Drabble 141 – Mooncalf

A photo of a yellow moon against a black background.

I find myself coming back to the same figurative language over and over again. I’m not going to outline themI have some pride, and if I say what they are someone might notice. One metaphor is about wanting, one simile is about movement, and another simile is about the moon.

Despite being weirdly afraid of stars when I was a kid (they looked like eyes, and I didn’t like eyes that belonged to things I couldn’t see), I was never afraid of the moon. It was big and friendly, and on clear enough nights it cast the whole world in a pale white light that made everything look strange. Familiar, but different somehow; like a spotlight shining through my bedroom window.

It felt like a magical occasion when the moon showed up like that, like something special was happening. I live in the Pacific Northwest; we’re not known for our clear weather, so a cloudless night with a bright moon wasn’t the norm.

My feelings haven’t changed much now that I’m older. Somehow, there’s something comforting about a big rock in the sky that reflects light and makes our oceans move, something that reflects sunlight back at us and makes the darkness bright again.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

MOONCALF

(n.) from Old English mōna + Old English cælf

A deformed creature, or a foolish person.

Ida knows what people whisper about her, as if the scarlet birthmark across her face inhibits her hearing rather than her marriageability. “A witch,” they say, claiming the birthmark is where the devil touched her with his burning hand. “She’d be dangerous if she could speak,” they say, “but she can’t, by God’s grace.” She clamps her lip shut, as she always has, not speaking because she chooses it.

But every night she walks out to the woods and shrieks, the sound echoing through the trees and back to town, haunting those who whisper with a threat they can’t identify.

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