Aoooh…a wolf sang into the soft summer air. I sat at the makeshift fire, watching the golden flames dance and leap, cutting through the dark void of the night. I let out a long, sweet sigh. The moon was full and brimming with silvery light; light that took over the night, illuminating every branch and making the leaves glimmer emerald in the dusk.
It was… unnaturally full. I had been out here for months upon months and never ever had I seen such a perfect night. It was like something out of a fairytale, with the stars glimmering like crystals in the sky, and the onyx canvas of the night streaked with color.
A glowing light danced through the clouds, a shooting star jetting through the night. It was an odd shape for a star, looking like a human figure outlined in starlight. As it shone through the clouds, I thought that it almost looked like it was leaping from cloud to cloud.
As I watched the brilliant spectacle, I wondered if somewhere out there, my mom was watching the same sky, thinking about me. Through the enchantment, I felt a sharp stab of bitterness deep down in my gut. Not likely. Maybe for another other mother, but not Mae. Not Mae.
Brutal memories flashed across my mind, slicing into the peaceful night. Peeking out from behind my mother, her blocking my view and screaming in terror. A horrible, gut-wrenching scream echoing through the house. The god-awful stench drifting up and filling my nose. The stench of death. Mae rushing over to my father’s limp, unmoving figure. Slumped against the couch with a needle protruding from his arm. Shrieking into the phone, tears leaking from her eyes and coalescing as they dripped down her pale cheeks.
A haze of sirens and ambulances, screams and hospitals. My mother’s kind blue eyes shattering like glass when she heard the news from the doctors. Husband. Dead. Overdose. A blank film glazing over her eyes, cold and emotionless. Numb.
Squeezing my eyes shut, I shook my head. No. You can’t do this again, Kate, can’t go down that rabbit hole again. With a gasping breath, the memories fell away, down into the dark black depths of my soul, where it swirled and writhed like a beast yanking me down and groping blindly for a handhold. A memory. A person. Anything-
Boom! I was yanked from the reverie as the sky exploded with light. The moon glowed like a beacon, shining so bright it could be mistaken for the sun. Tiny specks of stars bursted like supernovas, and the whole world fell away. The soft crackle of the flames was instantaneously quenched, the chatter of far away crickets fading away until all that was left was the sky.
Seconds passed. A minute. And with one final searing blast of light, the sky swirled and the stars twirled and danced, rearranging the night sky. As quickly as it had come, it went away, the dusky darkness returned, speckled with glowing constellations and streaked with colors. A mini aurora-borealis shone pink, green, and purple is the night.
Warmth spread through my body, soft and sweet, like honey dripping over the body. I smiled up at the moon. I could barely believe my ears when a musical voice drifted through the night, one that I was sure everyone in the world could hear.
“Welcome home, Selene, goddess of the moon and night. The night sky will never be the same.”
“No. No. NO!” A frail blonde woman dashed up the stairs, throwing open the bedroom door with a giant slam! She, too, from all the way in California, had heard the voice. That awful, silvery voice, sugary sweet yet powerful at the same time. A flash of light so bright it burst open the night sky.
No, no, no. Artemis… Melissa Casse’s thoughts soured at the name. She had dreaded this moment for years, the dark what if? situation that lingered in the back of your mind, the one that you tried to push away but kept dragging you back every time.
Stalking into the bedroom, she threw back the silken sheets with a dramatic flourish, pale hands trembling slightly. The lump in the bed that she had prayed was Mira… Melissa let out a weak whimper, thin lips quivering. A pillow. A pathetic pillow.
The frail blonde woman let out a low, guttural growl that tore her throat. To any normal person, this would seem like a kidnapping. But Melissa knew. Selene had finally been taken away from her.
Dashing down the hallway, images flashed across her mind.
The first time she’d seen the young goddess soar from the heavens to Earth, a young high-school age girl with a round, pale face and wavy black hair. A brilliant white pegasus stood at her side, chomping away at the dew-speckled grass. What the…? Is that a- a- horse? With wings?!? Explanations churned in her mind, but she had always been rather simple minded. Anything that wasn’t written in a textbook might as well have been fictional.
And when the young girl turned, Melissa saw her face and instantly froze.
In that moment, nothing else mattered. Selene. Her breath caught in her throat. She’d studied Greek myth all her life, and Melissa knew immediately that she was in the presence of one of the most beautiful, powerful entities in the world.
Everything about her shimmered in the moonlight, from the shine of her hair to the sparkling blue of her eyes. The decision was not a conscious one. I need her. Selene is mine. Something about possessing a divine entity, having complete control over such a beautiful person… in that moment, Melissa craved it more than anything.
You know when you see something so perfect, so heavenly, you just yearn for it? The frail blonde woman out in the field felt it, her heart leaping with an utter need for the girl, to call her a loving name, to braid her flowing locks and see the sparkle in her midnight blue eyes.
Call it what you wish, the simple farmer woman suddenly became a fugitive among the heavens, forever hiding out and protecting her precious “daughter”…
Her vision was a blur as she bolted down the stairs, her satin slippers slamming the carpet. Adrenaline and panic sang in her veins, the door loomed ahead. Melissa twirled the lock, flinging open the door and kicking off her shoes.
The emerald grass tickled her feet, droplets of dew dripping from the stems and splashing her bare toes, sending shivers up her spine. She ran and ran until she reached the field where Selene had stood, so many years ago, shimmering in the bright moonlight.
Pain wracked her chest, slamming her tiny body so hard she fell to her knees, the cotton fabric of the nightgown soaking through to her skin. Melissa’s stomach lurched with desire so intense it could burn down the field until all that was left was a heap of charred grass.
The stars blazed above, shining a brilliant gold. Every detail reminded her of Selene, her sweet moonbeam. Onyx black like her shining hair, stars shimmering like the passionate twinkle in her eyes, the faint, barely there silver aura that swirled around her like moonlight.
The frail, simple woman with a simple wish lay on the ground, tears dripping like liquid diamonds down her pale face. She would never be the same. Alas, once you love an angel like Selene, there is no recovery. A wound made by a divine goddess was one that never healed.
High above in the heavens, Selene was sleeping peacefully. And down on Earth, her captor was heartbroken. Melissa’s precious daughter would never return.