Campfire – Kerry

The flames flicker brightly, crackling under the cool light of the full moon that bathes the forest in the dark of night. The warmth of the little fire before me radiates outward, staving off the chill of the night. The forest surrounding my little camp is dark as it encroaches on the small safe place I’ve made beneath the ancient bows of the trees. This is but another night in the string of many that I have spent outside, alone, since leaving home.

A feeling of deep loneliness comes over me and I hug the blanket around me tightly as I force the lonely thoughts back. It’s not as if I’ll never see them again. And it’s not the first time I’ve left my parents to explore the world of wonders and magic. No, I will return, I just don’t know when the next time will be.

The fire pops, stirring me from my thoughts and I stretch a hand out to the pile of old logs beside me, selecting one and pushing it into the hungry flames. The fire greedily consumed the dry peeling bark of the thick stick, welcoming it into the pile of blackening bones it’s creating. I feel like I’m on an island of light, and everything the glow of the fire touches exists. All other sounds drop away and it’s as though I’m floating on the sea, a very black sea.

I look up and glimpse the full moon peeking through the claw-like hands of the trees above. The fullness of it entrances me, pulling my thoughts from the forest around me, up into the endless open skies beyond the trees. My physical self drops away and I feel summoned, flying up to meet the moon.

Its light glows on my skin as I fly through the night sky. The wind whips through my hair and the ground fades from view. I close my eyes as a smile spreads on my face. Flinging my arms wide, I spin through the open sky, hurtling upward to meet the moon. Her light becomes blinding, even through my closed lids and I turn away, only to find myself suddenly standing on hard ground.

I open my eyes, looking around at the light two-toned marble floor beneath my feet. I stand in my loose black pants and black shawl in a daze. How did I end up here? Where is here? I look up, expecting to see the moon, but before me stands a tall, slender woman with raven black hair. Large teardrop stones hang from her ears like twin moons. Her eyes glow like the moon itself, pale grey and iridescent. I find myself lost in her eyes.

As she moves, the shimmering silver dress she wears ripples with each step, accentuating the curve of her slender frame. She walks toward me and, from the air she carries herself with, I wonder if I should be bowing in her presence.

“Daughter,” Her voice rings, filling the hall with the sound. I don’t feel like she spoke loudly, but her voice echoes through the grand marble hall as though amplified. “It is good to see you.” her long face and elegant features brighten as she smiles.

“Daughter?” I repeat, confused.

“You are of the rite, are you not?” She tilts her chin, knowingly.

“Y-yes,” I stutter. I feel as though I’ve been caught off guard. But that still doesn’t explain… “Pardon my rudeness, but, who are you, exactly?”

The beautiful woman laughs and the hall reverberates with the delightful sound. “It is rare for those of the rite to set eyes upon the one they revere. Please, do not be alarmed. I am the moon.” She smiles, and the view embraces me like the welcoming arms of a mother.

I stand there in shock, my voice stolen from my body. She is the moon?! But… How?

“Now, as to why you are here,” She begins.

“But, I don’t even know how I came to be here!” In all honesty, I had no idea I could even fly to the moon, let alone see her in person.

“That, my daughter, is the magic of it all. There is a great many things you can do that you are not yet aware of. It will come in time. But here you are, standing before me in the flesh as you did all those centuries ago, and I have need of you.” She explains softly, as though to a panicked child.

Much of what she says confuses me and I feel a million questions bubble up from inside me. Which to ask first overwhelms my thoughts, but they are instantly dashed as she addresses me.

“Kerry, much is happening in the world around you. Although you may be unaware of it, you are very much apart of it. Your role in all that is about to unfold is crucial to my survival, to our survival.”

I feel the weight of her words, crushing down on me as if she were passing me the moon herself to hold up. “Me? But… how? Why? I don’t understand.” I still have so many questions.

“It’s alright if you don’t. You will come to know in time, but I am asking you now, will you help me? It is important that you answer me this. Dark days and darker nights are coming, and without you, there is very little hope of surviving this storm.” Her eyes glisten as she stares down at me, unblinking.

“How can I help you though? If you really are the moon, don’t I draw my power from you? How can I help you?” I ask her, confused by the daunting urgency of her tone.

“You may draw power from me, but without you, I am powerless. You and many others are the source of that power which you hold, and you, my precious daughter, are a cornerstone of this power. Your bloodline has ensured this. I cannot express enough that this will all make sense in time. I cannot tell you everything now, as time is limited. Please, will you help me?” A worry shows in the corner of her eyes and it pains me to see her beautiful face wrinkle with dire concern.

“Of course! Whatever I can do, whatever it is you think I can do, if I can, I will! I will help you!” I call out, reaching for her with my open hands.

Her smile returns and it brings me joy to see it upon her glowing face. “It relieves me to hear you say the words. That is what I needed to hear. Kerry, please, don’t forget those words. When all seems lost, and darkness prevails, please remember those words.”

Her light dims before my eyes and I step closer with alarm. “Wait! What do you mean? What i coming? Why do I need to remember? Please!” But my pleas fall on deaf ears as the floor drops away and the light fades from my eyes and it feels as though I am falling toward the earth at an unprecedented speed.

The wind sucks the scream from my lungs as the ground comes rushing at me. I fear the impact as the trees come into focus and I see the faint flickering glow of a fire. I squeeze my eyes, unable to calm my racing heart. Surely I will die!

I fly through the dark trees and I bolt upright, inhaling sharply as my eyes snap open with alarm. It takes a few moments and many more breaths before I am aware of my surroundings. The fire crackles weakly, dim from the lack of fodder. It seems as though many hours have passed me by. Did I… fall asleep? I scan the edge of the forest, confirming that I am still alone. A light breeze blows through the trees and causes me to pull the blanket from around my waist back over my shoulders, seeking cover.

I tilt my head up and see the moon glowing above me. What that a dream? With magic, it is so very are to tell… perhaps i’ll never know. But, if what I remember is true, the Moon needs my help. Something caused me to leave my quaint home so soon after returning, and I must find out what that is. I vow on all the powers I command, I will survive this. I will help our mother moon survive this, whatever this is.

I add another log to the fire and crawl into my sleeping roll, sighing with the warmth of the flames and the coming of dreams. Maybe the answers will come as I sleep. Tomorrow is a new day with new adventures to behold. I eagerly anticipate the arrival of the sun as sleep enfolds me in his gentle arms.

By Kayla West

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