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The Man in the Moon

A Short Story

By Hannah ShullPublished 5 years ago 5 min read

It was the summer of my eighteenth year. Typically, I would spend my days under a large oak tree on the rolling hills of my yard, reading books under the sunny sky or watching clouds go by, picking out the fluffy cat-shaped ones that reminded me of my childhood. That young girl whose only companion was the white furball of a cat or the characters of my books. It was easy for me to connect with fictional people of other worlds, yet it was unimaginable for me to even dream of speaking to others in my own world. I didn't know anything of public schooling, as I had been homeschooled my whole life. The only people I spoke to were the maids and butlers of my homestead and the occasional stranger that asked for directions. I spoke to my father only once, when I was very young, yet I still remember each word that flowed so easily from his mouth. That was the last I saw of him. I was told he went on a business trip, but the maids have their superstitions. Some say he ran off with a girl, others say he abandoned us for the life down south. I didn't know what they meant as a child, but whether I knew or not I didn't believe them. My mother was only photographs and stories to me; I met her only once, when I first saw the light of this world. She died after I was born, and again, the staff had their theories. Theories or not, the situation didn't change, and the cold truth was that I was left to grow up alone. After my mother died, I was given to the head maid, whom I learned to call Cheryl. She took care of me and raised me as her own while my father grieved over his love. As an infant, I was oblivious to my situation. I became very attached to Cheryl and loved her as if she were my mother. But as my mother before her, she died of old age when I was five. Having lost two mothers and not speaking to my father for five years, I shut myself off from everyone else. I mourned Cheryl deeply, and cried out for my father, yet he never came. Until one sunny day, when I was basking in the sun on our Nebraskan Homestead. My father stood over me holding a box. He wore a black suit and tie, his hair combed neatly back, the smell of cologne wafting from him. He handed me the box which contained a white kitten the size of a softball. I held the kitten gently in my arms and looked up at my father, who knelt down to me, and spoke the words that I had waited so desperately for. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Twelve years later, his words play in my head like a symphony, the only words he ever spoke to me that I hold so dear in my heart. The words that, despite the superstition, gave me hope that my father will return one day and hold his child as gently as she held that little white kitten.

And twelve years later, I stand on the porch of my homestead as the sun begins to rise, pouring rays of light through the dusty house and drowning the hills of the valley with sunshine. Today was different. Though my spirit had hoped so desperately and my soul had prayed so longingly, the light had drained from my eyes, the color faded from my cheeks. Typically, I would explore the pages of a novel or play with my cat. But I have read all the books of my library, and my cat had grown too old for this world. I had finally lost everything I held dear. So as the dawn greeted me and the world welcomed a new day, I stood alone and I cried. Today was different. Today, I would lock myself in my father's study and shut myself off from the world, as he had done. I breathed in the morning mist for the last time, and went into the house. I held my head high as I walked through the halls. Though my eyes were glossy and my cheeks stained, the maids dare not speak a word. As I reached my study, I shooed all the staff, closed the heavy doors, and clicked the lock shut.

Throughout my years, I had been in my father's study twice. The first when I stumbled in as a child, when my father still moped in within these walls. I was playing by myself when I stumbled through the doors and the maids removed me as if I was a rodent or a germ that has creeped it's way into my father's room to disturb him. The second time was when I was in the rebellious years of a teenager. I was bored of my books and wanted more. I snuck into his abandoned study, enamored by the gilded shelves bursting with the leather bound pages of our ancestors. But like my younger self, I was merely a pest that needed to be removed, and I was taken out by the staff. Now an adult, I have rights to anywhere on the homestead, including the study. And because it has been left untouched, all my father's journals, notes, and property has remained where he left it. I sat in his leather chair and looked out the grand window behind his desk. From this room and this window, I had a direct view to a large oak tree on one of the rolling hills of the property.

"You are never alone. Though I could not teach you to read, though I could not watch clouds go by, I was always there, and I will always be there. The sun always lights the day as the moon always guards the night, and I will always be your guardian. Aim for the moon, Isme, because if you miss, you'll at least hit a star."


About the Creator

Hannah Shull

Hannah is a 19 year old Army wife. Having only served 1 year in the US Army herself, she married a soldier that she met during her service. Now, she is inspired by her past as she struggles with her history with the military and family.

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