Magic Moon, page 1
Table of Contents
1. Magic Moon
My mother always told me I was conceived under a blood-red moon, a magic moon. I don’t know what that means, and she never explained it other than to say it was something that happened every few years. What I really think is that she had sex with a man she didn’t know and I was the result of that blessed union. I think she always felt bad that I was a girl without a daddy, but if I’d had a daddy, he most likely would have been some drunken, unemployed lout lying in front of the television, shouting for another beer.
You can’t miss what you never had, that’s what I always say. And I grew up all fine and dandy, thank you very much. In this part of southern Georgia, I went barefoot most of my life, and if I didn’t feel like goin’ to school, I didn’t. But now that I’m a young woman working at Winn-Dixie for minimum wage, I sometimes wonder if I should have paid more attention to my schoolwork. But I’m a free spirit just like my ma and gram, and I don’t take work home with me like some people do. And whenever I need to make a little extra cash, I tell fortunes. Not like regular fortunes. Not with cards or leaves. I hold the person’s hands and look deep into their eyes, and I can see stuff there. Like what they’ve done, and what they will do. So maybe my ma was right. Maybe I was born under a magic moon. But a magic moon doesn’t keep me from working minimum wage at Winn-Dixie.
I’d just finished the late shift and was walking home to my trailer on the edge of town when a peculiar and unexplainable unease settled over me. The night was oddly dark, with hardly a star in the sky, and the air felt so heavy it was almost like being underwater. Cicadas sang, and the fireflies… I’d never seen so many, and they seemed to hover on both sides of the road, almost like they were leading me home. I rounded a bend and saw lights in the distance, and heard music. And as I got closer, I saw a Ferris wheel turning.
A carnival had come to town and nobody had told me. I didn’t recall anybody talking about it, and didn’t recall seeing any signs near the automatic doors at the grocery store. But here it was, in all its glory.
I stepped through the gates, and kind of floated past the lights, all colors, shiny and swirling. I’m good with a gun, so I put down money to shoot targets of smiling clowns. I missed, and I knew the sights had to be set wrong because I would never have missed a shot like that.
“Here. Let me try.” I looked to my left, and there was a young man with curly blond hair. He was the handsomest guy I’d ever seen in my life, and something about him looked familiar. He took the gun from my hands, aimed at the clowns, and hit all three dead center. He won a big stuffed elephant. “Here.” He handed it to me, and I took it. I don’t know why, because normally I wouldn’t have accepted a gift from a complete stranger. But he didn’t seem like a stranger.
“Would you like to ride the Ferris wheel?” he asked.
I looked past him, to where the enclosed cages were turning against the black sky. I put my hand in his. We left the elephant with the carnie who pulled the lever that made the Ferris wheel turn, and once we were locked in the cage, the beautiful young man produced a flower from his pocket and handed it to me. A red daisy.
I took a sniff, and my head seemed to expand and I felt liquid heat run through my veins, all the way to my toes and fingertips. The cage moved skyward, up and up, finally coming to a stop at the peak. I continued to hold the flower to my nose, inhaling as if I’d never get enough.
The boy knelt in front of me, the cage rocking. He reached under my work dress and pulled down my panties. I spread my legs for him, and he slipped his hands under my buttocks, and lowered his head…
I moaned and had an orgasm right there with him between my knees. He stood, and while the cage rocked, I unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, pulling his jeans to his knees. He wasn’t wearing underwear. While he clung to the top of the cage, I cupped him. I took it in my mouth and raked my teeth against him, and he moaned and thrust himself deep into my mouth. I sucked him as hard as I could, like trying to suck that last bit of milkshake from the bottom of the glass. Suddenly he pulled away and dropped into the seat across from me, his fingers locked in the wire of the cage on both sides of us. I kicked my panties free and lowered myself onto him. He filled me. The cage gave a jolt, and we began to move, and I wondered if we’d stop at the bottom and get caught. But I didn’t care, and the cage didn’t stop, it circled and circled and circled, and it seemed that we were the only ones at the carnival, and it seemed I’d known the young man all my life, forever and forever. Everything about him was familiar. His taste, his touch, his scent.
At the top of the ride, he spilled himself into me in a way I’d felt he’d done a hundred times before. But maybe that’s what it was like when you met your true love. Maybe he felt just that familiar.
We finally stopped, and I pulled down my dress and wadded up my panties in my hand while he zipped his jeans. We stepped out, and I noticed that the other rides had stopped, and the lights had been turned off. He pulled me through the dark, across thick electrical cords that snaked through the grass, to a gypsy wagon. Inside, we stripped and tumbled to a bed covered in red velvet. I kissed him everywhere while he moaned and dug his fingers into my scalp. I pulled him up my body, and he entered me. As I clung to him, I looked past his shoulder through the small window and saw a blood-red moon.
I fell asleep, and it was the sleep of the dead. Later, I woke up naked, the sun beating down on my face, the red flower on my belly. I sat up, petals scattering. I was alone in a green pasture. The carnival was gone. Not only gone, there were no tracks left by wheels. There was no beaten grass, no smashed cotton-candy cones. Nothing.
I found my dress and slipped it on, but there was no sign of my panties. I picked up what was left of the daisy and took a sniff. It smelled like a flower, nothing more. And I remembered what I’d seen as I’d looked over the young man’s shoulder. The blood-red moon. And more than that, I remembered the tattoo on that shoulder, a tattoo that spelled Clementine in ornate script. Clementine was my name.
I returned to my job at Winn-Dixie, but I couldn’t quit thinking about the boy at the carnival. I got the notion that my mother had visited the same carnival, and that I’d been conceived that night. But while she’d been content to accept what had happened and move on, I wasn’t willing to let it go. I wanted to find that boy. I wanted to be with that boy. And I felt that he wanted to be with me too. Otherwise, why would he have my name tattooed on his shoulder? He’d been waiting for me, he’d been waiting for the night of the magic moon.
I spent the next two weeks returning to the field, each time with a handful of flowers that I would sniff and sniff and sniff, hoping to recreate that moment. On one of my trips, an old man stepped out from the shade at the side of the road. I’d seen him around, and I heard he was good at conjuring. “There’s a way to stay in that other world,” he said.
I didn’t want to let him know that I knew what he was talking about, so I just stared.
“It can be done, but it takes great sacrifice. You can never return here once you cross over.”
“That sounds a little too much like dying, and I’m not ready to do that yet.”
“It’s a lot like dying, that’s true.”
“How do you know so much about it, old man?”
“Because once upon a time I fell in love and crossed over.”
“But you’re still here.”
“No, I came from the other side. I came here to this existence.”
He began unbuttoning his shirt, just the top buttons, enough to slide it over his shoulder to reveal a tattoo. Mirabel. My mother’s name.
“I don’t understand.”
“I came, but she never recognized me here. She didn’t lo
“And so you spent your whole life on this side, for nothing?”
“I was able to watch you grow up. From a distance.”
“I don’t even know his name.”
“I think I want to go there.”
“You can’t think. You have to know. And it can’t just be about sex. That was my mistake.”
I blushed, thinking about all the ways Michael and I had done it.
“Can I leave a note? For my mother?”
“No, I’m sorry.”
“She’ll miss me.”
“I’ll watch out for her.”
“I wish you could both come.”
“That other place. It’s where people go when they die, isn’t it? That’s what it is, right?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Will he be there? Michael?”
“He’ll be there. He’s waiting now.”
The old man pulled a red daisy from nowhere, and I lifted it to my nose and inhaled the intoxicating scent. The ground fell away. The sky brightened. The blood in my veins began to sing. Panic fluttered. “I changed my mind.”
“Too late,” he said, but his voice was faint. I felt myself swirling higher, and when I looked down, my body was lying in the road, and the old man was standing over me, holding my hand. Above me, the sky turned dark and the moon rose beyond the hill, blood red and full.
I must have fainted, because the next thing I knew, I was waking up in a hospital, and Michael was standing over me, smiling, holding my hand. “We thought we’d lost your for a while,” he said, love in his eyes.
“I was just trying to decide.” My voice was thick and groggy.
“Trying to decide what?” he asked.
“If I was going to stay or go.”
He frowned, as if trying to make sense of my words. “I think you’re a little out of it. You were inhaling that ether like it was a flower or something. That was quite a fall you took. The carnie said the ride was solid, but when that basket came unhooked and you tumbled to the ground—“ His voice caught.
“How long have we been together?” I asked.
“You don’t remember?”
“Eight years. Eight years this October.”
“And your tattoo?”
“This one?” he unbuttoned his shirt and exposed his shoulder. There was my name. “Got that right after we met.”
“Have I ever worked at Winn-Dixie?”
“They don’t even have Winn-Dixies around here.”
I wanted to ask where here was, but I could see the worry in his eyes, and I thought I’d better wait. I began to think that maybe this was the real world, and that other place, the place of my mother and the Georgia sky and the fireflies and Winn-Dixie, had been some kind of limbo. But it had felt real. As real as this.
On the shelf behind Michael was a blue vase of red daisies. Next to the daisies, a pink stuffed elephant. I heard the sound of small feet on a tile floor.
“Mommy! Mommy!” Two blond-haired girls appeared in the doorway and ran for the bed.
Other titles by Paisley Grey
The Secret of Blackthorn Manor
You Put a Spell on Me
Power of Three
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright Paisley Grey, 2011
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Paisley Grey, Magic Moon
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