There are footprints on the soft and wild moon and command over the tides and tilt of earth. Yes, I have heard that the moon is a cruel mistress. She has to be, she dies every morning and then takes a yearly sacrifice to rise again each and every night, holding at ransom, the ocean tides and the tilt of the earth.
I came, while it was still night and I was scared. It was a cold night, the ground covered in biting frost.
“I don’t want to die,” I said holding tight something that was inside me.
“Who said you are going to die?”
“I have been chosen.”
I looked at the moon which was looking back at me.
“The moon is not my goddess. I worship the sun,” I said.
“Be careful what you say, blasphemer!”
”The Sun is my witness.” Though I whispered to myself, she heard.
“You deserve to be sacrificed!”
“Don’t tell me the moon is worthy of a sacrifice,” I said.
No one could unlock the moons’ mysteries. In her heart she kept her secrets preserved perfectly in vacuum with coldest detachment. All she had observed of the earth for all the eons is there, where neither air nor wind can find them and no bird can fly to spy them. She envied the earth with all her multitudes of life, and she had grown bitter in her loneliness. There was no one to share her love, so the moon’s love died.
“They shall never find me,” I said.
“So you say.”
“I shall find a place to hide.”
“There is nowhere you can go that they don’t know.”
“I must go.”
“I’ll let them know you coward! That you are going to run, and that you worship the sun. Then they’ll know. It must be so. I can’t let you deny the tilt and tides! It will ruin us all!”
“You are brave when it is not you who is to be shot to his death upon the face of the moon.”
‘I would gladly go.”
“So you say.”
I left her quickly, fearful that she would alert the authorities before I could go.
Ride the cross-bow arrow to the moon strapped upon it’s shaft. Some consider it an honor. I consider it a horror to ride the Arrow of the Cross-bow to the moon. They named the rocket “Arrow”, it’s launcher “Cross-Bow”, and it is terrible in my eyes. I am afraid of this coldest vacuum: target, the dark side.
“They are superstitious suspicions, merely this and nothing more, that the moon can hold anything at ransom let alone the the tides and tilt of the earth. It is ridiculous,” I said to the one I had found to help. I had to hide.
“Hopefully no will see us,” he said as I followed him.
“I have never been this way before,” I said.
“Few know it is here.”
“They won’t find me?”
“It’s a small chance.”
I was lead across wet slippery moss on stones behind a roaring curtain of waterfall. Water ran off the sleek black coat of the one who lead me, whose feet held the moss covered rocks claw like. My auburn coat soaked in the moisture and held it. My padded feet slipped. It was difficult to stand or walk on the slippery, green stones. I almost fell twice.
“Careful, many have fallen here. That’s why it’ a good place to hide.”
“I don’t have much time. Tomorrow they will come looking for me. No one comes this way?” I asked.
“Only the river riders, and they over the falls not behind it. Not so many of those any more.”
“River riders, I have heard only rumors of them,” I said.
“Oh, they are real. I saw one once long ago now,” he said.
“How did you come to know this place?” I asked.
”I worship the water. It is a holy place.”
“And you help one who is of the sun?”
“Yes. It is the way of the water to help all life.”
I was thankful for the way of the water that ran under the sun.
His large bright eyes, curious whiskers, and ever smiling mouth was a joyful look. It gave me hope.
“Quick. We’re almost there,” he said.
A bit further ahead I could see the dark of an opening of a cave behind the waterfall gaping like a mouth ready to capture. I was afraid of this strange, wet place. The coolness of water spray sent shivers through me. Just a few more cautious steps and we were at the entrance of the cave. I entered and began my hiding.
“I shall leave you here. I must go and return home,” he said.
“Thank you. You can’t stay awhile?” I asked afraid to be left alone.
“Sorry I can’t. I must go,” he said as he scurried off and disappeared into the misting falls.
In shady, misted coolness I hid, wishing for the heat of the sun to warm my body and soul.
“Should have set a trap,” he grumbled.
“Aye, it would‘ve been easier,” the other one said.
“Must not hurt it, they insist,” he said
“Could’ve trapped it without much hurt. Would’ve been o.k.”
“They think they are clever these animals, hiding in such places.”
“I know. I’ve caught critters here before. Used to raft this river. Used to be more water, more animals, more fish.”
“Hush, we’re getting close. Don’t want to scare the critter off.”
“Got the net ready,” he said. He slipped but quickly caught his balance.
“Careful, clumsy,” the other one said as the came upon the opening behind the cascade,” We’er here.”
“Is it in there? I don’t want to lose the reward. There a gettin’ to be fewer and fewer of these critters. Damn hard to find anymore.”
The other man came to the entrance looked inside and saw a cowering fox flightendly flashing it’s teeth to threaten in defense.
“There he is! Quick, the net.”
The other man tossed the net deftly. It glided, landed covering it’s target.
The fox tossed and twisted in frightened, violent response to no avail.
“Don’t let it nip you. Nasty bites they are.”
“There we go, got ‘im!”
Proudly, they marched the captured fox to the Temple of the Moon.
“He is prepared,” the priest said, “All is ready.”
The old one who fell from the moon, launched the rocket.
From below a wet, sleek, black head broke the surface of the water.
“Hold on tight, my friend. Hold on,” otter said from afar.
I could not hear for the beating of my heart and the roar of the Arrow.