Oo! One of my favorite numbers. 13. Unlucky in most cultures, I love this number for some reason and have never felt it to be unlucky. Or lucky for that matter. I don’t think any number is lucky or unlucky. It’s just superstition.
Of course, if this number were lucky, a literary agent would read this post and be so interested that they’d read the previous posts for PM. Then they’d send me a message about wanting to read my unpublished manuscript and they’d love it so much that they’d offer to represent it. It would be history from there.
If 13 was a lucky number.
If you’re interested in reading from the start, you can find the first post here: The Path of Moonlight: 1. Enjoy!
======== The Path of Moonlight ========
My progress was slow but it was progress. One foot in front of the other. I wasn’t sure how far I had walked but, when the sun began to set and there was still no sign of people, I knew a league did not equal a mile. One thing I could be thankful for was that the clear sky hadn’t changed so there was little chance of rain during the night. Of course, how I would sleep without a pillow or blanket or heat I didn’t know.
I curled up against a boulder and ate my dried meat in miserable silence while the sun sank behind the horizon and left me in darkness. My body was too exhausted to cry. There wasn’t even a prickle of tears to sting my eyes. Or perhaps there wasn’t enough water left in my body to make tears. I had heard of that sort of thing happening, but I didn’t know if my slow trek in moderate temperatures was enough to dehydrate me to that extreme even if I had been walking and running the whole day.
My mouth was parched, my lips beginning to crack, and my stomach rumbled. With my body screaming from exhaustion, I thought I’d pass out the moment I closed my eyes but I didn’t. Despite the night being free of noise, my mind refused to fall into oblivion. Perhaps I should have tried to make a fire before the sun went down? I didn’t know how though. There hadn’t been survival classes at my high school. Even if there had been, there would’ve been no reason to take one.
The man hadn’t mentioned animals outside the forest. Perhaps there were none, or no dangerous ones anyway. There had to have been rabbits and the like. How else would people get food? How else would he get food? He hadn’t been carrying many things with him. How far could he travel before needing to replenish his food and water? Water. Where could I find water?
My thoughts were wandering along lines of survival when my mind slipped away. But it wasn’t a dreamless sleep.
I dreamt of moonlight and a shimmering path that led across the waves of grass to a small pond. The landscape was dotted with large boulders, but around the pond they were clustered so as to hide the body of water and the spring that fed it. It gleamed in the soft light of the moon and smelled fresh and cold. Everything was quiet and peaceful as I knelt to drink.
I woke, the night still thick around me, my senses confused as to where I was. It wasn’t the dark of the crawl space nor of my bedroom. The air was too fresh and cool, too open around me. Memory came back but something nagged at me. What had woken me and why could I see? It was faint, but I could see. I looked up and saw that the moon had risen. It was full and bright but it didn’t resemble the one I was used to seeing. The craters were wrong. Yet another indication that I was a stranger in a strange land. But instead of this depressing my spirits, the soft light soothed me. I closed my eyes and rested my head back against the boulder while I soaked in the peace it gave me.
When I opened my eyes, I noticed a silvery path off to my right, shimmering the way it had in my dream. Had I fallen asleep again? I blinked a few times and rubbed my eyes but the path was still there. In my dream a path exactly like this had showed me where to find water. I knew it was silly to follow it and I knew I must have been delirious from dehydration and exhaustion, but I pushed myself onto my protesting feet and stumbled along after it.
It wasn’t in quite the same direction as I had been traveling (or hoped I had been), but it wasn’t too far off either. I walked about ten or fifteen minutes before I saw the cluster of boulders from my dream. With a gasp of disbelief, I hurried forward, nearly falling at times but I reached the boulders. Moonlight snaked through a small opening that was large enough for me to squeeze through sideways if I ducked down and sucked in my breath.
The pond shown in the moonlight just as it had in my dream. I cried out in relief and dropped to my knees beside it, scooping up the cold water with my hands and sucking it down.
======== End of 13th Installment ========
And here we’re finally seeing a further connection to the title! Moonlight. What’s Charlotte’s connection with moonlight? Wait and see!