News of the upcoming occurrence of a violet moon in the sky of Trisdale city went viral on social media. The moon being violet in color was an extremely rare occurrence; it was sighted in 1999 in the Middle East and not many people had seen it. Trisdale citizens, who had never seen a red moon with their very own eyes, were absolutely thrilled for a violet one. Although there was a lot of talk in town. there was actually no official news report about it. In fact, Charlie, who worked as a weather presenter, reported that it would not happen. Charlie believed that for the moon to have a different color other than white, a total lunar eclipse had to happen and a certain gas composition in the atmosphere was needed to filter the spectrum of light from the sun was needed to refract the desired wavelength for a particular color to be reflected on the moon’s surface. But having gone through frequent visits to the Observatory, Charlie could not find signs of a total lunar eclipse happening in Trisdale sky this year.
However, the message from the official news report was downplayed by the countless bombardment of articles and posts on social media that said otherwise. The traditional media in Tridale was dying after all. The very existence of Trisdale’s TV programs relied on government subsidies. Charlie only received a meager salary and had to make ends meet by taking various odd jobs. His landlady often urged him to pay his rent on time and forced him to take out the trash. Charlie had done a lot of research into the social media, clicking through tons of links, and found that they all originated from a KOL --- Oracle 322. He had at least a million followers. Oracle 322 spoke of urban legends, supernatural phenomena, and many conspiracy theories. He proclaimed that all films were AI generated as that were no directors and scriptwriters and that all film actors and entertainment celebrities were digital constructs. Charlie thought this was bullshit as he was part of that industry. Oracle 322 even proclaimed that NASA did in fact make contact with aliens and that some cabinet ministers were shape-shifting aliens.
As for the violet moon, Oracle 322 said that it would happen next Wednesday at 3 o’clock in the night and people would get to clear view of it from Trisdale Park. He claimed that it was a sign that the god Cthulhu was angry and he was about lay curses on all humanity. He told his followers not to worry as his friends from the Occult would be there at Trisdale Park to organize a special event, a sacred ritual that would calm Cthulhu’s nerves. Oracle 322 even created a well-designed poster about that special event and posted it on Instagram. What made his fans filled with anticipation was that Oracle 322 said that he would be there. Some netizens found a fine print in the poster that mentioned that sacrifices were to be made. But they thought it might be a goat or some sort so they could not care less.
Charlie had spent hours digging into the background of this Oracle 322, only to find rumors about him being a member of a mysterious occult. Nobody knew of his true identity and he always donned his iconic hood in his videos. Charlie could not believe that a shady figure like Oracle 322 would be more trustworthy than a news reporter on TV, which to Charlie was the official source of information. It was as if his followers were hypnotized by him. Social media was overwhelmed with sensational fake news whereas TV in Trisdale only had one channel. The mayor of Trisdale took little effort to tackle the problem because he had won the election due to the tremendous support from social media. He was surprised to see that even in the 21st century, there were still countless extremely superstitious people out there. Charlie had tried to tell everyone on social media that the violet moon would not happen in Trisdale and neatly presented all his facts, logic, and data to back his claim. But in the end, all he got was a few clicks, no likes, and no followers. It was obvious that Charles was no KOL material.
The alarm sounded the moment the clock struck 1:30 a.m. Charlie smacked down the alarm clock so hard that it fell off the table. He slowly got out of bed with great reluctance. He could not believe that he had to wake up that early in the night for that bullshit. It so happened that the boss wanted him to do a coverage on the violet moon and the sacred ritual Oracle 322 was talking about. But it was also because of his curiosity that led Charlie to accept such a task. He was desperate to know what tricks Oracle 322 was trying to pull. As he got himself dressed and took the elevator, something unexpected happened; the elevator stopped abruptly. Charlie tried frantically pressing the buttons several times over but the elevator did not seem to budge one bit. Charlie absolutely had no idea which floor he was on as the display blacked out. The fan in the vent of the elevator also stopped working as well, making him loosen a button or two and involuntarily tugged at his collar several times. The sudden stuffiness in the elevator was simply unbearable. How could this be happening to me, thought Charlie with big droplets of sweat forming on his forehead and neck. As a professional journalist from a government-recognized media establishment being late for such a news-breaking event was an absolute disgrace. He would most likely get himself fired. He took out his phone to contact his co-workers but realized that there was no signal in the elevator. If this went on, Charlie would never get to see what was going on in Trisdale Park without access to Youtube or other video streaming platforms. The world had reached the 5G era, but yet, thought Charlie, wifi still was not accessible in elevators.
And at this moment, the lights went off. It was pitch-black. And Charlie had a tremendous fear of the dark since young, especially being trapped in a confined space like the elevator. It was unfortunate that he happened to be in the only elevator to have malfunctioned in Trisdale City. He cried. He banged his fists against the walls. As an atheist himself, he even kneeled and prayed for help in the name of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed, Athena ... whatever god’s name he could think of. He even called out Cthulhu.
Such a huge crowd had gathered in Trisdale Park. There were a few policemen who were willing to forgo a few hours of sleep just to be there to make sure no chaos broke loose. Fortunately, Trisdale citizens had been law-abiding people for years. There were fans of Oracles 322 trying to find the event organizer. But there is more than one person dressed in Oracle 322’s iconic hood. In fact, there were a dozen of them. It seemed that Oracle 322 had no wish to reveal his identity after all. There were still people who were wondering what would be sacrificed for the ritual but they could not see any goat. It was about time but still, no moon could be seen. Guys with telescopes found that clouds were obstructing the view of the sky. When people feared the possibility of not getting to see the violet moon, the park was then reverberated by a voice from a loudspeaker.
"Don’t worry, my dear fellows!"
It was the voice of Oracle 322.
"The moment you have been waiting for is nigh!"
And soon enough, the sky cleared up and the moon appeared before their very eyes. It was releasing an ominous glow of purple light. Just before Trisdale citizens took out their phones to capture the magnificent sight, the moon opened up its eye.
It was actually a gigantic ball of flesh floating in the sky. It had been hiding behind the clouds all this time. Nobody seemed to notice a pure white moon, the real one, concealed behind the thing. There was no panic, no scream coming from a single person in the park. They all just looked. They all seemed mesmerized by that purple eyeball. The image of the bright violet "moon" was reflected in the iris of everyone in the park. If an unknowing bystander were to watch this scene from afar, he might think those people’s eyes had turned purple.
Thousands of purple veins were growing out of the moon’s surface, wriggling their way like slithering snakes before reaching out to the crowd as elongated tentacles. No gunshots were fired by the police in response to such a monstrosity. They, like the rest of the crowd, were mesmerized by the sight of the giant eyeball and became as still as statues. They sensed nothing while the purple tentacles wrapped around their waists and slowly lifted their feet off the ground ...
Charlie was running as fast as his feet could carry him. There was no taxi or bus to take him to Trisdale Park. He could not see the moon, except for a purplish hue of the clouds from afar. He was already 15 minutes late. It was fortunate for him that a security guard happened to be around to hear the faint screams and constant banging noises coming from the elevator door.
When Charlie finally arrived, he could see no one. The quiet was deafening and there was an inexplicable eeriness to it. Telescopes, empty paper cups, caps, and smartphones with broken screens strewn about. Charlie looked up and could only see a pure white moon towering above.