Moon – Part Two
A noise sounded behind her and her hands rushed to cover herself as she spun, sending waves cascading across the pool. Standing above her, a shadow, bearded and terrible to behold, rising out of a bush at the edge of the circle of trees. A step backwards, and another. The shadow tore the bush apart and slid forward, into her light.
Not a shadow, a man in tattered clothes. The moon narrowed her eyes, studying, gauging. The man stood at the very edge of the pool now and began splashing through the water, coming towards her. When he was only a few feet from her the waves and the cacophony receded and all was quiet in the forest once again.
The moon spoke. Who are you to dare gaze upon my nudity? Her voice, thunderous and deep, echoed around and through the trees, filling the forest with a terrific noise. The man spoke not a word. The water glazed and became still as the moon and the hunter watched each other. Leave this pool and this forest behind. I am not for mortal eyes to behold. The man spoke not a word.
He moved suddenly, the wind whistling in his ear and water sloshing around his legs. And the moon moved with him, leaping up and into the forest. And as quick as that she was away, cloaked in darkness, reams of black velvet hiding her bareness from his eyes.
He leapt from the water and took off through the trees. To catch a goddess, what a tale. To capture and to hold a goddess, what a prize. The hunter stood at the edge of the forest and watched the moon fly through the woods. She was a comet, streaking away and through the black. He was fast too, the chase was what he was born for.
Through the woods and under the trees they ran, a deer and a beast. He thought he might catch up to her, thought that he might win her. But she was too quick. Before he could reach her she became nothing more than a pinprick of silver in the night.
He stopped, chest heaving, almost giving up, but the wind egged him on. Catch her before she flies. The hunter shook his head and took off once again, barreling forward, tearing branches out of his way, kicking up dirt and mud with every step. No longer a man, no longer even human, he had become a beast, a dog sprinting through the trees.
They ran as one, the moon and the hunter. Faster and faster they ran, the trees seeming to part before them. The forest was silent as before. Neither the moon nor the hunter spoke. They simply ran until all they knew was running. The gap between them began to close, inch by precious inch, and when he was close enough to almost reach out and grab her, she turned and looked at him. Her eyes were fierce, black diamonds. She said a single word. The hunter did not hear, so focused on catching the moon was he.
His body began to change. The hunter’s blood pounded through his veins. His pounding heart was pumping a river of stone through his body. His limbs became heavier and the moon became smaller. His arms became tree branches, stiff and wooden. The forest closed in around him, the night enveloped him, his vision tunneled and grew dark. His feet began to sink deeper into the earth and lifting them became harder and harder, almost as though they were taking root. But the hunter merely gritted his teeth and forced himself onward, his only thought the silver dot ahead of him.
And then the trees were gone. She was there, ahead of him. Dancing and leaping through the field, bounding away and through the night. His heart beat harder, and harder still. She was so close, and yet his legs and arms weighed him down. Still he ran, staggering across the field of grass, listening only to the wind that goaded him on, never seeing the horizon that drew closer and closer still. His only thoughts were of his moon. He reached out his arm and almost felt as though he could touch her if he only took one more step. One more step would bring him closer. One more step would bring her within his grasp. A final step would bring her to him. He took a step. And then another. And then a final one.
Into the air he stepped. Arm outstretched, he tumbled. The air roared past him as he fell, his fingers clawing at the emptiness of the night. He began to spin, head over heels, and he saw the edge of the cliff where he had stepped his last step. He spun again and saw the ground rushing up towards him. Waves smashed against huge, fanged rocks. He twisted, turning his back on the ground below, turned until he faced the sky. His breath caught. He reached his arm out in a last desperate bid to catch her, but his fingers closed on air.
The night sky was no longer moonless.
No longer feminine. No longer bounding through the woods. Her curves, her grace, her form was gone. She was hanging in the night sky. A great, huge, silver disk. The moon gazed down at the hunter from her perch in the sky, and watched him fall. Watched him crash into the rocks below. Watched him die as the ocean claimed it’s prize. And as the hunter breathed his last few breaths, as his heart beat slower and slower, a smile broke out over his face. His moon goddess would always be there. Lighting the sky and drowning out the stars themselves with her effervescent light. He smiled as the ocean washed him away. After all, she was still a beautiful sight to behold.