Tag Archives: blue moon

Omens of the Moon – Part 4: “End of the World Party

So you might have noticed that fellow Glass House Press author KristaLyn A. Vetovich have been embarking on a story swap journey, where each of us alternate writing a section of a story each week.

We were originally inspired because of what’s happening with the moon on January 31st of this year: it’ll be a full moon, a blue moon, a supermoon, and a lunar eclipse. Well, KristaLyn’s and my imaginations couldn’t handle all the delight. We had to write a story about it.

We’ve been building off of each other’s pieces this whole month, and — wow, time has flown! — we’ll each write our own endings on the 31st of January… just in time for you to have your own moon adventure.

If you’ve missed the previous segments, go 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?

… and here we are! Part Four:

 

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“Boy, I am teaching you how to clean after this,” Sophia declared at 1:30 in the morning, stumbling through the door after her shift at the hospital. Trevor came to his feet, the only thing in his head what had happened at the dock.

“You said clean it, not how well,” he answered hurriedly. Passive-aggressive sarcasm was his default mode.

“Don’t be a dick.”

He felt a faint twinge of guilt, pulled into the present as he realized how exhausted she looked.

“All right, well,” she said, throwing her purse and coat across the couch, which was probably once black, but was now more of a grey. “We’ve got half an hour until people arrive.”

“What?”

“Party. Friends. Fellow interns. Didn’t I tell you they were coming over?” She batted her eyelashes.

“Uhm, no.” Trevor felt a little hostile, shrinking in on himself at the idea of having to face people after the day he’d had. He wasn’t about to tell a room full of people what he’d seen in the water.

“Well, they are. And they’re cooking since I’m hosting, which is fabulous, because Maria makes effing amazing carnitas.”

“What is the occasion?”

Sophia snorted, pulling bleach out of a cupboard Trevor didn’t even realize existed. “The end of the world, of course.”

Oh. Right. The eclipse. His mouth dried a little. He’d managed to forget that phenomenon in the face of the water… creature.

They couldn’t be connected. No, they weren’t. These were two separate things –

“You. Here’s the mop. Floor. It’s sticky, and I have no idea why, so it needs to not be sticky anymore.”

Trevor had a mop and two different large bottles of something promptly tossed in his direction, half of which he dropped. Thankfully, nothing broke. Trevor juggled the items and stared at them for a minute.

“Do you need a lesson in mopping?” Sophia put her hands on her hips.

Trevor clenched his teeth for a minute before he made them unclench. “Yesssss.”

Sophia was silent for a long minute, until her lips twitched and then she broke out in one of her signature grins. “Little bro, I am going to teach you so much.”

 

His sister became a whirlwind when cleaning, which made it impossible to interject anything outside of what she was doing. Trevor beat down impatience. His stomach felt like it had a boulder in it, taking an enormous amount of effort to force it up his throat into words.

“Why are there so many damn cleaning products?” he muttered instead.

“Because germs are naughty,” she responded from across the room, somehow hearing him.

She was currently balancing on a chair dusting something up high. Who the hell cared if there was dust up there?

She finally became quiet, after barfing up everything that had happened at the ER that day. It had been a madhouse, like usual on the full moon, but Trevor had started sweating when she’d told him there had been a much higher rate of water related injuries.

Maybe she was quiet because she was thinking about what they’d seen last night, too.

“I went to the dock today,” Trevor blurted.

“Oh! God, I’m an awful sister, I forgot to ask: How was your day? Besides not cleaning.”

The boulder in his gut got stuck in his esophagus and made his voice weird. “I saw something.”

Out of his periphery, he saw his sister turn to look at him.

“What kind of something?”

“Like the thing with fins we saw last night – ”

There was a knock on the door. Sophia’s attention snapped to the door and back to him, expression serious. “Let me get her set up and we’ll talk, okay?”

Swallowing hard, he nodded.

Sophia danced to the door and jerked it open. “Woman! You’re early. I’m still in my scrubs.”

“And you’re damn cute in ‘em!”

“Fawnia! You’re here too!”

Trevor scrambled to try to shove cleaning products away as two women – both stocky, one brunette and the other black-haired and Hispanic-looking – dressed in sweaters and leggings came into the small kitchen, one carrying a bag and the other carrying a crock pot. They were talking a mile a minute as Sophia trailed behind them – how the hell did they have this energy at almost 2 in the morning? – but both stopped as they saw him.

“You didn’t tell us the brother would be here!”

Both women deposited their items on the counter and offered him their hands, beaming.

“Maria.”

“Fawnia.”

“… Trevor.”

“We’ve heard so much about you – I know, very cliché – but it’s wonderful to finally meet you!” Fawnia exclaimed.

Sophia smirked, leaning in the doorway to the kitchen behind them. Great. She’d been talking about him. And knowing her, they probably knew horribly sordid little details about him, too. Sophia didn’t view things with the same level of embarrassment as he did.

“All right, I’ll get you guys set up and then we both need to change and fresh up,” Sophia said, giving Trevor a meaningful look.

His gut cramped. He stuffed his hands into his jeans and tried not to squirm with impatience as Sophia tried to extract herself from her doctor friends. She finally did, glancing at him as she headed down the short hallway towards her bedroom.

There was another knock on the front door. Sophia looked at Trevor with resignation and went to open it.

 

Friend after friend arrived, until the small apartment was filled with bodies, heat, and the smell of good food. Also: alcohol. That came out, which was more than a little interesting to Trevor.

When Sophia did manage to get away to change her clothes, two of her friends followed, talking, so she wasn’t alone and Trevor couldn’t talk to her.

Trevor also had his own issues extracting himself from her friends: as the new addition to the obviously close group, and apparently his sister’s favorite thing to gossip about, he was the center of attention.

He was uncomfortable. But he was also the center of attention of a group of very intelligent, driven, and compassionate women – and they weren’t hard on the eyes. So being straight and, well, you know, interested, he decided a little discomfort was okay. He knew nothing would happen with any of them, but that didn’t stop the pleasure of having so much female attention.

“Are you interested in pharmacy? My dad is head of the one a few hours south of here – I bet I could get you behind the scenes,” one of them said – Carmen? He thought? She had light brown hair and was cute as hell – and towered over him at 6 feet tall.

“I don’t know… that’s the problem, I have no idea…” How could he decide what to put all his energy into when he didn’t even know what he cared about?

“You need to explore! Make your mark! Figure shit out!” Maria pushed another glass in his hand, the second Spanish Coffee she’d handed him. His eyes darted around for Sophia, but she was currently miming something while the two women around her were in stitches of laughter. He had no idea what was happening: she looked ridiculous.

They were mixing all their drinks with caffeine, as some of them were going on 24 hours awake. He downed half of the scalding liquid quickly: it was making the boulder in his stomach go away, and he was damn okay with that.

“It’s starting, it’s starting!” someone bellowed.

Trevor almost dumped hot liquid all over his lap.

Everyone crowded over to the sliding doors that opened to the balcony. This building was freaking archaic, with terrible water pressure and sometimes cockroaches and a hot water heater that went out at times, but Sophia loved this apartment because of the huge balcony and view.

There was about a mile of quaint ocean town between Sophia’s place and the ocean that stretched out like a giant, dark blanket. Above the dark waters, the full moon hung; along its edge, a sliver of rust was forming.

Which god is swallowing the moon? Trevor wondered, before he mentally shook himself. He’d been listened to too much folklore podcasts today. Er. Yesterday, since it was technically the wee-hours of the next day.

He swayed a little where he stood. Haaaa, he needed to eat.

“Okay, that’s cool, this is going to take a while. Food time!” Maria clapped her hands together.

Trevor startled at the abrupt return of conversation that filled the apartment, not realizing how quiet it had been a second before.

 

It turns out, the eclipse takes hours to occur. While the eclipse technically started at almost 3 in the morning (their time anyway), the moon wouldn’t be at full eclipse until almost five. He hadn’t stayed up this late in a while, but between the conversation and the coffee, he wasn’t having too much of a problem. He perched on the armrest of the couch and stuffed his face with food (and another Spanish Coffee – why the hell were these things so good?), pretending he wasn’t nervous as his leg bounced up and down erratically.

Then, somehow, it was almost five in the morning. Sweat broke out on Trevor’s back as he stood on the balcony and stared up at the ruddy monstrosity in the sky. Did the moon seem bigger? It seemed bigger. Technically, a casual observer couldn’t tell that Supermoons were closer, the difference was so minimal. It shouldn’t seem bigger.

Ridiculous name. ‘Supermoon.’

The crimson crept, inching… inching… inching towards completion. He felt his heart race, the silence around him deafening as every eye in the room was riveted. It was so slow – was the moon completely red now? Now? Now? Every time he thought it was, he refocused and saw another tiny sliver of white.

What was going to happen when it was completely red?

In horror, Trevor realized he actually thought something was going to happen. Nothing is going to happen! It was just animals in the water and conspiracy theories and –

An ear-splitting noise exploded in the room.

Trevor yelped, bumping into the railing of the balcony as he jumped. He wasn’t the only one: Sophia’s friends jerked, a few swearing.

It took him a second to realize that his darling sister Sophia had her head bent backwards and she was howling up at the sky.

“What the f – ”

“We have to scare it away!” Sophia cackled. “We have to scare away whatever is swallowing the moon!”

She lifted her face to the sky again and howled at the top of her lungs.

“Jesus Christ,” Trevor muttered, his heart trying to declare mutiny in his chest. Laughter bubbled around him. He wondered how long his sister was going to keep this up –

Maria cupped her hands around her mouth and bellowed at the moon.

“Oh for – ”

Fawnia and Carmen immediately joined in.

“Oh god.”

Trevor covered his eyes with his hand as Sophia and all her friends began to howl, raising a racket the likes of which would probably wake the neighborhood. He shook his head, not able to believe this was happening right now.

His lips started switching. Hilarity bubbled up before he could stop it, and his shoulders quivered with laughter.

Sophia wacked him on the shoulder without saying a word.

“Aaaaooooooo,” he said half-heartedly.

Maria bumped him with her shoulder, repeatedly, with surprisingly violent nudges.

“All right, all right!” Trevor cupped his hands around his mouth, lifted his head, and howled at the moon at the top of his lungs.

Laughter broke out around him, followed by a cacophony of sound that made him laugh so hard he couldn’t breathe. Shivers raced over his skin, down his spine, elation filling his stomach until he felt light-headed.

Trevor howled until he threatened to make himself pass out, leaning against the railing and gasping for oxygen.

They all began to fall silent, one by one. Only breathing and occasional giggles broke the quiet. Sophia was next him, her eyes riveted to the sky; as he watched, her expression melted, turned serious. Trevor felt his skin prickle, something shivering down his spine.

He looked up… just as moon turned blood red.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Hope you enjoyed this segment! Man, it’s been really fun to watch these characters fumble around. Tune in next Wednesday as KristaLyn and I both write our conclusions to the mystery (it’s going to be so fun to see where we both end up!). 

Oh! And in case you’re interested, we both have novels coming out Fall of this year. You might want to hang around and see what they’re all about. (The best way to keep updated on me is to follow my blog or sign up for my newsletter here; you get goodies and exclusive sneak peaks!) You should definitely head over to KristaLyn’s place to see what she’s up to… 

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Omens of the Moon – A Story Swap with KristaLyn A. Vetovich – Part 2: “26 Hours Until”

As I mentioned last Wednesday, fellow Glass House Press author KristaLyn A. Vetovich and I have decided to engage upon a storyswap! We were inspired by the moon on the 31st of this month — it’s not only a full moon and a blue moon, but a super moon and a lunar eclipse as well. Our imaginations went a little wild and we decided it was a little too good to pass up as a story.

The lovely KristaLyn was so kind as to start us out on this writing adventure, the first segment of which can be found here. I’ve taken inspiration from her beginning and continued below…

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Trevor stood on the boardwalk, throwing bits of lint from his pocket into the water, long after his fingers and toes turned numb with cold. Most everyone else had cleared out of the biting weather, with nothing much of interest out here besides the creaking metal and rhythmic waves. Trevor looked up again into the gaze of the waxing moon, deceptively full-looking, until another set of clouds shifted and covered the view. He took a deep breath of the biting air —

And saw her a second before she spoke, barely managing not to jump out of his skin.

“I still don’t know why you come out here.”

Trevor rolled his eyes to cover up the adrenaline surge, refusing to show she got the jump on him. “I still don’t know why you follow me out here.”

“I didn’t follow. I made an educated guess.”

Trevor’s big sister slowly came into view, bundled in a green coat over her bright pink scrubs from work. Their parents continually insisted that she’d been taken more seriously as a doctor if she wore blue scrubs like everyone else, to which she always wrinkled her nose and with eyes like steel said, ‘They’ll only make that mistaken once, not taking me seriously because of a color.’ Her hair was a mess and she looked exhausted, but she grinned when he looked at her.

“You look like crap,” he muttered. “How was the hospital?”

“The usual approaching a full moon. The ER is swamped. They sent all the interns home so we can be fresh for tomorrow, when it’ll be worse.” She reached him, gazing up into the sky like he had been. “Did you know that’s where the word ‘lunatic’ came from? Luna-tic, moon-crazy. The full moon has been making people erratic since forever.”

“I’m not being erratic,” Trevor muttered.

His sister side-eyed him. “I wasn’t saying you were. Though nice defensiveness there.”

Trevor drug a hand through his hair with a jerk. He couldn’t tell by looking at her how much she’d heard from their parent. She was always so good at being impossibly, always, upbeat. Which was misleading, really, because she also had the most perverse sense of humor of anyone he’d known.

Sophia turned back to the sky; some of the clouds had shifted a little and a part of the moon was visible again. “I asked the nurses if the super moon will be worse than a normal full moon, but I got varying answers on that.” She glanced at him, and he stayed mute. She continued: “I also found out today that a true blue moon isn’t actually a second moon in a month; that’s more common than a traditional blue moon, which is the fourth moon in a season. Which is a lot rarer.”

Trevor sighed reluctantly. At least she wasn’t asking about what had happened a few hours ago. “So is this a true blue moon or not?”

“I don’t think it is.”

Trevor smirked. Ha, he thought. It wasn’t even a real blue moon. The ‘doomsday-ers’ were even more wrong.

Sophia walked out onto the pier that was closest to them, and with a groan of effort, sat down with her feet dangling over the water. He made a face and followed.

“Isn’t that cold?”

“Better than standing. My feet are dying.”

“Don’t you have a car you could be sitting in?”

Sophia paused for a beat before shifting back on her hands and staring up into the sky again. “So, traditionally, the full moon was the time that the ‘good people’ came out to enact revenge on us mortals. What mischief do you think they’ll enact tomorrow?”

Trevor huffed. “’Good people’?”

Sophia grinned wickedly. “Fairies. That’s how you don’t offend them, you know. Call them ‘good people.’”

Trevor rolled his eyes again. “You’re ridiculous.”

She suddenly brightened. “Or, maybe the full moon will kidnap someone.”

“What?”

“Supposedly she’s done that before, to people who displease her.”

Trevor wracked his brain, trying to remember any folklore he’d heard about that, but came up empty. The only thing he could remember about the full moon was stuff about werewolves.

“Then again, tomorrow is an eclipse, which is a whole new barrel of fish. Gods will battle, the moon will be swallowed, and we’ll have to scare the monsters away by being as loud as we can.”

Trevor submitted to defeat, sighing heavily as he dropped next to her. Damn, the wood was freezing. And the water licked at his boots, as his legs were longer than hers. It seemed more turbulent than usual right underneath them both, breaking against the wooden legs of the pier in violent crashes. The moon did pull harder on the tides during a super moon…

Sophia smiled sweetly at him when he sat, and Trevor scowled.

“For someone into science, you sure know a lot about ‘magic,’” he quipped.

“I’m multi-faceted, what can I say.”

Trevor hunched against the cold, shivering again. “You didn’t have to come out here.”

Sophia leaned her head against his shoulder. “Yeah I did.”

“You should go.”

She let out a yawn, snuggling up against his side. “I’m good.”

Trevor stared down at the churning water, feeling guilty. He should go home, apologize, make up with his parents, smooth everything over. Sophia wouldn’t go home until he did. She was 8 years older than him, in the middle of her intern year, and swamped with work. But she was always by his side at the drop of a hat.

Trevor’s throat swelled. He kissed the top of her head before he knew what he was doing, and Sophia’s head turned, her eyes wide.

“Did I just get affection out of you?”

“Shut up.”

“You did! I’m so proud of you!” She practically squealed, her arms suddenly around him like a vice.

“Jesus Christ, get off…” Trevor half-heartedly shoved at her, turning his face away to hide the smile.

Before they could react, the water bulged upwards with a rush, soaking them to their knees and nearly spilling onto the pier itself.

Trevor and Sophia bolted to their feet with shrieks. Trevor looked up and down the boardwalk: all along the shore, the water was retreating back from the sudden surge. Panting, his skin prickled, his legs frozen into icicles.

“What the…”

“Good god that’s cold…”

The waves were perfectly calm now, lapping idly around the pier. The legs of Sophia’s pink scrubs were dark, almost maroon, sticking to her legs. Trevor stepped forward a few steps, scanning the water and now shaking with cold.

“Do you think – ”

Sophia’s words stopped with a gasp; Trevor lurched backwards: something moved around the legs of the pier. A long, sheer fin broke the surface, weaved between the pier posts, before disappearing below again.

“What was that?” she breathed, and crouched to peer down into the depths. “An eel? Was that an – holy crap, I think that’s a jellyfish!”

Trevor didn’t know how he’d missed it before — a gigantic jellyfish floated just beyond the reach of the pier, almost glowing faintly in the darkness. Its head was almost as big as a dinner plate, dozens of tentacles disappearing downwards, it’s body a myriad of white, blue, pink, and clear. His mouth almost dropped open. He’d never seen one so big and alive before. He moved forward instinctively, grasping Sophia’s shoulder, ready to pull her back.

The water shuddered … ripples fanned outwards from the bank… across the water, and disappearing against the usual incoming waves. Trevor’s breath froze in his lungs as a series of glowing shapes pulsed in the dark depths, like a response.

Trevor jerked Sophia back, the hair on his body standing on end. “We should go.”

“Yeah, humans who mess with fairies don’t usually end up on the right side of history,” Sophia said, her voice shaking.

“That’s not funny.”

They backed up slowly, holding onto each other, staring out in the dark. Once they reached the edge of pier, off the boardwalk, with land solidly beneath their feet, they both collectively stopped. Both Trevor and Sophia’s breathing was quiet as they stared out, gazes flicking over the dark waves.

Trevor felt his shoulders slowly relax a little as time ticked by. The ocean’s normal grace had returned: saltwater roar, rhythmic ebbing and flowing of the waves.

“There’s marine life that glows,” Sophia muttered, breaking the quiet. “But this close to the shore?”

“Is there supposed to be a storm? Pushing anything inland?” Bizarre things washed up on shore sometimes, but that was usually after a storm.

“Maybe…”

Trevor and Sophia slowly let go of each other. Sophia looked up at him, solemn now. “We should go home.”

The heaviness from the fight with his parents returned with a crash. Trevor clenched his teeth and stuffed his hands into his pockets. “I don’t know if I can – ”

“Come home with me. You can sleep on my couch.”

Trevor’s head came up, his heart leaping with relief for a second. “I couldn’t ask you that.”

Sophia glanced towards the ocean, and trepidation prickled up Trevor’s spine again. Sophia took his arm, pulling him towards the parking lot. Her little car was parked not far away.

“You haven’t heard my conditions yet.”

Trevor narrowed his eyes.

Sophia smiled a little evilly. “I never have time to do anything around my apartment, so this is perfect. In trade for staying, you clean my place from top to bottom. I want it spotless when I get home tomorrow. You’ll have the whole day, because I probably won’t get home until the wee morning hours.”

Trevor groaned, dragging his feet.

She made a little skipping movement. “It’ll be perfect! I’ll get back in time for us to watch the eclipse together! We can both be sleep deprived for the end of the world.”

Trevor made a sound that couldn’t decide if it was a laugh or a snort.

“And, if the world doesn’t end, we’ll work something out until you get your feet under you. You can stay as long as you want, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting a free ride.”

“Mom and dad – ”

“Can deal. You turned 18, you didn’t suddenly develop adulting superpowers.” There was steel in her voice, but Trevor didn’t really think it was directed at him. “You’re allowed to not know what you’re doing, but you can’t just do nothing.”

They reached her car, and Trevor slipped into her car and away from the ocean wind in relief. Sophia was quiet as she started up the engine, her gaze scanning across the water in front of them before she twisted to watch as she backed up.

Trevor was quiet too, stuffing down a different relief that he didn’t have to go ‘home’ tonight. Sophia’s little car picked up speed down the road, and he gazed out the window, eyes drawn to the water. It dawned on him then that the ocean was in sight the entire way to her apartment. It suddenly seemed ominous.

He mentally shook himself. The ridiculous newspaper and far-fetched theories had obviously gotten to him; there was a perfectly rational explanation for what had just happened. Trevor just needed to figure out what it was. His eyes remained fixed to the ocean, annoyed yet unable to stop watching for those glowing lights.

 

… enjoy this segment, curious to see what happens next? Head over to KristaLyn’s blog and give ‘er a follow for the next part this coming Wednesday!