Hello, hello! Today hasn’t been a very pleasant day and I have no idea what to write about, so I decided to have some fun with this post. Earlier, I ran across one of those things where you use your initials to make a random phrase from their options (this one was “your nerd identity”). I really liked mine for once, so I decided to use it as a prompt for a quick flash piece specially written for my blog. It’s a first draft, so sorry if I ramble. As always, feedback and thoughts are welcome!
The Pale Freak of the Moon
The dust cascades ahead of me as I slide down the side of the crater, no doubt signaling my arrival like ripples on a pond. At least, that’s what I imagine when the Freak tells me about the motion of the water on Earth. Nothing like it exists up here, so it’s hard to follow her stories sometimes.
I slip through the shadows, avoiding prying eyes, as I make my way to her cave. No one else dares to follow me down here for fear of her, but they have no qualms about throwing rocks from above when they see me out in the open. According to the Freak, bullies are the same whether they’re here or on Earth. Difference makes you an easy target until you prove yourself otherwise. But no matter what I do, they still come after me.
“You’re late, child.” Her voice, strong and deep, rings out from the depths of her home before I even cross the threshold. “Did you bring it?”
I skitter into the belly of the cave without answering. A soft glow tells me she’s by the shrine in a corridor off to the left. She sits by the altar with her legs crossed and her arms stretched out to welcome me. Her features are that of an Earthling, but her skin is so pale it emits a gentle white light. Taking me in her arms, she performs the welcoming ritual of a hug. I struggle with the gesture every time, my tentacles tangling around themselves as I attempt to reciprocate.
“Well?” she asks.
Pulling a vial from my pouch, I hold it out to her. Inside, a single seed floats in a viscous purple fluid. Blood. Namely, the blood of my mother. The seed, a pulsing green orb, is her life force. She left it to me when she passed into the nether realm less than a week ago. Normally, I would be expected to plant it in the ground and raise the resulting child with my life partner in order to keep my mother’s bloodline flowing, but I have no partner. No one here wants to spend their life with someone whose eyes are as bright as the stars. Not in a place where darkness reigns supreme.
That’s why I have to do this.
Mother understood my decision to interrupt her eternal cycle, even condoned it. She knew how miserable I was here. Still, guilt pulls at my hearts when the Freak takes the vial from me.
“It’s beautiful,” she says. “Are you sure you want to do this? You can’t come back if you’re unhappy there.”
My tentacles raise in an involuntary shrug. “I know I’ll never be happy here, so what’s the point in staying?”
The Freak nods and turns to the altar. It’s covered in things from Earth: leaves, stones, flowers. I wonder, not for the first time, how she keeps these items alive, but don’t voice the question. She chants in a language I have never heard. It sounds older than time itself and lulls me into that place between waking and sleep.
When I’m finally pulled back into consciousness, I can’t tell how much time has passed. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, but instead of the usual tentacle, I have a hand. The flesh is a rich tawny beige that I always imagine when the Freak speaks of sandy beaches. My entire body now appears to be that of an Earthling. I rush to the reflective glass she has hanging on the wall in the main room as fast as I can on legs I’m unaccustomed to, falling countless times before I get the hang of it. My eyes are still the pale blue, almost white, I’ve always been scorned for, but they somehow seem natural in my new face.
“Amazing,” I say. “You’re a miracle worker.”
“It was all you.” She touches my shoulder and turns me toward her. “I only allowed your human form to come out. Everything else was already a part of you. I told you you were beautiful inside. We’re not done yet, though. Are you ready to make the journey?”
I swallow hard and nod. Words refuse to form on my tongue.
The Freak opens the vial I had given her. My mother’s scent fills the room and tears prickle at the corners of my eyes. Pouring the seed into her palm, the Freak makes a fist. She chants more unknown words until the fabric of space and time rips open. Past the ragged hole is a beach unfolding into the ocean. It’s just as I always imagined.
“It’s now or never,” the Freak says.
The seed in her now open palm is withering. The opening to Earth begins to shrink. Hesitating, I take a shaky breath. The scent of saltwater hits me for the first time and a calm comes over me. Yes, I can be happy as long as I have this view and this aroma to get lost in. I step through the portal and into a place where no one knows me, where I’m not yet hated. I start my life anew.