Ever heard of the Day of the Blue Moon?
Well, no, obviously you haven't. But I assure you that if you grew up in Latchford Hills then you'd know everything about it. Partially because there really isn't much to know. Basically every time there's a Blue Moon the people of Latchford Hills, a small town in Northern Ontario, have a celebration. It's basically an excuse for the whole community to come together to run bake sales, get drunk and listen to crappy local musicians.
The whole thing was passed down from some Native celebration in which the Blue Moon marked the rebirth of the Guardian Spirit or whatever. Frankly no one really cares. My name is Nick and as a fifteen-year-old high school student there's only one aspect of the Blue Moon festival that concerns me, the Blue Moon Hazing. Where all the meatheads get together to fuck with all the younger and less socially cool kids, so basically the same thing they do everyday.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, the story begins on the day of the last festival. A real shitty day. Not particularly rainy or windy but just real grey with that sense of depression and gloom in the air. Regardless, my parents and my younger brother drove into town for the celebrations activities. Before city hall's morning speech my brother and I went to the church to pick up some baked goods from the nice old lady at the bake sale. And just as I was enjoying a lemon tart...
"Hey Faggot!" I turned towards the voice just to see Kyle, the meatiest of the meatheads coming towards me with a few of his closest friends.
"... Oh hey Kyle." I respond coolly.
"So you coming to the bonfire tonight? 'Cause me and my buds were really looking forward to hanging out with you." Kyle says, with his big dumb smirk.
"I guess..." It's not like I have a choice, whatever you miss at the Hazing you get back double for the next few weeks at school, "And what's with the sudden interest in me?"
His smirk widens slightly. "Heh, we just got a few special plans for you."
"Can't wait," I say sarcastically as I start to turn around to walk away.
He grabs my shoulder and spins me back around. "Hey, don't be a smartass," one of his friends chimes in.
"Yeah, if there's one thing people don't like around the Blue Moon Fest, it's smart mouth little pricks." He shoves me back while my little brother watches, clearly very nervous.
"See you later, faggot!" And with that he and his friends walked away leaving just me, my bystander brother and the lemon tart I realize is now on the dirt.
I give my brother, Ethan, a cool look and then we continue on around main street. We notice that strange blue moons have been painted around town not just on signs and posters, but on the buildings and stores themselves. Vandalism is of course, not something people appreciate and yet no one seems to notice. It's just then that I saw a very pale, skinny, old man painting a large dark blue moon on a local business. I don't recognize him, but he soon looks away from his work and gazes at me with dark and sunken eyes. We stare at each other for an uncomfortable moment until I break off contact and walk away, and yet I can still feel him staring at me for the next couple minutes as if he's now completely fixated with me.
I soon start to notice that many of the town residents are looking far more solemn, even depressed than usual. And once again I start to feel the stares coming at me from the piercing dark eyes of these unrecognizable strangers. It's unnerving but I feel comfort as all attention shifts to City Council, with their always lengthy but peppy ceremony. However as soon as the Mayor steps up to the podium, I can see there's still something wrong. He looks unnerved and strangely malnourished, which is crazy considering he's been fine the last little while. He waits a moment in silence and then in a weak voice he begins.
"Hello. Today is the Day of the Blue Moon. I can see you have all arrived as is expected of the people of Latchford Hills. Today we celebrate rebirth and the continuation of prosperity and strength. We hope you will all think about these things today. And we hope that the Day of the Blue Moon may shed strength upon our many youth." He slowly gazes around at many of the members of the audience, including me. He then concludes with, "Thank you."
There's a ton of murmuring in the crowd, then Ethan and I exchange a look. That was it? Nothing but a short, flat and incredibly formal speech. Any of the enthusiasm the Mayor once had had been washed away with his current situation. Something is clearly awry, but I can't understand what the cause of it could be.
Night slowly comes and I find myself being dropped off at the local camp by my dad.
"Don't worry Nick, all the kids go through this and for the most part the older guys just want to hang out with you while messing with you a bit. You'll be fine." He says
"Yeah, maybe if you aren't as targeted as I am at school."
"Oh come on, just get out and go have fun. Learn to socialize with others for once."
I get out of the car reluctantly and I start to head down to the trail where the bonfire is. I think of all the stories I hear kids talk about with these hazings. There's the common stuff like being stripped and left in the forest, having to eat stuff blindfolded, and there's all the sick shit that most would see as just being rumours. But in the back of my mind I'm just trying to think about what the hell was up with everyone at the ceremony today.
The night has come and the Blue Moon is now visible in the sky. A giant yellow orb floating overhead, its pale light breaking through the gaps in the clouds. I see a sign pointing towards the fire. This path cuts through the woods and as I'm walking I suddenly hear a piercing scream ahead of me towards the glimmering yellow light. I freeze in my spot. Great, it seems the actual thing is even worse than the sick rumours. For the first time I have surpassed fear and am entering a semi-panic mode as I slowly move forward.
I finally get there and I'm surprised to see only four guys standing around the roaring blaze that is the fire. They are all staring into the fire, eyes not visible under the hoods of the dark blue robes they're wearing. "Um, hey guys," I say to them. No answer.
The situation has become incredibly eerie very quickly and I start to back away when finally one of the guys slowly lowers his hood and turns towards me. It's Kyle. "Nick... um.... you're going to have to come with me." He says, visually uncomfortable.
I continue to back away. "Yeah, uh, look I know this is tradition and all that but I think I'm going to head back." But I soon hear another guy coming up behind me, however this one is wearing a rounded dark blue mask in addition to his robe.
Kyle slowly responds, "Look, just come along with me."
I stand facing the masked man and decide it's best to just go along with it for now. And so Kyle, myself, and the mysterious third person walk off into the forest leaving the other three continuing to gaze into the fire ominously.
The Masked Man starts to breath heavily. I speak up, "Okay I know you guys had plans to have fun tonight but I really-"
"Just fucking move, man!" Kyle yells in response, now frustrated. Reluctantly I continue deeper and deeper into the woods. Finally we approach another fire, this time with seven different hooded and masked figures surrounding it. They all stand around the fire without movement. Looking into their eyes, which are still visible, I see a deep look of determination.
Kyle then starts to walk away, "Okay ca... can I go now?"
All of the figures slowly nod and Kyle then quickly walks away. I'm now terrified and alone. "You... you guys have had your goddamn fun, now just cut the act please."
They stand in deep silence for a long time, every time I shift or try to move the man still behind me puts his hand on my shoulder. The silence continues.
"Guys... Guys just fucking quit it! You've accomplished your goal, you've creeped me the fuck out now can we please ju-" The two closest to me suddenly grab me by my arms and pull me down to my knees. They then plunge my hands into the fire in front of me. I scream in pain and sudden shock.
They then all remove their masks. In dizzying pain from the burns on my hands I realize that these aren't the guys from school but many of the people I saw today at the ceremony. The old man who was painting, the lady from the Church, and I gasp in shock to even see the Mayor presiding over the group.
"Wha-wha... what the fu-fuck is going on?!" I yell in pain.
They stand in silence. "The Blue Moon has come and the stars are in alliance. The season of revival is finally here. Our Guardian may now be restored!"
"Jesus Christ what are you guys doing!" I continue to yell.
The Mayor ignores me and proceeds. "Only through pain and sacrifice may we ensure our continued prosperity and so we offer this young man to you."
Suddenly the fire bursts into a dark shade of blue, and almost out of nowhere, a decrepit old man is sitting in front of the fire on a throne of black oak. He looks incredibly old and is barely moving, just shifting in his seat ever so slowly and groaning indiscernibly.
The Mayor's voice lifts up though his face is as hollow as ever, the harsh blue light of the Fire now flickering off of him. "On the Day of the Blue Moon we must continue, we must survive. Guardian of our people, live on!"
"Oh God what are you guys doing! Please just let me go!" They then begin to drag me forward towards the old man, who practically looks dead. However as I move closer and closer to him, his face grows darker and more cruel. Dark and distorted animalistic features begin to appear on his face. Horns emerge from his head, coarse black fur around his neck, his eyes become almost reptilian. I struggle and beg for them to release me, but soon enough I am face to face with the monstrosity sitting before me.
Slowly it lowers its eyes to me and begins to speak out in a gargled dark tongue in a very deep and haunting voice. It grabs a hold of my face and pries open my mouth and slowly begins to open its own, revealing sharp rotting teeth. A dark cloud slowly emerges from its mouth and makes its way into mine.
I collapse to the sound of chanting as I take one last look upon the full Blue Moon.
I wake up in my bed. I scramble up and make my way to the mirror to see that I am still the same Nick I was yesterday. But as I look upon my face I suddenly grin uncontrollably. It is from this point forward that I lost all control. The spirit within me now controls my body and mind. I am but a small light of consciousness within. It goes about its day while I look outwards and see my friends, my parents, my little brother... and yet I am completely unable to speak to them or show them a sign of what has happened to me.
I desperately feel the need to scream but I am unable to do so. The spirit slowly digests and consumes me, while I remain helpless and in agony.
I am becoming one with the spirit. I feel its power, I hear its thoughts, I can sense its impulses. I try so hard to resist its control and dominance but I fail.
Soon the world will see another Day of the Blue Moon and I look forward to it. I hunger. And y'know this year I have some very special plans for Kyle.
Written by LinebeckIV