To Catch a Moon

by Tiffany Meuret 

The old witch looked upon the empty space where the water had been, now caked in mud and the bodies of the fisherpeople who tried to catch the moon. That slice of town gripped by the fever in which they buried themselves. Each of them clutching their devices—their ladles and pitchforks—against their heartless chests, dead and rotting.

It was night again and the moon was back like a deep sigh of wind. The witch caught glimpses of it in her own reflection, bouncing between her shiny, smiling teeth, baring it predator-like.

“Fools,” she said. “It was here all along.” But none of them liked the sight of her mouth. It repelled them like darting spider legs, her lips scattering away from her voice in search of reprieve from their heat.

So she picked through the bodies, taking note of how they died—arm in arm, aghast, muddy despair caked in darting streams down their cheeks.

“Fools,” she said again. They needn’t die. If only they’d listened.

The witch was alone now. The city of the fisherpeople sunk into surrounding marshland of her ancestors, each home an active sore. No matter—it would be reclaimed as the others had, continuing to sink until it caught on the corpses of the towns before it.

The old witch was alone again. Still. As keeper of the moon and stars, night shaped underneath her watchful gaze.

She marked their graves with lilies, and threw them a coin for the oarsman. “Rest well,” she said, leaving the fisherpeople to cower under the points of her teeth, aching for the moon they never stood a chance to receive.

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