"Citadel of the New Moon"
by: Kevin Rodgers
as published in
PRO SE PRESENTS
Fantasy & Fear #3
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The boy floated on his back in the swimming pool and stared up at the night sky. When he was younger, his parents revealed that back in ‘The Old Times’, there was only one moon. His feet splashed and his arms whirled, propelling him backward toward the deep end of the pool. As he stared at the twin moons and twinkling stars, he wondered how The New Moon entered the Earth’s orbit at the end of The Old Times. He knew he’d reached the deep end of the pool when he floated by the words six feet, which were spray painted on red tiles slightly above the water line.
Six feet under, he thought to himself. He stopped swimming and looked down into the dark water. Although he couldn’t see the grate at the bottom of the pool, he knew it was there. During the day, he swam to the bottom of the pool with his best friend, Jason. They challenged each other to see who could hold their breath the longest. Jason was older and stronger, so usually won.
The boy knew his parents would be worried about him if he stayed outside much longer. He should have been under cover thirty minutes ago. He knew his dinner would be cold when he decided to get out of the pool, dry off with a towel, and go inside the house. And he knew he’d receive a spanking from Daddy when his parents realized he’d stayed outside after the curfew. If a roving police officer found him in the pool after dusk, his parents would be forced to pay a hefty fine. For each person who remained beyond cover after sunset, a citation of one-hundred dollars was issued. The town’s Curfew Advisory Board used the fees to help fund overtime for extra police officers, who were needed to deal with the infestations of gargoyles at night.
The boy focused his attention on the night sky. He gasped when two shadows darted through the sky above him, their shapes silhouetted by The New Moon. His parents told him recently to be careful, because the gargoyles prowled the skies earlier and earlier each night. The boy, by watching the news and surfing the internet, knew that scientists studied The New Moon constantly. Astronomers scanned the large, citadel like structures where they suspected the gargoyles thrived. And now, as the boy watched the gargoyles soar and dive in the air, he wished he’d gone inside earlier like he was supposed to.
He drifted through the water and held onto the pool’s red tiles. He carefully grabbed the slippery surface of the pool’s deck and hoisted himself out of the water. Then he removed his towel from a patio table, dried himself off, and tip-toed toward the screen door of the back porch. His mother appeared from the shadows and waited for him on a cobblestone sidewalk next to the open door. Her left index finger crossed her lips, a plea for him to remain silent.
Sharp talons penetrated the flesh of his left and right shoulders. A high-pitched screech emerged from the gaping mouth of a floating monstrosity. The boy’s mother scampered onto the pool’s deck and tugged on her son’s right leg. The gargoyle lifted the boy higher into the air, hissed at his mother, and bathed her in a stream of saliva. She shrieked, stumbled backward, and wiped strands of slime and writhing maggots off of her face. She screamed for her husband to come help her, but it was too late.
She glanced up at the sky and located The New Moon. The shadows of the gargoyle and her struggling son became smaller and smaller until they could no longer be seen.
ANOTHER CHILD SEIZED AFTER DUSK;
POLICE CHIEF WAIVES FINE
By Annabelle Gaston
Staff Writer for The Trinity Times
TRINITY, FL—Police officers responded to the home of Alex and Sarah Spahn last night after their son, Matt, disappeared during an altercation with a subject from The New Moon.
Mr. and Mrs. Spahn, in their police statements, emphasized that they didn’t know their son had decided to swim in the family pool after dark. A county helicopter, officers with search dogs, and extra patrol units were dispatched to comb the adjacent forest and swamplands, but the boy has not been found.
“The disappearance of Matt Spahn reinforces the need for a curfew. We advise all parents to be vigilant and to make sure all children are under cover before dusk. After meeting with Mayor Herald and other members of the Curfew Advisory Board, we’ve decided to waive the fee for the Spahn family pending further investigation,” stated Police Chief Jeremiah O’Bannon, during a televised press release.
Matt Spahn was a sophomore at Trinity High School. He was a member of the Latin Club and Students Against Drunk Driving. His peers and teachers described him as a straight-A student who organized study groups after school. Matt also worked as a stocker and bagger at Winslow’s Market in the nearby town of Hanover.
If anyone has information regarding Matt’s location, a reward of $5,000 is being offered by the Spahn family. Callers are urged to use the police department’s non-emergency number until a separate line can be established. All callers have the option of remaining anonymous.