Saturday, August 15, 2015

Flash Fiction - Lighting the Moon

A quick trifle for you today; just a snapshot of a ritual in a world different from ours. Read, ponder, think of how it would be different to live in a place in which the things we inexplicably see as shameful are instead celebrated.

Thanks for the prompt to Bliss Morgan who shared it from places unknown to me. 

"Candlelight and Moonlight"
by L Czhorat Suskin

The queen felt it again, the clenching in her insides as the second fortnight drew near. Clenching her teeth against the tightness in her belly, she walked to the forecourt, the stones cool against her bare feet. 

It was the time again. She savored the familiar ache in shoulderblades and back as she raised the white flag high above the castle. The flag that called the townfolk to join her, to help light the moon.

Word spreads quickly; one sharp-eyed young boy sees the flag and the town is filled with the sounds of running, of feet slapping cobblestones, of shutters thrown open. 

Everyone's long since built their lanterns, blood-orange-red stained paper stretched over a light wood frame. A bit of wire holds the candle which will burn it into the sky. When the sun sets we're already waiting outside - nearly all of us. Old women who no longer can hear the moon's call, young girls who've not yet heard it. Boys and men who feel nothing inside but believe with a deep certainty that this is right, that the time has come again to light the moon. 

In the squares, in the streets, in courtyards knots of people gather around their lanterns, a thousand thousand candleflames casting liquid-amber pools of light.

Why do we do this? Because it is always done. Because the moon needs to share our light. Because it is time.

As the sun sets we lift our candles skyward, for just one moment banishing the night. 

Every eye in the town gazes skyward as the lanterns ascend save those of the queen, who looks down upon the crowd, her eyes moist with tears and her belly still tight and in pain. The pain ebbed as the lanterns soared up, up, up, higher. Until the first kissed the silvery moon, candleflame scorching it deep red.

It was a good ritual, a thing well-done. The next day the Queen  lowered the white flag. The new flag she raised had been white, but was roughly stained the color of rust. The color they'd painted the moon. It was the flag of celebration, of a day to rejoice. It was a day of rest, until again the moon called for our light, our celebration, our love.

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