BMWW January 23, 2012

This week’s prompt was to write a story ending with this sentence: “The moon hung large in the sky waiting for their next move.” 

Momma and Poppa were proud people by any means, I suppose. I can’t recall even one time when my folks accepted any help, or a “handout” as Poppa would say, his lips showing obvious distaste for such an act. Proud and private. I can recall a childhood of memories of playing by the pond, casting our homemade fishing poles into the water or laughing as we splashed each other to cool off from the scorching heat. We made our way to church every Sunday and holiday to listen to ol’ Pastor Joe rattle off sermons promising us we would burn in the very depths of hell if we didn’t change our sinning ways. According to Pastor Joe, we were all sinners, he being the exception of course. I suppose when you’re a pastor, you have an automatic pardon against the sins of enjoying spirits on a nightly basis and from visiting Madame Glory’s every Saturday. 

Even so with the weekly interactions of the townspeople in church, Momma and Poppa remained politely aloof, never inviting people over for dinner, birthday parties, or any type of social events. I suppose the townsfolk thought it odd, probably even rude, when we moved into their small community. But like most things, people come to accept what is and move on to gossip joyfully about more juicy matters such as Mrs. Windell disappearing and leaving her husband and six children behind. Tongues wagged that she had run off with Bill Spencer, the man hired to do extra farm chores for her husband. To speak of such behavior left a more savory taste in their mouths.

Momma kept a clean house. No fancy frills. Simple. And. Clean. That was how her Momma done it before her, and her Momma before her. Papa was a dreamer of sorts, I guess you could say. He spent hours in the basement working on his invention. We were never allowed to go into the basement. Only Momma. I recall one time when my eldest brother, Carl, made the mistake of getting halfway down the stairs one day. I don’t think he sat down for a week after Papa tore his hide off. After that, we walked as far away and around the basement door as we could. 

The years rolled by quickly and predictable. I didn’t mind much. I liked the routine of my family and the simple life we led. One by one, my siblings married and moved out to start families of their own in neighboring towns. They weren’t much for visiting Momma and Poppa though. I guess it was different for me being the baby and all. Course, my folks started aging up. Their bodies betraying them slowly as they wore out. Poppa never did do anything special with his invention but he still spent every day, painfully creeping down the stairs to do his day’s work. 

One winter’s morning, I awoke to a white land of wonders. Putting on my long johns, I peered out my bedroom window. I stumbled back when I saw my elderly Poppa hobbling as fast as he could, rifle in hand. Grabbing my jacket, I sprinted outside. There’d been a fox or coyote of sorts killing Momma’s prized laying hens. Poppa must have spotted the critter. I saw Poppa in the distance raise his rifle and fire. I heard a scream of pain tear through the air, settling on my ears. Running as fast as the snow would allow me, I caught up to Poppa. 

A crimson blanket spread underneath the body of my eldest brother. Confused, I looked to Poppa. Never a man for many words, he simply nodded at me to help him pick up my brother. Numbed, I did what I always did. Obeyed Poppa. He never spoke a word as we carried Carl back to the house and down into the basement. 

I dropped Carl when my eyes took in the scene before me. There had to be at least ten people chained to tables, appearing to be asleep. I watched as their chests rose and fell in slow motion. Carl groaned in agony. Poppa kicked him before muttering to me to close my mouth and help put  my brother on the one vacant table. Afraid I would suffer the same fate, I grabbed Carl’s legs. Satisfied Carl was securely strapped, Poppa gestured for me to go upstairs.

Momma had breakfast prepared and poured us all a cup of coffee. I sat down, staring at the plate in front of me. The smell of eggs and bacon made me sick to my stomach. After several minutes of silence, outside of forks scrapping plates and coffee being swallowed, I looked at Momma and Poppa. 

Poppa began to tell me about his invention. He was a trapper of dreams, so to speak. As a young man, he’d had a burning desire to write novels that would rival any author before or after him. Only, he had two problems presented to him. The first being, he never made it passed the fourth grade as he was needed to help on his father’s farm. The second, he found he lacked much creativity and imagination. And then it came to him one night. He should harvest dreams. Poppa couldn’t recall ever having a dream so he saw fit to try to steal the dreams of others. Momma began clearing the table as Poppa spoke. My eyes followed her every move. Panic set deep within my soul as I thought perhaps I was dreaming. Poppa’s voice pushed through my thoughts. 

He and Momma had worked out a system over the years by going to church. In church, they would pay attention to anyone who mentioned a dream they had. This would be the perfect candidate. They’d set about, for as long as it took, to kidnap and hold hostage their victim. I was old enough to know Mrs. Windell and her farmhand hadn’t run away together. They’d spent years chained downstairs, as Poppa tried to harvest their dreams. I searched for visible signs of insanity on my folk’s faces. They looked so normal, helpless. My mind began reeling as I wondered how to escape their truth. Poppa and Momma gave each other a look. 

I woke up, hours later, my head wrapped in bandages, my brain screaming in agony. Blurry vision showed my folks hovering about as they watched me return to consciousness. I opened my mouth to scream for help. It wouldn’t move. I couldn’t move. Momma patted me on my arm, leaned over to kiss my cheek and left the basement. Poppa began to whistle a tuneless song as he readied a needle to inject me. 

I’m not sure how long I’ve been down here. If it’s hours, days, weeks, months, or years. Poppa keeps us pretty sedated most of the time. Occasionally, I wonder if I’m really hearing my brother’s voice or that of someone else crying out in pain. I sleep a lot. I dream a lot. Each dream ends the same way, no matter the beginning.

It’s night. My folks are wandering around, quiet, focused, determined. I can never make out the face of the person they are hunting. Sometimes it reminds me of myself, or Carl but I can’t be sure. They spring into action, injecting a sedative into the neck of the unsuspecting dreamer. After strapping the dreamer to a table, my dad rushes to work on his novel. I can clearly see what he writes. It begins the same way each dream. The lone sentence. 

The moon hung large in the sky waiting for their next move.” 


12 Responses

  1. WOW!! OH WOW!! Chelle!! WOW!! THis blew me away. Such originality, WOW. I'm seriously impressed. I love this. Completely. I love her voice too. WOW!

  2. Thank you, Stephanie. I'm glad you liked it. I was pretty stumped on how to come up with a story around the sentence. It hit me last night as I was starting to fall asleep.You always keep me on my toes, girl!!!

  3. This is so cool! This was such an interesting twist that I wasn't expecting from the start of the story- Love it. 🙂

  4. Wow! What a thriller! Great job, Chelle. This brought chills on my spine. 🙂

  5. Thank you, squidwrite! I think I'd like to go back and work on it and make it a longer story. I had lots of ideas in my head as I was writing it but condensed it for the prompt.

  6. Thanks, Imelda! I love how a story takes on a life of it's own and you never know where it might end up.

  7. Awesome! I wasn't expecting that at all! I love how you integrated the prompt in the story. Great idea.

  8. Thank you, Dana! It was a challenge using the prompt this week.

  9. very creative. Im a new follower via CC

  10. this is very neat! You did a great job! I enjoyed reading it very much!love, polly the littlest pollyPaulie Antiques

  11. Thank you, 7kidsandcounting. I must say, I'm curious about your blog with the title.

  12. Thank you, Polly. I'm glad you stopped by.

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