Moon in Uneventful | World Anvil
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Moon

Long story short...

“The moon is angry” little Sofía said, but everyone in the village knew that the moon was a rock floating around Earth, and if it looked like blood at that time of the year, it was probably due to the rage of a witch, and a powerful one too.   They were wrong, of course. The boy that had caused that change was a powerful witch, but not enraged. He was just curious. He had always wanted to know the villages of the poor magicless ones and that night he had finally found the way to do it. Or, to be precise, he was finally able to use the spell that allowed a witch to look at distant places by using the moon as a mirror that reflected them for him.   While people in that small village saw the moon as if covered by a thick, red layer, he saw the village reflected on the Earth’s satellite.   He could see the rooftops, the cobblestone streets, and the little girl pointing at him… well, not at him: at the mirror.   He kept watching as her mother sent her to play with the other kids, and how she eventually separated from her little group of friends. He saw her walk deep into the forest.   He wondered if that was safe in little villages; it looked a lot like the park in his city, the park in which grown witches wouldn't have been safe, the park in which his childhood pet had been lost for about a year before coming back home with that insatiable, unspeakable hunger.   The trees were in the way but, with effort, he was able to find the white coat a few times. He saw her skipping and dancing, and a couple hours before midnight, he saw life abandoning her eyes.   His own eyes clouded by tears of rage, he saw the neighbors desperately looking for her all over the square, and behind the market stalls, under carriages, in the backyards, even inside the well.   He wished he could have told them exactly what had happened, and where to find the little lifeless body. Sadly, the moon was just a mirror. He couldn’t make himself heard any more that he himself could listen to the heartbreaking cries of the child's mother and father. “¡Elisa! ¡Elisa, please, come here!” “Come on baby, we’ll get dessert, remember?”   Elisa couldn’t hear her parents either.   But they would hear her voice again, the witch promised to himself.   The search party was grateful to notice the moon going back to normal. Better light, they thought, would help them to find the kid soon. Soon.   Before midnight.   Before the morning.   Before it was dark again.   She was, no doubt, in the forest, and they needed to find her before night fell, because they couldn’t risk a little kid going through a second night in the forest.   But they only found her doll in the mud. Its bright red eyes were perfectly clean, but its hair was a disaster—dirtier even than its dress—and its shoes were lost.   It took days before the town admitted that they wouldn’t find her alive. Several weeks before everyone except the parents stopped looking.   A year before even them stopped questioning merchants and even king’s emissaries about what they could have seen in the path. A little girl, small footsteps… Have they been around that night? Oh, Celia was sure she had seen their faces before! Had they taken her little Elisa?   The child’s mother was so clearly broken by her pain, that they were all patient with her, but the villagers were terrified that she would get herself killed, not because of all those people she had unfairly accused, but because she could meet the real monster behind the horrible crime.   They thought that the events of that night—the red moon, the lost girl, the howling of some wolf, even the perfectly normal cold—had been caused by the ire of some witch that the family or the whole village had angered without knowing.   They wanted to appease that witch, not to make their situation even worse, so they convinced the couple to stop their questioning.   Oh! How kind those villagers were with any strangers over the next few years; first in hopes that that was the witch and could forgive them, maybe even let the child go back home. Later, they just wanted to be sure that they wouldn’t upset any more powerful people.   Of course, those travelers weren’t witches—except some of the king’s emissaries. Witches never approached the villages; it was forbidden, and those little settlements had nothing of interest for them anyways.   Eventually, with no more incidents and only an occasional uncomfortable talk with the heartbroken parents, everyone was happy to forget the whole thing.   Even Celia and Rodrigo recovered after some time. They grew some of the best vegetables in the area despite having so little land to work. They sold the production to the king—because this king would buy the food,instead of taking it as payment for all the materials the villages needed to create technology and survive without magic—who was very demanding about the quality of the product.   They could meet the requirements because they spend all their time working the land, tending each plant as they tried to divert their thoughts from that terrible blood moon night.   Some nights, though, Celia would walk down the hall to little Elissa’s room and hold her doll, fix the hair which kept getting matted despite her best efforts, and look with empty eyes at the stained dress. She had cleaned into a perfect white, every day for several years, so the stain didn’t seem to make sense. She never questioned it, she just looked at the darkened spot on the chest and cried like the first day.   “My love, why are you here again?” her husband would ask, reaching to get the doll to put it back on the old bookcase that they had moved from the living room when the girl was four.   “I couldn’t sleep,” she would say, or “I was dreaming about her, she was calling for us, in the forest”.   “It was a howl in the forest,” he would say, or he would just caress her hair without a word.   He didn’t want to feed her delirium by telling her that yes, the cries had woke him up too. He didn’t talk about the way the doll seemed to blink sometimes, and she never mentioned that she had sown two dresses for the doll but they had grown the same stain of the old one.   They really wanted to keep living instead of obsessing over a child that couldn’t possibly be alive. So they kept working hard, and buying pretty furniture. At some point, they had started to organize dinners for their friends and neighbors. If they had had the chance, they would have moved to the nearest city, but the First Queen’s segregation ordinance forbade the commoners from living in witches’ settlements just as witches were forbidden to enter commoner villages.   They continued to live in the same home, because nobody in the village ever sold their lands or houses and it wasn’t safe to invade the forest—many sad stories proved that.   It was okay. With their new wealth and all the technological progress that commoners had to thank the king, the house had changed a lot since that horrible night. If the little girl came back home nowadays she wouldn’t recognize anything but her room.   She didn’t come back.   But she called.   They had just gotten one of those wireless phones; those things that would allow them to communicate with any person they want, wherever they could be, but weren’t really useful because almost no one had one of those artifacts yet so they only used it to call the same people that they used to visit or call with the regular phone.   Nobody really called them to the novel device, so they were delightfully surprised when it rang out of nowhere. Rodrigo took the call. He didn’t recognize the voice, but he tried to guess because it sounded familiar somehow.   “No, daddy, is me.”   He was terribly disappointed on his neighbors. How could anyone think that that was funny? Then it occurred to him that it wasn’t a mean joke, but a mistake. He explained that the woman must have dialed the wrong number, but she insisted.   “No, I didn’t. I just wanted you to know that I’m not… you know, gone.”   He called her a liar and hung up. He was angry then. But as the calls kept happening, and the voice became more and more familiar and told them things that nobody should know, the couple was horrified.   They didn’t understand how could that be possible, but there was something in that voice, in that unknown yet familiar voice, that made them too scared to ask what they desperately wanted to know: was she really their daughter?, where was she?, was she okay?, how was she appearing now unexpected, when it has been impossible to find her while all the village was calling her name and searching everywhere?   She didn’t mention any of those things either, busy as she was asking the only thing she wanted to know.   They would avoid the topic, cry and hang up the phone. Now they were receiving the calls on the house line, because they had gotten rid of the wireless phone after the first week of calls. “You should get rid of the other phone too,” Celia’s best friend advised. “It sounds like it’s a spirit, not your girl.”   “A spirit?”   “You said she keeps asking a single thing, right? Spirits do that. Obsess over a single question that doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s dangerous. Whatever she’s asking, don’t answer. And change your number.”   Celia understood what her friend was saying but, at this point, she didn’t want to give up on what was probably her daughter’s voice. She kept the phone, and continued to answer it, just as she had kept the worn out doll.   The doll. It hasn’t cried in a while, Rodrigo commented. So they entered the kid’s room and inspected the toy. Its eyes, still red moons. The dress and hair were a mess as always. It was bony and lifeless and yet…   “Oh. You prefer to talk face to face?” it asked.   They screamed and ran out of the room. When they looked at each other, in the garden illuminated by nothing but the moon, they weren’t quite sure why they had run all the way here. It wasn’t as if the spirit had just shown up in the house.   It had always been there, looking at them, crying. Bleeding on its new dress, just like their poor Elisa had.   The front door opened slow and quietly.   A dog was whining somewhere, and the moon was getting red, but Rodrigo and Celia didn’t notice those things, their attention was on the doll that walked small steps out of the house.   “Daddy.”   They wanted to run, but they didn’t know in which direction. They hadn’t hugged their kid in so long, but spirits weren’t good things, were they? The only way to bring a real ghost back was with powerful witchcraft, forbidden and too dangerous; the village had no witches, so this could only be a mean spirit pretending to be a ghost.   “Mommy.”   “My baby,” Celia answered despite her certainty.   “Why did you do it?”   Celia shook his head.   “All that matters is that you are here,” Rodrigo said, barely audible.   “No. That doesn’t matter. He thinks it does but it doesn’t. Now tell me, why did you do it? Did I break something? Was I disobedient? Did…!”   “We were struggling!” Celia broke. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! We didn’t have the energy and the resources for a child!”   “But… I was going to grow up. I..”   “Yes, and we would starve to feed you,” Celia accused.   “I could have eaten less. I could have worked…”   “O please, you were a child. Even if…!”   “But that wasn’t my fault!”   “It wasn’t our fault either!”   “But there has to be something that I did. I… I asked for more food, is that it?”   “Not, but you had to eat.”   “But… “   “Elissa, my love,” her father said, “sometimes it's just not your fault, sometimes things… happen. It’s nobody’s fault.”   Something growled in the garden, so fierce that they had to look towards the sound. They found a putrid creature, some sort of monster trapped in a dog’s body, that growled at them as if saying it had been somebody’s fault. As if saying that it was time to pay.   “So, I did nothing bad?” the doll asked, finally sounding exactly as Elissa used to. Celia sobbed.   Rodrigo shook his head. “I’m sorry.”   “It’s okay daddy. Mommy. I forgive you,” the child said. As the light left the doll’s eyes, the reflection of the moon took over them, this time for good.   It was a white, full moon, because the witch wasn’t watching anymore; neither he used magic to listen to what his pet was hearing, or to make the creature attack the criminals he had seen killing their own child all those years ago. If the little girl was ready to forget and move on, he could do it too. He had spent a lot of time giving her closure, and now he had to try and live what was left of his own life.   He didn’t bother to call his pet, though. It would probably be fine, since whatever the dog had caught in the park didn’t care about humans killing other humans. And if it killed the couple before remembering that it could only feed on the magic on its owner… well, apparently some things were nobody’s fault.

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