Supernatural-The Newspaper Series

The Moon Gazer

“Grandpa, tell us the story of the giant moon man again.” Boysie and his cousins sat around a kerosene lantern on the floor of their grandparents’ rural home after supper. The best part of Boysie’s year was spending the summer holidays with his grandma and grandpa. His paternal grandparents spoiled him and his cousins with complete freedom. Whenever the youngsters were not out exploring the neighborhood and surrounding fields or swimming in the canal at the end of the street, they would climb trees to suckle on juicy tropical fruits or crawl through the skylight windows to eat snacks on the roof. With no electricity in the village, playing outdoors took care of the daylight hours, and storytelling between games of card-playing entertained the cousins before bed.

“Sure.” Grandpa cleared his throat. “The Moon Gazer stands with his head above the clouds.” He stretched his arms upward. “With no village streetlights, the shadows of moving clouds give him life on full moon nights.”

“He stands with his hands clasped behind his back and his two legs planted at each side of the road,” Grandma added some details.

“His head is tilted up to stare at the moon.” Grandpa lifted his chin and stared at the ceiling to demonstrate.

“They say that he uses the moon as a mirror to see what passes between his legs.” Grandma continued.

“He is pale, like grayish-green ash. No one has ever seen his face and lived to tell, but some claim that there are holes instead of eyes and nose.” Grandpa’s index finger circled his face. “His rounded face resembles the moon with all its craters and his tight lips reveal his nastiness toward mankind.”

After setting up the details with grandma’s help grandpa cleared his throat again and prepared to tell the story of Annabella and her encounter with the Moon Gazer.

At the end of her evening shift, Annabella peeled off her overalls and threw them into the laundry hamper. Sweat and smoke from the woodburning steam-powered turbines and the smell of molasses forced the sugar-factory worker to shower and change before taking the long, lonely walk home on a road that ran for miles between cane fields. Her fellow workers and neighbors who usually kept her entertained whenever they accompanied her to her house had both fallen ill with the flu and had taken the evening off work. For the first time since she took the evening shift to earn extra income, Annabella had to walk home without the two men to protect her. With no distractions to keep her mind off the scary rustling leaves of the cane stalks that sounded like someone hunting her, she took deep breaths to slow her racing heart and calm her nerves. Her heightened senses only made her jumpier. She increased the pace and length of her strides.

Halfway to her house, Annabella gasped and stopped in mid-stride. The Moon Gazer loomed large a couple of miles ahead of her. She turned and started sprinting in the opposite direction. If he caught up with her, the monster would slam his legs together and crush her to death. She had to get back to the safety of the factory, two miles away.

After a mile of her mad dash to safety, Annabella’s dry throat hurt, and her legs wobbled. She stopped for a moment and leaned forward with her hands on her knees, panting furiously for breath. A glance behind eased the pressure on her heart and allowed her to take stock of her situation for a few precious seconds. The Moon Gazer had disappeared momentarily under a patch of cloudless skies under the full moon. A glance in the distance tightened her throat. Her worries multiplied when an ominous dark cloud lumbered toward her. If it caught up with her, she would be drenched in its torrential rainfall and run the risk of getting struck by its lightning streaks and thunderbolts. The cloud’s shadow would breathe new life into the Moon Gazer, who would use the darkness to sneak up on her and squish her to death. With the elements working against her by providing a lifeline to her nemesis, she had a sick feeling that her doomsday had arrived.

Annabella was a fighter who had overcome many hurdles throughout her life. As the only female in the molasses-making chamber, she worked twice as hard at the factory to show that she could keep up with her male counterparts. She needed the job to support herself and her two aged and ailing parents.

She was forced to give up the love of her life when her mother’s stroke was added to her dad’s return from the war in a wheelchair with his lower half blown away by an enemy landmine.

The daunting picture of her parents suffering from death by starvation pumped adrenalin through her veins and put wings on her feet. By the time the droplets of rain started stinging her back, she reached the factory and dived through the door to wait out the storm.

“She returned to her parents the next day and told them of her harrowing experience.” Grandpa smiled at the happy ending to his story. “But there is more.” He knew that the kids were waiting for a happier ending, which they knew, but never grew tired of hearing it.

“My faithful fiancé waited for me for all those years, too much in love with me to ever get married to anyone else.” She smiled and took grandpa’s hand. “And I have lived happily ever after with the man I never stopped loving.”

“Your grandma handed the Moon Gazer his first defeat by a human because of the great heart in this tiny body.” He opened his arms for a family hug. “Grandma’s survival that night brought us good fortune with great children and even greater grandchildren.” He chuckled.

“Now, don’t you tell your parents that grandpa said that.” Grandma’s words brought laughter to everyone.

Did you enjoy this mysterious short story? Click the links below to read more intriguing supernatural tales by Kamil Ali…