The Moon Over the Mountain
A Summer day, Cassidy Crescence is determined to climb a verdant, broccoli-bundled mountain,
To catch a recherché, full moon emerging from the rounded peak hours before dusk.
Today celebrates her tenth wedding anniversary;
She has promised the moon for her husband, her soul mate,
Who shares an avidity in the mysteries of space & beyond.
The sun begins its descent into a dipping valley opposite the mountain,
Still, there is enough vigor to guide Cassidy’s long, pencil legs up the rotund base like a Threading needle.
The further she ascends, the evergreens agglomerate and thicken.
Sunrays find trouble extending through robust leaves that
Seize the beams of guiding light for themselves.
After puzzling in circles for an hour,
Cassidy loses herself inside the belly of the intricate, deceitful forest.
The compass in her mind gyrates out of control.
Her Sea Blue eyes race between the trunks,
But every way bears a resemblance to the other.
She surrenders, supine, in the dead leaves, studying the gaps in the leaves that reveal a darkening cyan sky;
She thinks about her husband, his bold, brown eyes, thick, auburn hair, granite smile,
Wondering why Cassidy is so late from getting out of work.
The sky has toasted and transitioned to a starlight escape, Cassidy still lies face up,
Listening to the owls call out, the wolves crying in the eve-
The echoes of crunching twigs and leaves, snapping a trailing thought of blue serenity.
Fire grasps her attention, a lantern in the distance swings like a pendulum, hypnotizing her eyes.
Cassidy squeezes out a shout through her pulsating windpipe,
“Is there anybody out there?”
But there is no response; she fervently wanders toward the light,
Brushing the leaves out of her dangling, umber locks.
Beholding, is a four foot shadowed humanoid creature behind a mask of twisted bone
That spirals up and flattens above its head like antennae.
Carved into the bone plate are two tiny slits for two beady, dots that the fire reflects upon.
The mask lacks a mouth hole and pointedly extends to the creature’s collarbone,
It stands like stone in a, deerskin-strapped jumpsuit,
In one hand, it grasps a majestic, ironwood rod,
The other holds a crosshatched, wire lantern with a tiny white candle inside that seems to light more around than it should.
The wooded creature bows in her presence, then looks up to the sky,
The pause is wrenching, and Cassidy breaks the silence,
“Who are you?”
The mask gradually lowers back down and the creature closely speculates Cassidy.
It swings its lantern forward, for her to follow and she complies without question.
She looks up to the moon, impossibly higher than ever, but unusually larger in retrospect.
Passing bulged formations of rock, and fallen pines,
They slither & step over obstacles scattered in the woods until the air is thin,
The air is cool, the air is the stars.
A lazy floating fog around the vicinage gracefully formulates
In front of the maestro with the lantern into a spiral stairway.
Without looking back, it climbs up, up, up, above the mountain, where daring birds soar.
“Wait for me!”
Cassidy plants a foot on the first cloud step, but her it falls through.
She looks up, perplexed, seeking an answer, but the lantern vanishes,
The clouds in front of her dissolve in a sudden gust of whirling wind.
Like pulled back drapes to a window, she is given sight to her surroundings.
The woodland creature has led her to summit of the mountain,
Every star, the milk spilled galaxy, the blackness in between is vivid,
And the moon is up close.
But now Cassidy is more lost than ever on top the mountain,
Still without the moon for her husband, and no route to make it home from here.
She sits on a mound thin grass, throws her face in her palms,
And begins to cry at her hapless fortune and doltish ideas.
Tonight, Cassidy has abused their anniversary beyond reasoning,
She pictures her husband somberly pouring glass after glass of her favorite Riesling,
Drinking himself out of shame,
Staring out the window with melted eyes.
She weeps below the moon, on top the world.
“I should have known better…”
A string of heated tears trickle to fall under the strict laws of gravity-
But, this time, they fall up. Three special, sparkling droplets rise to her eyes
And flutter into the night like bats of diamond,
Migrating towards the moon.
She swiftly rises, and watches the tears fly beyond her sight,
Then disappearing amongst the twinkling lights, she hopelessly sighs.
“Now I must have gone insane.”
After an anxious minute, she kicks at a loose pebble.
The moon in full jiggles from its place.
Then it shakes left to right, right to left,
Cassidy falls back in shock back on the grassy mound.
An invisible weight holds her down, as if the blades of grass
Have bloomed into thorny vines, and wrapped their barbs into her skin.
The moon vehemently quakes, she flails her head around, trying to free her body.
Then it drops.
Cassidy cuts into a bewildered scream, the Earth under her feet spins a little faster.
The moon quickly grows larger and larger,
Its pocked smile turns into a monster with intricate, jagged fangs, readied to devour her and everyone.
The moon’s mass replaces the sky.
The mountain is serenaded in an intense luminescent, glow.
She searches around for hope. An escape. A cave between two rocks.
The weight from her is suddenly lifted. She springs up on her pencil legs,
And runs for her life, transgressing from unknowing abyss,
To nothingness, Sight dividing white to black.
Cassidy blindly rushes as far as she can until-
The world quavers, as if jabbed in the temple for the knockout;
The moon has struck the mountain.
A deafening boom steals sound, everything jerks to a rigid halt,
Cassidy’s body is thrown against a wall, white light surges into the cave.
She feels the blood rampantly spill from her head and fingers.
The next five minutes are a continuous roar of rock punching rock,
Sad groans from the Earth, the ground underneath diverging into fissures and swallowing Falling debris from the ceiling.
She lies on her side, cheek on the floor, stiff with fear.
Nothing matters when the world is ending and dreams from the sky drop and die.
Cassidy embraces the Earth. She prepares to be expunged from that of what she destroys.
That white light seeping into the entrance cracks and divides by the knife of darkness.
The moon wall releases a high-pitched piercing, din.
Spider- webbing cracks crawl up from the bottom.
Then it disintegrates, splintering, crumbling away into a billion snowflakes.
Everything flicks to a hollow black and all is silent, except the echo of ringing.
Cassidy heaves and coughs, struggling to intake dust laced oxygen,
Though sightless, her other senses are miraculously functional.
She smells the soil packed up her nose, tastes the fresh blood on her lips,
Strokes loose grit beneath her fingers, hears a soft sobbing behind her.
Cassidy reluctantly pulls her sore body to a knee from the floor and peers back.
Deeper in the cave a fire light coruscates along the walls.
She stumbles towards it.
In a corner of the cave, a lantern with a tiny white candle,
Flickers silhouettes on stone.
The Woodland creature lies facedown, beside it, unmoving.
Its mask by its side, broken like a Christmas ornament.
The creature bleeds from its purplish, venous forehead, coating its entire face,
Collecting in a divot of its shallow, concave cheek, and dribbling to a splotch next to the lamp.
One hand is clenched around its wooden staff,
But the other hand has a finger that points back towards the entrance of the cave.
There is no room for words, through all the thoughts, at a time like this.
Cassidy, turns around, holds on to the wall for support , and she hobbles out of the cave.
She looks to the sky for answers. The moon is nowhere in sight.
“My god, the world has lost its most valuable jewel, all because of me.”
Cassidy Crescence bows her head, kenning she might be the only person left on Earth.
She whispers to the wind that prods her misery.
“What is this, and what is loneliness? Where is life when what you ask for is too much?
And if sometimes you get what you ask for, at what cost does it affect the remaining without?”
The ground is soft but crunchy beneath her feet.
Moon dust and preserved shards coat the mountain grey.
Everywhere, trees lay like fallen men,
Impacted in the ground, sticks reaching out for help through the cosmic snow.
The mountain has risen higher, and the valley below looks like a wrinkle on skin.
Cassidy contemplates retreating to the cave again, but the light douses,
A pained sigh carries along the curls of a gusty wind.
There is nothing left- but to scale the mountain down.
Cassidy ruminates on where the lone survivor who snuffed mankind goes to find peace.
She purses her lips to the worst thoughts in the cavities of her head,
Searches for the worst ways to follow through with them
And discovers something worse than that.
The cloud spiral stairway forms once again in front of her, thwarting intentions.
This time, when she puts a foot on the first step, it concretely holds.
Cassidy climbs up, up, up, in hopes there is something at the top
To replace her rotted heart.
The stairs tightly coil making Cassidy so dizzy the stars seem to huddle around her limp soul.
Eventually she reaches the apex, there is no floor or next step.
She tries to see if there is any sign of life below,
But all around, the world is a barren bowl of dirt, toothpicks, and dark rock.
She points her nose to the sky, brushes her hair back behind her ear, and cries out,
“I’m so sorry. I can’t go on like this, knowing I have destroyed everything because I Wanted something I wasn’t supposed to have. I didn’t know it would end this way. Never forgive me.”
She lets herself free, and falls. And falls! And falls-
The stars become strands of light, like comets with long tails.
Thoughts in her head mash together into what is and what will never be,
But it’s a peace she can die with- infinity has to end eventually.
The strands unite in swirls of color and paint her husband’s glinting, hazel eyes.
He smiles at her, Everything’s okay, takes her fingers and presses them to his lips…
When Cassidy a toddler, she used to sneak out the window and walk along the roof of her house. One night, staring at the moon, she pushed a spoon through the night sky with one eye open, tried to scoop up the moon, and gobble it up.
But she had lost her footing and toppled off the roof.
She should have died,
but the next thing she remembered was being snuggled underneath her white sheets.
She is swooped up by something too large,
A lustrous, incandescent, white gondola that swims through the sea of night,
Speeding faster than she was falling.
It glides twice around the peak of the mountain and then slingshots away.
Cassidy reaches her fingertips out to the mountain as if to grab a hold of it,
Attempting to anchor the white ship to dock.
Then she snaps from the shock of death, rolls on her stomach, and suctions her body to stone -Why, it is the moon.
All has not been destroyed.
Cassidy is flooded with hope, jollified at what she sees. She stands on her feet
And walks forward to the crescent’s prow.
Her open wounds have seamed and healed. blood, cleansed from her face.
The wind blows her hair back, wildly whipping like excited tails,
Her eyes are spirited, flashing sunbursts.
The moon is not down.
In fact, the moon is very much alive-
It brings Cassidy around the world in a hurried blur.
Then it descends into an ocean, splashing into the water,
Creating tsunamis that spread like expanding ringlets.
In midst of the mesmerizing moment, something from behind Cassidy taps her shoulder.
She turns to find it is woodland creature unmasked,
Grinning with ice clear teeth that diffract from the light the moon,
Hopping up and down in excitement.
Its face is healed of all wounds.
She smiles back, and everything feels right.
The creature opens a knapsack and pulls out a newly constructed mask
Carved out of the same material as the moon, in similar fashion to the bone mask.
It then smashes off one of the ears. The piece snaps like a wishbone.
The creature picks the piece up and holds it out to Cassidy.
She lets the creature place the heart sized moon in her hands.
The warm smoothness of cratered rock removes the feeling of loss from her face, Her eyes, her mind.
The creature in the mask waves its stick in the air.
Glimmering dust spreads from the knotted end.
Then it slips on its uneven mask.
The moon sails on, cutting through the vast open ocean.
The creature takes Cassidy by her fingers
And brings her to the very edge of the moon’s pointed prow.
She holds the moonstone ear to her chest and looks up to the stars,
Beaming over finally obtaining the moon for her husband.
But suddenly, the man in the mask drops its stick
And quickly pushes Cassidy off the moon into the dark, foreboding waters.
The ocean swallows her legs, her body, covering her mouth with cold liquid hands.
She sinks beneath the waves, watching the crescent sail on without her.
Cassidy struggles to regain composure, but she sinks like a bag of stones,
Further, and further, the white light dims, then a whisper, then pinches out.
She hits rock bottom, and once again, there is nothing.
Cassidy’s hope has been compromised again,
She feels, out of everything that she’s endured, truly there is no way to escape this time. She opens her eyes-
A lantern’s light shines inside a cave in front of her.
She swims with one hand, the other holding onto the moon, kicking with her legs.
Her lungs squeeze the remaining oxygen from her body, begging to inhale.
The light grows, the closer she gets, but underwater, everything is fuzzy.
Cassidy pleads her body to hold from breathing in the heavy water
She will not let go of the world. She has come too far to end now.
With a final push, she breaks the darkness, her lungs give way and pull.
Pull air. Sweet silver air.
Cassidy Crescence has not drowned. She gasps and takes in that silver air,
Sprawled on the rocky ground and lays there until she has had her fill,
She stands on wobbly legs and notices from the opposite way, there is a pale white light,
Cassidy holds onto the wall and follows it, knowing through this whole ordeal she’s been through, to trust that white light no matter what.
The light pulls her out of the hole.
There, hanging in the night sky, floating with the heavens, the moon is a sliver, but it is definitely there.
She hops up and down, ecstatic to be alive and to not have broken the world she loves so much. The Moon is over the mountain, again.
The moonstone still rests in her palm, the rock she suffered so much to obtain.
A great piece of smooth rock, presenting itself so bumpy, but warmer than the touch of another’s hand.
Once again, she is lost between the trees at the top of the mountain.
Holding the rocks, though, she feels capable of guiding herself down.
After an hour she had made it to the base again.
The sky blends from a lavish deep blue, to an amethyst purple when Cassidy makes it to the bottom, still soaked, still holding the moonstone, still alive.