Prelude to a Full Moon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A easy story about the fork in the road.

Submitted: June 27, 2007

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Submitted: June 27, 2007






Glynn Scott


This is a story with many parts, thousand pieces of a tale about a naked girl.  A hundred fragmented sections about how she was found with her legs open.  A little bitty thing dead in a field of snow-covered rose bushes.

It was the one-eyed Preacher who started the rumors, which led to the repercussions.  The Preacher, his black coat smelling of past sins and present transgressions, a piece of his white shirt trapped in the zipper of his trousers, had found the little brown man standing over the girl.

In the snow they spoke.  The one-eyed Preacher to the little brown man, the little brown man to the girl, even in death the little brown man felt she needed to know, felt, somehow it would make her transition easier, give her something to talk about when she got to where she was going.  "Where you from boy?" the Preacher asked.  "There's quite a bit of empty road and frozen streams t'ween here and the next place."  The little brown man knelt down, tried to brush the snow from her face, but the wind blew and the snow fell, obscuring the facts, distorting the truth.  As he looked up, trying to make out the black coated figure that had placed a hand on his shoulder, the little brown man squinted.

"I am from nowhere and everywhere," the little brown man said to the long fingers that gripped his jacket: fingers that slipped and slid across the little brown man's shoulders as they searched for a better grip.


"Your name boy, what's your name?" the Preacher asked as snow flakes rushed into his mouth as if they too wanted shelter from the storm.

"I am who I am."

"What, a smart mouth nigger?"  The words caught on a snowflake, words that swept across the girl but moved her not.

"What was it about her that made you do this?"  This the little brown man asked while his fingers burrowed underneath the snow that covered the girl  Searched for her blouse, wanting to, needing to make sure she was decent when she met her maker.  It was important.

"She was a Jezebel.  Always showing her butt in those short dresses, not coming through when a man needed her most.  A slick cocksucker that one there was," said the Preacher, and although the words had been few, he felt it was the best sermon he had given in some time.  The Preacher looked off in the distance, repeated the words as if to make sure they had been the right ones.

The Preacher had taken the little brown man by the hand, led him across an open field, over a small hill, away from the girl and the snow-covered rose bushes.  From behind the clouds, the sun warmed the edges of the morning.  The dwellings, the ones the little man could see as he and the Preacher emerged from the morning's warm beginnings, were not houses at all, but shelters for folks living on the bad side of a bad life: shotgun houses, little more than straight narrow dark alleys, built close together, as if each needed the protection of the others.  Across each yard, a thin layer of ice.  A person here, a person there, one brown, one not so brown, a dog barks.  Attached to a buggy a


gray horse pawed at the ground, sparks of ice flew into the morning air.

For two days, the little brown man had laid locked in room thinking of little except his path here.  A long distance from a past he had mostly forgotten.  His memories: Bric-Brac, fragile, cracked brittle black and white snapshots of a mother with bare breasts, chickens, a tall house with a white fence and white flowers.  He remembers a morning when the grass had burned crazy hot, and a red and yellow ocean had rolled over the hill just as the sun came up.  However, he is here now, in this place crippled by time, a place old and simple like a matted hound dog, and "That's the way it is sometimes," he thought to himself, "when you can't get far enough away."


Like the half-open eye of an awakening Cyclops, the moon lays a cold winter's light across the road.  The ground the little brown man stands on is cold-damp and there is a slight chill to his feet.  Between the V-shaped branches of the tree, naked and thick like a girl he once loved.  The little brown man watches as the moon creeps from the night's womb, bright and shiny like a new nickel. 

Out of the darkness a hundred black faces pool in the shadow of the oak tree.  A crowd that has given itself over to sin, but sin like love, is in the eye of the beholder.  So this audience, little more than ants: breeding, feeding, storing up for better days, has dressed its sin in a sliver cloak of self-righteousness, adorned it with pearls of preconceived justice and emeralds of twisted truth.  In the distance the thin easy sound of a train, a low whistle, a mourner's song.  In this place, a small piece from hell and high water, but still a little ways from a rock and a hard place, a little brown man smelling of


smoke and ash, watches the noose hanging from the tree.  He does not know the people who have judged him, but he wishes them well and hopes that all will be forgiven on the other side.

The number of people gathering does not surprise the little man.  With each breath he takes, the crowd seems to swell.  From the way the Preacher shakes hands and pats backs, the little man can sense the preacher's pleasure.  These are his friends and neighbors, some having slipped from there mother's womb into the Preacher's arms.  There are few-preacher like- evidence to the little man that the Preacher had slipped ahead of them into their mothers' womb.  As large as it is, the crowd is not loud or unruly, but moves and rolls like waves on a black sea.  No loud words or shouts, but a whisper that creates it own sound, a soft hum that serves as lyrical testimony to the little man's guilt.  The soothing sound of condemnation slips under the little man's clothes, moves, along his skin like ants.  It climbs the might oak, embeds itself in the fibers of the rope strengthens it, making sure that this final arbitrator of justice does not fail.

There are mummers in the crowd, complaints of having to stand too long.  One, a man with two children who are as black as the inside of a cave, says it is a sin to keep the little ones up so late.  A tall light-skinned woman, who even in the cold night air is bareheaded and barefooted, says it does not matter to her one way or the other, at which hour justice will be served, that any hour is a fine hour for retribution.  The voices in the back are thrown forward like stones.  Those closes to the little man, the ones able to touch the hem of his garments, come to know him for who he is.  Some touch him twice as if searching for something more, but they do nothing to alter his fate, to change the


way things are going to turn out. 

Because it is the only gift he has to give them, he lets their fingers wander.  They are not searching for truth, for with each touch they find it, but are looking for an excuse for this sin.  This is how it is this night, the prelude before a full moon.

In that space before the moon becomes full, the Preacher steps from the shadows.  A raised hand quiets the crowd.  He does not have to speak loud.  His voice catches a moonbeam as it drifts across the gathering.  "Neighbors, we are gathered here because we judged this man.  His lust, his fornication, and his silence speaks of his guilt.  We are a simple people with simple ways.  We knew little of the girl.  She, like him, was here only a short piece.  But her kindness, her compassion were known to many," he says, taking a moment to watch his flock.  Faces looking to him for guidance, for comfort. 

On the back of the horse, the little man looks at the faces in the mob.  Black faces lifted up toward a full moon, black fish swimming just below the surface of a black sea.  He is a little afraid.  The Preacher, silent now, comes to stand next to the little man.  The little man thinks of the girl.  Knows she is safe.  Stung by the Preacher's backhand, the horse runs toward town and the little brown man steps into the fire.




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