The Sun and the Moon (a #31ShortHorrors tale)


The Sun and the Moon were at odds. They could not see each other often, and when they did, it was glorious. The rest of the time, they saw reflections of the other, or observed the effects each other had on that which came between them, the Earth.

Moon vented her frustrations with the expanse of time and space by yanking at the Earth’s tides on a regular basis and causing the women and children of Earth to behave uncooperatively, impetuously. Soon as she felt the warmth of the sun, however, her anxiety eased, and the shores of Earth were bathed in the soft consistency of gently lapping waves.

Sun, on the other hand, vented solar flares and radiation at irregular, powerful intervals when he was aggravated with their circumstances. Hurricanes, cyclones, droughts, satellite failures: these were his domain, and the aftershocks were felt for generations on Earth. On the rare occasion he did glimpse Moon, however, the Earth sighed in relief, happy to vacate Sun’s fierce focus.

And what of Earth?

Earth suffered profoundly, and reaped her rewards profoundly. However, the problem was this: the negative effects of Moon and Sun not seeing each other outweighed the positive effects of their connection, and Earth’s suffering accumulated in disproportion to her gifts. Her humans suffered Moon’s wrath and took it out on each other and Earth herself. Her atmosphere and physical features suffered and changed in reaction to Sun’s fury. The two sets of problems combined, fed on each other, and Earth found herself choked for life.

Earth decided to speak to her neighbors about the situation. Venus, to her left, had no moons, and Mars, to her right, had two moons. As Earth’s problems were primarily rooted in the interaction of her Moon and Sun, she approached Mars first.

“Mars, tell me, how do I convince Moon and Sun to not throw all their frustrations at me? I am but an innocent bystander in their path, and I am dying from their aggravation of being apart.”

Mars considered Earth’s Moon, her position relative to Sun and Earth herself. “Your moon is large, nearly a planet in her own right. She has reservoirs and mountains but little atmosphere. No wonder she craves the warmth of Sun. Perhaps you could share some more space with her,” Mars suggested.

Earth nodded thoughtfully. The seasons changed.

“However, I must warn you,” Mars whispered, “you may go cold and dead, if Moon takes too much space, light, and heat from your path. I have two moons, and not enough heat to support a living thing.”

Earth furrowed her brow. Earthquakes shook the Himalayas. “How do I prevent Moon from taking too much?” she asked.

“She can only take what you allow, as she is bound to her path by your gravity,” Mars answered. “Maintain your bond, but loosen your grip a little.”

Earth thanked Mars for his time and returned her gaze inward. She sighed, and a blizzard formed over the mountains of Peru. She approached Venus next.

Upon hearing Earth’s predicament, Venus squinted to bring Moon into better focus. “Mars has an excellent idea, however, consider this: Moon may fear the Sun’s heat once she feels the full potential, and hide behind your forever. You will end up like me, too hot and roiling to support life at all. You must consider both sides of this coin, Earth,” Venus warned. “Moon may never want to leave the path of the sun, and you will freeze. Alternatively, Moon may never want to feel his warmth again, and you will boil.”

A tear formed, and Spain found itself flooded.

“Are you quite sure what you have is a problem that needs solving?” Venus pressed on, “You’ve survived this long, and you’re in better shape than the rest of us.”

Earth explained the cumulative consequences of her Moon and Sun’s issues with each other, how instead of freezing or boiling to death quickly, she was dying, one pinprick at a time, a slow drip poison spreading through her crust. “There must be a way to fix this!” Earth wailed. Hurricanes raced through the Caribbean.

Venus tried to console her, she urged Earth to take the deep, slow breaths that she herself was no longer able to take. The green and blue marble calmed, and a light breeze wafted over Beijing, relieving it of smog. Earth thanked Venus for her advice and looked once again upon her inhabitants. She thought long and hard, meditating on what, or what not, to do.

Meanwhile, eclipse season was starting, and Moon was very excited to bask in the full warmth of Sun once again. She had adjusted her orbit to take full advantage of the star, and Earth’s tides lapped happily at Earth’s shores. Sun swelled in his anticipation, could barely contain his plasma. Earth breathed a sigh of relief, eclipse season was her favorite. Her inhabitants were fascinated with the astronomical sights, her weather was calm, pollution low as humans went outside and enjoyed that which was beyond their control.

Each solar eclipse reminded Earth of the best the Universe had to give. And so she continued to breathe deeply and wait for it, twice a year, every year. A decade passed, a generation passed, a century passed. A millennium, and another, and another went by. Each season, the Sun swelled larger with anticipation and eagerness to greet his Moon.

Knowing their fate, the planets aligned, nodded their goodbyes, and one by one, were consumed by the Sun. Mercury, Venus, gone in a puff. Still, the Moon, in love with the Sun, eager to become one with him, took her place in syzygy, offering her Mother planet one last moment of clear, cool shade, the last and only protection she could ever give.

Sun approached Moon slowly, yet suddenly. “At last,” he whispered as he enveloped her coolness.

Moon watched Sun approach at full speed, ready to join him after billions of years of separation. Even in death, he raced ahead. Even in death, he warmed her core, protected her, annihilated her.

Earth watched her beloved Moon evaporate in love, took a deep breath, gave a nod to Mars, and joined the endless flow of the Universe.

Far, far away, in the Perseus arm, a star was born.


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