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The Black Moon

by Yelena Dubrovin

Unfortunately, that remarkable evening in December turned out to be extremely windy and bitterly cold. A fading moon, hiding behind a few sparse clouds, looked surreal through their transparent lacy curtains. Its pale beams rippled through the misty sky and pierced space with sharp needles, almost reaching the earth.

But in vain the moonlight tried to touch the earth. Suddenly, the whole sky became covered with cirrus clouds, as if somebody had thrown a thin blanket on it. The moon lit the earth sadly for the last time and, slowly turning from yellow into black, faded away.

The rare passers-by experienced an eerie feeling of anxiety when the evening darkness finally spread its wide wings over the city. The first inchoate, sparkling and almost eerie snowflakes, like tiny pieces of winter sky, danced in the air, embraced the fitful wind, and touched the pavement, creating a thin layer of white, slippery carpet.

It was Friday and people were rushing home after the long week, trying to escape the approaching snowstorm. A rough northern wind had suddenly whipped up and now blew blindly with the bitterness of an angry man, swirling dust and everything in its path.

By seven o’clock, the city center looked almost deserted. Here and there, some homeless people had been searching for a place to hide but nobody paid any attention to their attempts, pushing away any thoughts about the fate of those unsheltered strangers.

A black limousine slowly drove right up to the front entrance of a luxurious hotel. A tall old driver in a blue uniform opened the door and helped the aged, elegantly dressed man, a well-known artist, to get out of the car.

“Look, how strange it is. The moon has just changed its color from yellow into black and disappeared somewhere in the universe. I have never seen anything like this. What an odd sign,” somebody said behind the old man’s back while he was getting out of the car.

The artist craned his neck and stared into the dark sky for some time but, not being able to see the black moon, dismissed the stranger’s observation. “Black moon?” the artist repeated peevishly, sotto voce. “There is no such a thing as a black moon. Nonsense.”

Suddenly, the foolish remark and the voice annoyed him. He turned around to look at the stranger, but the vague silhouette had already whittled away into obscurity and only smoke from his cigar, hardly visible, still wafted down the street.

The driver took the old man by the arm and led him carefully, like an expensive, breakable vase, through the revolving doors and into the lobby of the Grand Hotel, crowded for the opening of his new exhibition.

The sky had become suffused with stodgy clouds, moving quickly now from north to south, driven by a strong wind. The wind did its best, pushing the resisting moon to fall deeper into the darkness. The wind picked up its wild speed again, shaking the trees that were already covered with ice. Icy tears, like small crystals, hung from the branches, ready to fall. Finally, as the evil forces were winning out, the black moon smiled for the last time and disappeared from view somewhere behind the skyscrapers.

Copyright © 2009 by Yelena Dubrovin

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