“Hey Carol, we’re going to the store for some munchies want to come along?” Brenda asked her friend.
“I don’t think you and Sarah should leave the apartment tonight, did you see the moon?” Carol absently said as she gazed out the front room window.
“Why should we stay home?” Sarah wanted to know, just catching the tail end of the conversation.
“Carol is afraid the moon looks strange” Brenda joked.
“Are you now into some new age mysticism or something Carol?” Sarah frowned. Carol frowned back at her two roommates, Brenda never took anything serious and nine times out of ten, Sarah would follow Brenda’s lead. With a sigh Carol went into the kitchen, leaving her roommates to joke about the scary moon. She wasn’t really upset with them, just frustrated. She felt something was off tonight but what she didn't know. Being annoyed with her friends was a common accurance, they were all very different and sometimes their personalities clashed. They had been friends since the beginning of sixth grade and now they were in their junior year at Barcley University. Their differences are why they got along so well too, because they balanced each other out. Carol was a very serious person, but she was extremely introverted and quiet. Brenda was an extrovert, loud and boisterous and take charge kind of person, and Sarah was the easy going, she liked to make sarcastic remarks about almost anything. tension relief and ice breakers she'd call them. The best thing about their friendship was how the girls dragged her out of the shell, getting her to have fun and open up.
Tonight though, she had a bad feeling when she gazed at the full moon. It was brighter than normal and it had three rings that seemed to run thru it, unlike Saturn the rings looked like they went through the middle of the moon not around it. She’d never seen anything like it. She’d just gotten off the phone from her mother when Brenda had come into the front room. That was part of the reason she was unnerved. Her Mother was very superstitious and the moon had set her off on a tangent. She had kept going on and on about the bad omen. Something terrible was going to happen, she didn’t know what but she made Carol promise to stay inside tonight. After hanging up the phone Carol had went to the window and looked at the moon herself, it gave her an eerie feeling, No stars were visible tonight, and the sky had a cloudy over cast but the moon shown dazzlingly. The rings emphasized it. The outer ring had a hazy orange luminous tint, the next ring was a pale blue and more defined, the center ring was very distinct, it was a pure white band that seemed to pierce the center of the moon. She could kick herself for falling into her mothers melodramatics. It was a bad habit she was trying to dispel.
She went back into the front room as the girls were getting ready to leave.
“Hey Carol, if the moon eats us you can have my purple sweater.” Brenda laughed.
“Oh! And Carol if we’re zapped by aliens, you can tell Todd that I did like him, I wished I had accepted his invitation to the dance.” Sarah told her seriously.
“You wished you had gone out with Todd?” Brenda exclaimed with surprise.
Sarah looked at them with a sorrowful expression, then instantly burst into gales of laughter. “Heck No! But you should have seen your faces. Gotcha!”
“I hope the moon falls on your heads.” Carol yelled to them as they walked out the door. She followed them as far as the porch and watched her friends cross the lawn on the way to their car. She looked up at the moon, a chill ran down her spine. Her gaze was forcibly torn away from the moon by screams. Brenda and Sarah were frozen in place, shaking violently, their screams piercing the quiet of the night. Immobilized in terror Carol watched her friends withering in pain. It was only when they both collapsed on the ground that she was able to move. She rushed to them crying out their names, she gathered Sarah’s body to her chest rocking her. Her head bowed and tears rushed down her face in anguish. After a moment she felt Sarah’s chest move, joy filled her she’s alive. Slowly she lowered her to the ground, her chest was rising rapidly, so was Brenda’s she noticed, but their eyes were tightly closed and both were making muffled noises. It only took a second for her to realize that they were both trying to stifle laughter!
“I thought you were dead!” Carol yelled at them as she jumped up and kicked Brenda in the leg.
“Oww, that hurt” Brenda choked out between bursts of laughter.
“Oh momma, hold me again” Sarah chortled rolling on the grass.
“I can’t believe you just did that to me!” Carol cried out. She turned to run into the house but Brenda grabbed her pants leg and pulled her down to the ground between them. Sarah wrapped her arms around Carol and Brenda grabbed her hand.
“I’m sorry, it was a bad joke, we didn’t mean to make you cry.” Brenda told her.
“Me either, but don’t you think that maybe it was a little funny?” Sarah cajoled her. Carol wiped the tears from her eyes and gave a small smile.
“Ya maybe little”
Brenda reached over and gave Carol a big hug then Sarah wrapped her arms around both of them. All three sat there laughing and rocking.
“Get a room!” Someone shouted from one of the apartments. This caused the girls to collapse in laughter again.
“Time to go.” Brenda said standing up. Just as she reached down to grab Carols hand, a brilliantly bright light shined down, temporarily blinding them. A sudden chill over took their bodies like they had just walked into a meat freezer. Almost instantly freezing winds enveloped them. Then as rapidly as it had started it was over, the cold was gone and all was quite.
“What in the world was that?” Sarah asked shakily, rubbing her eyes and blinking to try to clear the multitude of spots away.
Brenda glanced around, everything was dark.
“What happened to all the lights” she wondered aloud. Sarah finally able to see again, she stared at her surroundings. It was to dark to see anything but faint impressions. There were no lights anywhere, no porch lights, no street lights, even the moon, now covered in clouds barely shone.
“Carol, what do you think?” Brenda asked.
“Obviously it’s a power outage, you won’t be going to the store now.” She laughed.
"Why wouldn't we still go to the store?" Brenda crossly asked.
“With no power they won’t be letting anyone in the store. Well Mom was sort of right, but a power outage wasn’t too terrible for a bad omen." She chuckled, wiping sweat off her brow. Wow, when did it get so hot? She had thought the weather was cooler, probably from humidity, a storm had to of knocked out the power and would be hitting them soon. That had to be it.
“If a storm is coming we should go in.” Carol told them.
“What storm? I don’t see any signs of a storm.” Sarah exclaimed.
“What other explanation would account for the power outage and the sudden heat.” Carol asked.
“I thought I was the only one sweating, but I don’t see any sign of a storm, no wind, no lightening and no thunder. So I don’t know if that’s it, but we should get back to the apartment just in case.” Brenda told them.
“There was a lot of strong wind, a moment ago. I thought a blizzard had landed on us for a minute.” Sarah shivered thinking about how cold that had been.
“We need to get back to the apartment, what if that was a tornado and now we are in the eye? I’ve never been in one but I’ve read that there is quiet and no wind in the eye of one, sooo.” Brenda shrugged.
“There has never been a tornado in this state, ever.” Carol argued.
“First time for everything.” Sarah mumbled as she headed off toward the apartment. Sarah had only taken a few steps when she fell flat on her face. Brenda was right behind her, and followed her down when she tripped over Sarah’s leg.
“What the Heck!” Sarah yelled when Brenda fell on her. Carol started laughing when she saw the vague outlines of the girls on the ground.
“I thought you two knew how to walk”
“Very funny Carol, I stepped into a hole, that’s why I fell. I don’t know Brenda’s excuse.
“My excuse is a clod fell in my way, now help me up Carol!” Once they were all standing Sarah grabbed the phone from her pocket and turned on the flashlight. Instead of the nice manicured lawn they were use to, the ground was uneven, covered in rocks and weeds. Slowly Sarah moved the light over the area, none of it was as it had been. The lawn was gone, there were no vehicles in the parking lot. Actually there was no parking a lot either. Bordering on panic Sarah turned the flashlight toward their apartment. A building was there but different. It was elevated, so where their apartment had been now it was just structure holding up the floor above. The floor above was dark, nothing illuminated it. Vines shrouded the whole place. Dumbfounded the girls stood there staring at what was once their home.
“Well, we aren’t in Kansas anymore?” Sarah stammered quietly, her voice sounded like she was close to tears. Brenda stepped closer to Sarah, she was shaken, and usually she was the strong one of the trio, but now she felt lost. Brenda had no answers for what they were seeing.
“It was the moon, my mother told me to beware.” Carol spoke up with certainty.
“The MOON!” Brenda shouted. “Give me a break, I am sick of your loony mom’s warnings.
“Do you have a better explanation? Miss I’m the boss and know everything!” Carol yelled back.
“STOP! Both of you please, we need to work together to figure this out and get home.” Sarah cried. Brenda and Carol wrapped their arms around Sarah,
“I sorry” Brenda whispered. I’m frightened, I don’t have any idea what to do.
“So am I, we can’t go snapping at each other now. I know you don’t want to hear what my mom said,” Brenda started to interrupt her but Carol put up her hand and raised her finger, silencing Brenda.. “My mother said the rings through the moon were a bad omen, she must have heard something about it before.”
“Okay so what do we do now?” Brenda asked.
“I don’t know” Carol uttered in despair.
The girls froze, something was moving out beyond their sight. They heard a growl and a clicking, no it wasn’t a clicking exactly, it sounded like teeth smacking together.
“We need to hide.” Sarah whispered.
“But where?’ Carol quietly asked.
“To the building thing.” Brenda yelled when whatever they’d been listening to started crashing toward them. The girls ran to the building searching for stairs, but there were none to find. The creature was getting closer and its roar was sounding more ferocious, it was closing the distance in a frenzy. Frantically the girls looked for a way up, occasionally glancing over their shoulders fearing the creature would be right behind them.
“Here, Here, we need to climb hurry” Brenda excitedly tried to push Sarah up a thick vine.
“I can’t climb a vine, I’m not Tarzan!” Sarah whined.
“Just go! Now” Brenda demanded as she shoved Carol to the next thickest vine and followed behind Sarah.
They scrambled up the vines as the creature reached the building. Carol screamed when the creature grabbed the vine she was climbing. It shook it like a dog in a tug of war battle, but with none of the playfulness. The violent twisting was making her sick, she felt her shoe come off and she almost lost her grip. I’m going to die she thought, clinging to the vine.
Sarah and Brenda came to the ledge and crawled over. They both tried to see what was happening to Carol. They could hear her screams between gasps and quickly uttered prayers but they could barely see her. The ledge they were on shuttered from the violent attack on the vine. Carol lost her grip of her left hand and swung uncontrollably with each jerk of the vine.
“Give me your phone.” Brenda screeched, grabbing it from Sarah before it even cleared her pocket. She turned on the flashlight and swung it toward the creature below. It was hideous, it was black with mossy hanging fur, it had 6 incredibly muscular legs. It was using its front two as hands grasping and tearing at the vines. The claws at the end of each appendage looked razor sharp and long. It gave the vine a mighty twist and Carol went flying. The creature turned toward Carol as she lay on the ground frozen in terror. Brenda shown the light directly at the monster to try and get its attention and as soon as the light hit its body the creature started shrieking and withering in pain, it smoldered for a few seconds then it went up in a puff of smoke.
“What the h……” Sarah started to say.
“Come on let’s get down there and make sure Carol is okay.” Brenda shouted and swinging her legs over the ledge, she scrambled down the vine. Sarah followed at a slower pace, all the while complaining, “When did I suddenly become a monkey hanging from vines”.
“Are you alright?” Brenda panted, sliding to a stop beside Carol.
“Is it gone?” Carol peeked around Sarah who finally climbed down the vine and joined her friends.
“Yes, it just went poof when the light hit it.” Sarah laughed slightly.
“Wow! I was sure I was going to die.” Carol cringed. The relief they felt was short lived though. Out of the corner of Carol’s eye she saw movement, and she stiffened. Brenda became aware that they weren’t alone about the same moment.
“You should have seen yourself……..” Sarah stopped mid sentence when she noticed her friends rigid stance and followed the direction of their eyes, there were black shapes coming toward them. Probably twenty or more. Carol stood slowly up next to Brenda and Sarah scooted closer too.
“The phone Brenda.” Sarah whispered. Brenda took the phone out of her pants pocket and tried to turn it on, when it didn’t immediately come on she brought it up to her face and tried to turn it on again. It wouldn’t work, it must have gotten broken when she slid down to Carol. The girls crept closer together as they watched the figures silently close in around them. The moon was slowly peeking through the clouds and illuminating the area. The girls could see that the shapes looked vaguely human, they had two arms, two legs and one head. But there the similarities ended. The moonlight was bright enough now to see that their skin had a grayish tinge to it and their arms hung longer almost to their knees. Their heads were proportionately larger too. With two extremely large red eyes. Carol almost wished the moon would hide again so she could take her eyes off the creatures. The creatures/people encircled the friends, there was no where they could run. Each second the moon shone brighter, the rings eerily glowed and the horror of their features became more distinct.
Carol glanced up at the moon, her fear soaked brain could only wonder how something so beautiful could be the death of them. Simultaneously several things happened; the creatures started shrieking and rushed the friends. The girls hugged each other tightly and closed their eyes and waited for death. An icy wind blew frigid gusts around them and a brilliantly bright light shot down from the sky and engulfed the friends.
Brenda was the first to open her eyes to the silence around them. At first she only opened one eye to peek around. She saw a street light in front of her.
“You guys look! Were home!” she shouted. Sarah and Carol let go of each other and looked around, they were home. They were standing on the nice green lawn in front of their apartment. Their relief was so overwhelming Sarah screamed for joy and Brenda and Carol joined in, all three were jumping up and down, like over stimulated toddlers in a frenzy of excitement.
“Come on you three shut up! People are trying to sleep.” Someone yelled from one of the apartments. Still laughing, but quieter now the three friends linked their arms together and headed to their apartment.
“I don’t think we should tell anyone what happened tonight” Brenda told them as they reached the door.
“No one would believe us, except my mom.” Carol sighed.
“Yep, they’d think we were nuttier than a fruitcake.” Sarah tried to get a little laugh. Except no one laughed, but each knew that from now on they would be cautious and beware the strange moon.