show of leaning back against the couch and staring at his sister as if he was serious. But her expression didn’t change, and Trevor felt a pit grow in his stomach.
“What did you see at the ocean yesterday?”
Sophia was apparently reading his mind, now.
“Something,” he hedged. She scowled at him.
“It was like… a finned… humanoid… fish-person.”
Her eyebrows rose. “Like a mermaid?”
He winced. “Yeah, but kinda scary, and no red hair or seashell bras.”
“So, like a water fae.” His sister’s voice was flat.
“That’s… not… no.” Trevor shook his head, smacking his fist down on the couch. “We’ve got to stop this, this is how the witch hunts began – because people just didn’t know the science behind what they thought was magical.”
“And because politics,” Sophia muttered.
They both sat there in silence. Trevor made himself stop drumming his fingers when he realized that he was mimicking his sister – even her posture.
“Let’s get dressed and go to the ocean,” Trevor said.
“Yeah.” By her tone, she paralleling what he was thinking, too. “Let’s go.”
The ocean looked like it did every day. Maybe a little grey, as it was drizzling on this… March… day.
Sophia had almost her entire face tucked in her coat, her eyes scanning the ocean and piers as they slowly walked. It was almost entirely vacant today; Trevor only saw a group of high schoolers out here kicking at rocks. Apparently school was out.
They went back to the pier… the pier. Trevor stared down at the water, seeing shadows in the water and the waves. They were quiet for a long while, until Trevor swallowed any sense of embarrassment and crouched down.
“Hey,” he said to the water. “We’re here again. Can you talk?”
Sophia snickered. He shot her a look. After howling at the moon last night she had no room to talk.
Sophia suddenly jolted, and Trevor almost had a panic attack.
“Phone is ringing,” she muttered as she pulled it out of her pocket. “Crap, it’s the hospital.”
What followed was a conversation Trevor had heard many times before: Sophia was needed at the hospital.
“Come on,” she muttered.
“I might stay. It’s not a far walk back to your apartment.”
She frowned at him.
“I need the air,” he said.
He could tell Sophia didn’t want to leave him, but she finally did. More because she had to leave more than actually acquiescing to his desire. He watched her little car pull away, and then turned back to the water.
“Okay, she’s gone. Now will you come out?”
Trevor half expected something to happen. He waited fifteen minutes, staring down at the place he’d seen the… sea-creature, before, just to prove it to himself. Nothing showed up.
Satisfied, his shoulders finally relaxing, he took a deep breath. And smiled a little.
He had no idea what just happened with the moon and a month passing in a night and all the rest; he should have been more freaked by this. Something was badly wrong, even his gut was telling him so. But maybe he’d try to figure it out. Maybe he’d become a scientist, or an astronomer, or a climatologist…
Trevor almost leapt out of his skin as someone walked right next to him. It was a young man, probably same age as him, and stood uncomfortably close. He stood and stared down at the water too. Trevor felt the trepidation crawl into his stomach again.
The boy – maybe he was younger than Trevor – flashed him a shy smile. “Hi. I’ve seen you here before.”
What the hell? “Oh?”
Another, shyer, smile. But the vivid green and blue eyes of the boy met Trevor’s for a second, and it jolted from his head to his stomach… and lower.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say. I’m not good at etiquette yet. I’m not sure what offends… or comes across as bad.”
There was something so incredibly earnest and vulnerable in everything about this boy that it almost cancelled out of the alarm blaring in the back of Trevor’s head. Almost.
“Who are you?”
“Tim… moth… ee? Yes, Tim-moth-ee That’s my name.”
It took Trevor a second. “Timothy?”
The boy’s face lit up. “Yes. That one. Thank you for the correct pronunciation.”
Good Christ. Trevor needed to get out of here.
“Okay, well. It’s great to meet you but I’ve got to go, uh. Goodbye.” He started backwards.
The boy’s face fell. “I have frightened you. I am sorry.” He hunched, stared back down at the water, the picture of dejection.
Trevor hesitated. Damn it, he should just leave. He felt a little better, now that he was a few steps away and the boy – Timothy – wasn’t in his personal space.
“How did you see me here before, uh… you live around here?”
A shy nod. “Yes, though… recently moved a little closer.”
Alright, new kid. That might explain some of it. Maybe he just didn’t know ‘social norms’ like everybody else yet. Trevor started feeling bad. He stepped back up to the end of the pier next to him, ignoring the alien-ness that seemed to be wafting out of the boy. I’m a jerk, he thought. Just because he seemed a little different…
“So, what school are you attending then?” Wow, awkward conversation starter of the year goes to…
“Oh, none yet.” The words spilled out of him, Timothy. “I need to be better at… fitting in, first.”
Trevor’s gut cramped. “Alright, I get that. I don’t fit well myself.” What on earth possessed him to say that? Sure, he was the loner of his high school, but he just blurted it out.
“I know. It’s why I… it’s why I wanted to talk to you.” It was spoken soften, like in a confessional. “Maybe you’d… talk to me back.”
Okay, he didn’t know how Timothy knew that, and it was a bit creepy. Instead he just shrugged.
“Well, here I am.”
Timothy seemed to shake himself, or straighten – it was hard to tell really out of the corner of Trevor’s sight.
“Will you take me places? I mean – can we be friends? I’d like to learn… I need to learn how to fit in better, and you’re talking to me. I-I’ll repay you how I can, I mean.”
Trevor turned and looked at Timothy, trying to gauge the kid. “You don’t have to repay me. I don’t know how well I’ll help you fit in though.”
‘Smile’ wasn’t the right word to describe what overtook Timothy’s face – it was more like every part of him lit up.
“I may ask silly questions. I’m bound to, really.”
Trevor shrugged again. “Okay.”
“Can you… promise me something?”
Trevor frowned. “Uh, well. Tell me it first.”
Timothy stepped closer again – uncomfortably close, again.
“Can you promise me that if I do or say something weird you’ll tell me? And explain why?”
Trevor opened his mouth to response flippantly but made himself stop. He thought about it seriously for a moment before nodding. “Yeah, I can do that.”
Timothy wrinkled his nose and practically squirmed in place. It was… cute. “Thank you. You don’t know how happy that makes me.”
“Okay, well. What do you want to do first?”
“Explain to me how to express gratitude.”
Okay, Trevor understood how he got there, but still… “Uhm.”
Timothy smiled widely, almost obscenely so. Before Trevor could really react, Timothy leaned forward and kissed him fully on the mouth, his lips soft but firm before he pulled away. Trevor could have sworn he was straight… but that half-second kissing this strange boy made him doubt it.
Timothy settled back down onto his heels, his green-blue eyes bright as he continued to grin. “Can we see the town first maybe? I haven’t had time to really look around.”
“Uh. Sure…wait. What?” Trevor’s head began to spin and he could feel color rising in his face. “Did… did you just… ”
The obscene smile made a reappearance on Timothy’s face, a little less wide this time. The smile slowly faded into worry as Trevor’s blank look held the awkward silence.
“That was not gratitude, was it?”
Trevor exhaled, fully realizing the harsh heat that had taken over his face.
“It was. I mean, is. I mean…” he stopped. The quizzical, almost crushed look in the face looking at him was…
Trevor had to explain. Somehow.
“Just don’t do that to strangers. Only people you’re really really close to. Like, not someone you just met on the beach.”
Timothy nodded, very seriously.
God, Trevor wasn’t sure he was up to this. “I can… show you — the town, I mean. The town.” What was he getting himself into?
Timothy practically bounced in place. “Where to first?”
Trevor tried to think about what to actually do around here, feeling woefully inadequate. “There’s not much to do… ”
Small beach town… beside tourist crap stuff, it was mostly what you made of it.
Timothy nodded eagerly. “Whatever you think is best, yes.”
Trevor awkwardly turned, thinking about what Sophia might have to say about this… but started walking anyway, Timothy practically tripping on his heels. He watched the strange boy out of the corner of his eye, who skipped really more than walked.
Trevor turned looked at him fully. Timothy turned as well, the movement seeming more like instinct than intent, and a gleam of gold seemed to wash over his eyes, disappearing into the blue-green. Trevor swallowed, hard. He didn’t even have to think about it: how close that color was to the eyes of the creature he’d seen in the ocean. That gold color was the exact same as the creature he’d seen in the water.
Trevor turned away and stared ahead, sightlessly. He wasn’t even surprised, he realized. He’d known. He knew.
“I’m not going to find myself stuck in some time warp, am I?” he asked, half-terrified and half-joking, thinking about fairy hills and the myths of being stuck dancing for centuries.
“Oh, no. I won’t do that to you. You’re being so kind. Besides, that part is over. It was only meant to make sure we had time to get settled.”
Trevor shut his eyes, longer than a blink. “Oh.” His voice was strangled. “Just that then.”
“Yes, just that,” Timothy said, relieved-sounding. “We just needed time. We have to help, you know. To start teaching you… to save all of us.”
Trevor met the green-blue-gold eyes of figure who walked beside him, feeling like he couldn’t really breathe. They were serious, those eyes.
“You see me, yes? I knew you would.”
Trevor swallowed, hard.
“We’re all going to help each other. You’ll see. I want to show you. You’ll see.” Timothy sounded so earnest, so worried.
The sound of their footsteps changed as they moved from pier onto the asphalt of the road leading into town, muffled against the different material. Timothy just kept watching him with wide eyes that were so very, very vivid.
Trevor had never seen eyes the color of the boy walking beside him.
Even then, with stark clarity, Trevor knew he had no idea what he was getting into. It didn’t slow down how headlong he fell into everything that came after.
Well then… there we are. I really hope you enjoyed this journey with KristaLyn and I! It was a lot of fun to write, to be honest. And I’m already thinking about how I might include Trevor and Sophia in future writing journeys.
Please head over to KristaLyn’s blog and show her some love!
And if you liked any of our writing, we both have novels coming out this Fall through Glass House Press! You can best keep up with my updates through my newsletter here, and KristaLyn has a fantastic newsletter as well.
Thank you again for reading our moon-magic adventure!