Welcome! It’s the 15th and time for another story. This past year we heard a lot about “super moons” and I couldn’t pass up a chance at story inspired by the celestial events. Here is my take. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to comment or share.
Standing on the edge of the circular drive of his small two-bedroom home, Shawn looked up at the night sky. Stars winked back at him, taunting him. He’d wanted to be an astronaut for as long as he remembered, but decisions made early in life didn’t agree with such a career path. And now as a manager of a fast food restaurant, “Quick Service” they liked to say as though the term held less scorn, his future held little promise. At least looking up at the night sky he could dream like he did as a child. They couldn’t take that away from him.
High in the eastern sky the full moon hung bright. He’d heard there was a “super moon” that night. The luminescent orb shone brighter and larger than he’d ever remembered seeing. He imagined flying in a modern Saturn rocket and stepping foot on the gray dusty surface leaving his permanent mark on the satellite. The view of Earth, brilliant hues of blue, green, and white dominating his vision. Being one of only a few people ever having such a view of the planet.
Shawn stared at the moon. It seemed different. He knew to expect it brighter and larger than before because its orbit was closer to the Earth than most other times, but it looked odd. For a moment he thought it moved. It grew larger in the black canopy above, but that was impossible. The moon doesn’t move towards earth with such speed visible to the naked eye. Besides, if it had that ability, wouldn’t scientists and the media report such things?
Surely his mind was toying with him, overworked and stressed from six days in a row of mind numbing and thankless work. That had to be it. He had to scramble to cover a shift every day because this person was sick, or that person was too hung-over to work. The pathetic excuses given each day and the lack of responsibility his employees exhibited only furthered his anger and increased his stress. Sleep didn’t come easily anymore and he had constant headaches.
But still, the moon seemed unusually large. He expected it to appear bigger than before, but not like this. The large disk with discolored sections were more visible than ever before and that alarmed him. Scratching his chin, he wondered if he should call his wife out to see. She’d probably laugh at him and tell him he needed rest. He stared a bit longer, but decided his overworked mind created the illusion and walked back inside.
“Hey hun, can you take out the trash?” Shawn’s wife asked when he stepped in the door. “Yeah, sure,” he said. She could’ve said that when I went out before, he thought to himself. He yanked the trash bag out tipping over the empty can. Cursing under his breath, Shawn set it upright and went back to the porch.
Glancing at the bright moon, something was off. It was larger than a few minutes before! There was no doubt in his mind it was larger. He dropped the bag on the porch and ran inside.
“Margaret! Margaret, come out here! The moon…it’s bigger!” he called out. She came into the kitchen with her hands on her hips, her hair tied back and her face wet from her nighttime routine. “Well yeah, it’s the super moon, remember?” she said.
“I know that, but it’s different. Come here, look!” he said. Leading Margaret out the door, he pointed at the sky. “Look! It’s huge! It’s bigger than a few minutes ago.” Margaret looked up to the dark sky but didn’t think the moon looked larger than expected. “OK, it’s big,” she said. He didn’t need to see her face to know she was mocking him. Margaret sighed then went back to her routine.
Shawn stared at the moon trying to remember how much larger it should have been. 5%? 8%? 15%? He thought it was 15% or something close but it felt much larger. Shawn kept his gaze on the moon expecting to see it grow as he picked up the trash bag. Eventually he went back in the house. Margaret said little to him the rest of the night.
He took awhile to get to sleep. The rough week and the weird thing with the moon looped over and over in his mind.
The next night Shawn checked on the moon again. Right before his eyes it grew larger then quickly shrank. He stumbled and caught himself on the railing. “Margaret!” he called, “It changed! It got bigger then smaller!” With her face wet from washing, she stood on the porch. “Honestly Shawn, I don’t see a thing. Maybe you ought to take time off work. You’re seeing things. There’s nothing wrong with the moon. I’m going back inside. Coming to bed soon?” He stood with his mouth hanging open unable to respond. Margaret shook her head and left.
For the next several days, Shawn continued looking at the moon and worrying to the point Margaret feared for his mental well being. She chided him and he grew impatient with her. Speech came in short, choppy sentences and he hadn’t eaten a full meal. Shawn believed the moon was edging its way closer to Earth. And that meant total annihilation.
He concluded if the moon were to impact the Earth which he expected from his nightly observations, then it would mean complete and utter destruction. Nothing would remain. Nothing would escape the catastrophe. The impending overwhelming extinction consumed him.
The end was coming but no one noticed. He tried telling people. They needed to know, to prepare for the inevitable, but they only laughed at him. Thinking they must’ve missed the enormous glowing globe increasing in size, Shawn took a chance contacting NASA, but the customer service reps assigned to weed out lunatic callers wouldn’t budge. He had to tell them! People needed to know!
Margaret left to stay at her mother’s after Shawn refused to tone down his doomsday rants. Several days passed before he realized she was gone. By then, he was so caught up in the moon he didn’t care.
Because he wouldn’t stop obsessing over the moon he missed several days of work and was fired. Not that he cared for the soul-sucking place anymore. His focus remained on the impending planetary doom. He started a blog, posted about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and any other means he could find. Somebody had to alert everyone to the inevitable destruction.
Each night he’d step out on his porch and watch as the moon grew closer and closer filling the sky with its bright light. He shook his fist at it, cursed, and called it names, but nothing mattered. It still marched ever slowly towards the Earth for a final fatal encounter. That he could still see the large moon in the sky when everyone else saw only blackness didn’t bother him. They were blind to the truth, but he could see it. He alone caught the movement and the burden fell on him to help.
But help to do what exactly? How could he help the world facing such a dire fate? Where would they go? How would they get there? Humans weren’t yet advanced enough to create interstellar travel and inhabit new worlds. Was humanity destined for extinction? Was that the grand scheme of it all? He wrestled with these thoughts day and night until his mind twisted on itself.
A full month after the super moon and his discovery that it moved, Shawn lay on his living room floor. Dirt and food stains covered his shirt. His pants were covered in dried urine and feces. His teeth felt fuzzy. “Take me, take it all!” he shouted to no one. “We are doomed! We are doomed!” he cried out.
Two days later, Margaret checked on Shawn. No one heard from him and he didn’t return any calls or texts. She opened the front door and her nose filled with the putrid stench of death. The smell so vile she held back the urge to vomit. Margaret stepped inside and almost tripped on Shawn. His face locked in a mask of fear with wide open eyes. The words “Super Moon” were scrawled on the walls and on a paper next to him in scribbled child-like letters was the note “Moon, it will come and destroy. I can’t stop it. No one knows. It’s coming.” Margaret screamed. Her husband lay dead, rigor mortis contorting his body in unnatural ways. He wore his Blue Moon Burgers uniform, the large moon logo on his left chest crossed out in red marker.