A YELLOW FULL MOON
After a long hot day, the evening was blessed with a yellow full moon. As the moon hung over the sea it bathed all it touched with a soft yellow light. Pearl was sitting on the veranda of the house she was staying at and paid no attention to anything else other than the yellow full moon. The path it created on the water as the world turned, was in sharp contrast to the dark inkiness of the sea. The sun finally slid over the edge of the horizon and the yellow moon stayed for seconds before finding its correct place in the dark velvety sky.
At another house not far from the one where Pearl was staying, was a woman called Yvette, who was not at all aware of the yellow full moon. At the time of the sunset, Yvette was sitting down on a huge sofa in a smartly furnished living-room. The light from the dying sun touched for brief moments on the copper ornaments and gave them added lustre. Yvette was used to all this glitter and the sunset too, so paid no attention to any of it. She was lying back and running her blonde hair in between her fingers. Yvette was thinking about everything in her life, from her children, who it would appear no longer needed her, to her present boyfriend, whom she didn't trust. Yvette made herself more comfortable and pondered on what she should do. The light coming in from the beach had gone, and now it had become dark and fresher inside the house, accompanied by a soft breeze. She stood up and walked over to the French windows and stared out at the crisp lace-edged waves that hit the shore in rapid succession. Yvette moved slowly down to the water's edge and enjoyed the coldness of the water on her feet after the long hot day, and she was all the time thinking.
Bentley was a man who was successful in everything he undertook - except matrimony. His had been a dismal marriage due to his spending more time at work than with his family. He never understood why there were so many complaints launched against him regarding that. His children never went without, and his ex-wife neither. So then, what had gone wrong? Nothing much, only that he was supposed to pay them all lip service at certain moments in their lives, and he hadn't. As he sat on the balcony of his beach apartment eating dinner and drinking the local wine, he was quite happy, and more so when he saw the yellow full moon casting a golden path on the sea. Even at that late date, he was over sixty, he could at times feel that there might be something out there for him. He was unable to see Yvette, as the beach was very blue-blackish and the only light was from the moon. Nevertheless, Bentley didn't feel alone, he felt at one with the sea breeze and the night and the moon.
Jude and Keir were old friends, but as their shared childhoods were far behind them, they had developed individual characters. The journey to the beach had been made by cycling all the way to the house Jude's mother, Pearl, was staying at. Jude was happy with the idea of not going anywhere or doing anything much for a week or so, till they had recuperated the energy they had used getting down to his mother's. Keir was getting bored with the beach life and wanted to push on to somewhere livelier. Jude knew what Keir was like, so he had made up his mind to let his friend go. That evening, Jude went for a swim in the dark sea trying to make his way along the golden path.
Keir went to the nearest hot spot to liven up his stay.
Pearl was lying on her bed with the light of the moon covering her bed like a yellow bedcover. Jude had told her that Keir was bored with the beach scene around the house, and wanted something livelier. Pearl was anxious that Keir might cast a negative influence over Jude, but she needn't have worried as Jude wasn't at all into the night scene of anywhere. The interiors of the houses along the beach were all lit up by the moon, which was just hanging there.
At the livelier resort where Keir had headed to, the yellow full moon was erased from the sky by the gaudy neon lights advertising pubs and clubs for all kinds of people. Behind the noise and glitter, there were dark, dingy streets where dark and dirty deals were carried out. Keir stood out like a sore thumb, as an outsider. That was dangerous for him, he was good for getting robbed and jumped on. He went into a pub and tried to get into conversation with some drinkers at the bar. No one paid him any attention. He drank up, and left.
As he was walking along the road, he was followed and attacked. Keir sat up and felt his head, and then in his pocket for his mobile, to ring Jude. He stood up very unsteadily and then a voice said, "I advise you not to move. This is the police."
Keir said, "I'm injured, and I can barely move. I was looking for my mobile to ring my friend Jude, whose mother we're staying with."
A torch was shone in his face, "What have you taken?" the policeman asked him, without removing the torch from Keir's face.
"I've had a beer. Nothing else."
"Do you know the address of this lady's house?" the policeman asked him.
"I know it's on the beach and it's quite a walk from here."
"What's your friend's name?"
"Jude Collins, and his mother's name is Pearl."
"I think I know who she is. Well, young man, my companion has rung for an ambulance which will be here shortly."
The ambulance picked up Keir, by which time he was unconscious and out of it.
That night of the yellow full moon brought with it many such disturbances as Keir had experienced. The hospitals were full of young people who had not understood the power of the moon and yellow together.
Meanwhile back at Pearl's house, both Jude and his mother were lying in their yellow bedcovered beds. Tomorrow would bring with it the torments of the night gone and the clarity of day.
Yvette was still awake, even though she had spent quite a time on the beach soaking up the night air and the breeze, in a last effort to become sufficiently tired to be able to go to bed and sleep instead of staying awake half the night thinking negative thoughts. Yvette saw the reflection of the moon on her bedcover, just as Pearl had done, and the idea came into her head that it might be a good idea to buy a bedcover in the same shade of yellow. To be lying down inside a bed with a yellow cover would be reminiscent of lying under the sun even though the weather outside might not coincide. It wasn't long before Yvette fell asleep with the quest for a yellow bedcover firmly fixed in her head.
Bentley was awake looking over the balcony into the night. He began to feel a bit stiff from maintaining the same position for too long, and went inside. He slid closed the glass balcony doors behind him, and went into his bedroom and sat on the edge of his bed with his head in his hands. He came to when he fell onto the bedroom floor. He got up dazedly, and put on his pyjamas and went into the bathroom for a glass of water. He got into his bed and opened the novel he had begun the night before, and made a vague effort at reading. Bentley never felt the book slide out of his hands and land on the floor, by that time he was fast asleep under a yellow bedcover presented to him by the moon.
The day following the night of the yellow full moon, a taxi arrived at the door of Pearl's house and a rather unusual looking woman got out and paid the taxi driver. Her name was Evadne, and she was dressed from head to toe in blue. Her dress was long-skirted and she held a parasol over her head. Her sunglasses were sufficiently dark enough to keep her eyes well-hidden. Evadne had been a friend of Pearl's for many years, since they were both young and giddy. Jude saw Evadne get out of the taxi and called his mother, "Mum. Evadne's here." Jude still had no idea where Keir had got to, and wasn't sure what to do about looking for his friend.
Pearl rushed to the front door to greet her friend. "Jude, would you please bring us each a glass and the iced lemon juice. It's in a jug in the fridge."
Jude obediently went to the kitchen to get the refreshing drink. The two middle-aged ladies were catching up on gossip, when a police car arrived and stopped outside Pearl's front door.
"I wonder what they want," Pearl asked her friend.
Jude went to the door, after placing the tray with the jug of lemon juice and glasses on the table between Pearl and Evadne. He opened the front door and asked, "Good morning. What's the matter?"
"One of the policemen answered, and said, "Good morning. Do you know Keir Barr?"
"Yes, I do. He's my friend, and he's staying with us for a holiday."
"He's not staying here now, he's staying in hospital. He was picked up and taken to hospital by an ambulance last night."
Jude was not surprised, but puzzled. "What had he done?"
The first policeman said, "He doesn't seem to have done anything wrong, but he was jumped on and robbed of his mobile last night, after being seen leaving a not very savoury establishment. Do you know if he takes drugs or drinks to excess?"
"As far as I know he only drinks beer. I've never known him to take drugs. Can I go to the hospital?"
"Yes, of course you can. Is your mother at home?" the second policeman asked.
"Yes, she is. Please come in, and I'll introduce you to her."
The two policemen were shown into Pearl's house. Jude made the introductions, "Mum, these are two policemen who've come to tell me that Keir is in hospital, after being attacked last night, walking in an undesirable area."
The policemen saw two middle-aged ladies sitting on soft cushioned wicker chairs at a small table with a jug of lemon juice and two empty glasses on it.
"Good morning. Would you like to partake of some lemon juice?" Pearl asked the two young policemen.
"Yes, please," answered one of the policemen. So she filled one of the empty glasses and gave it to him.
"Mum, they've come to tell us that Keir is in hospital in the next resort. He was found in a bad way in a bad district last night," Jude told his mother, while Evadne sat and said nothing.
"We'd better go to the hospital to see how he is. Coming, Evadne?"
Evadne sat in silence, and said, "I'd rather go for a walk on the beach, after all, I've only just got here."
The policemen, Jude, and Pearl, left the house, and Evadne left through the French windows at the back of the house. Pearl and Jude went in her car closely following the police car. At the hospital, they were shown into a fully occupied room of young men. Keir was sitting up in bed and the nurse said to him, "Now you can get up and dressed to go home. Your visitors are here."
Keir's face was swollen and discoloured. The look on his face was that of feeling sorry for himself. His face lit up on seeing Jude and Pearl.
"It's a good job your mother can't see you. What were you doing walking around such an infamous area?" Pearl asked Keir.
"I didn't know where I was. I think I must have stood out as not being from here," Keir said, wincing in agony as he moved in the bed.
"Come on. Get up and dress. The doctor has said that you can leave and come home with us," Jude said to his friend.
Mother and son waited while Keir dressed in the clean clothes they had brought for him.
Bentley was swimming out to sea feeling very relaxed and without a care in the world. He rolled over and lay on his back, floating. Yvette was looking through binoculars at all around her. She saw Bentley lying on his back in the sea, so relaxed that he looked as if he were asleep. Fool, she thought, he'll get badly burnt. Evadne saw Yvette looking through binoculars and followed her gaze. Bentley would have rejoiced to have known he was the centre of attention of two middle-aged ladies. He was only conscious of the sun on his body and the sound of the sea lapping around him. Yvette had massaged layer upon layer of sunscreen all over her body, and although she was aware of a possible danger to Bentley floating on the sea, she wasn't prepared to rush to the rescue - especially if he didn't need rescuing. Evadne removed her dark blue dress and revealed that underneath she was wearing a bright yellow bikini. Her skin was lightly tanned and she was aware of the looks she got in her outfit.
Bentley was still floating on his back when a female voice said, "Not falling asleep, are you?"
Bentley, who was on the brink of sleep, opened his eyes to see the striking Evadne's wet face smiling at him.
"It would be so easy to fall asleep out here, away from everything and everyone," he replied.
"What's your name? Mine's Evadne," she said, still smiling at him.
"I'm Bentley," he answered. "Fancy a drink, Evadne?"
"Yes, I'd like that."
"Let's swim back, shall we. It must be nearly midday and the sun will soon be too hot to be out in," Bentley observed.
They turned round in the direction of the beach, and began to swim leisurely in that direction. Bentley was delighted that Evadne managed to keep up with him in the water. Bentley and Evadne stepped out of the water, and Evadne clearly saw that Yvette hadn't moved from her lookout position. It was obvious that Yvette fancied Bentley, but why doesn't she do something about it, thought Evadne. Bentley and Evadne went up to his apartment to have the longed for icy-cold drinks. Yvette was now perusing the beach.
That evening on the local television the news was, that a local man who owed money to several local businessmen had disappeared. Keir was feeling a lot better and happier, but less up to going out to any hot spots. The two boys went out to the beach for a walk and to wet their feet in the sea.
"I wouldn't want to be in that missing man's shoes, not after being attacked for nothing. If someone as ordinary as me can induce people to beat them up, then what will he go through?" Keir said to Jude.
"Don't worry about other people, you're safe now and out of harm's way," said a relieved Jude, now that he knew his friend wasn't dead or dying.
The moon was only slightly smaller, and it was still big enough to create some kind of magic.
Yvette was once again on the beach walking along the shore. Pearl had invited Bentley for lunch after she saw how interested Evadne was in him. Pearl didn't understand what Evadne might see in Bentley, but there certainly was something. Pearl had observed how Yvette was always hanging around as if she fancied Bentley, but never approached him.
The evening turned into night and the moon, as it had been the night before, was still yellow. That night, the whole beach was bathed in an unearthly yellow light. As the night wore on, people went for walks on the sand or for late night swims. The nightly breeze started up and it was very gratifying to feel the cool air on the warmed and suntanned skin. Yvette saw the golden path drawn on the sea by the moon and decided to swim along it for as far as she could before getting too tired. As she swam she felt the cold air getting colder. For a moment she felt something brush against her, and she looked down into the water and saw a face. She was petrified and swam back to the beach as fast as she could. Pearl, Evadne , and Bentley saw Yvette rush out and rush up the sand. Jude and Keir ran towards her.
Yvette was shivering and she put her towel around her.
Pearl said, "What on earth is the matter with you? Have you seen a ghost?"
"No, I've seen a face in the sea."
So Pearl took Yvette home, as she was in such a state.
Pearl rang the police and told them about Yvette's story. They said a car would get there as soon as possible. Yvette showered and dressed in Pearl's house while waiting for the police, and Pearl put on a pot of coffee. Evadne and Bentley put the playing cards away, and tidied the chairs in Pearl's living-room. When the police car eventually got there, all was in place. Yvette was looking her usual immaculate self, and everyone was sitting around.
"Good evening. Who was the lady who says she saw a face in the water?" a policeman asked them.
"I did," Yvette said. "I was having a last swim before turning in, and I saw this face in the sea right beside where I was swimming."
"We've a motor boat outside and we'd appreciate it if you would accompany us to where you say you saw the face."
Everyone went onto the beach and saw that that there was indeed a motor launch with lights to enable those on board to see into the sea. Yvette went on board with the policemen, who put a safety jacket on her. "The sea looks different from when I was swimming in it a short time ago. The waves are stronger. I'm not sure whether I'll be able to find the face for you."
The launch was driven around for quite a while and then the police decided to return at dawn, which would give them a better chance of finding the face. Yvette was taken back to the beach and told the rest that the police would be back at dawn, in a few hours.
After a short chat together, Yvette said goodnight to everyone and went back to her house. She undressed, got into bed, and took a sleeping tablet to help her sleep. What would the morning bring?
The news soon spread that the body of a man had been washed up at the sea edge. The police went, and a forensics vehicle too. The body was placed inside a black plastic body-bag and taken away. Yvette was asked if she would accompany them to see whether or not the face on the cadaver was the one she had seen in the sea. Everyone else was gossiping to the dozen, with all sorts of wild rumours abounding. Pearl and Evadne were sitting on the veranda with Bentley, having morning coffee. In spite of the heat, there was no warmth in the atmosphere. The beach was deserted after the deceased had been taken away to be examined for cause of death. Evadne, who was a very strange lady, said that it was a gang style killing. Bentley asked her, "Why do you think it's a gang style killing?"
"I've read many books, and I asked myself a question. How did the body get out into the sea, if that's the one that Yvette saw? It makes you think, doesn't it?"
Pearl joined in the conversation, "I'm beginning to wonder if this is such a good place for a holiday. Keir was beaten up for nothing, and then this body turns up on the beach."
Bentley sat thinking, and then said, "Come on, Evadne, let's go for a walk. I don't fancy spending the morning chewing over the death of an unknown man."
Evadne and Bentley, holding hands, bade farewell and see you later to Pearl, who thought those two do move fast, and they strode off in the direction of the cliffs. Pearl thought that they were right in thinking it was better to get away from that part of the beach, for a while at least. Jude and Keir were playing volleyball further up the beach, and so there was no one to see Yvette arrive back before the lunch hour.
The news on the local television was that the body of the man found on the beach that morning had effectively been that of the missing man. No information was given as to how he had died, but news had spread with photos, that he had duct tape across his mouth, and his hands and feet tied.
The moon was even a little smaller that night, but still the yellow light managed to shine out. The holiday was over, as far as some were concerned. Pearl and the boys left when they found out what had happened to the man found dead.
Pearl bought herself a rich yellow bedcover with cushions to match, to recapture the fond memories she had of the golden moonlight on her bed at the beach.