Chuck did give us the challenge of a three sentence story today, but I chose to go with another of Rebecca’s titles, The Moon was a Witness. With thanks to my friend Diana whose response to a facebook comment inspired this tale.
The Moon was a Witness
“Are we all set? Come on then.”
Dylan turned the knob on the panel, lifted the inside hatch, and let Colman through to open the airlock on the other side. Five figures followed him, then Dylan twisted himself up into the airlock and let go of the inner hatch. It swung closed behind him with a gentle snuck.
“I suppose we can get back in?” Dougall whispered to his brother.
“Trust me, I’ve checked it out hundreds of times,” Dylan muttered back.
Colman led the way across the cold hard stone, jumped down two crags and squeezed under the wooden partition that guarded the exit. The others followed, pausing at the bottom of the third crag.
“All okay?” asked Kevin, counting heads in the moonlight. “Right, this way.”
They brushed through the undergrowth, resisting the temptation to nibble the overgrown thyme, and emerged onto smooth grass. They moved forward, six bunched up behind Kevin; Hector and Colman on the flanks, Dylan in the rear.
“You okay, little ones?” Colman murmured to Oscar and Midge, just young kids really, but they had begged to come, and promised to do as they were told.
“Is that the light that shines through our window?” asked Midge, pausing to gaze at the moon.
“Yes,” said Dougall. “I don’t suppose you can see its shape from your bed.”
Midge shook his head and trotted on to catch up as Dylan butted him on his backside.
The grass ended, and Kevin hesitated. Dylan came up alongside him.
“What’s the problem?” he asked.
“I suppose this is safe,” Kevin asked, looking at the expanse of black in front of him. “It’s not river, is it?”
“No, the river’s over there, look at the reflections on it. Stay on this dull surface and we’ll be fine.”
Kevin nodded and stepped boldly forward. The others followed with varying degrees of hesitation as they crossed the boundary from grass to tarmac.
“How does he know where we’re going?” whispered Oscar to Hector.
“Those lights up ahead are where they come from. That’s where we start.”
They went twice the distance on the dark tarmac before they reached an area lit by small moons shining down from poles. They paused in the shadow of a tree and watched as huge machines crossed in front of them, flashing lights as they approached, and shaking the ground as they roared past.
“These are only cars,” said Colman. “We go in them when we’re ill, remember? Nothing to worry about.”
“How do we get through?” asked Midge.
“We watch and wait. Like our car does when we start our journeys.”
“I don’t remember being in a car,” Midge said, backing into Dougall, joining Oscar who had already taken shelter in Dougall’s thick long coat.
“We’ve all been in cars,” said Dougall. “Colman and Hector the most. They’ll work out what to do.”
“Right,” said Kevin, after a quick consultation with Colman. “We’ll form a line, each next to the other, with the littlies in the centre and Dylan and me at either end. When we both say GO, you dash across to that fence over there, can you see it?”
A chorus of ‘yes’ came back at him.
“Right then. Ready, Dylan?”
“Not yet, wait for this one.”
The car rushed past in front and went off on Kevin’s side, red eyes glaring back at them.
“Ready now,” said Dylan.
“OK, GO!” said Kevin.
“GO!” echoed Dylan, and the seven rushed across the lit road and under a fence the other side.
“Ow, ow!” said Oscar, jumping about on the surface the other side.
“Keep going, this way!” called Kevin, as they all jumped on the small stones that got in between their toes and pricked them. They crept under another fence, and relaxed on the cool grass.
“That was horrid,” commented Colman. “Do we have to go back that way?”
“Maybe we can try it through that fence,” Kevin replied, looking back towards their home. He counted the heads again. “Okay, everyone, I think we’re in the right place now. Spread out and see if you can smell those nasty machines. They must be here somewhere. Midge, stay with me; Oscar, go with Dylan.”
“Found one,” called Colman softly, and they headed in his direction. Colman took a short pointed weapon from his side, and set to on the machine, loosening its contents so that it fell to the ground. “Is that enough, do you think?”
“I hope so,” said Kevin, looking at the round tube lying in the wet grass. “I wish we really knew how it works.”
“Fred and George would have known,” said Hector in his usual taciturn way.
“Well, you’re the only one here that knew them,” said Kevin, “so if they didn’t tell you, we’ll just have to do our best.”
Hector said nothing. Fred and George had never ventured this far.
“Got another!” Dylan called, and he and Oscar brought the whole thing down using their teeth.
“Yuk!” Oscar spat out the bitter contents of whatever was in the tubes.
“Don’t bite into the tubes,” Dylan warned. “It’s sort of powdery and gritty and disgusting.”
“I’m not surprised it’s disgusting, said Colman. “Why do they use them anyway. Horrid, horrid, horrid.”
It took them twenty minutes to cover the whole of the field. They destroyed all they could find, not without trouble, as Midge pulled the end off one tube when it was still in place and got covered in the contents. It still stuck, despite several good shakes of his body. “Good thing it wasn’t you, though, Uncle Dougall.”
Kevin called them all back. “I think we’re done. Good work, chaps!”
They crept back under the fence, dodged the rumbling, roaring cars dashing past, and crawled under the hedge on the other side.
“Be careful , we have to head back to our own dark path. If it’s reflecting the moon, it’s the river!” Dylan warned again.
“This way,” Colman called, and Kevin dashed up beside him to resume his place as leader.
Back they scurried, along the tarmac, over the grass plain, through the undergrowth, up onto the stone floor, and back in through the airlock.
“Good work, chaps!” Kevin congratulated them as they got back to their own beds, wet, tired but happy.
That was not the mood of the pub landlord when the revellers came out at 9.30 to watch the fireworks display. Nothing worked. “Vandals!” he said. The police were called, but they found nothing. After all, the moon was the only witness.
(c) J M Pett 2014
In case you’re still wondering, the facebook message was about my guinea pigs being frightened by the fireworks. Diana suggested they might get their revenge!