Flash Fiction: The Moon Tree

My name is Andromeda, and I was a gentle being once. I watched over you all, and I loved you. I protected you with my light. Your people were my reason for existence, until I was murdered at your hands. Things had to change after that.

I was the moon goddess. Your people couldn’t walk in the sunlight. Your skin would burn and you would shrivel to nothing. You needed my moonlight to keep you alive. It nourished your skin and kept it strong. I was happy to bestow it upon you.

You had to lock yourselves away during the day, and I did pity you for it. There were rumours about your people, about you drinking blood to stay alive. But I knew the truth. You drank only moonlight.

It was a cold autumn night when He came. He was a scholar and he’d found the legends about the moon tree. He was adamant that your people should walk the day as well as the night.

All you needed was a constant supply of moonlight.

All you needed was me.

I see you marvelling at me now. I am beautiful, or what has become of me is. I can see my reflection in the lake. A lithe tree with leaves of soft lime, and in each leaf a pool of glittering moonlight.

Your people feign ignorance. You pretend you do not know that I am buried here.  That the moon tree springs from me, and my never-ending grief. You convince yourselves that the legends about Him are false. You are happy to walk the daylight. You give thanks to the mysterious moon tree, forever in bloom.

But it is not a happy ending for your people.

Moonlight is pure, but it can be tainted.

I am full of hatred for Him and all your kind. Every so often I pour my poison into the moonlight and smile as one of you drinks.

The poisoned light makes you ravenous. It burns through your veins and leaves them dry. You become as death itself and you crave fresh blood to replace that which you have lost.  You will do anything for it. You will kill for it.

I make you the monsters people think you are. The monsters I know you to be.

But I must be careful in choosing my victims. I can only do this once or twice a decade or suspicion may fall upon me.

You are at my feet now, marvelling at my beautiful leaves. I don’t fully know why I chose you. You have something of Him in you. Perhaps it is the determination in your step, or the way your brow furrows when you are in thought. Perhaps it is that light in your eyes, that hope, that longing that so easily turns to greed.

You cup your hands. One of my leaves is in your palm. I see the cold glitter of moonlight reflected in your eyes.

The moonlight touches your lips.

And so it begins again.


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