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The Black Moon Of Lilith

Part One: Abridged

By Cheryl LynnPublished 4 years ago 9 min read
Astrological glyph for Black Moon Lilith, the lunar apogee directly opposed to the moon.

Thunder rumbled in the distance, as huge raindrops pelted the muddy ground. Alex stuffed his hands in his jean pockets to keep warm. It was only 5:00 pm, but the overcast winter sky was almost as dark as night. Shivering as he paced down the sidewalk, he scanned the street for any kind of awning or overhang. He craved a cigarette, but smoking was impossible in this weather.

The lyrics blasted in his headphones. He kept trudging past streetlight after streetlight, passing parks and fields, but no shelter. Finally, after walking for several blocks, he came across a real building. He walked a little faster. Even from a distance, the soft orange glow of the storefront seemed warmer than the industrial yellow shine of the streetlights.

Alex was born and raised in Madrid, but he didn’t remember this store being around. He wondered if it was one of those mom and pop shops that come and go in a small town, until an international chain store comes along. The sign looked old, like it had been there for decades, but Alex still didn’t recognize the name painted on it: “Lilith’s Gifts.” The sign was painted with the colors of the New Mexican flag: Red on yellow.

This rural side of town was a weird location for a gift shop, but Alex was glad to find a modern building in this historic district. He was about to light up, completely ignoring the “No Smoking” signs, because he assumed the store was closed. Then, startled, and embarrassed, he noticed the neon “OPEN” lights in the window, the store hours posted on the door – Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM – and, adjusting his eyes to see past the dim glare of his own reflection, he saw a pretty brunette on the other side of the window, working behind check-out counter.

What the hell. Might as well go inside. It was too cold and miserable outside for a cigarette anyway, and he felt too awkward to stay outside after making eye contact with the clerk. A little bell chimed as he walked through the door. “Hi!” The clerk chirped from behind her cash register, putting on her best customer service smile.

“Uh…Hi.” Alex smiled back politely, but he felt clumsy. “So… What is this place?”

“It’s my gift shop. I make most of it myself. I knitted those scarves, painted those pictures, and I even make my soaps and lotions from scratch. It’s all locally sourced and sustainable. You looking for anything in particular?” She motioned her hand around the room, pointing out her treasures. It all seemed a little too feminine for Alex’s style, but he was impressed that she was so creative. Other girls must like her stuff, at least enough to keep her little shop in business.

“Oh. I don’t know, I’m just browsing, I guess.”

“That’s fine. Just ask me if you need anything.”

“Thanks. I will.”

Alex wandered around the store, looking at crystal necklaces hanging on the walls, floral patterned shawls draped over racks, and corked bottles of every shape size, and color, filled with exotic perfume. It reminded him of burning incense.

“What are these, some kind of potions or something?” He joked.

“Those are my handmade bath soaks. They’re made with Himalayan pink salt, pressed wildflowers, and essential oil.”

“Yeah? That’s cool.”

She smiled but remained silent.

“So, how long have you had this store?” He tried to keep the conversation going.

“Oh, a few years now. It’s been so long that I don’t remember.” She laughed at her own joke.

“That’s funny, because I don’t remember it either.”

They both shared a friendly chuckle. Alex kept browsing the store. It was still pouring outside, and he felt like maybe the cute girl was flirting with him. Too bad the knit scarves looked so frilly, because Alex wished he had something to insulate against the cold. He thought that a t-shirt and a flannel button-up would suffice for this time of year, but he forgot how unpredictable the high desert can be.

“Looking for something for your girlfriend?” The clerk saw him staring at a sparkly pink scarf.

“Oh, um, I don’t have a girlfriend.” He blurted.

Her eyebrows raised, looking surprised. “Oh.”

“I was just thinking how I wish I had something warm to wear in this damn weather. It’s the middle of December, but I wasn’t smart enough to wear a jacket. I like your stuff, but I don’t think I can pull it off.” He smirked at his own self-deprecating humor.

“Yeah, I don’t make a lot of guys’ clothes. I might have a few plain black beanies on that shelf over there. Or sometimes I sell stuff on commission. Check out the rack in the corner. That’s all vintage stuff.”

She pointed to a small sales rack. It reminded him of a thrift store. He recognized a couple of name brands, and even some expensive designer ones, but the clothes seemed dated. Between a tweed blazer and a suede vest, he found a plain black hoodie. Finally, something modern, something masculine!

Might as well buy it. It would give him an excuse to keep talking to the pretty clerk. Besides, he had to walk home, and the weather would likely get worse before it got better. Sure, it was a used hoodie from a hole in the wall store, but it was better than nothing, and it would probably only cost a few bucks. He kept thinking of reasons to buy it, as if he had to convince himself. Anyway, if he didn’t like it, he could throw it out, or give it away, or donate it to a thrift store…Just like someone else obviously did before.

He lost his train of thought as he yanked the hanger from the rack and took it to the counter.

“I’ll take this.”

“Ok. So that’s fifteen bucks, but it’s on clearance for ten, plus tax, so…”

“Just keep the change.” He handed her a twenty dollar bill.

“Well that’s generous of you but…”

“I should get going.” Alex was sick of embarrassing himself. He felt so awkward in public. Especially talking to women.

“Well, if you insist. But let me give you something on the house.”

She tossed a polished rock into the paper bag with the hoodie. Alex didn’t know much about crystals and gemstones, but he remembered that the purple ones were called Amethyst.

“That’s alright, I don’t need a bag. I’ll put the jacket on now. And you can put the Amethyst in the pocket.”

“Oh, you know that Amethyst is a very spiritual stone, right? It has healing properties.”

“Good to know.” He flashed one last mischievous smile, and waved goodbye as he stepped out of the warm store, and into the bitter night.

It was pitch black when Alex finally got home. He wiped his dirty boots on the welcome mat before he opened the door to his Casita. The adobe walls were thick and heavy, and were supposed to be natural insulators. At least, that’s what his landlord told him. But the room felt cold inside. At least it blocked the rain and wind, Alex thought to himself as he plugged a space heater into the wall and cranked it full blast.

He was so exhausted after walking for miles in the rain. He sprawled out on the couch to watch some TV. He fell asleep with his hand on the remote, too tired to even turn it on.

When he awoke, he felt a heavy pain in his chest. It felt like something was on him. Or someone.

He tried to push the weight of himself, to sit upright, to scream. But he couldn’t move at all. He couldn’t even blink his eyes. They were frozen open, forced to gaze upon the demon. A sentient shadow seemed to loom above him, pinning his arms down, and clamping its clawed hand over his mouth, silencing him. Its eyes glowed yellow, like the street lamps from last night.

Although he felt paralyzed, he strained to move. It took all of Alex’s willpower to let out a scream, even though it was muffled by a monstrous hand. The yellow lights flickered, as if confused, and then faded like snuffed candle flames. The shadow vanished like a wisp of smoke.

Alex blinked his eyes – He could blink again! He sighed , relieved that could also move and speak freely now, unstifled. He blinked once more to be sure. Yes, that was a bad dream, a nightmare and nothing more. But his heart was still pounding.

He remembered reading about sleep paralysis, but he never thought he’d experience it himself. It seemed like the sort of thing that he would see in click bait articles and creepypastas, but it never seemed real. Those people were just looking for attention, or they were paranoid hypochondriacs, or they smoked too much of something. Good idea, thought Alex, as he rummaged his surroundings for a pack of cigarettes.

Alex was already disoriented to wake up in his living room instead of his bedroom, and he was even more confused as he thumbed around his unfamiliar pockets. He barely remembered buying this hoodie. Was he blacked out last night? He vaguely recalled a pretty girl, so drinking was a definite possibility. Then again, he woke up alone, so maybe not. Alex always felt scrambled after a nightmare. It was hard to tell which parts were dreams and which parts were real. He needed a smoke to calm his nerves.

Finally, he found the crushed cardboard he was seeking. And what felt like a little stone, round and cold in his palm. Alex pulled his hands out of his pockets to observe. Ah, yes. The Amethyst. It was all coming back together. The thunderstorm. The shop. The girl. They were all real.

He lit a yellow candle, making the room smell like amber musk. He placed it on the windowsill. The flame was reflected in the glass. It seemed to change the energy in the whole house. Alex noticed that the flame and its reflection resembled the two yellow eyes of the demon.

Alex changed. Black jeans. Black t shirt. They still reeked of detergent, as they were fresh out of the dryer, along with the rest of the laundry that he forgot to fold the day before. He dragged a comb through his tousled black hair, meeting his own gaze in the mirror. His green eyes looked and felt tired. But He thought that these were the best days of all. He liked the grey skies and howling wind and rushing sleet.

He wondered what the girl from the shop was doing on days like this. Does she work in the shop every day? Does she also want to stay inside, safe and reclusive from the outside world? If so, would she rather be alone, or might she prefer his company? He wished he got her number. He wanted to talk to her. He kept thinking about her long dark hair, how it framed her face like black velvet curtains. He remembered the sway of her feminine curves, even when covered with her modest turtleneck and flowing skirts. No amount of frumpy fabric could hide her hourglass figure, but he imagined she looked even better without all those extra layers.

What was her name? Had he forgotten to introduce himself? How could he be so stupid? He hated being so shy and awkward. That’s why he would rather be alone, watching the world pass him by, random events coming and going like snowflakes in the wind.


About the Creator

Cheryl Lynn

I am a blogger and freelance journalist, specializing in music reviews, band interviews, and other entertainment related articles. I have also published poetry, fiction, and creative writing. http://undeadgoathead.com/links/portfolio/

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