Empty Sky Chapter 3 – The Clarity of Night

Wake up, Dad! Please wake up!

Jamie’s father moaned again. Jamie stood over him, feeling the cold wooden floor through his thick wool socks, feeling the cold October night through his longjohns, listening as his father whimpered, and pulled the covers back over him.

Shem looked at Jamie then Tom. He put a paw on Tom’s cot and looked back at Jamie.

“It’s okay, Shem. He’s dreaming about mom again. He’ll be okay in a minute.”

Shem went to the door and whined.

“Want to go out and pee, Shem? Come on, you old dog.”

Shem and Jamie stood in the cold in the clearing in front of the cabin. The moon’s crescent shown through the trees.

Jamie’s shadow stretched out long and full as the moon grew from crescent to full, his shadow’s lines given sharp edges by the moon’s intense light. He’d never seen his shadow like that, not even in the noonday sun.

He stood silent for a moment and watched it echo his movements, waving its arm when he did, walking when he did. The intense moonlight even shadowed the mist from Jamie’s breath as if his shadow breathed when he breathed.

It even turned back to the full mooned sky when he did.

The moon’s face changed as he watched. His dad told him about Rabbit and Mouse, about The Old Man in the Moon, all sorts of stories people believed about the moon. This was the first time he clearly saw a woman’s face, though. Dad never told him anything like that.

She looked down at him and shed a tear.

“Have you ever seen anything like that, Shem? We’ll have to tell Dad.”

The Moon turned her face away and went from full back to crescent.

He looked around. Night frightened most of his friends, even Bobby Games, but it didn’t frighten Jamie. Not even full mooned nights. Uncle Jack told stories about werewolves, shapeshifting people who howled on bright moon nights. Bobby hated those stories but Jamie just sat and listened. Bobby asked, “Aren’t you scared?” and Jamie shook his head, no.

He’d always been more comfortable at night. He didn’t know why. Maybe because with the moon so bright everything could be seen, clearly revealed in black and white.

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