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Chapter One-The Man on the Moon
She strode along the forest floor with a grace and poise that contradicted her vibrant youth. Luminous bulbs floated amidst the towering oaks alongside her elegant frame, dappling the path with star-like speckles and casting an assuring glow towards the north. As she walked, slivers of full moonlight seeped stubbornly through the thick forest canopy and reflected upon the simple red dress she wore, adding to her already stunning beauty. On her face sat a beaded gold mask, perching elegantly on the bridge of her nose, and bringing an alluring sense about her that grew the more you observed. The closer she walked to the north, the more people started filtering through. Clothed in frock coats and corsets, double tailed suits, elegant multiple layered dresses, and the ever charming top hat, these men and women were congregating from all over the world for a multi-layered purpose. Their faces were all hidden behind masks of varying styles and colors. They were all whispering among themselves, not in fear, but in happiness.
Today, June 12, 1778, was the day where a man had breached an entirely new level of technology. The young woman was around the age of 15, and had eerily pale skin, almost luminescent. Her hair cascaded down her shoulders in ringlets of silky brown hair, and her eyes, barely discernable through the holes in the mask, were a warm, almond brown, almost similar to that of her hair. There was a certain edge to her that not only made her even more beautiful, you could see it in the assuredness of her stride and the glint of aspiration in her lustrous eyes. The men and women all approached the heart of the forest, where an incredibly peculiar device awaited them. It was made entirely of seemingly solid, glowing beams of light, that wrapped around each other in a hypnotic fashion, spiraling incandescently into the forest canopy above, lost in sight among the thick spring leaves. The light itself seemed to be weaning from the surrounding slivers of moonlight, because there was pitch darkness surrounding the vivid beams. Two by two, the men and women stepped tentatively into the spiral of sold light and started floating eloquently upward on a small podium of light the size of a carriage wheel, eventually disappearing into the night. The young woman waited patiently in line, and stepped upon the circle that would lead her into the masquerade party. A young man stood next to her, glancing nervously at her beautiful frame. He was disguised in a simple, white mask covering his entire face, giving off an almost eerie aura.
“Do you know what they’re saying?” asked the man, glancing down at his shoes. When the girl didn’t reply he continued. “They say that he invented something that would revolutionize travel and warfare. They say that this is the pinnacle of engineering, that this will help us finally defeat them.” His voice, while sounding very adult, had a hint of child-like fascination to it. It irked the girl, like so many things did, but she ignored it and quickly replied.
“Well what they, whoever they might be, are correct. My father is the man who invented the so called “pinnacle of engineering” she said bluntly, her eyes fixated not on the boy, but at the full moon, whose light had grown stronger within the past few seconds. As the young couple floated upward, the podium moved faster, and more confident, as if the moon itself were giving it power.
“Your father is Richard Conley?” asked the young man in awe, voice wavering in fear and respect.
The blunt, uninviting tone of the girl’s voice seemed to cut through the conversation like a serrated knife, and the young man said no more as the podium approached its destination, an enormous floating chasm of light, where masked men and women of all different sizes sat down on the seemingly floating chairs, tipping their glasses to Richard and his marvelous contribution to the turning point of the war.
The young woman and man were one of the last few couples to step nervously onto the enormous plain of solid moonlight, and they immediately separated due to the awkwardness of their previous conversation, the man to the table of champagne, and the woman to the head of the gathering, next to an important looking man that must have been Richard Conley. As fewer and fewer people filtered through the mass of chairs and tables to find their appropriate seats, the silence grew with a foreboding speed. At last, the hundred or so people in the gathering, grew silent, leaving the natural sounds of the forest below them, all looking expectantly up at Richard, whom the young lady was sitting next to.
Conley cleared his throat after a sip of champagne, stood up, and raised his glass to the midnight air. “To the light the moon gives us, the people willing to sacrifice their lives for our well being, and for the new generation of technology that lies ahead.
There was a hearty cry of “Ais” and the soft clinking of fragile wine glass onto fragile wine glass.
“Today” the man continued in his authoritative voice, deep and calming “June the 12, is the day that I have successfully completed the making of the teleporter.”
The people in the crowd widened their eyes in shock and delight, some squealing, some remaining silent. Meanwhile, the young woman, knees crossed, sat rather bored, staring curiously below into the shimmering waves of the forest canopy below. She thought she had heard something, a faint mutter or a rustle of leaves. But she dismissed it, regarding it impossible for her to hear to such lengths anyway.
“As you already know, the tele-“ but the voice, once calm and relaxing, had now, as quickly as a blink of an eye, turned into a guttural gurgling.
The young woman whipped her head around, mask flipping of the bridge of her nose in the process, revealing the rest of her face. She had turned her eyes quick enough to witness the brutality of it all, the evilness. A dagger, glinting in the lustrous light of the moon, had seemed to lodge itself neatly into the back of her father’s neck, causing the guttural sound and the grunt of pain as he fell slowly, like a marionette, to the moonlit floor. Blood had sprayed from the man’s mouth, and now the girl was covered in specks of scarlet.
For a split second, the congregation of men and women remained silent, not fully comprehending what had just happened. And then, utter chaos ensued, and the terrified screams pierced through the otherwise silent night.
The young woman looked up at the moon, and sobbed as she scrambled amidst the crowd. A moment ago, it had seemed so pure and clean, but now, in the midst of all the blood and chaos, she could swear that little specks of scarlet blood had trickled down the face of the moon. The Man on the Moon was mourning too, blood trickling down from its pupil-less eyes.