Saturday 24 June 2023

'The Crossing' by C.G. Thompson

She pulled her knees to her chest and faced east, watching a pale-orange shimmer behind a stand of pines. As crickets chirped, the shimmer expanded, color seeping like benign fire into stratocumulus clouds. Slowly the Hunter’s Moon rose, extricating itself from pine needles and waking the sky.

Sadly, she could only see the moon clearly after trespassing, Fight Club style, over the cyclone fence of the new high-school sports complex. If she stood in her driveway or strolled through the neighborhood, the glare of LED streetlights obscured planets and constellations.

Just a year before, the complex itself had been a cornfield, where animals and insects found a haven. Many nights, she’d seen a family of deer skirt its edge to forage and explore. Owls and bats flew overhead, a rich interplay of life.

Why did darkness, nature, always have to be scattered? The city council, approving the project, inexplicably called the land “vacant.”

Readjusting her blanket on the soft grass, she stared upward and found what she’d been looking for: a radiant view of the chiaroscuro of the moon. She searched for its dark areas, “seas” of hardened lava that, in some legends, formed a rabbit.

The creature’s long ears were askew, free of Earth’s gravity, and his head lay in the Sea of Tranquility.

She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, savoring the afterimage. Surrounding her, she knew, were scoreboards, bleachers, buildings – paradise gone. Using broken-field running, she decided, the rabbit had escaped this very place, just ahead of the bulldozers. Her own legend.

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