Black Moon

He closes his eyes trying to think himself away from this blackness. It is far too draining to will his thoughts toward analysing his current situation. Best to just close the eyes and go with the flow of images and memories.

“We’re doing this for your own good and because you are his son,” the tall priest says, bright blue eyes staring at him from an elongated blackened face, like that of a miner who has just returned to the surface from the deep dust filled shaft of a coal mine.

The tall man reaches into the pocket of his long black cloak and pulls out a white cloth which has a black moon in its centre. He hands it to the altar boy who stands next to him, blond locks framing a cherub-like face.

“Take this symbol of your death and rebirth.”

Trembling at the hollow sound of the priest’s voice he takes the cloth from the cherub’s outstretched arms and buries his face in the black moon as he knows is expected of him. Tears spring from his eyes and soak the fabric. He lowers his head, salty water dripping from the cloth he holds out in front of him, both his hands forming fists of anger and fright while the water from his tears creates a shimmering white circle in the centre of the octagonal black tile on which he stands.

He feels the icy tip of the priest’s bony finger lift his chin until his head is bent backward. He knows the ritual prescribes that he should open his eyes now but feels a strange resistance within himself to obey. The icy tip of the dark priest’s finger touches the centre of his forehead and his eyes spring open against his will, are forced to look into the fierce brightness of the man’s eyes gazing down on him from above.

The priest’s breath is hot and he feels his eyelashes catch fire while the words of transformation are spoken, each sentence uttered in the priest’s hollow voice then echoed by the cherub’s childish soprano. Far far away a wolf is howling.

The priest catches his limp body just in time and lifts him into the white stone casket. The centre of the black moon on the inside of the lid touches the tip of his nose. He tries to fight off the darkness, tries to move his legs to kick it, move his arms to punch it, but his legs won’t kick and his arms won’t punch.

Blood red flames are dancing violently beneath his closed eyelids, red changing to yellow then white and now green. Green eyes behind glass ovals, nose and mouth hidden behind a green paper mask.

“Where has the tall dark priest gone with the golden child,” he tries to ask. His lips are moving but he has no voice.

The green eyes smile at him. “You’re fine son, don’t worry. You’ll be back talking and shouting in no time. Them nasty tonsils won’t trouble you again.”

(C) Ash N. Finn, 2012


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