Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Prompt: Angels in the Full Moon's Light

Cherie saw her first angels when she was eight. Her Daddy made her take the kitchen trash bag out to the garbage can on the side of the house because she pushed her brother and pulled his hair, even though he deserved it. And it was dark and she was a little scared, but she was too mad to admit it. She walked out the bag door, hoisting the drooping bag up high so it wouldn’t drag on the ground and tear. Even though she couldn’t see the moon rising on the other side of the house, she was grateful for its bright light.

She came around the corner and saw wispy clouds in front of the moon, floating low, right over the street in front of her house. But they weren’t clouds. They were angels, with long gowns and big wings stretched sheer and shimmery white with the moon shining behind them. She dropped the bag, and one heard the noise. It whipped around to face Cherie and reached its hands out toward her. She screamed and ran back around the house.

Inside, her Mommy and Daddy told her she imagined it. Daddy carried her outside, crying against his shirt, and when they came around the corner, she felt his free arm lifting up. “See, honey? It’s just clouds. What an imagination you have. Come on, be my big girl and help me get the trash bag in the bin.”

He waited until she sneaked a quick peek, then looked around indignantly for the angels she was certain she had seen moments before. Her brother teased her for weeks until he forgot about. Cherie didn’t tell anyone else. But she knew what she had seen.

She lay in bed that night and for many nights afterward, squeezing her eyes shut and trying to remember every detail of their shape, the light through their wings, the beautiful face that had turned toward her. She looked for them every night, but she didn’t see them again, and after a few weeks, a few months, the memory faded and she put it away. Until she was ten.

Backyard campouts became a tradition that summer, and Cherie begged for one almost every night. They had Cocoa by then, 60 pounds of happy lab. Cherie insisted that she and Cocoa could stay out on their own, and after a few uncomfortable nights on the ground, Daddy agreed. It was a full moon, so bright that Cherie didn’t even need her flashlight to read. The neighborhood settled into quiet, and she snuggled down with Cocoa, watching the clouds drift past the moon through drooping eyelids.

Between one long blink and the next, the clouds were angels. Cherie held her breath and gripped Cocoa’s ruff. The angels looked exactly like she remembered them. She felt triumphant with the knowledge that she hadn’t imagined them before. She watched them drift, ghostly and beautiful in the moon’s light. With a flash of insight, she realized it was the full moon, somehow, revealing them. Then Cocoa looked up and leaped to her feet, barking her deep alarm bark and ruffling the fur along her back. They disappeared. Cherie wanted to cry. But she knew what she had seen.

From then on, it was a matter of patience. Every full moon, Cherie watched for them. She didn’t see them often, maybe once or twice a year, and never for more than a few seconds at a time. After that first time, she never saw one of them look directly at her. But they were there. They were real.

The summer she turned seventeen, she started to see them more often, maybe every three or fours months. What possessed her to try to catch their attention again? She was sure they would disappear. But maybe, just maybe… What? She didn’t know, but she had to try.

It was a full moon on her nineteenth birthday. Cherie had a feeling, stronger each time she saw them, that she had to reach them somehow. Her mother made her favorite dinner and a birthday cake. Her brother even bought her a cool new CD. Her friends took her out to the summer blockbuster movie, and she was home before midnight.

She sat on the back deck steps, looking up at the clouds drifting past the full moon. She closed her eyes in slow blinks, which often seemed to help her see them. There. Floating above. Looking down at her. Smiling so beautifully. Reaching for her. Cherie stood and reached her hands above her head as if she could touch them. They drifted lower and lower over the back yard, brushing the treetops, reaching down.

And suddenly, belatedly, she wondered if they were angels.

Dogs in house:

Henryk Gorecki: Symphony No 3 / Three Olden Style Pieces

Time writing:
35 minutes

April word count:


  1. Prompt: Angels in the Full Moon's Light

    Martha crawled to the top of the boulder and peered over. Raymond, at the boulder's base, nodded at her. Just as he had said, there was some kind of gathering in the clearing. It was a strange mix: a young labourer from one of the outlying farms, the apothecarian, the mayor's daughter, an old woman Martha almost recognised, and more. She could not guess what all these people might have in common.

    She slid back down to sit next to Raymond. "Now I believe you."

    Raymond shrugged, though even in the moonlight, he could not hide his grin of vindication. "So, what do we do now?"

    "You brought me here," Martha said. "What do you normally do?"

    Raymond shrugged, and this time it was a real sentiment. "I keep wanting to watch them, but I always fall asleep."

    "Truly?" Martha asked. "That is odd. Here, let's keep each other awake." But even as she said it, she felt her eyelids growing heavy.

    Raymond poked her. Then he yawned.

    "Let's climb up," Martha said. "We'll fall if we sleep, then."

    Raymond followed her up the boulder. The crowd in the clearing were now sitting in a circle holding hands. There was a strange sheen around them, almost like a second set of overlapping hands, or wings. But that could not be right.

    1. Nice scene staging! Raymond's shrugs/sentiment were a little unclear, and a little rough on why Martha thought it would help if they climbed up and would fall (their getting sleepy didn't seem to be voluntary). But, first draft, no worries. Nice touch w/the wings at the end.

    2. Thanks. This one was a bit scattered in my mind, so I'm pretty happy anything halfway sensible made it out...

  2. Creepy! I got actual shivers. I like the detail of the slow blinks.