Tag Archives: moon folklore

Omens of the Moon — FINAL CHAPTER of the StorySwap Adventure with KristaLyn A. Vetovich!

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!)!

 

22

        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.

        March 2nd

        “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.”

        “Huh?”

        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.”

        Sophia smirked.

        “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.

        “Uh, hi?”

        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! 


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:

 

22.png

 

“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… 


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!